Continuity in Christian Medicine and the Case of St. Luka, The Blessed Surgeon
Last Name Nash
Terminal Degree(s) MD,MA
Title/Position Director, OSU Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities
Institution/Organization The Ohio State University
In the midst of a secularized society, we witness an era with increasingly competing visions for medicine and healthcare. Many, if not most of these competing visions are hostile to a traditional Christian vision for medicine. In such a setting a Christian ought search for an authentically Christian medicine. Such search, however, often is elusive. The Holy Orthodox Christian Church regularly reminds the faithful of a long history of Christian physician saints. They are remembered in invocations to prayer, liturgical services, and in the designated reading of the lives of the saints. The vast majority of these, however, are saints from a seemingly remote past. A cursory consideration of the cultures in which they lived and the medicine they practiced leaves many wanting with focus on the vast differences and lack of clear guidance for our contemporary concerns. St. Luka, The Blessed Surgeon and Archbishop of Simferopol and Crimea provides a more contemporary standard. St. Luka lived from 1877 to 1961. Through scientific and clinical excellence, compassion, boldness, and unwavering faith he provides a witness worthy of emulation in Christian medicine. This paper will use the character of St. Luka as a bridge connecting the Christian physician saints of antiquity to what medicine ought to be in our own time and into the future. The paper will share a history of the Saint’s life and consider some of his works. Continuities in context, ethics, and visions for science and medicine will be emphasized.