October 17, 2017

Synaxis of All the Holy and Wonderworking Unmercenaries


On the seventeenth of this month [October] we honor the Synaxis of All the Holy and Wonderworking Unmercenaries (twenty in number).


I ever honor together the Unmercenaries,
Being gathered here in their church.
The twenty-numbered phalanx of the Unmercenaries,
O choir, save those who entreat you.
Twenty, therefore, Unmercenaries, I ever hymn.

In Greek the Unmercenary Saints are known as Anargyroi, which translates as "no silver", meaning that they received no money for their work as physicians. Each Unmercenary Saint has his individual feast day, while all of them are celebrated together today during their Synaxis, either on October 17th (the Greek tradition) or the Sunday after November 1st (the Slavic tradition). They are usually twenty in number, but with the addition of Saint Photios they number twenty-one.

The following is the list of Holy Unmercenary Saints and their feast days:

- Sts. Kosmas and Damian of Asia Minor - November 1st

- Sts. Kosmas and Damian of Rome - July 1st

- Sts. Kosmas, Damian, Leontios, Anthimos, and Euprepios of Arabia - October 17th

- Sts. Cyrus and John - January 31st and June 28th (the latter celebrates the translation of their relics)

-St. Tryphon the Wonderworker - February 1st

- St. Julian - February 6th

- St. Mokios - May 11th

- St. Thalelaeos - May 20th

- St. Sampson the Innkeeper - June 27th

- St. Hermolaos - July 26th

- St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr - July 27th

- Sts. Aniketos and Photios - August 12th

- St. Diomedes - August 16th

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
The twenty-numbered divinely-inspired phalanx, that shines with grace from heaven, the radiant band of the Unmercenaries let us praise, for they deposed the power of the evil one, and with sympathy alleviate the illnesses of all those who cry out with reverence: Glory to God in Trinity.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
You have received the grace of remedies, spread strength over those in need, glorious, wonderworking Physicians; but by your visitation, cast down the insolence of enemies, healing the world by wonders.

The Oikos
The word of the wise Physicians surpasses all understanding and wisdom; for having received grace from the Most High, they invisibly bestow strength on all; therefore on me too they have bestowed the grace of narration, to sing their praise as God-bearing, well-pleasing to God and healers, who grant multitudes of cures; for they rescue all from pains, healing the world by wonders.

Wisdom of Sirach 38:1-15

Give doctors the honor they deserve, for the Lord gave them their work to do. Their skill came from the Most High, and kings reward them for it. Their knowledge gives them a position of importance, and powerful people hold them in high regard.

The Lord created medicines from the earth, and a sensible person will not hesitate to use them. Didn't a tree once make bitter water fit to drink, so that the Lord's power might be known? He gave medical knowledge to human beings, so that we would praise him for the miracles he performs. The druggist mixes these medicines, and the doctor will use them to cure diseases and ease pain. There is no end to the activities of the Lord, who gives health to the people of the world.

My child, when you get sick, don't ignore it. Pray to the Lord, and he will make you well. Confess all your sins and determine that in the future you will live a righteous life. Offer incense and a grain offering, as fine as you can afford. Then call the doctor—for the Lord created him—and keep him at your side; you need him. There are times when you have to depend on his skill. The doctor's prayer is that the Lord will make him able to ease his patients' pain and make them well again. As for the person who sins against his Creator, he deserves to be sick.

Matthew 10:8

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

A Vision of the Holy Unmercenaries by Elder Theophylaktos of New Skete, Which he Narrated to Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi

Another time I had the same battle and despair afflicted me terribly. I knew of course what a battle was, but I could not change. Because of my inexperience I did not fight with it from the beginning, when this passion first appeared to me, and this became my personal cross. As I sat to rest, I saw a band of men of different ages climbing the road up from the Kyriakon, and heading to where my kalyve was; they were talking among themselves. I tried to see who they were and where they were going. When they passed the cross in the road, and approached my outer gate, they stopped for a short time and I heard them clearly say:

“Won’t we pass by our dwelling place?”

In reality, they opened my door and entered in line chanting their apolytikion:

“The twenty-numbered divinely-inspired phalanx, that shines with grace from heaven, the radiant band of the Unmercenaries let us praise...”

Leading them all was St. Panteleimon: young, blonde, magnificent and with a physician’s medal on his chest. The rest followed him chanting their hymn melodiously. They climbed the stairs of the kalyve above where the church is, and entering, they stood in two lines as two choirs and began to chant hymns from their service. When they finished the psalmody, they returned and exited towards the upper area of the Skete, having left me their blessing and much consolation; for many days I was full of joy and spiritual happiness.

The vision of Elder Theophylaktos