The Life of Holy Luke of Steiri

Introduction: The monastery of Hosios Loukas (Holy or Blessed Luke) in Greece was begun by and then enlarged to commemorate the holy monk who died there in 953. Despite the opulence of the monastery’s second church, the katholikon decorated with marble and mosaic in the first half of the eleventh century, its patron is unknown. Also unknown is the author of Luke’s biography, probably a monk, who wrote about the life and miracles of Holy Luke in the decades after his death. As the following excerpts indicate, Luke correctly predicted the Byzantine recapture of Islamic Crete in 961, and after his death his relics were credited with miracles.

Translations: Some passages have been simplified and words added in brackets to aid comprehension.
These things are indeed wondrous, but his [Luke’s] prophecy about Crete nearly provokes disbelief, even if it is well attested. Nearly twenty years earlier he predicted that it would be conquered, and who would do so. He said clearly that ‘Romanos will conquer Crete.’ Since Romanos the First was emperor at the time, when someone asked if he meant the one who was then ruling, he said, ‘Not this one, but another’ [i.e., Romanos II].

. . . [After Luke’s death] some of his followers, witnessing cures spouting like fountains or springs, judged themselves bad children of a good father if they failed to honor him after his death, having been nurtured by him. They immediately began to build [monastic] cells and a church. And first they built the church of the holy martyr Barbara, still unfinished, adorning it according to their ability; and next some small structures of different types for communal use and to host guests. Then they renovated the cell that housed the tomb of the great man [Luke], altering its appearance and transforming it into a holy chapel of cruciform shape. Thus was fulfilled what the blessed one had said about that very place and about the large numbers who would come together there.

Now is the time to remember the miracles that occurred after the death of the wise man . . . . [A woman suffering from a painful cancerous sore on her face] tried myriad cures without finding any help whatsoever, and she discerned that she had lost the chance for a quick cure. So, going into the tomb of the holy one she took oil from a lamp there and moisture from the honorable coffin and anointed the suffering part. Pouring out many tears at the sacred tomb, for many days she did not beg for healing, but on the eighth day she simply was freed from suffering, and the appearance of her face was clear, with not even a small trace of her prior misfortune.

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Hosios Loukas, two churches from the east Relics of Holy Luke, Hosios Loukas