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Saint Luke of Crimea (Davidovskiy) Icon - S533

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Saint Luke was born in the Crimea in 1877. Named Valentine at birth, he initially studied fine arts, but with a growing desire to help suffering people, he chose to become a physician instead, studying ophthalmology (the treatment of eyes) in particular. He treated the poor beggars in Kiev without pay, in the model of the ancient Unmercenary Physicians.

His wife Anna died in 1919, two years after Lenin's revolution and the Russian civil war begin. Despite the atheist persecution of the times, he always kept an icon of the Mother of God in his office, and he continued to attend theological studies in his free time. After two years the Archpriest Mikhail Andeev invited Valentine to become a priest, and despite the dangers, he agreed.

As a priest, Fr. Valentine was arrested and subjected to a show trial, like so many clergy in those times. Before he reported to the prison, he was tonsured a monk and ordained as a bishop with the name Luke, after the apostolic physician.

Having useful medical skills, he was sent to a remote facility to practice medicine in service to the state. Miraculously, continued to oversee the church as a bishop at the same time, and was constantly transferred and subjected to various tortures as his popularity grew. He refused to perform surgeries unless an icon was present and he was able to wear his cassock; the authorities were forced to grant his demands.

He continued his bold ministration to bodies and souls until his repose on June 11, 1961. The civil authorities tried to sanction his funeral, but the faithful ignored their attempts and sang the Trisagion Hymn in the streets of Simferopol.

Saint Luke was glorified as a saint in 1996, and his feast is celebrated on May 29/June 11.

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