Mabuse – St Luke
October 18.–ST. LUKE.
My first thought, when St Luke is mentioned, is of him as a writer, leaving us the vivid pen-portraits in the gospel that bears his name and Acts.
However, tradition has it that he was not only a painter in words, but also a painter with brush and pigment; that he was the first icon painter. He is said to have painted pictures of the Virgin Mary and Child, in particular the miraculous image of our Lady known as Panagia Hodegetria (lost during the fall of Constantinople to the Turk).
“She who points the way”
12th-century plaque found in Torcello Cathedral; a full-length figure like the original in Constantinople
He was also said to have painted Saints Peter and Paul, and to have illustrated a gospel book with a full cycle of miniatures.
Late medieval Guilds of St Luke in the cities of Late Medieval Europe, especially Flanders, or the “Accademia di San Luca” (Academy of St. Luke) in Rome—imitated in many other European cities during the 16th century—gathered together and protected painters. The tradition that Luke painted icons of Mary and Jesus has been common, particularly in Eastern Orthodoxy. The tradition also has support from the Saint Thomas Christians of India who claim to still have one of the Theotokos icons that St. Luke painted and which St. Thomas brought to India.
ST. LUKE, a physician at Antioch, and a painter, became a convert of St. Paul, and afterwards his fellow-laborer. He is best known to us as the historian of the New Testament.
Though not an eye-witness of Our Lord’s life, the Evangelist diligently gathered information from the lips of the apostles, and wrote, as he tells us, all things in order.
The acts of the Apostles were written by this Evangelist as a sequel to his Gospel, bringing the history of the Church down to the first imprisonment of St. Paul at Rome.
The humble historian never names himself, but by his occasional use of “we” for “they” we are able to detect his presence in the scenes which he describes. We thus find that he sailed with St. Paul and Silas from Troas to Macedonia; stayed behind apparently for seven years at Philippi, and, lastly, shared the shipwreck and perils of the memorable voyage to Rome.
Here his own narrative ends, but from St. Paul’s Epistles we learn that St. Luke was his faithful companion to the end.
He died a martyr’s death some time afterwards in Achaia.
Reflection.–Christ has given all He had for thee; do thou give all thou hast for Him.