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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world

A late 5th to 7th century Greek homily On *Luke (the Evangelist), misattributed to Hesychius of Jerusalem, is the earliest extant source for the saint’s feast on 18 October. The text stresses Luke's role as source of our knowledge about *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). A subscript mentions the saint’s death in Thebes of Boeotia (Greece). Unknown provenance.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies

Major author/Major anonymous work

Hesychius of Jerusalem

ps.-Hesychius of Jerusalem, Homily 21, On Luke (BHG 993a = CPG 6586)


1. Prologue.

2-3. An Evangelist contemplates the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation.

4. The election of Peter, Matthew, Paul, and Luke by Christ.

5. Luke was a physician.

6. The main doctrines of Matthew, Mark, and John.

7-9. The main doctrines of Luke, especially concerning the Virgin Mary and the Annunciation.

10. Biographical note: Luke was a physician of Syrian origin, a disciple of the Apostles and follower of Paul. He died at Thebes of Boeotia in the age of 84, on 18 October.

Liturgical Activities



Preserved in five manuscripts, on which see Aubineau 1980, 904-905 and:


This is possibly the earliest extant Greek homily on the Evangelist Luke. The text was compiled between the mid 5th century and c. AD 700 (the earliest manuscript is from the 8th century – Brussels, Royal Library IV.459), and was misattributed to Hesychius of Jerusalem in the Middle Byzantine period. The author uses extensively the early 5th century Homily 15, On Holy Easter by Proclus of Constantinople. The concluding paragraph 10 reproduces the probably 4th century Anti-Marcionite Prologue to the Gospel of Luke. Two other texts of Luke’s hagiographical dossier, BHG 993, and BHG 992z, are closely related to this text.

The text was evidently preached on the feast of the saint, which is placed on 18 October in the epilogue. The provenance of the text is unknown.


Text, French translation, and commentary:
Aubineau, M., Les homélies festales d’Hésychius de Jérusalem II: les homélies XVI-XXI (Subsidia Hagiographica 59; Brussels, 1980), 668-705.

Record Created By

Efthymios Rizos

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of Christἁγία ΜαρίαCertain
S00442Luke, the EvangelistΛουκᾶςCertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Efthymios Rizos, Cult of Saints, E06105 -