Augustine Sokolovski

In the Orthodox liturgical calendar, Saints Cosmas and Damian are called unmercenary and miracle workers. This means that, seeing their genuine biblical righteousness, God gave them the gift of miracles. The word “unmercenary”, according to church tradition, denotes a doctor who practiced his skills for free. Even in the Ancient Church, rich in talents, such service was very rare. Therefore, in the Orthodox tradition, unmercenaries form a separate category of holiness.

The memory of most saints of the Ancient Church was celebrated once a year. Such was the memory of the apostles, martyrs and ascetical fathers, whose liturgical commemoration took place on their “birthdays.” This is how Christians for a long time called the days of their departure to God - their last day on earth. The one-time commemoration of the saint during the year was not only the saint’s birthday, but also the saint’s Easter, by analogy with the Easter Solemnity, celebrated once a year. Only special, highly revered saints received additional days of celebration on the day of the discovery or transfer of relics, as well as the dedication of a church in one of the then capitals.

The special veneration of Saints Cosmas and Damian is evidenced by the fact that their memory is celebrated three times a year: 1) 1) July 1 (14); 2) October 17 (30); 3) November 1 (14). Just as in the Russian Church, Saint Nicholas, according to the place of his service as a bishop, is called Nicholas of Myra, while in Italy, according to the location of the relics, he is called Nicholas of Bari, Saints Cosmas and Damian, in accordance with the given days of celebration, are called Arabian, Roman, and, finally, Asian saints.

After all, according to life, the saints came from Arabia. They received their education in Syria. In the southeast of Asia Minor, in Cilicia, they lived and practiced medical service. In 303, during the Great Persecution of Christians under Diocletian, they suffered for Christ, were tortured and beheaded by order of the local Cilician ruler. The bodies of the saints were transferred to their homeland and found their rest in the city of Cyrus, near the modern Turkish city of Kilis on the Syrian-Turkish border. Like other great pillars of the Ancient Church - James of Nisibis, Ephraim the Syrian, John Chrysostom - Cosmas and Damian were children of the Syrian Church and the great gift too all Christianity on earth.