St Luke, evangelist (Feast: October 18)

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St Luke, evangelist (Feast: October 18)

Best known for a two-volume work comprising the third Gospel and Acts of the Apostles, likely written between AD 70 and 85, St Luke is the only Gentile Christian among the Gospel writers. Though few facts about his life are known, St Paul identifies him as "our beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14) so we can presume him a doctor though this would not imply he was a man of wealth or means.

The character of Luke as one who loved the poor, who wanted the door to God's kingdom opened to all, who respected women, and who saw hope in God's mercy for everyone, is apparent in his Gospel emphasis on Mercy. Luke highlights Jesus' compassion and patience with the sinners and the suffering. It is Luke alone who records the stories of the sinful woman, the lost sheep and coin, the prodigal son, and the good thief.

Perhaps lesser known is that as Christian tradition suggests, Luke was likely among the first writers of icons.

According to legend, a table built by Jesus that accompanied Our Lady to the home of St. John, was used by St Luke as his canvass to paint her portrait. Recovered in Jerusalem by St Helena, the image titled Salus Populi Romani is today enthroned in the Pauline Chapel of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome.

A copy of the icon gifted to the youth of the world in 2003 by St John Paul II, to accompany his previously gifted “Jubilee Cross”, from the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Redemption, both are currently in the possession of the youth of Poland in preparation for World Youth Day in Kraków next year.