The Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damien, held this week honors the first saints who were called upon specifically to heal disease. Twin physicians Cosmas and Damien provided free medical service during the third century in the hopes of converting their patients to Christianity. Word of their miraculous cures gained them a following, even after they were martyred in the year 278. Their most famous miracle performed after their deaths, captured in a 16th century painting, shows the saints replacing the gangrenous leg of a church worker with the leg of a black man who had died of old age.
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