July 1st (old calendar) / July 14 (new)
4th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 3.
Holy and Wonderworking Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs at Rome (284). Martyr Potitus at Naples (2nd c.). Ven. Peter of Constantinople (854). St. Angelina of Serbia (16th c.). Translation of the Relics of Ven. John of Rila from Trnovo to Rila in Bulgaria (1469).
SAINTS COSMAS and DAMIAN
The Holy Martyrs, Wonderworkers and Unmercenary Physicians Cosmas and Damian were born at Rome, brothers by birth, and physicians by profession. They suffered at Rome in the reign of the emperor Carinus (283-284). Brought up by their parents in the rules of piety, they led strict and chaste lives, and they were granted by God the gift of healing the sick. By their generosity and exceptional kindness to all, the brothers converted many to Christ. The brothers told the sick, “It is not by our own power that we treat you, but by the power of Christ, the true God. Believe in Him and be healed.” Since they accepted no payment for their treatment of the infirm, the holy brothers were called “unmercenary physicians.”
Their life of active service and their great spiritual influence on the people around them led many into the Church, attracting the attention of the Roman authorities. Soldiers were sent after the brothers. Hearing about this, local Christians convinced Saints Cosmas and Damian to hide for a while until they could help them escape. Unable to find the brothers, the soldiers arrested instead other Christians of the area where the saints lived. Saints Cosmas and Damian then came out of hiding and surrendered to the soldiers, asking them to release those who had been arrested because of them.
At Rome, the saints were imprisoned and put on trial. Before the Roman emperor and the judge they openly professed their faith in Christ God, Who had come into the world to save mankind and redeem the world from sin, and they resolutely refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. They said, “We have done evil to no one, we are not involved with the magic or sorcery of which you accuse us. We treat the infirm by the power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and we take no payment for rendering aid to the sick, because our Lord commanded His disciples, ‘Freely have you received, freely give’ (Mt. 10: 8).”
The emperor, however, continued with his demands. Through the prayer of the holy brothers, imbued with the power of grace, God suddenly struck Carinus blind, so that he too might experience the almighty power of the Lord, Who does not forgive blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mt. 12:31). The people, beholding the miracle, cried out, “Great is the Christian God! There is no other God but Him!” Many of those who believed besought the holy brothers to heal the emperor, and he himself implored the saints, promising to convert to the true God, Christ the Savior, so the saints healed him. After this, Saints Cosmas and Damian were honorably set free, and once again they set about treating the sick.
But what the hatred of the pagans and the ferocity of the Roman authorities could not do, was accomplished by black envy, one of the strongest passions of sinful human nature. An older physician, an instructor, under whom the holy brothers had studied the art of medicine, became envious of their fame. Driven to madness by malice, and overcome by passionate envy, he summoned the two brothers, formerly his most beloved students, proposing that they should all go together in order to gather various medicinal herbs. Going far into the mountains, he murdered them and threw their bodies into a river.
Thus these holy brothers, the Unmercenary Physicians Cosmas and Damian, ended their earthly journey as martyrs. Although they had devoted their lives to the Christian service of their neighbors, and had escaped the Roman sword and prison, they were treacherously murdered by their teacher.
The Lord glorifies those who are pleasing to God. Now, through the prayers of the holy martyrs Cosmas and Damian, God grants healing to all who with faith have recourse to their heavenly intercession.
The Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Rome should not be confused with the Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Asia Minor (November 1), or the Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Arabia (October 17).
Troparion of the Sunday, tone 3
Let the heavens rejoice, / let the earth be glad! / For the Lord has shown might with His arm,/ He has trampled down death by death. / He has become the first-born of the dead. / He has delivered us from the depths of hell, / and has granted the world great mercy!
Troparion of the saints, tone 8
Holy unmercenaries and wonderworkers, Cosmas and Damian, visit our / infirmities. / Freely you have received; freely give to us.
Kontakion of the saints, tone 2
Having received the grace of healing, / you grant healing to those in need. / Glorious wonder workers and physicians, Cosmas and Damian, / visit us and put down the insolence of our enemies, / and bring healing to the world through your miracles.
Kontakion of the Sunday, tone 3
On this day Thou didst rise from the tomb, O Merciful One, / leading us from the gates of death. / On this day Adam exults as Eve rejoices; / with the prophets and patriarchs they unceasingly praise / the divine majesty of Thy power!
Romans 6:18-23 (Epistle)
- And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
- I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
- For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
- What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
- But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
- For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Matthew 8:5-13 (Gospel)
- Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,
- saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
- And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
- The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.
- For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
- When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!
- And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
- But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
- Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.