1. The Holy Martyrs Cosmas and Damian.
Unmercenary doctors and wonderworkers, these two saints were brothers. Born in Rome, baptised as children and given a Christian education, they were endowed by God with the gift of healing, generally by the laying-on of their hands, of both men and animals. They sought no reward for their work, only urging the sick to faith in Christ the Lord. Inheriting great wealth, they compassionately divided it among the poor and needy. The Emperor Galerius was on the throne in Rome at that time. Persecutors of the Christian faith brought these two holy brothers, bound in chains, before him. After prolonged interrogation, the Emperor charged them to deny Christ and offer sacrifice to idols. Cosmas and Damian not only refused to obey the Emperor; they urged him to forsake dead idols and come to the knowledge of the one, true God. 'Our God is not created, but is the Creator of all, and your gods come of the imaginings of men and the hands of artists. If there were no artists to make your gods, you would have nothing to worship.' After a miracle performed on the Emperor himself - healing him of a grave infirmity - the Emperor declared his faith in Christ and let the holy brothers go in peace. They continued to glorify Christ our God and to heal the sick, and were themselves glorified on all sides by the people. A doctor, a former teacher of theirs, envying their fame, lured them into the hills on the pretext of collecting herbs and stoned them to death. They suffered with honour for the Christian faith in 284. Their memory endures in the Church on earth, and their souls went to the Kingdom of the Lord, to live eternally in glory and joy.
2. Our Holy Father Peter the Patrician.
This saint was a nobleman of Constantinople and a military commander in the time of the Emperor Nicephorus I (802-11). In a war against Bulgaria, the Emperor was killed and Peter, together with fifty other Greek generals and princes, was captured and cast into prison. He was miraculously delivered from prison by St John the Theologian. He then forsook all worldly glory, left his wife and son and withdrew to Mount Olympus, where, as a monk and a disciple of St Joannicius the Great, he lived in monasticism for thirty-four years. After the deaths of his wife and son, he settled in Constantinople, where he spent eight further years in fasting and prayer and entered into rest in the Lord in 865, at the age of seventy-seven.
3. The Holy Martyr Potitus.
A thirteen-year-old youth from Sardinia, he endured many trials for the sake of Christ, both from his father and from the official persecutors of Christianity. Potitus was beheaded in the time of the Emperor Antoninus (138-161), after healing and baptising the Emperor's daughter Agnes.