Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian- 3rd Century Arabian Physicians & Free Medicine
Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian along with their younger brothers Anthimus, Leontius and Euprepius, were martyred during the Diocletianic or Great Persecution because they would not renounce their faith.
While Emperor Nero is often depicted as the architect of early Christian martyrdom due to the brutal ways in which he sought to eliminate the fledgling religion, Christian persecution started with the crucifixion of Jesus as foretold in the Gospel of Matthew and is still going on.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household.” – Matthew 10:34
Early Christians were persecuted at the hands of both Jews, from whose religion Christianity arose, and the Romans who controlled many of the early centers of Christianity in the Roman Empire.
Three decades after Christ’s crucifixion, Emperor Nero began the Roman Empire’s persecution of the early Christians. It all culminated with executions in Nicomedia almost 300 years later. Emperor after emperor tried to stifle the Christian faith with prohibitions, extreme torture, and monstrous methods of execution. But it didn’t help much. Roman governors reported that condemned Christians seemed almost elated at the prospect of becoming Christian martyrs.
Not sure if Cosmas and Damian along with their younger brothers Anthimus, Leontius and Euprepius, were elated to be martyred during the Diocletianic or Great Persecution that extended several years beyond the reign of Diocletian, where as many as 3,500 Christians were executed under the authority of Imperial edicts. Yet, this pales in comparison with the 19th-century Korean persecutions of Catholic Christians where nearly 10 000 Koreans were martyred, mostly laypeople. As Tertulian prophesiedno: “We spring up in greater numbers the more we are mown down by you: the blood of the Christians is the seed of a new life.
Tertullian , born c. 155/160, Carthage was an early Christian theologian and moralist. He became impressed by the courage, morality, and uncompromising monotheism of Christian martyrs, that he converted to Christianity.
Cosmas and Damian were physicians and early Christian martyrs. They practiced their profession in the seaport of Aegeae, then in the Roman province of Syria. Cosmas and Damian were third century Arabian-born twin brothers who embraced Christianity and practiced medicine and surgery without a fee earning the name anargyroi (from the Greek Ἀνάργυροι, ‘the no money” or ‘unmercenaries’) doctors; bringing many to the Christian faith
They were arrested by Lysias, governor of Cilicia, modern day Çukurova, Turkey during the Diocletian persecution because of their faith and fame as healers. They stayed true to their faith, enduring being hung on a cross, stoned and shot by arrows and finally suffered execution by beheading. Anthimus, Leontius and Euprepius, their younger brothers, who were inseparable from them throughout life, shared in their martyrdom.
As early as the 4th century, churches dedicated to the twin saints were established at Jerusalem, in Egypt and in Mesopotamia. Devotion to the two saints spread rapidly in both East and West. Theodoret records the division of their reputed relics – Theodoret of Cyrus or Cyrrhus (Greek: Θεοδώρητος Κύρρου; c. AD 393 – c. 458/466) was an influential theologian of the School of Antioch, and Christian bishop of Cyrrhus – Their relics, deemed miraculous, were buried in the city of Cyrrhus in Syria. Churches were built in their honor by Archbishop Proclus and by Emperor Justinian I who restored the city of Cyrrhus, dedicated it to the twins. Justinian brought their relics to Constantinople, where after his cure, ascribed to the intercession of Cosmas and Damian, Justinian, in gratitude also built and adorned their church at Constantinople.
Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian, pray for us.