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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Holy Unmercenaries Kosmas and Damian of Rome


Wounds from the stones did not tear the brothers asunder,
As one, both together were a solid stone.
On the first of July the Unmercenaries contested by being stoned.

The Holy Martyrs, Wonderworkers and Unmercenary Physicians Kosmas and Damian were born at Rome, brothers by birth, and physicians by profession. They lived during the reign of the emperor Carinus (283-284). Raised by Christian parents in piety, for their strong faith and life of purity they were granted by God the gift of healing the sick. By their generosity and exceptional kindness to all, the brothers converted many to Christ. The brothers told the sick, “It is not by our own power that we treat you, but by the power of Christ, the true God. Believe in Him and be healed.” Since they accepted no payment for their treatment of the infirm, the holy brothers were called “unmercenary physicians.”

Their life of active service and their great spiritual influence on the people around them led many into the Church, attracting the attention of the Roman authorities. Soldiers were sent after the brothers. Hearing about this, local Christians convinced Sts Kosmas and Damian to hide for a while until they could help them escape. Unable to find the brothers, the soldiers arrested instead other Christians of the area where the Saints lived. Sts Kosmas and Damian then came out of hiding and surrendered to the soldiers, asking them to release those who had been arrested because of them.

At Rome, the Saints were imprisoned and put on trial. Before the Roman emperor and the judge they openly professed their faith in Christ God, Who had come into the world to save mankind and redeem the world from sin, and they resolutely refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. They said, “We have done evil to no one, we are not involved with the magic or sorcery of which you accuse us. We treat the infirm by the power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and we take no payment for rendering aid to the sick, because our Lord commanded His disciples, 'Freely have you received, freely give' (Mt. 10:8)."

The emperor, however, continued with his demands. Through the prayer of the holy brothers, imbued with the power of grace, God suddenly struck Carinus blind, so that he too might experience the almighty power of the Lord, Who does not forgive blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mt. 12:31). The people, beholding the miracle, cried out, “Great is the Christian God! There is no other God but Him!” Many of those who believed besought the holy brothers to heal the emperor, and he himself implored the Saints, promising to convert to the true God, Christ the Savior, so the Saints healed him. After this, Sts Cosmas and Damian were set free and sent away with honors, and once again they set about treating the sick.

But what the hatred of the pagans and the ferocity of the Roman authorities could not do, was accomplished by black envy, one of the strongest passions of sinful human nature. An older physician, an instructor, under whom the holy brothers had studied the art of medicine, became envious of their fame and the honor bestowed upon them by the emperor. Driven to madness by malice, and overcome by passionate envy, he summoned the two brothers, formerly his most beloved students, proposing that they should all go together in order to gather various medicinal herbs. The two brothers, in the innocent purity of their hearts which did not think evil of anyone, followed. Going far into the mountains, he murdered them with stones and threw their bodies into a river.

Thus these holy brothers, the Unmercenary Physicians Kosmas and Damian, ended their earthly journey as martyrs. Although they had devoted their lives to the Christian service of their neighbors, and had escaped the Roman sword and prison, they were treacherously murdered by their teacher.

The Lord glorifies those who are pleasing to God. Now, through the prayers of the holy martyrs Kosmas and Damian, God grants healing to all who with faith have recourse to their heavenly intercession.

The Unmercenary Saints Kosmas and Damian of Rome should not be confused with the Unmercenary Saints Kosmas and Damian of Asia Minor (November 1), or the Unmercenary Saints Kosmas and Damian of Arabia (October 17).

Apolytikion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Holy unmercenaries and wonderworkers, visit our infirmities. Freely you have received; freely give to us.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Having received the grace of healing, you grant healing to those in need. Glorious wonderworkers and physicians, Kosmas and Damian, visit us and put down the insolence of our enemies, and bring healing to the world through your miracles.

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