Luke, evangelist - October 18th
St Luke (Relics: Rome, Italy; Padua, Italy; Prague, Czech Republic; Thebes, Greece)
St Luke is believed to have died in Thebes, Greece during the latter part of the first century. Records then indicate the transfer of his remains to Constantinople in the fourth century. From here one theory suggests that his remains were transferred to Padua during the Iconoclastic persecutions in the 8th century. Documented proof of their presence in Padua surfaces by the year 1177 when a tomb is unearthed next to Santa Giustina bearing the symbols of St Luke. Papal recognition of these relics followed soon after.
First Class Relics
Church of St Luke
*This church is located near an old cemetery southeast of the ancient citadel called the Cadmea.
*The original tomb of St Luke rests here.
*Recently a rib bone was taken from the body of St Luke in Padua, Italy and given to this church.
Abbazia Santa Giustina
(Abbey of Saint Justina)
Via Giuseppe Ferrari 2A
35123 Padova, Italy
*The body of St Luke rests within the left transept of this church. A recent study upon these relics was conducted at the request of Archbishop Antonio Mattiazzo of Padua in 1998. This study determined that these relics are of an individual that would fit the description of St Luke.
*A decorated tomb within the right transept of this church is dedicated to St Matthias. Apart from the beautiful inscription upon the tomb which in Latin reads “Sors cecidit super Mathiam” the church provides no signage to support the presence of the apostle’s relics within the tomb. This is somewhat striking since directly across from his tomb the church explains in great detail the relics of St Luke. Some, nevertheless have argued that these relics of St Matthias were brought to Padua in the 8th century at about the same time as the arrival of St Luke’s relics. This tradition, however, conflicts with the even older tradition of St Helena who in the 4th century is said to have acquired the relics of St Matthias and distributed them to both Rome, Italy and Trier, Germany.
Cathedral of St Vitus
Hrad III. Nádvoří
119 00 Prague, Czech Republic
*A relic of the head of St Luke is preserved in this church. It was brought here by Charles IV in 1354. A recent study on this relic was conducted at the request of Archbishop Antonio Mattiazzo of Padua in 1998. This study seems to suggest that the authentic relic of St Luke’s head is the one located here and not the one found in the Treasury Museum of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy.
St Peter’s Basilica
*A silver reliquary bust within this museum is said to contain the head of St Luke. This reliquary dates back to the 14th century and the relic is said to have come from Constantinople. However, as noted above the authentic relic of St Luke’s head is most likely the one within the Cathedral of St Vitus.
Churches of Honor in Rome
Santi Luca e Martina (Saints Luke and Martina)
Via della Curia 2
*This church is located in the Roman Forum and it is dedicated to St Luke and St Martina. The painting above the main altar is of St Luke painting the Blessed Virgin Mary. The church is not open often.