Friday, November 5, 2010

Met. Ephrem on Saints Cosmas and Damian

These words were given at the vespers for the feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian on October 30, 2010 in Batroun. The Arabic original can be found here.

These two saints were from the series of saints who were unmercenary physicians and wonderworkers. This group of saints is considered in the Church to be one of the highest ranks of holy martyrs because these saints bore witness to Christ not only with their faith but also in their profession. That is, they were physicians of both body and spirit who healed sicknesses of the body and of the soul, which were many in those days, and they did not worship money. For this reason, the Church considers them to be some of the greatest holy martyrs.

I will remind you that the martyr is the highest level that a Christian can attain and therein draw near to God. And so our holy fathers say that the martyr enteres the Kingdom without judgment! There are two kinds of martyrdom: martyrdom of blood and white martyrdom. The martyrdom of blood is when a person suffers martyrdom, that is when he is killed because of his faith. But white martyrdom is for a person to consecrate himself to God, that is to live according to the commandment of the Lord during every day of his life.

Why did Saints Cosmas and Damian suffer martyrdom? In the first centuries, when there was a persecution, they suffered martyrdom because of their faith in Christ and because of their refusal to worship idols. In this time we are living in, there are no idols of stone. There are idols in the mind, in the soul. What are idols today? Power, sex, worship of the body instead of worship of God, worship of money. The Gospel for tomorrow says, “You cannot serve to masters, God and money”. The greatest evils today come from the love of money and power. These are the idols today. One who preserves his faith and rejects these idols will be called today a martyr and the Lord Jesus will glorify him and place him in the first ranks of the saints.

This is the importance of these two holy martyrs who are your patrons. If God wills, we can imitate and resemble them and so be faithful to God. If we are Christians, we must remain faithful to Christ to the very end, so that He will make us holy and bless us and so that we will remain here as martyrs in this country and this world. Where a person is faithful to the faith, the Lord blesses him and blesses his family and blesses the whole environment in which he lives.

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