Thursday, October 18, 2007

Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, East and West

A blessed feast day of St. Luke the Apostle and Evangelist to all. What would Christianity be without his two treatises to the "most excellent Theophilus": his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles? Without St. Luke's euangelion, we would never have known of:
  • The miraculous conception of St. John the Baptist
  • The Benedictus
  • The Magnificat
  • The Nunc Dimittus
  • The Annunciation
  • The Biblical portions of the "Hail Mary" (or its Byzantine equivalent, "Rejoice....")
  • St. Elisabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist
  • The Righteous St. Simeon the God-Receiver
  • The Prophetess Anna
  • Finding Christ in the Temple
  • Zacchaeus
  • The Dishonest Steward
  • The Publican and the Pharisee
  • The Prodigal Son
  • The Good Samaritan
  • The Rich Man and Lazarus
  • The widow of Nain
  • The importunate widow
  • The importunate friend
  • Healing ten lepers (the one thankful leper)
  • The Rich Fool
  • The Good Thief
  • Bringing Christ before Herod
  • The Road to Emmaus
As you can see, this would have a major impact on the liturgical observances of both Byzantine and Western Rites. The Western Rite, in addition to some Gospels, would be deprived of two-three of the canticles recited in the Daily Hours, and the Byzantine liturgical calendar would be unrecognizable, especially in the pre-Lenten season (the earliest portions of The Lenten Triodion). And Christendom would be robbed of perhaps the two most tender portraits of God's paternal philanthropia: the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. (The recent "14th Annual Ancient Christianity & African-American Conference" was organized around this theme.)

Of course, without the Acts of the Apostles, we would not have any apostolic history of the primitive Church.

The propers of today's feast, in both the East and the West, underline the importance of St. Luke, the physician who accompanied the Apostle Paul on some of his missionary journeys, having written a Gospel through which the engrafted Holy Spirit may heal our passionate souls.

Byzantine Troparion (Tone 5)
Orthodox Missal (St. Tikhon's Liturgy)
Let us praise with sacred songs the Holy Apostle Luke, the recorder of the Joyous Gospel of Christ, and the scribe of the Acts of the Apostles, for his writings are a testimony of the Church of Christ: He is the Physician of human weaknesses and infirmities. He heals the wounds of our souls, and constantly intercedes for our salvation.Almighty God, Who calledst Luke the Physician, whose praise is in the Gospel, to be an Evangelist and Physician of the soul: may it please Thee that, by the wholesome medicines of the doctrine delivered by him, all the diseases of our souls may be healed. Through the merits of Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Holy Apostle and Evangelist St. Luke, the Physician of our souls, pray for us!

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Blogger VL said...

As a slight variation, here are the Troparion and Kontakion - according to the Horologion of the Old Russian Rite (Erie, PA):

Troparion: With sacred hymns let us praise the holy Apostle, the narrator of the Acts of the Apostles, the illustrious writer of the Gospel of Christ, Luke who is incomparably most laudable for the Church of Christ; for he is also a physician who doth heal the infirmities of men, the illnesses of nature and the diseases of the soul; and he doth pray unceasingly for our souls.

Kontakion: Let us praise Luke the Divine, the preacher of true piety and speaker of ineffable mysteries, the star of the Church; for the Word, Who alone knoweth the secrets of men's hearts, chose him, together with Paul the wise, as a teacher of the nations.

5:57 PM  

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