Recent Comments

The Holy Unmercenaries

The first of July is the feast day of Saints Cosmas and Damian of Rome. They were physicians, and suffered martyrdom in the year 284. They ministered to the sick without charging any fees, and for this reason they are known as the Holy Unmercenaries, οἱ Ἅγιοι Ἀνάργυροι.

A small chapel dedicated to their memory is located in a valley about an hour’s walk from the nearby village. The Arabic name for the valley is Wadi Tlaḥ.

The chapel is in a walled enclosure that includes a kitchen, storerooms, and cells. There is also a small garden with fruit trees, a grape vine, and jasmine.

The enclosure is itself in an area with hundreds of olive trees.

There are also large cypress trees.

Some of the olive trees have been there for centuries.

When you open the little wicket gate, you enter a garden where cypresses, a few olive and almond trees, and many other fruit trees cast their shade on the yellow rocks.

To me, it was a curiosity, but to the monks it was a piece of their native land. No matter whether a monk comes from Salonica, Crete, or Cyprus, he can see in this garden a reminder of his home, and it may be that the ability to look at it without emotion is a sure test that a man has made his peace with God.

H V Morton, Through Lands of the Bible (London: Methuen & Co Ltd, 1938), pp. 315-316.

1 comment to The Holy Unmercenaries

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>