27 September – Sts Cosmas and Damian – a visit to their tomb in Venice

Today is the Feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian… in the traditional calendar of the Roman Church.  I have a special affection for these saints as they are both my confirmation names.  We get to say their names in the Roman Canon, with a head bow today.

Here is the reading about them from Matins in the Breviarium Romanum:

Cosmas et Damiánus, fratres Arabes, in Ægéa urbe nati, nóbiles médici, imperatóribus Diocletiáno et Maximiáno, non magis medicínæ sciéntia quam Christi virtúte, morbis étiam insanabílibus medebántur. Quorum religiónem cum Lysias præféctus cognovísset, addúci eos ad se iubet, ac de vivéndi institúto et de fídei professióne interrogátos, cum se et Christiános esse, et christiánam fidem esse ad salútem necessáriam, líbere prædicárent, deos venerári ímperat; et, si id recúsent, minátur cruciátus et necem acerbíssimam. Verum, ut se frustra hæc illis propónere intélligit: Colligáte, inquit, manus et pedes istórum, eósque exquisítis torquéte supplíciis. Quibus iussa exsequéntibus, nihilóminus Cosmas et Damiánus in senténtia persistébant. Quare, ut erant vincti, in profúndum mare iaciúntur. Unde cum salvi ac solúti essent egréssi, mágicis ártibus præféctus factum assígnans, in cárcerem tradit, ac postrídie edúctos in ardéntem rogum ínici iubet; ubi, cum ab ipsis flamma refúgeret, várie et crudéliter tortos secúri pércuti vóluit. Itaque, in Iesu Christi confessióne, martýrii palmam accepérunt.

Who would like to tackle that today?

In the Novus Ordo calendar, these two medical saints were celebrated yesterday.  WHY MOVE THEM ONE DAY?

Here is the modern Martyrologium Romanum entry:

Sanctorum Cosmae et Damiani, martyrum, qui nullam mercedem petentes Cyrrhi in Euphrastesia medicinam exercuisse feruntur et multi gratuitis curis eorum sanati.

Meh.  Not nearly as fun at the traditional entry.

Let’s go visit the tomb of the saints in Venice!

Motoring out to San Giorgio on the Giudecca island in the Bacino.

It’s across from San Marco.



Church of San Giorgio on Giudecca island across from the main islands of Venice.


Inside we find their tomb in a side altar on the right side of the nave.


Note the inscription…



When you go to San Giorgio, be sure to ascend the bell tower for a great view.



On the way back to San Marco.


Visiting the tombs of saints can be hungry work.  So, to build up one’s fortitude for the next round of adventures, proper victuals must be consumed.

Sardine in saor.  (Yes, I recommend this restaurant… get the granseola.)


Spaghetti and squids in squid ink.  Yum.  Yes, it turns your teeth black for a while.  It’s great.


Some mudbug and mayo.


Afterwards, catching up on the day’s doings with friends over a drink and puff in the square in front of the Basilica.


Just in time for the bells.  Sorry, the video is a little dark because, well, it was a little dark.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Julia_Augusta says:

    You bring back such sweet memories of Venice for me. Two years ago I went to San Giorgio and ascended the tower for the great views of the lagoon.

    May I recommend a very memorable restaurant? It is called Venissa, located on the island of Mazzorbo, set in a local vineyard across an ancient bell tower. My husband took me there for our wedding anniversary. After lunch we walked to the island of Torcello (there is a bridge) to the Basilica di Maria Assunta, constructed between 800 and 1100 in the Venitian-Byzantine style.

    [Sounds like a great day.]

  2. Julia_Augusta says:

    No wimpy Aperol spritzes for you, I see!

  3. Kathleen10 says:

    You must have a cast iron stomach. The food does look lovely and enticing, but squid ink…huh.

    [You should try it. It looks as if it might be strong, pungent. In fact, squid is quite mild.]

  4. Argument Clinician says:

    Cosmas and Damian, Arab brothers, born in the city of Aegea, well-born doctors, during the reign of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian, cured diseases—even incurable ones—not so much by medical knowledge as by the power of Christ. When Lysias the Prefect had learned of their religion, he ordered them to be brought before him; and when they, having been questioned about their custom of life and their profession of faith, openly preached to him that both that they were Christians and that the Christian faith is necessary for salvation, he ordered them to venerate the gods: and if they would refuse to do so, he threatened torture and a most painful death. Truly, he himself understood that to propose this to them was pointless. “Bind their hands and feet,” he said, “and twist their limbs with choicest punishments.” The commands were carried out by those at hand, nevertheless Cosmas and Damian stood steadfast in their purpose: hence, as they were bound, they were hurled into the depth of the sea. When they came out safe and unbound, the Prefect (considering it to have been done by magic arts) put them in prison, and the following day ordered them to be led out and cast onto a burning pyre. When the flames fled from them, he willed them to be struck with various cruel tortures of blows. Thus they received the martyr’s palm, in the confession of Christ.

  5. Mike says:

    A vaporetto ride from the airport is an awesome experience.
    Gout takes the sardines off my diet, but sign me up for the squid pasta. (Kathleen10, trust Father and let not the ink be an impediment.)

  6. excalibur says:

    My late parents 76th wedding anniversary.

    Sts. Cosmas & Damian are venerated every year in Utica, New York at St. Anthony’s Parish during the annual pilgrimage which takes place on the last weekend of September (close to the Sept. 27 feast day). There are thousands of pilgrims who come to honor the saints. Over 80 busloads come from Canada and other destinations. The 2-day festival includes music (La Banda Rosa), much Italian food, masses and processions through the streets of East Utica. It is one of the largest festivals honoring saints in the northeast USA.


  7. jfk03 says:

    In the East they are known as Agioi Anargyroi, Holy Unmercenaries — along with St Panteleimon.

  8. albizzi says:

    I just was in Venice, coming by train with my wife from Ravenna, on an evening of the 2013 conclave. We began to hear all the town’s bells ringing at an unusual hour and we rejoiced because we knew we had a new Pope though not yet knowing his name.
    After pondering, I wonder now if I had to rejoice that Jorge Bergolio was his name.
    Oddly enough, my wife already was in Venice the previous time when Benedict XVI was elected.

  9. I’m afraid that at first I thought that was a plate of Klingon gagh.

    But Venice and San Marco look beautiful.

  10. guans says:

    Such stunning photographs- absolutely beautiful.

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