Thursday, July 21, 2011


Cosmas and Damian miraculously transplant the black leg
of the Ethiopian onto the white body of the patient.

Born 3rd century ADArabia
Died c. 287 AD Aegea, Roman province of Syria

Feast September 26

Early Christian physicians and martyrs whose feast is celebrated on 27 September. They were
twins, born in Arabia, and practised 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 twin brothers Saint Cosmas and Damian (Greek: Κοσμάς και Δαμιανός) (also written Kosmas
and Damianos) (died ca. 287) were physicians and early Christian martyrs born in Cilicia,
part of today's Turkey. They practiced their profession in the seaport of Aegea (modern
Ayas, in the Gulf of İskenderun), then in the Roman province of Syria. Accepting no payment
for their services led to them being named "Ανάργυροι" (Unmercenary); it has been said
that, by this, they attracted many to the Christian faith

As early as the 4th century, churches dedicated to the twin saints were established at
Jerusalem, in Egypt and in Mesopotamia. Theodoret records the division of their relics.
Their relics, deemed miraculous, were buried in the city of Cyrrus in Syria. Churches were
built in their honor by Archbishop Proclus and by Emperor Justinian I (527–565), who
sumptuously restored the city of Cyrus and dedicated it to the twins, but brought their
relics to Constantinople; there, following his cure, ascribed to the intercession of Cosmas
and Damian, Justinian, in gratitude also built and adorned their church at Constantinople,
and it became a celebrated place of pilgrimage. At Rome Pope Felix IV (526–530) rededicated
the Library of Peace (Bibliotheca Pacis) as a basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano in the
Forum of Vespasian in their honour. The church is much rebuilt but still famed for its
sixth-century mosaics illustrating the saints.
What are said to be their skulls are venerated in the convent of the Clares in Madrid,
where they have been since 1581, the gift of Maria, daughter of Emperor Charles V. They had
previously been removed from Rome to Bremen in the tenth century, and thence to Bamberg
(Matthews). Other skulls said to be theirs have been discovered at Easter 1334 by Burchard
Grelle, Prince-Archbishop of Bremen. He "personally 'miraculously' retrieved the relics of
the holy physicians Cosmas and Damian, which were allegedly immured and forgotten in the
quire of the Bremen Cathedral.In celebration of the retrieval Archbishop and Chapter
arranged a feast at Pentecost 1335, when the relics were translated from the wall to a more
dignified place."Grelle claimed the relics were those Archbishop Adaldag brought from Rome
in 965. In about 1400 the cathedral master-builder Johann Hemeling commissioned a shrine
for the relics, which has been accomplished until after 1420. The shrine from carved oak
wood covered with gilt rolled silver is considered an important mediaeval gold work.
The martyr twins are invoked in the Canon of the Mass in the prayer known as the
Communicantes (from the first Latin word of the prayer): "In communion with the whole
Church, they venerate above all others the memory of the glorious ever-virgin Mary, Mother
of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, then of blessed Joseph, husband of the Virgin, your
blessed Apostles and Martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip,
Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Jude: Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian,
Laurence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian and all your Saints: grant through
their merits and prayers that in all things we may be defended by the help of your
protection." They are also invoked in the Litany of the Saints.

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