The Holy Martyrs, Wonderworkers and Unmercenary Physicians Cosmas and Damian were born at Rome, brothers by birth, and physicians by profession. They suffered at Rome in the reign of the emperor Carinus (283-284). Since they accepted no payment for their treatment of the infirm, the holy brothers were called “unmercenary physicians.” The Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Rome (July 1) should not be confused with the Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Asia Minor (November 1), or the Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Arabia (October 17).
In accordance with the tradition of our Holy Church, we approach our saints every day, honoring their memories, bearing their names and asking for their intercessions and mediations before the throne of God.
They are saved, we are sinners; they are in the Light, we are in darkness. Full of illnesses we ask the saints to heal our bodies, though more rarely to heal our souls. And the saints, compassionate as they are, being imitators of the merciful God, graciously give us what we need, assisting us, strengthening us and healing us. But we especially recommend three medicines.
The first medicine is the fear of God.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 110:10), recommends the Psalmist of Holy Scripture. Fear of God precedes all virtues.
To approach God, to submit to Him our requests, for Him to hear us and grant us what we need, fear must distinguish us, that is, we must recognize His omnipotence, accept Him in our Lives, receive His commandments, remember that He is judge of the living and the dead. Moreover, for our life to obtain value, we must be in communion with God. “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all men” (Eccl. 12:13). You cannot blaspheme the name of God and at the same time ask for your healing, nor can you approach Him and ask for His mercy and at the same time trample on other people. Your life should be such that communication with God is secure and certain, and you will be established by the saints of our Church.
The second medicine is prayer.
“It is needed for man to always pray and supplicate God”, exhorts the Holy Shepherd. This is what Christ assured us: “Without Me you can do nothing”.
Prayer is not only an honor for man, to be able to communicate with Almighty God, but it is also a privilege and responsibility. To reach the throne of Divine Majesty, it should be accompanied with humility, simplicity and trust. Prayer is even the result of the fear of God. If there is no fear of God our prayer cannot be heard by God. This is why God sometimes does not meet our requests, simply because we neither fear God nor reverence Him.
The third medicine is love for our neighbour.
God is love, and He wants us to be people of love. “The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made” (Ps. 145:9).
God gives His mercies and spreads His love to all His creation. If a person does not have this love for others, they cannot even speak of God, nor seek that their requests be satisfied. If they do not acquire “inner mercy” and if they cannot see the face of God in another person, they will not even see the Kingdom of Heaven.
These three medicines, so powerful for our sinful times as well as for the apostasy, fearlessness and ruthlessness that overwhelms us all, are given to us by the Holy Unmercenaries, whose memory we celebrate today (July 1st). They had the fear of God, used prayer and they sincerely loved their fellow man. That is why God gave them the gift to work miracles.
Saints of God, intercede for us.
by Metropolitan Seraphim of Kastoria
(translated by John Sanidopoulos)