Sts. Cosmas and Damian
Early Christian physicians and martyrs whose feast is celebrated on 27 September. They were twins, born in Arabia, and practiced the art of healing in the seaport Ægea, now Ayash (Ajass), on the Gulf of Iskanderun in Cilicia, Asia Minor, and attained a great reputation. They accepted no pay for their services and were, therefore, called anargyroi, “the silverless”. In this way they brought many to the Catholic Faith. When the Diocletian persecution began, the Prefect Lysias had Cosmas and Damian arrested, and ordered them to recant. They remained constant under torture, in a miraculous manner suffered no injury from water, fire, air, nor on the cross, and were finally beheaded with the sword. Their three brothers, Anthimus, Leontius, and Euprepius died as martyrs with them. The execution took place 27 September, probably in the year 287. At a later date a number of fables grew up about them, connected in part with their relics. The remains of the martyrs were buried in the city of Cyrus in Syria; the Emperor Justinian I (527-565) sumptuously restored the city in their honour. Having been cured of a dangerous illness by the intercession of Cosmas and Damian, Justinian, in gratitude for their aid, rebuilt and adorned their church at Constantinople, and it became a celebrated place of pilgrimage. At Rome Pope Felix IV (526-530) erected a church in their honour, the mosaics of which are still among the most valuable art remains of the city. The Greek Church celebrates the feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian on 1 July, 17 October, and 1 November, and venerates three pairs of saints of the same name and profession. Cosmas and Damian are regarded as the patrons of physicians and surgeons and are sometimes represented with medical emblems. They are invoked in the Canon of the Mass and in the Litany of the Saints.
The Liturgical Year
The brothers Cosmas and Damian were Arabians of noble extraction, born in the town of Ægea. They were physicians; and during the reign of Diocletian and Maximian, healed even incurable maladies by Christ’s assistance rather than by their knowledge of medicine. The prefect Lysias, being informed of their religion, ordered them to be brought before him, and questioned them on their faith and their manner of life. They openly declared that they were Christians, and that the Christian faith is necessary to salvation; whereupon Lysias commanded them to adore the gods, threatening them, if they refused, with torture and a cruel death but as the prefect saw his threats were in vain: ‘Bind their hands and feet,’ he cried, ‘and torture them with the utmost cruelty.’ His commands were executed, but Cosmas and Damian remained ﬁrm. They were then thrown, chained as they were, into the sea, but came out safe and loosed from their bonds. The prefect attributing this to magical arts ordered them to prison. The next day, he commanded them to be led forth and thrown on a burning pile, but the ﬂame refused to touch them. Finally, after several other cruel tortures, they were beheaded; and thus confessing Jesus Christ, they won the palm of martyrdom.
St. Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs
Ecclus. 44: 14-15; Ps. 32: 1
Sapientiam sanctórum narrent pópuli, et laudes eórum núntiet Ecclésia: nómina autem eórum vivent in sæculum, sæculi. Ps. Exsultáte, justi, in Dómino: rectos decet collaudátio. Gloria Patri.
Let the people show forth the wisdom of the saints, and the church declare their praise; and their names shall live unto generation and generation. Ps. Rejoice in the Lord, ye just: praise becometh the upright. Glory be to the Father.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we who celebrate the feast day of Thy holy Martyrs, Cosmas and Damian, by their intercession may be delivered from all dangers that threaten us. Through our Lord.
Wisdom 5: 16-20
But the just shall live for evermore, and their reward is with the Lord, and the care of them with the Most High. Therefore shall they receive a kingdom of glory, and a crown of beauty at the hand of the Lord: for with His right hand He will cover them, and with His holy arm He will defend them; and His zeal will take armour, and He will arm the creature for the revenge of His enemies. He will put on justice as a breastplate, and will take true judgment instead of a helmet; He will take equity for an invincible shield.
Psalm 33: 18-19
The just cried, and the Lord heard them: and delivered them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto those who are troubled in heart, and the humble in spirit shall be saved.
Alleluia, alleluia. This is the true brotherhood that overcometh the wickedness of the world; it hath followed Christ, holding fast to the glorious heavenly kingdom.
Luke 6: 17-23
At that time, Jesus coming down from the mountain stood in a plain place, and the company of His disciples, and a very great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the seacoast both of Tyre and Sidon, who were come to hear Him, and to be healed of their diseases. And they that were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the multitude sought to touch Him, for virtue went out from Him, and healed all. And He, lifting up his eyes on His disciples, said, Blessed are ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for you shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for you shall laugh. Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Be glad in that day and rejoice, for behold, your reward is great in Heaven.
Psalm 5: 12-13
All they that love Thy name shall glory in Thee: for Thou, O Lord, wilt bless the just: O Lord, Thou hast crowned us with the shield of Thy good will.
May the loving prayers of Thy Saints not be wanting to us, O Lord, to win us Thy gifts and ever to obtain us Thy pardon. Through our Lord.
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord. through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
Psalm 78: 2, 11
They have given the dead bodies of Thy servants, O Lord, to be meat for the fowls of the air, the flesh of Thy saints to the beasts of the earth: according to the greatness of Thy arm take possession of the children of them that have been punished by death.
May Thy people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, be protected by the privilege of participation in the heavenly banquet and by the prayer of the saints made in their behalf. Through our Lord.