An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Luke the Evangelist, Saint

(St. Luke was a Gentile, and the traditional author of the Gospel According to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. He was a physician and is identified with the church's ministry of healing. In Col 4:14, he is described as “the beloved physician.” Many Episcopal hospitals have the name of St. Luke because he is the patron saint of healing and the healing professions. His uniqueness is seen in his detailed description of the birth of Jesus, possibly deriving from information given him by Mary, the Lord's mother. It is in the Gospel According to Luke that we have the texts of the earliest Christian hymns, Magnificat, Benedictus, and Nunc dimittis . Only this gospel has the parables about the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. Luke gives special emphasis to the worth and status of women. He stresses the inclusivity of the compassion and love of God. Luke is often symbolized as a winged sacrificial ox holding a gospel book. This symbolism is taken from the Gospel According to Luke, which begins with Zechariah sacrificing in the temple and which describes the sacrifice of Christ. Luke is sometimes pictured as a painter making Christ known through art. Luke accompanied Paul on his second missionary trip from Troas to Philippi, and on the third missionary trip from Philippi to Jerusalem. He also went with Paul to Rome. Luke's life and work as a physician, historian, and evangelist is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Oct. 18.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.