There are three pairs of unmercenary saints named Cosmas and Damian: one pair from Rome, one pair from Arabia, and this pair from Asia. After their pagan father died, their mother Theodota brought them up as true servants of Christ. Later they were both trained as physicians and treated the sick without payment, in fulfillment of the Lord’s command: “Freely you have received, freely give…” (Mt. 10:8). In fact they were so adamant in this commandment that for a long time St. Cosmas refused to be buried next to his brother because St. Damian had taken three eggs from a woman whom he had healed. After his death, however, St. Cosmas appeared in a vision to several devout Christians, commanding them to bury them together because St. Damian had only accepted this gift because of a vow to God which the woman had made.
This contemporary icon shows the saints with their medical utensils and bags of medicines. We pray to God and His Saints to help with our physical ailments, as all such illnesses have a spiritual dimension which also requires spiritual healing first.