Ss. Cosmas and Damian, The Unmercenaries icon (1)
Orthodox icon of Saints Wonderworking Unmercenary Cosmas and Damian the Physicians at Rome.
Commemorated July 1.
Cosmas and Damian were born at Rome, brothers by birth, and physicians by profession. They suffered at Rome in the reign of the emperor Carinus (283-284). Brought up by their parents in the rules of piety, they led strict and chaste lives, and 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.
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 Saintts Cosmas 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 Cosmas 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. The emperor summoned the two brothers, formerly his most beloved students, proposing that they should all go together in order to gather various medicinal herbs. Going far into the mountains, he murdered them and threw their bodies into a river.
Thus these holy brothers, the Unmercenary Physicians Cosmas 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.