Sunset - Larnaca

Sunset - Larnaca

Monday, 7 November 2016

St Luke the Evangelist

The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke (31-84AD) originated from Antioch of Syria, and was of Greek ethnicity. He was a doctor by profession, however was also an experienced artist. For this reason, alongside preaching the Gospel, he is known for painting some of the first icons of the Christ with His Most-Holy Mother, the Theotokos, as well as of the Apostles Peter and Paul.

Saint Luke was catechised by the Apostle Paul, who he met at Thebes, and from then on was also fully committed to preach and share the Gospel, travelling to Italy, Dalmatia, France and other areas of the Mediterranean. Not only did the Evangelist write the third Gospel of the New Testament, but also the Acts of the Apostles.

He is mentioned three times within the New Testament, with little information about his life. Although he is not considered one of the twelve Apostles, he acted, evangelised and lived as an Apostle, and closely worked with Paul. Their close, brotherly relationship is seen within Saint Paul's letters: "Λουκάς εστί μόνος μετ' εμού" Luke alone is with me (2 Tim 4:11) Luke is described as "αγαπητό" beloved (Col 4:14).

Saint Luke wrote the third Gospel around fifteen years following the Ascension of our Lord. Although he was not an eye-witness of Christ's life on earth (Luke 1:1-4) he certainly followed His teachings, learned from the earlier Apostles and their tradition, and through the illumination of the Holy Spirit carried this Christian Apostolic tradition, through his writings, example and life, onto the next generation of the faithful community.

Within the Acts of the Apostles, he describes the daily life for the Early Christian community of Jerusalem, emphasising the importance of the Holy Eucharist (in other words partaking of Holy Communion) as followers of Christ:

"And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers... and all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need... attending the temple together and breaking bread.. they partook of food with glad and generous hearts.' (Acts 2:42-47)

This unity and harmony which is described by the Apostle Luke is the implementation of Christ's commandments of love. According to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Christian life is summarised through the commandments of loving God and loving our neighbour. This particular passage from Acts, emphasises these two crucial commandments being fulfilled through the Liturgical life of the Church. In other words it is through our partaking of the Eucharist, having communion with God and our fellow Christians, that we are able to go out into the world to share the faith, love our fellows and assist those in need. It all begins here, at the Divine Liturgy. The Church' pastoral, philanthropic work flows from our starting point, the source of all we do; partaking of Christ Himself in the Eucharistic Assembly, as one unified body.

- Delivered to the Student Group of St Luke's Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Glasgow in Greek & English.


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