Luke of Steiris

Luke of Steiris was one of the earliest saints to be seen levitating in prayer. Luke was born in the Greek village of Kastoria.  Born in 896, he was the third of the seven children of Stephen and Euphrosyne. Luke seemed to be especially close to God as a child. Luke was levitating in prayer when his mother saw him.  He was the son of poor farmers.  He worked in the fields and tended sheep. Twice he tried to leave home for a solitary life of prayer. The first time, he went to Thessaly but was captured by soldiers trying to capture escaped slaves and was sent home. The second time he met two monks coming from Rome to Jerusalem.  They took him to a monastery in Athens where he received the small habit.  His mother prayed for him to return.  God made her appear in a dream to the abbot.  The abbot sent Luke back to his home.  

When he was 14, with his mother’s blessing, he went to a mountain called Ioannou.  He lived there for 7 years as an ascetic Luke became well known. Several miracles are attributed to him during this period.  He is said to reveal to two brothers the location of their dead father’s buried treasure.  He slept in a trench to remind himself of death. 
Luke was forced to leave Ioannitza because of an invasion by the Bulgarian emperor Symeon.  Luke had predicted this would happen.  He went to a nearby island followed by several local villagers. They were attacked by Bulgarians in a stolen ship. After the invasion, left, Luke  enrolled in a school in Corinth. He left soon after he found his fellow students were not serious.He went to serve a stylite for the next ten years.  He became stranded in the Peloponnese on an errand when the harbormaster refused to allow him to return to Hellas. 
Emperor Symeon died in 927 his son Peter came to power.  Luke returned to Ioannitza to build his own community.  Luke had so many followers, he found the distractions unbearable and went further into the wilderness. Three years later, however, Luke was displaced again, this time by a Magyar invasion. Luke retreated with the local villagers to a nearby island. Once there, Luke found the desert island to be a suitable place to pursue his solitary ascetic life, and stayed for three years.  

Eventually, Luke’s companions persuaded him to leave, and he settled for the remainder of his life in Hosios Loukas, where he founded his hermitage around 946. While living in the monastery, he performed many miracles, healing illnesses of soul and of body.  He died in 953.