ST COSMAS AND DAMIAN, MARTYRS – MEMORIAL: SEPTEMBER 26
The brothers Cosmas and Damian were born in the city of Aegea in Arabia. They were prominent physicians in the reign of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian. They healed many diseases considered incurable more through the aid of Christ than through their knowledge of medicine solely.
When the Prefect Lysias was informed of their religious beliefs, he ordered them to be brought before him for questioning about their philosophy of life and their profession of faith. They made no secret of their Christianity. Moreover they declared that the Christian faith was necessary for salvation.
THEY MADE NO SECRET OF THEIR CHRISTIANITY
Lysias retorted by ordering them to adore the [Roman pagan] gods, at the peril of death by very refined tortures for refusal. But the prefect soon discovered it was useless to suggest such things to them. “Bind their hands and feet,” he ordered. “Subject them to the most excruciating tortures.”
THEY REMAINED STEADFAST IN THE FAITH
His commands were carried out. Cosmas and Damian remained steadfast in the faith. Then, bound as they were, they were flung into the depths of the sea. From this they emerged, safe and freed from their bond. The prefect, attributing their deliverance to magic art, cast them into prison. The next day, he commanded that the brothers be brought forth and placed upon a burning pyre. Here the flames receded from them. Finally, after various tortures, they were beheaded. Confessing Christ to the end, they won the palm of martyrdom.
Grant, we beseech you, almighty God, that we who celebrate the anniversary of the death of your holy Martyrs, Cosmas and Damian, may by their intercession be delivered from all evils that threaten us. Through our Lord.
– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns and Oates, London, 1964 (bold headings added)