The Celebration of Luke the Evangelist, October 18


Reading from the Synaxarion:
This Apostle was an Antiochean, a physician by trade, and a disciple and companion of Paul.  He wrote his Gospel in Greek after Matthew and Mark, after which he wrote the Acts of the Apostles, and dedicated both works to Theophilus, who, according to some, was Governor of Achaia.  He lived some eighty-six years and died in Achaia, perhaps in Patras, the capital of this district.  His emblem is the calf, the third symbolical beast mentioned by Ezekiel (1:10), which is a symbol of Christ’s sacrificial and priestly office, as Saint Irenaeus says.

The name Luke (Loukas) is apparently an abbreviation for Loukanos. Old Latin manuscripts frequently have the words CATA LUCANUM as the title of the Third Gospel. (But the form Loukios, is also found in inscriptions synonymous with Loukas;) It was a common fashion in the (common Greek) koine to abbreviate proper names, as it is today, for that matter (compare Amphias from Amphiatos, Antipas from Antipatros, Apollos from Apollonias, Demas from Demetrios, Zenas from Zenodoros, etc.; and see Jannaris, Historical Greek Grammar,).

Some of the most famous images of Jesus’ birth (manger, angelic announcement) come only from Luke.
The first to identify the Luke in Paul’s letters with the author of the Gospel according to Luke and Acts was Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons in the late 2nd century.
Paul alone names Luke (Colossians 4:142 Timothy 4:11Philemon 1:24). He does not mention his own name in the Gospel or in the Acts. Compare the silence of the Fourth Gospel concerning the name of the apostle John. There was no particular occasion to mention Luke’s name in the Gospel, except as the author, if he had so wished. The late legend that Luke was one of the Seventy sent out by Jesus (Epiphanius, Haer., ii.51, 11) is pure conjecture, as is the story that Luke was one of the Greeks who came to Philip for an introduction to Jesus (John 12:20), or the companion of Cleopas in the walk to Emmaus (Luke 24:13). The clear implication of Luke 1:2 is that Luke himself was not an eyewitness of the ministry of Jesus.

In Colossians 4:14 Luke is distinguished by Paul from those “of the circumcision” (Aristarchus, Mark, Jesus Justus). Epaphras, Luke, Demas form the Gentilegroup. He was believed by the early Christian writers to have come directly from heathendom to Christianity so there is no direct documentation of whether of not, he was a Jewish proselyte.

He first appears with St Paul at Alexandria in Troas (compare the “we”-sections, Acts 16:10-12) which  is in harmony with this idea. The classic introduction to the Gospel (Luke 1:1-4) shows that he was a man of culture (compare Apollos and Paul). He was a man of the schools, and his Greek has a literary flavor only approached in the New Testament by Paul’s writings and by the Epistle to the Hebrews.

His home is very uncertain. The text of D (Codex Bezae) and several Latin authorities have a “we-“passage in Acts 11:27. If this reading, the so-called B text of Blass, is the original, then Luke was at Antioch and may have been present at the great event recorded in Acts 13:1 f. But it is possible that the Western text is an interpolation. At any rate, it is not likely that Luke is the same person as Lucius of Acts 13:1. Ramsay (St. Paul the Traveler, 389 f) thinks that Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, iv, 6) does not mean to say that Luke was a native of Antioch, but only that he had Antiochian family connections. Jerome calls him Lucas medicus Antiochensis. He certainly shows an interest in Antioch (compare Acts 11:19-27; 13:1; 14:26; 15:22,23,30,35; 18:22).

One legend regarding Luke is that he was a painter. Plummer (Commentary on Luke, xxi f) thinks that the legend is older than is sometimes supposed and that it has a strong element of truth. It is true that he has drawn vivid scenes with his pen. The early artists were especially fond of painting scenes from the Gospel of Luke. The allegorical figure of the ox or calf in Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4 has been applied to Luke’s Gospel

Apolytikion of Luke the Evangelist in the Third Tone
O Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
Kontakion of Luke the Evangelist in the Fourth Tone
As a disciple of the Word of