The martyrs Cosmas and Damian were executed in the city of Cyrrhus in Syria about 303, during the persecution decreed by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Other facts about their lives are uncertain. An early legend suggests that they were twin brothers born in Arabia who became skilled physicians.
As Christian doctors, according to the legend, they charged no fees of those they healed or cared for; they were thus called “the holy moneyless ones,” and along with St. Luke (the “beloved physician” mentioned by St. Paul in Col 4:14), Cosmas and Damian are considered the patron saints of physicians.
Within a century of the deaths of Cosmas and Damian, their fame had spread more widely than that of most martyrs, and perhaps as early as the sixth century their names were added to the Roman Canon (the source of our current Eucharistic Prayer [no. 1] used at Mass).
Other Saints We Remember Today
Saints Cyprian and Justina (3rd Century), Martyrs
Saints Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf, Priests, and Companions (1642, 1646, 1648, 1649), Martyrs, Secondary Patrons of Canada