The Monk Luke of Hellas

Commemorated on February 7

      The Monk Luke of Hellas was a native of the Greek village of Kastoria. The son of poor farmers, the saint from childhood had toiled much, working in the fields and shepherding the sheep. He was very obedient to his parents and very temperate in eating. He often gave the poor his own food and clothing, for which he suffered reproach from his parents. Once he gave to the poor almost all the seed which was needed for planting in the fields, but the Lord rewarded him for his charity: the harvest gathered was greater than formerly.
      While still a youth he prayed both often and fervently. His mother more than once saw him during the time of prayer standing, not on the ground but in the air.
      After the death of his father, he went off secretly from his mother to Athens, where he entered a monastery. But through the prayers of his mother, who was very anxiously concerned about him, the Lord in miraculous manner returned him to his parental home. He spent a whole four months there and having comforted his mother, with her blessing he went off to a solitary place on Mount Joannikes. Here there was a church in the name of the holy Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian, at which he pursued asceticism in constant prayer and fasting. He accepted monastic tonsure there from elders on pilgrimage. After this Saint Luke redoubled his ascetic efforts, for which the Lord granted him the gift of foresight.
      After a seven year sojourn on Mount Joannikes, the monk resettled at Corinth because of an invasion of Bulgarian armies. Hearing about the exploits of a certain pillar-dweller at Patras, he journeyed off to him and for 10 years he served the ascetic with humility and obedience. Afterwards, the saint returned again to his native land and again began to pursue asceticism on Mount Joannikes.
      The throngs of people flocking there disturbed his quietude, and with the blessing of his elder Theophylaktos, the Monk Luke set off with his disciple to a still more remote place at Kalabios, and from there after three years because of an invasion of Arabs he settled on the desolate and arid island of Ampilos. A later place of his ascetic efforts was Stirea (Soterieia). Here brethren gathered to the monk, and there emerged a small monastery, the church of which was dedicated to the GreatMartyress Barbara. Dwelling in the monastery, the monk worked many miracles, healing sicknesses both of soul and of body. Foreseeing his end, the saint confined himself in a cell and for three months prepared himself for his departure. To the question of where to bury him, the monk answered: "Throw my body for the devouring by beasts". When the brethren besought him to change his final instructions, he commanded them to bury his body on the spot where he lay. With the words: "Into Thine hands, O Lord, I give up my spirit!" the Monk Luke reposed in the Lord on 7 February 946. Afterwards on the place of his burial was erected a church, and from his holy relics flowed myrh and many healings occurred.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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