Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries
Cosmas and Damian

To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Day and Afternoon Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America,

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On this joyous day we celebrate the Feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, a revered occasion that commemorates two time-honored Christian martyrs of the early Church who were brothers and physicians of exceptional faith and talent. Born in Asia Minor, Sts. Cosmas and Damian bequeathed to the entire world a legacy of extraordinary and unforgettable generosity. Their free and indiscriminate offering of care to persons from all walks of life earned them the respected title “Agioi Anargyroi” (Holy Unmercenaries), a superlative distinction that communicates the essence of selflessness and, thus, serves as a contemporary model of Christian philanthropy.

In our striving to emulate their indomitable spirit of charity, we are blessed with manifold opportunities for ministry through the important work of the philanthropic institutions and organizations of our Archdiocese. Here, we are especially grateful for the vital labor of our Ladies Philoptochos Society, an organization of women throughout our parishes across the United States who, for over seventy years, have dedicated themselves to bringing healing, comfort and care to countless people in America and also throughout our world. Theirs is a ministry that is truly global in outreach, one that aspires to fulfill in a most exemplary manner Christ’s mandate to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick (Luke 9:2).

On this Feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, it has been the welcome custom of our Archdiocese to turn our attention to a very specific ministry of the Ladies Philoptochos Society, namely, the annual collection for the National Philoptochos Patriarchate Fund, which supports the hospitals, nursing homes, and philanthropic agencies of our Ecumenical Patriarchate. Therefore, on Sunday, November 2, a special tray will be passed in parishes throughout our country to support this important Fund, a tangible expression of our love for our brothers and sisters of the venerable Greek Orthodox community of Constantinople. The contributions that you offer to this fund will aid many who live in conditions of need; moreover, your generosity will strengthen the bonds of love held among others throughout our world, and will renew your hearts with the joy that only comes from selfless acts of philanthropy and kindness.

May the heavenly peace of our Lord Jesus Christ reign supreme in your hearts, homes, families, and communities, and may the inspiring example of Sts. Cosmas and Damian continue to motivate you and all in our world toward unconditional, indiscriminate, and selfless offerings of love for others.

With paternal love in Christ,

Archbishop of America

Archive: Archbishop Demetrios' Encyclicals