Luke, Evangelist, St.

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St. Luke is called by St. Paul, "our most dear physician" (Col 4.14), a description that the vocabulary of the third Gospel and of Acts seems to justify. Luke's medical terms, however, may have been those familiar to any educated man of the period. Paul also calls Luke a fellow worker in Philemon 24. In 2 Tm 4.11 Luke is Paul's only companion shortly before the Apostle's death. These are the only times Luke is mentioned in the NT.

Early Christian tradition identifies him as the author of the third Gospel and the Acts. Luke was a Greekspeaking convert of pagan origin (cf. Col 4.11b with Col4.14). He was not himself an eyewitness of what he writes (Lk 1.2) and, therefore, not one of the 72 Disciples (Lk 10.1), nor Cleophas's unnamed companion on the road to emmaus (Lk 24.8). From the "we sections" of the acts of the apostles, we may conclude that he first met St. Paul at Troas (16.10), rejoined him at philippi some years later (20.5), accompanied him to Jerusalem

(21.118), and remained with the Apostle during his imprisonment in caesarea in palestine, and Rome (Acts 27.128.16).

According to the anti-Marcionite prologue (a.d. 160180), Luke never married, and lived to the age of 84. After his death in Achaia (or Bithynia or Egypt), his bones were transferred to Constantinople.

In Christian iconography, St. Luke, portrayed either as a man, or a writer, or an ox, appears frequently on various sacred artifacts. The symbol of an ox (Ez 10.14; Ap4.7), most frequently used for Luke, may have been applied to him because of his calm and strength, or because his Gospel begins and ends in the Temple.

Feast: Oct. 18.

[r. t. a. murphy]