Saints

12 lessons from Russia’s top 20th century surgeon

Who is the surgeon?

St Luke the doctor was an incredible man to say the least. He was simultaneously a righteous bishop and active surgeon during the time of 20th century soviet-dominated Russia. It is said that today in Russia he is considered the top surgeon of the 20th century and he was deeply loved by his flock. He continues till today to performs miracles to the faithful who ask for his intercessions.

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Here are 12 lessons we can learn from his shining life.

  • Lesson 1: Science and medicine can work with religion. Use them to complement each other, particularly to fulfill love for man. “First, his two positions – renown doctor and bishop – rejects the premise that science is in conflict with religion”.
  • Lesson 2: Speaking to people can reveal God’s will. And the next step you need to take in life.  He did law for a year, then Arts, then it was only upon talking to a professor he realized he had an intense need to serve others through medicine.
  • Lesson 3: Be versatile. Learn various secular skills to win over others. “He needed to be a surgeon and a gynecologist, a pathologist and a pediatrist, a hygienist and a dentist.” And he was simultaneously a zealous clergy member and doctor.
  • Lesson 4: Be very serious in using time wisely, particularly to learn and grow. During his commute to the hospital he learnt 7 languages to read about more surgical methods. And at night he would shut himself in his room studying for hours.
  • Lesson 5: Pay attention to the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit. When he was writing the prologue of his surgery book, the strange thought came to his head that “When this book is completed, the name of a bishop will be on it.” And that’s what happened. Thus, try to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit in my life.
  • Lesson 6: Unhesitatingly accept the will of God. Once he saved an archbishop from prosecution, the latter told him that “Doctor, you must become a priest.” St Luke unhesitatingly replied, “Your Eminence, if it is God’s will that I should be a priest, then I will.”  And so he became a priest.
  • Lesson 7: Undertake goal-based endeavors. This results in far more effective results. The way that St Luke was extremely dilligent in his studies and actions was because it stemmed from an intense intrinsic desire and goal to help others. It is said about his famous surgery book: “There is no other book in our country with so much knowledge on surgery and so much love for the human being.”
  • Lesson 8: Strive for career excellence. “In Pereslav Zalesky, he performed 650 – 1000 operations a year while on his own”.  “While at nights he shut himself in his office, and continued his scientific studies” “He could perform the most difficult operations without any problems.”
  • Lesson 9: Glorify God through the above. When people demanded of Stalin to execute St Luke, he angrily swore at them vulgarly and conclude, “We cannot execute those people any longer, but we need to honor them.” So St Luke was honored with the state’s greatest public award, the 1st Stalin award out of fifteen scientists.
  • Lesson 10: Do the above even in harsh circumstances.  He unceasingly performed operations even when he was a greatly suffering prisoner, there was little equipment and no other doctors. In one such case, with no other support, only a bottle of alcohol and a small pocket knife, he operated on a patient using their hair to tie their wounds.
  • Lesson 11: Be bold. During the hearing for a prosecution of a bishop, St Luke vigorously defended him and got him acquitted. He always refused to remove his bishop’s clothing or do operations without the icon of the Mother of God.
  • Lesson 12: Give without expecting anything in return. No one could doubt his authentic love chiefly through his free surgeries and operation, which really could have made him a billionaire. In a world where people are keen to sell you things, St Luke shines.

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Pray for us O holy Russian bishop St Luke that we may have a share in the inheritance of the holy saints and friends of Christ! And also to show that we Christians are the hardest and best of all secular workers.

Do you to read more about St Luke? Check out this link.

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