How Did the Apostle Luke Die?

Biblical scholars disagree about the circumstances of Saint Luke’s death. Most Catholic scholars contend that he either died at the age of 84 in Greece, while many Orthodox scholars assert that he was martyred after the death of Saint Paul.

In the Catholic tradition, despite the claims of early Christian writers that Saint Luke was martyred, the earliest documents available to the church attest that the apostle settled in Greece, wrote his gospel and died peacefully at the age of 84 in Boeotia.

Orthodox Church history claims that Saint Luke preached the gospel after the martyrdom of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, attracting the attention of pagan and Jewish citizens. These individuals reportedly told Roman Emperor Nero that he was practicing sorcery. Nero responded by sending for Saint Luke, who had enough time to deliver his books to a local fisherman before the audience. Nero reportedly cut off his right hand, at which point Saint Luke performed a miracle by reattaching it to this body and then separating it again. While this impressed the Emperor’s cabinet, who then professed to believe in Christ, Nero responded by decapitating the entire lot, including Saint Luke, and having the saint’s body cast into the sea.