A Garner of Saints – Saints Cosmo and Damian

detail from the painting of Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian transplanting a leg with the help of angels, Württembergisches Landesmuseum,  Stuttgart, Germany; photographed by Andreas Praefcke in 2006; swiped off the Wikipedia web siteArticle

Twin brothers, born at AEgae in Cilicia. They studied medicine with such success that they healed all who were sick, both men and beasts. A woman named Palladia who had spent her substance on physicians was healed by them. She offered a gift to Damian who at first refused, but afterwards accepted it. When Cosmo heard of this he was much displeased and gave orders that his body should not be buried with his brother’s. That night our Lord appeared to him and disculpated Damian. The proconsul Lilias, who heard of their renown, sent for them and for their three brothers, Antinus, Leontinus, and Eupreprius, and commanded them all to sacrifice to idols, and when they refused he caused them to be tortured in the feet and hands, and afterwards to be bound together with a chain and thrown into the sea; but from this peril they were delivered by an angel. They again came before the judge who asked to be instructed in their magic, promising to follow them, and as he spoke two devils came and struck him in the face, and he besought them to pray for him. And as they prayed the devils withdrew. Then the judge ordered that they should be thrown into a great fire, but the flame passed away from them, and slew several bystanders. They were next put on the rack, but protected by an angel they felt no harm. The judge then sent the younger brothers to prison, and ordered that Cosmo and Damian should be crucified and stoned. But the stones returned on the throwers and wounded several. Furious with rage the judge sent for the three brothers, caused Cosmo and Damian to be taken down and ordered soldiers to shoot arrows at all five. But the shafts returned and wounded the shooters, leaving the saints unharmed. Finally, the judge caused all five brothers to be beheaded. The Christians, remembering Cosmo’s command, doubted whether they should lay Damian beside him, until a camel cried out, “Bury them all together.” Among other legends related of them are the following: Pope Felix founded a church at Rome in honour of the saints. A peasant was sleeping with his mouth open after harvest, when a serpent entered it. He woke, and, feeling nothing, returned home. In the evening he was taken ill and went to the church, where he fell asleep and the serpent went out of his mouth as it had entered. There was a man there whose leg was devoured by a cancer. Whilst he slept Saints Cosmo and Damian appeared to him with iron implements and ointments. One said, “Where shall we find flesh to replace the rotten limb we are about to remove?” The other replied, “There is an Ethiopian who has recently been buried in the cemetery of Saint Peter ad Vincula, bring his flesh here.” Then the former went to the cemetery and brought the dead man’s leg, cut ofl’ the sick man’s leg, and changed the legs of the two, anointing the living man’s limb with care. When the latter awoke, he was over-joyed to find himself healed, and upon the tomb of the Moor being opened, it was found that a leg had been removed, while the sick man’s leg was there in its place. These saints are the patrons of physicians and surgeons, and were the patron saints of the house of the Medici. 1st November.


  • Usually in the habit of physicians which in the fifteenth century consisted of a red robe trimmed with fur and red caps; they hold some implement of their profession, a small box or cylinder, or a vase, or else a lancet or pestle and mortar.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saints Cosmo and Damian”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 April 2017. Web. 26 February 2020. <>