12 x 9 cm | 4.7 x 3.5 in
Saints Cosmas and Damian depicted with ointment cans. According to Arab legends, the early Christian twin brothers Cosmas and Damian, both born in Syria and allegedly died under Diocletian in Aigeai in Cilicia, were healers who treated the sick free of charge as anargyroi (“without silver”) and converted many of them to Christianity. They are said to have worked as doctors in Aigeai in Cilicia (in the south of today’s Turkey), especially in the “Son of God Hospital” of Pheremma. They allegedly even managed in a leg transplant, namely the replacement of a rotten leg of a white person with that of a deceased black person. They survived unscathed all attempts by the Roman prefect Lysias to drown, burn and kill them with stones and arrows as part of the persecution of Christians under Emperor Diocletian, and only later suffered martyrdom through beheading. Cosmas and Damian belong – like Saint Pantaleon – to a group of saints who are called “holy money despisers” because they did not allow their (poor) patients to reward them for their services as doctors or pharmacists. They are the patron saints of medical faculties, a large number of medical professions (e.g. bathers, wet nurses, doctors, pharmacists) as well as the sick, hairdressers and confectioners. They are called during distress, ulcers, plagues, and horse diseases. Derived from their name, which is derived from the Italian medici (doctors), the saints are also the patron saints of the Medici.
Saint Panteleimon – or “Pantaleon” (July 27) was a doctor, martyr and Helper in Need. He was born with the name Pantoléon towards the end of the 3rd century in Nicomédia, today’s İzmit in Turkey. As a child he recognized his healing powers when he came across a dead child on the street bitten by a snake; he called out the name Jesus over him and the child came back to life. He was trained in the art of medicine by the imperial physician Euphrosynus and was baptized by the priest Hermolaus. Emperor Diocletian chose him as his personal physician. Among other things, he is considered the patron saint of doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists.