The Holy Unmercenaries, Physicians, Martyrs and Miracle-workers, Cosmas and Damianos

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.

ON 1ST OF NOVEMBER OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH COMMEMORATES THE HOLY UNMERCENARIES, PHYSICIANS, MARTYRS, AND MIRACLEWORKERS COSMAS AND DAMIANOS

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Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Plagal Fourth Mode

Sainted Unmerceneries and Wonder-Workers, regard our infirmities; freely you have received, freely share with us.

Kontakion Hymn. Second Mode

O glorious wonderworking physicians, having received the grace of healing, you reach out and restore health to those in need. But also, by; your visitation you cast down the arrogance of the enemy, healing the world through miracles.

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Christianity flourished in antiquity in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. In defiance of odds of different kind, the odds of chance, a pair of physician brothers came into the service of Christ. Less than five hundred years later they were followed by two different sets of brothers of identical name and purpose in the service of the Lord Christ. The result is that all six have become Saints of the Church. Evidence of divine purpose in this succession of Saints demonstrates that the precise science of mathematical probabilities has a hand in the spiritual affairs of mankind.

The original pair of brothers were born Cosmas and Damianos (Damian) during the early years of the Christian Church. They were raised in comfortable circumstances in a comparatively wealthy family which saw to their thorough training of mind and body in Asia Minor. Endowed with keen intellect, the brothers became inseparable in common pursuit of the science of medicine. Both firmly believed that "of the most high comes healing" and were aided in their work by religious devotion. As students they vowed to supply their medical skill without charge to a suffering Christian community and thereby prince and pauper alike were to feel the balm of their healing art.

Dubbed the "Unmercenaries" for their refusal to accept money for their services, they also came to be acknowledged as miracle or wonder workers for the remarkable cures they were able to effect. Their parents' estate had provided for their well being, but it was to last them only through strict austerity; they could not afford any of the comforts which could have been theirs if they had chosen to charge their patients for their services.

As time went on, the brothers' love of the Savior Jesus Christ became more and more evident, subordinating even their great devotion to medical science. The word miracle (wonder) had a literal meaning for their great work as physicians, for only through the power of the Lord could they have brought about such healing of those afflicted with serious and often terminal illnesses.

Such was the veneration in which the brothers were held in their own lifetime that they remained unchallenged by even the most avowed pagan enemies of Christianity. They carried on their work for God and man all the years of their lives, which were full, and they died peacefully of natural causes quite unlike the Saints who were to die for Christ in agony. It is not uncommon for parents to name children for someone eat to them or for some great figure in the Church. In keeping with this tradition, a pair of brothers of a wealthy Roman family named Cosmas and Damianos in honor of the master physicians of Asia Minor. The lives of this second pair of Saints with identical names paralleled those of the original pair. They emulated their predecessors in every detail and were also venerate in their own lifetime as miracle working physicians and me of God. The similarity ends, however, with the manner of their death, because the hostile Romans did not allow them to lead their lives to the fullest in the service of God, and they suffered martyrdom at the hands of their enemies.

A third pair of physician Saints appeared in ancient Arabia, and remarkably enough they were named Cosmas and Damianos. The lives of this third pair are not detailed in any extant accounts of the Saints, but it is known that they also served in the manner of the original Saints and that they were martyred in the manner of the second pair. The original Saints Cosmas and Damianos are honored on the feast day of November 1st; the second pair of Saints on July 1st, and the third pair on October 17th. (Source: Fr. George Poulos, Orthodox saints: spiritual profiles for modern man, Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press.)

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Furthermore…

Their father was pagan and their mother Theodota a Christian. After their father's death, their mother Theodota devoted all her time and energy to the bringing-up of her sons as true Christians. God helped her, and her sons grew as two choice fruits as a two holy lamps.

"...They fulfilled Christ's command: "Freely have you received; freely give" (St. Matthew 10:8). They were so strict in their unpaid ministry to men that St. Cosmas became greatly enraged with his brother Saint Damianos when he took three eggs from a woman, Palladia, and gave orders that, after his death, he should not be buried with his brother. In fact, Holy Damianos had not taken those eggs as a reward for healing Palladia's sickness, but because she had sworn by the Most Holy Trinity that he should have them. However, after their death in Fereman, they were buried together in obedience to a revelation from God. These two holy brothers were great wonderworkers both during their lifetime and after their death. A farm laborer, on lying down to sleep at one time, was attacked by a snake, which entwined itself around his mouth and stomach. This poor man would have breathed his last in the greatest torment has he not at the last moment invoked the help of Saints Cosmas and Damianos. Thus the Lord glorified forever by miracles those who glorified Him here on earth by their faith, purity and mercy. (Source: The Prologue from Ochrid)

The Holy Unmercenaries (Anargyri) are physicians who in their lives on earth worked to heal all without concern for gain, and who since their repose continue to heal by their prayers those who call upon them in faith. They include:

* Saints Cosmas and Damianos (October 7th)

* Saints Cosmas and Damianos (November 1st)

* Saints Cyrus and John (January 31st, June 28th)

* Saint Thallelaius (May 20th)

* Saint Samson (June 27th)

* Saints Cosmas and Damianos (July 1st)

* Saint Hermolaus (July 26)

* Saint Panteleimon (July 27th)

* Saint Diomedes (August 16th)

The oldest testimony to the veneration of Saints Cosmas and Damianos relates to the basilica built in their honor at Cyrrhus, north of Antioch in Syria, mentioned in the life of Saint Rabula of Edessa (c. 400). Their veneration spread rapidly throughout the Empire; in the East, where the famous Cosmidion was founded at Constantinople in 439 A.D., as well as in Rome and the West (see 1 July).

None the less, the Church's Synaxaria have commemorated three different pairs of Saint Cosmas and Damianos from very early times, and we continue to do so today.

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DIVINE SERVICES FOR NOVEMBER 1ST:

Orthros (Matins) at 9:00 a.m.
Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m.

Location: Saint Nektarios Chapel (Παρεκκλήσιον Αγ. Νεκταρίου)

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MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU

The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom

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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George