Happy name day to Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhie and Melitipol!
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Christ is in our midst, dear readers!
This Sunday, when we celebrate the memory of All the Saints, the Church also remembers the life and labors of St. Luke of Crimea. His biography is relevant more than ever in our days, when we are experiencing colossal pressure on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. St. Luke is well known to medical people as an ingenious doctor, surgeon, and scientist. His works on surgery have not lost their relevance to this day. But the Church glorifies this man not for his medical achievements, but for his uncompromising following after God’s will.
The holy hierarch’s years of service were an ascetic labor of faith and dedication to the Lord. His wife died of tuberculosis, he was left with four children, and persecutions against the Church were increasing. It would seem that it was time for him to think more about his family. But the future holy hierarch goes to serve the Church, knowing what would happen afterwards. He was immediately arrested. One arrest followed the next. A man of international fame, the professor is subjected to humiliation from the guards, who themselves were barely literate. The author of the international bestseller, Essays on Purulent Surgery is interrogated by officers who had never written anything in their lives but denunciations. He had good reason to be resentful of the Soviet authorities, but the confessor instead writes a letter to Kalinin with a request for early release from prison in order to treat wounded soldiers, “and I am ready to finish my prison term after the war.”
The plenipotentiary for religious affairs described St. Luke as a man with a difficult personality. The difficulty consisted in the fact that Vladyka was a good pastor and did not allow the ravenous wolves close to his flock—he staved off the renovationists and heretics. He did not allow the representatives of the Soviet authorities to manipulate him. He even gave his lectures in the medical institute wearing his cassock, and did not agree to take it off under any conditions. When Vladyka went blind in his old age and could have allowed himself some rest from his labors, he nevertheless helped those in need, consulted the sick, and conducted church services. He did not allow himself to slacken, so that he would not lose his strength of spirit and heartfelt striving for Christ.
We often turn to St. Luke of Crimea with requests for help in one or another illness. But it would be good for us to ask him to teach us the steadfastness of faith that he himself had, so that we would also, like him, preserve faithfulness to God to the end of our days.