Cosmas and Damian, Unmercenaries

646px-Beinwunder_Cosmas_und_Damian

Cosmas and Damian Miraculously Transplant the Black Leg of the Ethiopian Onto the White Body of the Patient, aka Legendary Transplantation of a Leg by Saints Cosmas and Damian, Assisted by Angels, circa 1600s, artist unknown.

As it should be but not always so, good deeds, too, attract following.

Twin brothers Cosmas and Damian (died c. ad 287) were reputed physicians, and early Christian martyrs. They practiced their profession in the seaport of Aegeae, then in the Roman province of Syria.

Their most famous surgery, performed not without a considerable divine professional assistance, is depicted above. Sts Cosmas and Damian are regarded as the patrons of physicians and surgeons.

For their services brothers charged not a single penny (silver pieces, headless chickens or whatever currency has been on circulation in those ancient times.) Thus people names them Holy Unmercenaries. Their exemplary lives and martyrdom brought many nonbelievers into a Christian faith. 400px-Bartolomeo_Vivarini_-_De_heilige_Damianus_(of_Cosmas) 400px-Bartolomeo_Vivarini_-_De_heilige_Cosmas_(of_Damianus)

leg-web7

Master of Los Balbases, ‘Saints Cosmas and Damian Performing a Miraculous Cure by Transplantation of a Leg’. c. 1495

Inevitably, this  drew attention of the Roman authorities to the brothers. Soldiers were sent to summon them but the Christians hid them for the sake of those who resorted to their aid. Not having found brothers, Romans herded and seized other Christians. Cosmas and Damian, however,  left the shelter and surrendered to the captors, asking them to release the hostages taken in their stead.

These were the trying times for the budding religion — the persecution under  Diocletian. Cosmas and Damian were thus arrested and ordered to recant under torture. 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.

Northern French Martyrdom of Saints Cosmas and Damian with their Three Brothers, part of an altarpiece Date circa 1480.

Northern French
Martyrdom of Saints Cosmas and Damian with their Three Brothers, part of an altarpiece
Date circa 1480.

However, its not as much the saintly lives of the brothers as the ample inspirations their saintly lives provided for the art and painters for generations that is, obviously, the subject of this post.

Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian Condamned Date between 1438 and 1440

Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian Condamned
Date between 1438 and 1440

1024px-Angelico,_crocifissione_dei_santi_cosma_e_damiano_04

Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian Crucifixed and Stoned Date 1438-40

957px-Казнь_Космы_и_Дамиана

Le martyre des saints Cosme et Damien Italiano: Decapitazione dei santi Cosma e Damiano Dated between 1438 и 1443

Fra_Angelico_-_Saint_Cosmas_and_Saint_Damian_Salvaged_-_WGA00513

Fra Angelico – Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian Salvaged

982px-Fra_Angelico_-_Sepulchring_of_Saint_Cosmas_and_Saint_Damian_-_WGA00518

Sepulchring of Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian Date between 1438 and 1440.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s