Feast Day : September 27
Patronage: barbers; chemical industries; druggists; physicians; surgeons
Cosmas and Damian were born in Arabia and studied science and medicine in Syria. It is not known how or when they became Christians. They lived at Aegeae on the bay of Alexandretta in Cilicia, where their generous practice of free medicine earned them the moniker “the moneyless ones.” During a persecution, they were arrested and brought before Lysius, the governor of Cilicia, in Cyrrhus (modern Turkey). They refused to renounce their faith, and were tortured and beheaded. Also executed were their brothers Anthimus, Euprepius and Leontius. They were buried at Cyrrhus and a cult grew up around them. Miracles of healing were claimed in which the saints came to the afflicted in their dreams and either cured them or told them how to be cured— much like the Greek tradition of inviting the healing god Aesculapius to appear in a similar fashion. A basilica in Rome was dedicated to them about 530. They are named in the canon of the mass. In the Middle Ages, romantic legends about their martyrdom appeared. According to lore, the saints defied death first by water, fire and crucifixion prior to their beheading. While on the crosses, they were pelted with stones and arrows, but the missiles recoiled back on the mob.