Born in Antioch, Syria, Roman Empire, some scholars maintain Saint Luke was of Greek descent. Others say Luke was a Hellenic Jew; that is, his beliefs and approach combine Jewish religious traditions with elements of Greek culture and language. Tradition presents him as the only Gentile Christian among the four Gospel writers.
The Gospel of Luke has considerable appeal to Gentile readers. His writing style is narrative and conveys a perspective that we share – he views the events, not as an eyewitness, but as someone searching and transformed by what he hears. Of the four Gospel writers, only Luke talks of shepherds and angels and an inn with no room. Only his Gospel incorporates the personal testimony of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the importance of her example. Saint Luke’s Gospel has been referred to as The Gospel of Mercy, Gospel of the Poor, and the Gospel of Joy – a reflection of a heart tuned by God.
Saint Luke is also credited with writing The Acts of the Apostles. When Combined with his Gospel, Luke contributed over a quarter of the New Testament text. In Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, he refers to Luke as a physician (a Greek word meaning one who heals), and from that reference, we infer he was both a disciple of Paul and a physician by trade. We also have Paul’s word that Luke was in Rome with him near the end of his life.
An 8th Century Christian tradition proclaimed Saint Luke to be the first icon painter. Iconic works of Jesus, Mary, Peter, and Paul, as well as an illustrated gospel book are attributed to him, unproven but worthy of consideration.
Saint Luke is honored as Patron Saint of Artists, Physicians, Bachelors, Surgeons, and Students.