Sts. Cosmas and Damian

Sts. Cosmas and Damian, the Patron Saints of Medicine and Pharmacy

In the history of Christianity, there are many saints who devoted their lives to the service of God and the good of mankind and died as martyrs for their faith. Among such righteous men were Sts Cosmas and Damian from Rome. According to the tradition, the brothers possessed the gift of healing diseases and suffered severely for it. Read on to learn more about the lives of these two highly venerated Christian martyrs and the miracles they performed. 

Sts Cosmas and Damian, the holy wonderworkers and unmercenary physicians

The brothers Cosmas and Damian lived in Rome, supposedly in the second half of the 3rd – early 4th century. From their very childhood, they led a strict and righteous life. According to the Christian tradition, Sts Cosmas and Damian had the gift of healing and were renowned physicians. The brothers did not take any payment for treatment, so they were called “unmercenary physicians.”

Cosmas and Damian converted many unrighteous people to Christianity with their medical activity, which caused the attention of the Roman authorities. The emperor Carinus sent his soldiers to the brothers, but the common people helped Cosmas and Damian hide from their pursuers. However, when the soldiers captured local Christians, the brothers surrendered to them. It is interesting that the saints were eventually forgiven after the emperor became suddenly ill by God’s will. The brothers cured him and were set free.

It would seem that the exceptional kindness of the saints should have caused only gratitude, but the brothers ended up suffering because of jealousy. Their physician-mentor, who did not understand the miracles performed by his former disciples, led the brothers into the mountains and killed them.

Different saints named Cosmas and Damian

Besides Sts Cosmas and Damian of Rome, there are legends of Cosmas and Damian of Asia and Cosmas and Damian of Arabia. The Asian brothers were born in Asia Minor and lived no later than the 4th century. Cosmas and Damian of Arabia lived in Arabia and also practiced medicine. Besides, they were contemporaries of the Roman brothers. The Church believes that all the saints were completely different people. Sts Cosmas and Damian of Rome are commemorated on July 14, while those of Asia and Arabia are commemorated on November 14 and October 30 respectively. 

Saints Cosmas and Damian are highly revered among Christians for their altruistic medical service. That is why they are considered the patron saints of medicine and pharmacy.

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