THE REMAINS OF ST LUKE IN PADUA
According to an ancient tradition, St Luke the Evangelist was buried in the city of Thebes, capital of the Greek region of Boeotia. In the second half of the 4th century, St Jerome says, his bones were taken to the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles in Constantinople. At the time of the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) they were then taken to Padua to the Benedictine monastery of St Justina.
In 1313, the monks had a marble tomb built and placed the lead coffin containing the remains inside it. In 1354, Emperor Charles IV of Luxemburg, King of Bohemia, had the skull taken to the Cathedral of St Guy (Vitus) in Prague where it is still venerated.
The marble tomb was opened on 17th September 1998. In the sealed lead coffin was found a well-preserved human skeleton, and scientific investigation established that: -the skeleton was almost complete but missing the skull, a forearm bone and some other small bones
- the Prague skull fitted exactly onto the first cerebral vertebra of the skeleton, proving that both belonged to the same person
- anthropometric studies showed that the skeleton belonged to a man who had died in old age, somewhere between 60 and 70 years old, and who was 5ft 4 in (1m 63) tall.
On 17th September 2000 a Catholic delegation including the Bishop of Padua, Antonio Mattiazzo, and a monk from the monastery of St Justina presented to Metropolitan Ieronymos of Thebes part of a rib from near the heart, and this was placed in the Evangelist’s empty sepulchre in Thebes.