The Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries
Sts. 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 Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On November 1, our Holy Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, two remarkable physicians and brothers of 4th century Asia Minor known on account of their generosity as the Holy Unmercenaries. Today, Sts. Cosmas and Damian remain important examples not only as persons who were early providers of medical care, but as men whose love for God and neighbor knew no boundaries. As Saints of our Church, their lives also serve as reminders that all of us are called to place the needs of others as our primary interests, so that we might be instruments of the grace of God, Who alone works wonders.
As we contemplate the preeminence of love as seen in the example of the lives of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, we are mindful of the words of Jesus Christ: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12). These words of Christ invite us to consider our own privileged position as Greek Orthodox Christians living in the United States, and our responsibility to share the fruits of our blessings with our brothers and sisters elsewhere in our world who are in need and who are lacking in necessary resources.
To this end, each year on the Feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, our National Ladies Philoptochos Society leads us in gathering an annual collection for the National Philoptochos Ecumenical Patriarchate Fund. This Fund supports the hospitals, nursing homes, and philanthropic agencies of our Ecumenical Patriarchate, and in turn the people who comprise the venerable Greek Orthodox community of Constantinople. Therefore, you are kindly asked to pass a special tray on Sunday, November 4, in your parish to support this important Fund, a ministry which is a tangible expression of our love. In supporting it, you will be helping the institutions of our beloved Ecumenical Patriarchate and our faithful in Constantinople at a time of particular necessity. Please give generously to this Fund, knowing that your contributions will alleviate the material and spiritual needs of our brothers and sisters. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, and may the example of Sts. Cosmas and Damian keep your minds and hearts focused upon giving to others through perpetual love and service.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America