Flat Saints: Saint Luke the Evangelist

During our month of saints, we are hearing the stories of seven different saints from Scripture and tradition and learning about the saints in as many ways as possible. Check out some suggestions here. Come back all this month, for posts about our saints and remember to share what you and your family learn about the saints this month on Facebook with a photo of your flat saint out and about and #CHFSaints.

Saint Luke Paints
A flat Saint Luke, created by one of our students. Here, he is pictured as a painter. Legend has it that Saint Luke, a real-life friend of Mary, the mother of Jesus, painted her first portrait. He is often pictured painting images of the Madonna and child.

Saint Luke the Evangelist (First Century)

Feast day: October 18

Symbols: Book, ox or winged ox, Madonna and child, paintbrushes, icons of Mary and Jesus, physician symbol (snake and rod).

Saint Luke is the writer of the Gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. Luke is thought to have been a physician and a painter. We don’t know a whole lot about each of the Gospel writers as there is little information about their lives that is considered historically reliable. We do know from Scripture that Luke was a doctor (Colossians 4:14), a travelling companion of Saint Paul (Philemon 1:24, 2 Timothy 4:11), the author of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, and it is suggested that Luke was probably a Gentile, making him the only non-Jewish Evangelist. Some tradition has suggested that he was also a martyr, but no significant details of his death are known.

An At-home Activity

Icons of the Madonna and Child: Some traditions hold that Saint Luke was a friend of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and that he painted her first portrait. This is why images of Luke often show him painting Mary and Jesus. It is also why Luke is the patron saint of artists and iconographers. (When iconographers paint an icon it is called “writing” an icon.) Create your own image of Mary and Jesus.

Writing an icon is very serious work. It isn’t just painting, an iconographer prays with every stroke, reflecting on the life and work of the person, scene, or story that is depicted and how the story behind the icon points to God. Icons are holy. If you do this activity, do so with a sense of calm and quiet.

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