Saint Brigid Religious Education
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West Hartford, CT 06110

St. Damian

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 Christian faith.

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.

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