During the final days of the Savior’s earthly life, when, with the striking down of the Shepherd, the sheep of His flock also were scattered, the holy Luke abode in Jerusalem, lamenting and weeping for his Lord Who had voluntarily accepted suffering. In all probability, Luke also stood “afar off” among the others who knew Jesus, and looked upon the Crucified One. But soon after, his sorrow was turned into joy, for the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ consoled Luke on the very day of His resurrection, counting him worthy to see and converse with Him, as Luke himself informs us in his Gospel in great personal detail (Luke 24:13-32).
Desiring to share their joy with the other disciples of the Lord, Luke and Cleopas rose immediately from their meal and set out for Jerusalem. There they found the apostles and the other disciples assembled in one house, and, of course, they announced to them straightway that Christ had risen from the dead, and that they had seen Him and conversed with Him. For their part, the apostles reassured them, relating that the Lord had truly risen and had appeared to Simon. Then Luke and Cleopas recounted to the apostles in detail all that had transpired with them on the way, and how they had recognized Christ the Lord in the breaking of the bread. (*Partaking of Holy Communion, we also recognize Christ in “the breaking of the bread”.)
After two years in chains in the dungeons of Rome, the Apostle Paul was released and, departing from Rome, visited several of the Churches he had founded before. At this time, the holy Luke was again his companion. But before long, the Emperor Nero initiated a cruel persecution against the Christians in Rome. The Apostle Paul then returned to Rome, that by his discourse and example he might encourage the persecuted Church, make it steadfast, and, if it so pleased God, share with the faithful the crown of martyrdom. He was arrested by the pagans and imprisoned again. Yet even then the holy Luke did not forsake his teacher, and he alone, among all the apostles’ fellow laborers, stayed at his side during that period of time which was so terrible that the apostle compared himself to a victim doomed to be slaughtered. “I am now ready to be offered,” he wrote to his disciple Timothy, “and the time of my departure is at hand. Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me; for Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me” (2 Tim 4:6, 10-11).
It is quite possible that Luke was also a witness to the martyrdom of the Apostle Paul in Rome. After the repose of his teacher, the holy Luke, as the tradition of the Church informs us, spread the Gospel of Christ in Italy, Dalmatia, Gaul, and especially, Macedonia, in which he had labored before for several years. He also evangelized Achaia, which borders on Macedonia.
Returning to Greece he again set up churches there, primarily in Boetia, ordained priests and deacons, and healed those sick of body and soul. Like his friend and mentor, the Apostle Paul, St. Luke fought the good fight, finished his course and kept the Faith. At the age of eighty-four, he died a martyr’s death in Achaia, crucified on an olive tree in lieu of a cross. His precious body was buried in Thebes, the principal city of Boetia, where his holy relics, which were responsible for a multitude of hearings, were to be found until the second half of the fourth century; they were subsequently transferred to Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Empire.