My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
The Eighteenth Day of the Month of October The Life of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke
The holy Evangelist Luke was born in Antioch of Syria and from his youth studied the wisdom of the Greeks and the science of medicine. He became a skilled physician and an excellent iconographer, and he knew both the Greek and the Egyptian tongues well. Moreover, he was thoroughly acquainted with the Law of the Jews and had visited Jerusalem.
At the time our Lord Jesus Christ dwelt in the flesh among men and sowed the seed of salvation, which fell on good ground in Luke's heart where it sprouted up and bore fruit a hundredfold. Thus, Luke heard the teaching of truth from the lips of God Himself, and he drank therefrom a wisdom greater than that which he had learned in the schools of the Hellenes and Egyptians. He came to know the True God and to believe in Him, and he began to teach others the faith as well. He was chosen to be one of the Seventy Apostles, of whom he writes in his Gospel thus: "The Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place" ( St. Luke, ch. 10). As a member of the choir of the Holy Apostles, Luke also went before the Lord, preparing a path before Him by his sacred preaching and giving assurance to the people that the Messiah Whom they awaited had come to the world.
At the same time of the saving Passion, when the Shepherd was struck down and the sheep scattered, the blessed Luke went about weeping and lamenting for his Lord, Who has deigned to suffer voluntarily. But although he sowed with tears, he reaped with rejoicing, for as he was walking with Cleopas to Emmaus, speaking with him and grieving over the death of their beloved Teacher and Lord, the risen Christ Himself appeared to them (St. Luke, ch. 24). By His appearance the Lord comforted them and wiped away the tears from their eyes. As he drew near, Christ asked them, "What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?" Through this conversation Saint Luke became the initiate and close companion of Him Who said of Himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (St. John, ch. 14). As they walked with the Lord, Luke and Cleopas spoke with Him and drank of the ineffable fount of wisdom. O, how sweet were the words that Saint Luke heard from the mouth of the sweetest Jesus, Who beginning with Moses and the prophets, expounded unto them from all the Scripture the things concerning Himself!
Later, Christ's good disciple Luke, the initiate of divine mysteries, would instruct all the inhabitants of Thebes in Boeotia, enlightening many who were in the darkness of ignorance of God with the light of understanding of the Holy Gospel. But first, he who was to feast with Christ in the Kingdom of God was to sup with Him at Emmaus, and the Son of God, Whom Judas denied at the Mystical (Last) Supper, was made known to Luke in the breaking of the bread. There the flame of divine love hidden in Saint Luke's heart sprang forth, and he uttered these words: "Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?" Truly, the remembrance of Christ was yet alive in him who loved the Lord with his whole heart when, fifteen years after the Savior's Ascension into heaven, Luke wrote most accurately of Him in his Gospel. He wrote of that which he himself had seen and heard and which was inscribed not with a pen but with love in his heart; he also told of those things which they had witnessed who followed Christ from the beginning, before Luke. Soon after Christ's Passion, those who had been with the Lord form the beginning related these things to Luke, as it is written in the preface to his Gospel: "They delivered those things unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word" (St. Luke, ch. 1).
When Luke left Rome, he went to the regions of the East to preach Christ. He travelled through all of Libya and came to Egypt. He then enlightened the utmost regions of the Thebaid and after this founded churches in Thebes of Boeotia. There he ordained Priests and Deacons, and he healed those who were infirm in soul and body. Saint Luke was more than eighty years old when he peacefully reposed in the Lord.
God glorified His servant at the place where St. Luke's body was laid, for as a token of his skill as a physician, an ointment that could heal the eyes rained down there. Because of the various healings that took place through the prayers of the holy Apostles at his grave, the place where he was buried became well-known among the faithful. When Constantius, the son of Saint Constantine the Great, learned of this, he sent Artemius, the Duke of Egypt (who was later put to death for Christ by Julian the Apostate), to bring the remains (holy relics) of the holy Apostle and Evangelist to Constantinople.
Saint Luke's holy relics were brought to the city to the chanting of psalms and hymns. Now there was a eunuch named Anatolius who lived in the city, an imperial chamberlain, who had lain for a long time sick upon his bed and had spent much of his wealth on physicians. He had hoped to receive healing from them, but they could not restore his health. Therefore, when the holy relics of Saint Luke were brought into the city, Anatolius prayed fervently to the Holy Apostle. He somehow arose from his couch and ordered that he be taken to the place where the Apostle's healing casket lay. When he arrived, he touched the coffin with faith and fell down before the holy relics of the Saint, immediately receiving deliverance from his infirmity and perfect health. He took the casket with the holy relics upon his shoulders, and with the help of the other people who were present, carried it to the Church of the Holy Apostles. The precious relics of Saint Luke were placed in that church beneath the sacred altar, together with the remains of the Holy Apostle Andrew and Timothy.
It is believed that Saint Luke painted the first icon of the most pure Theotokos bearing in arms the pre-eternal Child, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He also painted two other icons of the Theotokos and brought them to the Mother of the Lord to learn whether she was pleased with them. When she saw them, she cried out with her most pure lips, "May my grace and that of Him Who was born of me be with these icons!"
The Holy Apostle Luke also painted on panels depictions of the holy pre-eminent Apostle Peter and Paul. Thus the sacred and most honorable art of iconography, by which churches are adorned, had its beginning with him, St. Luke. By it God, the Mother of God, and all the Saints are glorified, and the faithful, who piously venerate their holy icons, receive salvation.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn in Third Mode
O Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke, intercede to our Merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
Kontakion Hymn in Fourth Mode
As a Disciple of the Logos/Word of God, with Paul you illuminated all the earth and dispelled the gloom in writing Christ's Divine Gospel.
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God