It was not only people they cared for, but God's dumb creatures too. If any animal was in pain, they would treat it as gently and carefully as if it had been a human being. Indeed, they were perhaps even more pitiful towards animals, for they said:
"People who can speak and complain of their ills are greatly to be pitied, but these dumb creatures, made by our King, can only suffer in silence, and surely their suffering will be required at our hands."It ever seemed strange to these great men that boys who would scorn to ill-treat a younger child, or take mean advantage of a weak one, would still think nothing of staining their honour by ill-treating an animal, infinitely weaker and smaller, and less able to protect itself. It was one of the few things that raised the wrath of these gentle doctor saints.
During the persecution under Diocletian, Cosmas and Damian were arrested by order of the Prefect of Cilicia, one Lysias who is otherwise unknown, who ordered them under torture to recant. However, according to legend they stayed true to their faith, enduring being hung on a cross, stoned and 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.
Propers for Cosmas and Damian - Healers, Ministers and Martyrs
O GOD, who vouchsafest unto us to keep the heavenly birthday of Blessed Cosmas and Damian, thy holy Martyrs: grant, we beseech thee; that we may rejoice in the perpetual felicity of their fellowship in heaven. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
The Epistle - Wisdom 5:15-19
The Gospel - St. Luke 6:17-23a
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