Sts. Cosmas and Damian, the Physicians
My sons the doctors, this rather stereotypical phrase is descriptive of a proud parent speaking of the accomplishment of their children. Even today, we express great joy when our sons or daughters reach that lofty position of becoming a physician. The place of doctors has always been one of respect and admiration. Throughout history, the dedication of healers has usually brought prestige, social status as well as financial reward. This is true today and it was true in antiquity. This brings us to a series of saint-brothers who shared their given names and were all physicians. The brothers commemorated November 1st. are the first in this remarkable grouping. We have become familiar with their stories. As Christians, they shared the conviction that the gifts which God had given them and which they had nurtured through study and hard work should be given back to those whom they served. Physicians who served and asked nothing in return, but why? First and foremost, these men were raised in an environment which allowed them to understand their gifts and abilities realistically. Their upbringing allowed them to look at their talents as “on-loan” from God. Each of us are given gifts to nourish and develop; most do this wither it is by education or practice or both. What many of us forget, in the process, is the source of our gifts. These three pairs of brothers knew that God had given them their gifts, the development of these gifts was inspired by God’s Holy Spirit and most importantly, the use of them was directed by Christ and His message of Love.
The greatest gift all these doctors have shared with us is not the gift of healing, as profound as it is, nor the example of giving as admirable as we know it to be; but the lesson of perspective. They knew the source of all gifts and thanked God by developing them and offering them back to God through His people. What are your gifts? What are you doing with them? How do you look upon them: as your right or the gift of a generous God?
Hymns of The Feast:
Holy Wonder-workers and Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian of Mesopotamia
Troparion — Tone 8
Holy unmercenaries and wonderworkers, Cosmas and Damian,
heal our infirmities.
Freely you have received; freely you give to us.
Kontakion — Tone 2
Having received the grace of healing,
You grant healing to those in need.
Glorious wonder workers and healers, Cosmas and Damian,
visit us and put down the insolence of our enemies,
and bring healing to the world through your miracles.