On this day we commemorate the martyrdom of Saints Cosmas and Damian, their brothers Anthimus, Londius and Abrabius and their mother Theodata. Their mother feared God, was hospitable to strangers, compassionate and merciful. She became a widow while her children were still young.
She raised and taught them the fear of God and the love of righteousness. Cosmas and Damian studied medicine and they treated the sick free of charge. As for their brothers they went to the desert and became monks.
When Diocletian renounced the faith and commanded the worship of idols he was told that Cosmas and Damian were preaching in the name of Christ, and they urged others not to worship idols. He ordered them to be brought to the Governor of the city, who tortured them severely by beating and with fire. Then he asked them the whereabouts of their brothers. Upon finding out, he brought them and their mother and ordered them to raise incense before the idols, but they refused.
He ordered them to be tortured by squeezing them between drums. When they experienced no harm, he cast them into a burning furnace for three days and three nights. Then he placed them on red-hot iron beds. Through all this, however they remained unharmed, as the Lord raised them up whole, revealing His glory and the honor of His saints.
When the Governor became weary of torturing them he sent them to the Emperor who also tortured them. Their mother constantly encouraged and comforted them. The Emperor rebuked her, but she admonished him for his cruelty and for worshipping idols. He ordered her that head be cut off and she received the crown of martyrdom.
Her body remained on the ground and no one dared to bury it. St. Cosmas screamed at those present saying: “Men of this city, is there any merciful person among you who will cover the body of this poor old widow and bury her?” Straightaway, Victor, the son of Romanus came forward, took the body, placed it in a shroud, and buried it.
When the Emperor heard what Victor had done, he ordered him be exiled to the land of Egypt. There he received the crown of martyrdom. The next day, the Emperor ordered the heads of saints Cosmas, Damian and their brothers be cut off and then they received the crowns of life in the kingdom of heaven.
At the end of the era of persecution many churches were built in the name of these saints and God made manifest many signs and wonders therein.
Taken from the saints of the day
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