Isaiah 20, 21; Psalm 72:1·14; Proverbs 15:1·5; 2 Corinthians 13
2 Corinthians 13:3-14 Luke 4:1-15
"Saint Cosmas came from Bulgaria where his devout parents provided him with a good education in Slavonic and Greek. They wanted him to marry but he was drawn by the love of Christ and, unknown to them, made his way to the Holy Mountain of Athos to become a monk at the Bulgarian monastery of Zographou. On the feast of the Annunciation at the Monastery of Vatopedi, he saw a woman among those serving in the Church and in the refectory, and he was grieved at first to observe this breach of the monastic rule, but overjoyed when he realized that it was the Mother of God who had appeared to him in this way. "He was clothed in the holy angelic Habit and, after some time, was ordained priest. One day, as he was praying before the icon of the Mother of God, asking her with tears how to achieve his salvation, he heard a voice saying, 'Let my servant withdraw to the desert outside the monastery.' He was obedient to the will of God and, with the blessing of his Abbot, lived in silence from then on. Some years later, he was found worthy of the grace of discernment of thoughts and of beholding things happening elsewhere, as well as of other spiritual gifts. In the course of many years, he was the spiritual helper of a great number of monks. At the end of his life, Christ appeared to him saying that he would shortly have a great trial to endure from the Devil. Indeed, the prince of demons made his appearance next day with a host of his servants bewailing and bemoaning their inability to annihilate their great enemy Cosmas, who had held them in check for so long and gained possession, by his virtue, of the throne in Heaven that had once been Lucifer's. Taking a heavy stick, the demon beat the Saint so violently that he left him half-dead. As God allowed, Saint Cosmas died in peace two days later, on 22 September 1323. When the fathers came from the monastery to bury him, the wild animals gathered round. They kept silent until the end of the service, but howled unusually loud as his body was covered with earth. Then having paid their respects, they made off into the wilderness. Forty days later, the monks came to take up the body of Saint Cosmas and translate it to the monastery, but it was no longer in the grave. Where it now is God alone knows." (Synaxarion)
Isaiah 19; Psalm 71; Proverbs 14:31·36; 2 Corinthians 12
2 Corinthians 12:20-13:2 Luke 3:23-4:1
He was a peasant named Hilarion in the district of Vologda, and lived a simple, laboring life until he began to lose his sight. Not despairing, Hilarion went to all the churches nearby and asked that services of intercession be offered for him. One day, during the Divine Liturgy, Hilarion beheld a man in white clothing who told him that his name was Cosmas, blessed him, and told him that he would soon be healed. The next day Hilarion was going to church again and the Holy Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian appeared to him along with an icon of the Mother of God. A voice from the icon said that the people must cleanse the place where he stood and erect a cross there. Upon venerating the icon, Hilarion was instantly and completely healed. Returning to his village, he joyfully told what had happened. The villagers cleansed the place, as commanded in Hilarion's vision, set up a cross, and built a chapel to house the icon, which began to work many miracles. When the bishop learned of these events, he determined to found a monastery on that spot, and made Hilarion the first monk, giving him the name of Joseph. Saint Joseph spent the next thirty years there in prayer and great asceticism: he would spend the winter nights without sleep, standing in prayer before the miraculous icon of the Theotokos. He reposed in peace and was buried in the chapel that he and his fellow-villagers had built years before.
Isaiah 17, 18; Psalm 70:14·24; Proverbs 14:26·30; 2 Corinthians 11:16·33
2 Corinthians 12:10-19 Luke 3:19-22
Before baptism he was a renowned military commander under Trajan. While hunting in the woods, he met a great stag with a shining Cross between his antlers. Through the stag, the Lord spoke to Placidas (his pagan name) and told him to find a priest and be baptized into Christ. Returning home, he found that his wife Tatiana had also had a vision in which she was told to become a Christian. They were baptized, Placidas receiving the name Eustathius, and Tatiana the name Theopiste; their two sons were baptized with them. Eustathius and his family were almost immediately subjected to a series of grievous trials, in which all were separated from one another. After years of hardship they were re-united, and returned to Rome with honor when the Emperor sought out Eustathius to command his army once again. But when the Emperor Hadrian (who had succeeded Trajan) commanded them to worship the idols, all of them refused. They were put together into a large bronze ox which was heated white-hot in a fire. When their bodies were removed, they were found to be dead but intact. The Prologue concludes, 'Thus this glorious general gave to Caesar that which is Caesar's, and to God that which is God's, and entered into the eternal Kingdom of Christ our God.'
Isaiah 15, 16; Psalm 70:1·13; Proverbs 14:21·25; 2 Corinthians 11:1·15