Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
Feast day: September 26
Damian was a twin. His brother’s name was Cosmas.
They were born in Arabia and became doctors, practicing the art of
healing in the seaport of Aegea in the Roman province of Syria. They
accepted no payment for their services, which led them to be nicknamed
(The Silverless). It is said that by doing this, they led many to the
During the persecution under Diocletian, Cosmas and
Damian were arrested by order of the Prefect of Cilicia, who ordered
them to be tortured. However, according to legend they stayed true to
their faith, enduring being hung on a cross, stoned, shot by arrows and
finally suffered execution by beheading. Anthimus, Leontius and
Euprepius, their younger brothers, who were inseparable from them
throughout life, shared in their martyrdom.
Their most famous miraculous exploit was the grafting
of a leg from a recently deceased Ethiopian to replace a patient's
ulcerated leg, and was the subject of many paintings and illuminations.
As early as the 4th century, churches dedicated to
the twin saints were established at Jerusalem in Egypt and in
Mesopotamia. Theodoret records the division of their relics. Their
relics, deemed miraculous, were buried in the city of Cyrrus in Syria.
Churches were built in their honor by Archbishop Proclus and by Emperor
Justinian I (527–565), who sumptuously restored the city of Cyrus and
dedicated it to the twins. But he brought their relics to
Constantinople, following his cure. Justinian, in gratitude
also built and adorned their church at Constantinople, and it became a
celebrated place of pilgrimage. At Rome Pope Felix IV (526–530)
rededicated the Library of Peace (Bibliotheca Pacis) as a basilica of
Santi Cosma e Damiano in the Forum of Vespasian in their honor. The
church is much rebuilt but still famed for its sixth-century mosaics
illustrating the saints.