February 7, 2020

The Incorrupt Relics of Venerable Luke of Steirion (Hosios Loukas)

According to the tradition of the Monastery of Hosios Loukas, it was said that the relics of Venerable Luke had been taken from his monastery during the 13th century by the Crusaders and were brought to the Vatican. They later surfaced in Venice accompanied by the following legend: when the Turks conquered Boeotia in 1460, a group of monks, carrying the relics of the Saint, found refuge on the island of Lefkada. After the island fell to the Turks, the relics were transported to Bosnia. In July 1463, Bosnia also fell to the Turks and Franciscan monks transported the holy relics to Venice.

The relics brought much confusion and it was thought that Venerable Luke's relics in fact belonged to Saint Luke the Evangelist who had also been buried in Thebes and whose relics had also been taken to an area outside Venice. On the 16th of December 1464 there took place a council of cardinals, and following numerous talks it was proved that the relics which had been moved to Italy were in fact those of the monk of the Eastern Church, Luke of Steirion.

On the 11th of October 1986, after 526 years and the coordinated efforts by the Metropolis of Thebes and Levadia and local officials, a delegation headed by the Metropolitan of Thebes and Levadia Hieronymos [the current Archbishop of Athens and All Greece], the former Metropolitan Nikodemos, the then abbot of the monastery Nikodemos and the archimandrite and current abbot George, received the sacred relics and replaced them in the reliquary of the katholikon at the Monastery of Hosios Loukas on the 13th of December 1986.

It should be noted that the relic returned by the Catholic Church of the Venerable Luke has a head, but the Monastery of Philotheou on Mount Athos also claims to have the head of Venerable Luke by itself, which makes one question the authenticity of at least one of them.