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5 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About St. Luke the Evangelist

Brush up your knowledge on this gifted evangelist on his feast day, October 18!

What else is there to know about the saint whose name is associated with hospitals and the Gospel in the New Testament? Plenty, as these five fun facts reveal.  

So, to commemorate the feast of St. Luke this October 18, here are five interesting facts about this multi-talented evangelist that you probably haven’t heard of yet!

Fact #1: St. Luke Was a Doctor

Profiles of this saint identify him as a medical doctor. St. Paul, whom he worked closely with, went so far as to describe him as “the beloved physician” (Colossians: 4-14). Perhaps this explains why St. Luke wrote about more miraculous physical healings than any of his fellow evangelists—13, notes, stacked up next to St. Matthew’s 12, St. Mark’s 11, and St. John’s two.

It may also explain why so many hospitals around the world are named after this evangelist—St. Luke, after all, is the patron saint of physicians and surgeons. (Read: A Feast Day Prayer to St. Luke the Evangelist)

Photo from Goodsalt

Fact #2: His Writings Make up a Large Part of the New Testament.

Besides his namesake Gospel, St. Luke is also credited for writing the Acts of the Apostles, again based on written accounts as well as interviews with Peter (Acts 1-5; 9-12), Philip the Evangelist (Acts 8), and Paul (Acts 9, 11, 13-28), says a feature by the National Catholic Registrar. The website also suggests St. Luke was responsible for penning some of the letters of Paul, who was known to employ secretaries or amanuenses to write on his behalf. (Read: 7 Inspirational Prayers From the Holy Bible)

Moreover, St. Luke’s Gospel covers important events that do not appear in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John: among them, the Birth of John the Baptist Foretold (1:5-25), the Birth of Jesus Foretold (1:26-38), the Visitation (1:39-56), the Birth of John the Baptist (1:57-80), the Circumcision and Presentation of Jesus (2:21-40), the Finding of Jesus in the Temple (2:41-52), the Good Samaritan (10:29-37), the Parable of the Rich Fool (12:13-21), Lazarus and the Rich Man (16:19-31), Parable of the Prodigal Son (15:11-32), Ten Lepers Cleansed (17:11-19), and Jesus before Herod Antipas (23:6-12). 

Altogether, the Gospel of St. Luke and the Acts of the Apostles total almost 38,000 words—about 24 percent of the whole New Testament.

St. Luke Displaying a Painting of the Virgin, 1652-53, Guercino (Photo from Art Now and Then Blogspot)

Fact #3: St. Luke Never Met Jesus in Person

Instead, according to, he wrote his Gospel based on eyewitness accounts of Christ’s life, death, and Resurrection. Such inspiring accounts moved him to put them in writing, in the hopes of spreading the word on this amazing man. (Read: Have you ever wondered how you would feel if you actually met Jesus Christ?)

Fact #4: St. Luke Was Also an Artist

Likewise, the patron saint of artists, St. Luke is said to be “the original iconographer,” wrote He’s the visual artist behind at least four images of Mother Mary and the Baby Jesus, including the famous Our Lady of Perpetual Help icon. Indeed, with Mary as his muse in his paintings and with so much information about her in his writings, it is believed that St. Luke was a closes confidant of the Blessed Virgin. (Read: A Prayer for Artists in Times of Crisis)

Fact #5: St. Luke Is Often Depicted With an Ox or Calf

The ox is an animal of sacrifice, a reference to the evangelist’s Gospel, which emphasizes the atonement made by Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on the Cross, says

Vienna – Fresco of st. Luke the Evangelist by Josef Kastner from years 1906 – 1911 in Carmelites church in Dobling. (Photo from Jozef Sedmak / Alamy Stock Photo / The Daily Beast)

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