Luke of Sicily
Our Venerable and God-bearing Father Luke of Sicily, also Leo-Luke of Corleone († ca. 910)[note 1] was the Abbot and Wonderworker of the Monastery of Mount Mula in Calabria, and one of the founders of Italo-Greek monasticism in southern Italy and Sicily.[note 2] He died a centenarian after eighty years of monastic life, and his feast day is observed on March 1.
Saint Luke, known in the world as Leo, was born in Corleone, Sicily in the 8th century AD to pious and God loving parents named Leo and Theoktiste, who raised him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. When his parents died, he went to the monastery of St. Philip in Ankara. However, due to the raids of the Saracens, he left from there and went to Calabria, to the Monastery of Mulae (Mount Mula, Monte La Mula), near Cassano, where he became a monk, remaining there for six years.
In the last years of the ninth century, leaving together with the Hegoumenos of the monastery Christopher, they made their way to the mountainous region of Merkourion in northern Calabria, an important center of monastic settlement which is referred to in several of the Vitae as the "New Thebaid". Here they founded a new monastery, living there in asceticism for another seven years.
Once more they left and moved on to Vena (modern Avena, Calabria) to continue the spiritual struggle for another ten years. Here they built another monastery, which by the time of Hegoumenos Christopher's death had more than one-hundred monks in it. Saint Luke himself lived the solitary life nearby at Mormanno, Calabria.
A little later, after the death of Abbot Christopher, Saint Luke became Abbot of the Monastery of Mount Mula. Here he began new ascetic struggles, and Holy God granted to him the gift of Wonderworking, and many faithful flocked to the holy ascetic to receive his blessing and be healed. The Venerable Luke healed the sick, exorcized demons, raised paralytics, and guided the lost towards the path of salvation. He prayed without ceasing, and remained out in the cold up to twenty days, in order to intensify his ascetic struggle.
In old age, he called the monks close to him, and foretold his end. He delegated the responsibility of the position of Hegumen to the monk Theodore, and assigned the priest Euthymios as his assistant.
- ↑ For Saint Luke's dates:
- "Latin Saints of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Rome" (St John's Orthodox Church, Colchester) it gives "c.900" as his death date;
- the online version of the "Great Synaxaristes" in Greek says he was born "around the 10th c.", and
- Alban Butler's "Lives of the Saints: March" has "c.1000".
- ↑ "The term "Italo-Greek monasticism" refers to the implantation and history of Byzantine monasticism in Sicily and southern Italy. By the mid 9th c. Sicily was already reputed to be the home of numerous Greek hermits and small gatherings of monks famed for their ascetic experience. Substantial documentary evidence for the presence of Byzantine monks in southern Italy first appears in the 9th and 10th cc. and consists primarily in the lives of the great ascetic saints of this region."
- (Robert E. Sinkewicz. "Italo-Greek". In: Richard Barrie Dobson. Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, Volume 2 (K-Z). Eds.: André Vauchez, Michael Lapidge. Transl: Adrian Walford. Routledge, 2000. p.974.)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Rosemary Morris. Monks and Laymen in Byzantium, 843-1118. Cambridge University Press, 2003. p.173.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 March 1. Latin Saints of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Rome.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Great Synaxaristes: (Greek) 1 ΜΑΡΤΙΟΥ. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
- ↑ Robert E. Sinkewicz. "Italo-Greek". In: Richard Barrie Dobson. Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, Volume 2 (K-Z). Eds.: André Vauchez, Michael Lapidge. Transl: Adrian Walford. Routledge, 2000. pp.974-975.
- Great Synaxaristes: (Greek) Ὁ Ὅσιος Λουκᾶς ὁ ἐκ Σικελίας. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
- March 1. Latin Saints of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Rome.
- Rosemary Morris. Monks and Laymen in Byzantium, 843-1118. Cambridge University Press, 2003. 356pp. ISBN 9780521319508
- Robert E. Sinkewicz. "Italo-Greek". In: Richard Barrie Dobson. Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, Volume 2: K-Z. Eds.: André Vauchez, Michael Lapidge. Transl: Adrian Walford. Routledge, 2000. pp.974-975. ISBN 9781579582821
- Alban Butler. Butler's Lives of the Saints: March. Volume 3. Revised Ed.. Continuum International Publishing Group, 1999. 256pp. (see: p.11).