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Saints Cosmas and Damian

Saints Cosmas and Damian
  • Century: 3rd Century
  • Patronage: Surgeons, Physicians, Dentists, Protectors of Children, Barbers, Pharmacists, Veterinarians, Orphana
  • Feast Day: September 26th

Saints Cosmas and Damian were twin brothers, and were born in what is today, Turkey.  They were physicians, and practiced their profession in the seaport area of Turkey, and then in Syria.  They treated their patients and accepted no money for their work, and it was through this, that they attracted many to the Christian faith. 

Cosmas and Damian were arrested during the persecution under Diocletian.  They were ordered to be tortured to denounce their Christian faith.  They stayed true to their faith, enduring being hung on a cross, stoned, shot by arrows, and finally suffered exectution by beheading.  They had three younger brothers, Anthimus, Leontius, and Euprepius, that worked with them, and were also martyred.  Their most famous miraculous exploit was the grafting of a leg from a recently deceased Ethiopian to replace a patient’s ulcered leg.  Most of the artwork portraying them, has them working on a patient, replacing his leg in honor of that miracle.   

As early as the 4th century, churches dedicated to the twin saints were established at Jerusalem, Egypt, and Mesopotamia.  Their relics deemed to be miraculous were buried in the city of Cyrrus, Syria.   They are also invoked in the “Canon of the Mass” in the prayer known as the Communicantes, “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”. 

Practical Take Away

Saints Cosmas and Damien were talented, young Physicians.  They not only were Christians, but lived their faith out, by example.  They were well known as great physicians and never charged for their services.  This was a way they could witness to the faith, and attracted many to convert to Christianity.  They were eventually arrested under the persecution of Diocletian and died brutal deaths as martyrs.  Also martyred with them were their three younger brothers, who were devoted to helping them.  Their most famous miracle was attaching the leg of a deceased person to a patient that had an ulcerated leg.