St. Mary's Anglican Catholic Church

Diocese of the Midwest

Cosmas & Damian were twins, who lived in the town of Aegeae in the former Roman province of Cilicia, which is also know by the Armenian name Ayas, now in the district of Adana in modern Turkey. The brothers were physicians, as was St Luke the Evangelist. The two practiced their healing arts without charge; and so they were known as anargaroi, which means either “silver-less” or “un-mercenary.” Their generosity of spirit won many converts to Christ. When Jesus commissioned the Twelve Apostles to proclaim to the towns of Judea that the Kingdom of God had come, He charged them: as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. (St Matthew 10:7-11)
But when Jesus sent His disciples to minister in His Name, he warned them in advance: But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles…. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (St Matthew 10:17-18, 22) In 287, the twin physicians were arrested for their faith in Christ by order of Lysias, Roman governor of Cilicia under the persecuting Emperor Diocletian. In an attempt to induce the brothers to deny their true Lord, Lysias had them hung on crosses, stoned, and shot with arrows; put the pair remained steadfast in their faith. Finally, on September 27th, the governor despaired; and he ordered the twins beheaded, along with their three younger brothers, Anthimus, Leontius, and Euprepius; who shared their faith and in their suffering for Jesus’ sake. 

Cosmas & Damian are venerated by the Church in both East & West. Their remains were buried for a time in Cyrus in Syria; and by the 4th century, churches were built in their honor in Egypt & Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), where so many Christians suffer for Jesus’ Name today. In England, several medieval churches, still in use today, were dedicated to the twin martyrs. It is appropriate that the Gospel appointed to be read on their feast, held on their “birthday,” September 27th, is the account of Jesus healing the sick and casting out demons on the coasts of Tyre & Sidon (St Luke 6:17-23); where Christian communities also once flourished; but now are much diminished after decades of war and of renewed persecution of the followers of Christ. On that occasion Jesus said: Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven. (St Luke 6:22-23)