Icon of St. Luke The Surgeon Of Simferopol - Russian - (1LU37)

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St. Luke the Surgeon, Bishop of Simferopol and Crimea (1877-June 11, 1961)


Known as The Surgeon and Saint":  Scientist, ophthalmologist, surgeon, professor anatomy and surgery, priest, bishop, prisoner, confessor of the faith.

St. Luke was born on April 27, 1877 in the eastern Crimea.  He noted in his memoirs:  "I did not receive a religious upbringing..."  He described his first true understanding of his Christian faith after reading the New Testament, which was a graduation gift from his high school principal.  His Bible became his constant companion.  St. Luke had a natural talent for art and intended to study at an art institute but decided to enroll in medical school of Kiev University to devote his life to benefit the suffering among the peasants in remote villages. From 1905-1917, he practiced medicine and surgery in various district hospitals.  During this time, he married Anna Lanskaya, a nurse who had the nickname among her patients as "the holy nurse."  They were blessed with four children.  He wrote in a letter to his son:  "I suffer deeply if a patient dies after an operation.  I had three deaths in the operating room and this literally crushed me...I prayed for the dead at home, because there is no church open here..."

In March 1917,  St. Luke became the head surgeon and professor surgery at the hospital in Tashkent.  In that October, Lenin took over the government and civil war erupted in Tashkent in January 1919.  During Communism, St. Luke was under constant threat.

Eventually Fr. Valentine was arrested and put on trial, falsely accused of giving inappropriate surgical care to injured Red Army soldiers, and sentenced to 16 years imprisonment and served a total of three imprisonments.   The people who met him during his ordeals bore witness to his true character. As a physician he was Unmercenary and never asked for money treating all his patients with immense love. He shared his patients’ pain and anguish for he saw each person as an image of God, unique and unrepeatable. 

In, 1923, St. Luke became Bishop, and in 1942, St. Luke was elevated to the rank of Archbishop.

As Communist regimes came and went, St. Luke’s persecutions and frequent transfers only increased his popularity. St. Luke reposed on June 11, 1961.  The government made every effort to make St. Luke's funeral as inconspicuous as possible. However, a  popular uprising occurred at the funeral. The faithful ignored, at peril to life and limb, the roadblocks and honored St. Luke.

More information about this saint can be found here