Who Is St. Luke?
In Catholicism, St. Luke, a Greek physician and convert to Christianity, wrote the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles in his native language. After his conversion, he belonged to the Christian community in Antioch and met St. Paul. Eventually, Luke accompanied Paul on some of his missionary journeys. St. Paul was physically not very healthy, and it’s widely believed that Luke took care of him.
Antioch, Syria (first century a.d.–a.d. 84)
Patron: physicians, healthcare workers, painters
Feast day: October 18
Besides being a physician, Luke was also a historian and documented happenings of the day. His attention to detail is reflected in his writing. Only in St. Luke’s Gospel are there such details as the Annunciation of Mary, the Visitation, 6 miracles, and 18 parables. The miracles are especially poignant, because Luke was a doctor and naturally concerned with physical illness. In Acts, Luke shares wonderful insights into the workings of the first-century Church.
Luke’s Gospel accentuates Jesus in his universal call to holiness to save all men and women, not just the chosen people of Abraham. He mentions the conspicuous times Jesus speaks and interacts with non-Jewish persons, like Samaritans, Greeks, and Romans. The Gospel of Luke has been called the “gospel of mercy” for all the miraculous healings it describes, and the “gospel of women” for the prominent role women play, in contrast to the other Gospels.
Legend relays that Luke was also an artist. The first icon of Mary and the baby Jesus is attributed to him.
Luke eventually met up with the Virgin Mary in Ephesus. This is where he learned about the infancy of Christ and everything that surrounds the Lord’s birth.
Not much is known about Luke’s death. Some early Church Fathers declare he died at the age of 84; others say he was martyred. In any event, his relics were transferred to Constantinople, the new capital of the empire in the fourth century. Before the fall of the Byzantine Empire, his relics were moved to Rome.