Sts. Cosmas and Damian

The Turkish twin physicians, Saints Cosmas and Damian, are martyred during widespread persecution of Christians by Emperor Diocletian in Syria. Stones, arrows and the rack prove miraculously ineffective; beheading is their final fate.

The Martyrdom of Saints Cosmas and Damian, Fr Angelico. c.1438-1433. Louvre, Paris.

In life they are said to have healed the sick without charge and carried on doing so long after their death. They are said to have healed the sick at night and, in a more colourful episode, they are said to have grafted the leg of a recently deceased Ethiopian onto the leg of a Roman deacon. They are the patron saints of doctors, nurses, surgeons, pharmacists, dentists and barbers.

Saints Cosmas and Damian Healing a Christian with the Leg of a Dead Ethiopian, School of Castile and Leon. c1460-1480. Private Collection.
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