On his deathbed, Saint Tikhon (1865-1925) whispered, 'The night will be very long and very dark,' prophetically speaking to one of the most harrowing periods in Russian history. Shortly after Stalin came to power, a new law was passed dissolving the Russian Church and exiling or executing her priests and people. Saint Luke Archbishop of Simferopol, born Valentine Voino-Yassenetsky (b. 1877), lived and served and suffered through the worst of these days.
A gifted surgeon and devout man, Valentine was called to the priesthood when a bishop heard him speak at a diocesan meeting. 'Doctor, you must become a priest!' 'Be it as you say,' replied Voino-Yassenetsky, 'I will be a priest if it is pleasing to God!' He was ordained the following Sunday and was secretly administered monastic tonsure amidst a period of intense persecution not long after.
Named after the Apostle Luke, the bishop defended the Church not only against atheists but also 'false brothers' and apostates--and was consequently imprisoned and/or exiled for extended periods throughout the course of his life. Everywhere he was sent he served, whether in hospital or church. The bishop never charged for his services and was a gifted diagnostician. Even after going blind, he was able to determine the exact cause of illness simply by touch and continued to serve the liturgy 'directed by God, who in His wisdom guides even the blind.'
While Archdeacon Marushchak's telling of Saint Luke's life is certainly hagiographic, it compels through understatement. The Blessed Surgeon never separated physical and spiritual healing, regarding every patient 'as a living and suffering person whose physical recovery' was 'always connected with an appeal to God. He taught his patients to pray to God for their recovery.' This edition includes both the Service in Honor of, and the Akathist to, Our Father Among the Saints Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and Confessor.