The Anargyroi in the Orthodox calendar

Below are notes on the main feasts of saints associated with the Anargyroi group as they appear sequentially in the Eastern Orthodox calendars. Variant commemorations indicate western practice. These notes do not attempt to distinguish between historical and legendary materials in traditional sources. It must be assumed that stories regarding early Christian figures in particular are greatly embellished.

4 September: Hermione and Eutychia, the daughters of Philip the Deacon. Church tradition attributes to these sisters the foundation of charitable hospitals, first in Caesarea Mazaca and later in Ephesus (the Pandocheion). It is believed that they were martyred with others in the reign of Hadrian. (d. first century?)

11 October: Zenais and Philonilla of Tarsus in Cilicia Pedias. Legendary figures who were held to have worked first in their home town and later, when expelled, in neighbouring Demetrias of Kataonia. Cypriot tradition maintains that they ended their lives in Paphos rather than on the Asia Minor mainland. Other accounts would have it that they were related to the Apostle Paul and that they travelled as far afield as Spain. (d. first century?)

13 October/13 April in the West: Karpos the Bishop of Thyateira and Papylos the deacon. Originally from Pergamum they were martyred in Sardis, the ancient Lydian capital, with Agathodoros, a slave, and Agathonike, the sister of Papylos. An early martyrium dedicated to the saints survives under the church of St Menas in Kyparissia in Istanbul. (d. 251)

17 October/27 September in the West: Kosmas, Damianos, Leontios, Anthimos, Eutropios/Euprepios the Arabs. A team of doctors reputed to have travelled throughout the East and to have been martyred at Aigai (Ayas) in Cilicia. (d. 313)

17 October or 28 October: On this day, with the Arab physicians, the Greek Orthodox commemorate the Synaxis or Council of all the Anargyroi saints. Supposedly, this is originally an Athonite custom.

18 October: Luke the Evangelist. According to Church tradition he was martyred in Thebes of Greece, where a tomb of the saint is still venerated. The reputed relics of the saint were removed first to Constantinople, then to Rogous in Epirus and finally to the West. The Eastern Orthodox attribute a number (between three and seventy) of icons, the first ever painted, to this Evangelist. (d. 80)

30 October: Zenobios the bishop and Zenobia, his sister. They were natives of Aigai (Ayas) in Cilicia and were martyred in that city. (d. 285)

1 November: Kosmas and Damianos of Phereman near Kyrrhos (later titled Hagiopolis, now Kilis) in Syria. Their mother, Theodote, helped them in their missionary and charitable works and is commemorated separately (2 January). These brothers died natural deaths and their tombs became an important centre for pilgrimage in Syria. By the fifth century two important churches had been dedicated to the saints in Constantinople (in Zeugma and Kosmidion). It was the cult of these Anargyroi brothers that spread across the Christian East and they are still the main focus of Orthodox veneration. (d. third century)

10 November/9 November in the West: Orestes of Tyana (later titled Christopolis) in Cappadocia. He was martyred at Batos, close to Nigde. (d. third century)

26 November: Stylianos of Paphlagonia, the wonder-worker, sometimes identified with Alypios the Kionite (d. 640). He is famous for his miracles amongst ailing children and always depicted on icons cradling an infant. The Greek Orthodox now revere this saint as the patron of all infants. (d. fifth century?)

3 December: Angelis of Chios, a new martyr put to death by the Ottoman Turks for reverting to Christianity. (d. 1813)

31 December: Zotikos the Orphanotrophos. A Roman priest, he worked amongst the many homeless children of the Byzantine capital and with those suffering from incurable diseases. He founded an institution to house and care for orphans (hence his title) and another for lepers. Both included hospitals. Zotikos was martyred by the Arians. (d. 350)

1 January: Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia. A famous theologian, he was also the founder of Annesoi and the Basileias. The former was a monastic centre in Pontus but the latter was an urban charitable complex that included hospitals. He firmly established the link between the monastic life and social work. The saint's good works are celebrated in Greek folklore and by numerous carols sung at the New Year - over which he is seen to preside; he can be considered an Orthodox counterpart to the western 'Father Christmas'. As one of the Three Hierarchs (commemorated together on 30 January) Basil is also the patron of education in the Christian East. (d. 379)

31 January: Kyros (Abu Kir) of Alexandria and John of Edessa. The latter was a soldier who came to Egypt to assist Kyros in his work amongst the sick and marginalized. The two friends are represented as having been quite hostile to the medical profession of their day. They were martyred with their assistants, Athanasia, Eudoxia, Theodote and Theoktiste at Canopus of Egypt Augustamnica in the reign of Diocletian. In Constantinople there was an important church dedicated to this group at Sphorakiou. (d. 262)

1 February: Tryphon of Lampsakos in Hellespontine Phrygia. He was an uneducated farmhand who healed people and animals alike by using traditional country methods and prayer. He was martyred in Nicaea of Bithynia and came to be revered across the East as the protector of crops and rural life in general. He is also specifically invoked to ward off all kinds of vermin. A number of churches were dedicated to this saint in Constantinople. (d. 250)

6 February: Julian of Emesa in Coele Syria. He was martyred with Sylvan the bishop and Mokios the reader. (d. 284)

11 February/3 February in the West: Blasios the bishop. He was martyred near Sebastea Megalopolis (Sivas) in the Armenian Marches. From an early date the cult of this saint (known as Blaise in Britain) spread across the Mediterranean world and beyond. Blasios was invoked against infections of the throat and in Constantinople his martyrium, at Meltiadou, was a centre of pilgrimage. He is particularly venerated in Croatia, as his reputed relics were transferred to Dubrovnik in the medieval period. (d. 316)

27 February and 6 March: Stephen of Armatiou. He founded a complex of charitable institutions called the Gerokomeion. This housed and ministered to the old and ailing of Constantinople and was organized around a church dedicated to the Theotokos (commemorated separately). (d. 503)

9 March/25 February in the West: Kaisarios of Arianzos in Cappadocia. He was a medical doctor from a sainted family of theologians, most notably including his sister Gorgonia and their brother Gregory Nazianzene. (d. 396)

15 March: Nikandros of Egypt. He ministered to the needs of the many imprisoned and persecuted Christians of the Thebaid, Upper Egypt, eventually being martyred with a number of companions. (d. third century)

26 April: Kalandrion of Aroda, an ascetic physician of Paphos in Cyprus. He is numbered amongst the 'Three Hundred Palestinian Fathers' who sought refuge in Cyprus from the Saracens. (d. seventh century?)

6 May: Kosmas and Damianos of Phereman, the Syrian Anargyroi. On this date is commemorated the foundation of a church dedicated to the saints in Psamathia (Samatya) of Constantinople (around 890). The great monastery of Kosmidion, also dedicated to the brothers, was rebuilt after being sacked by the Avars on 5 June 623. Other churches and a convent (restored in the thirteenth century) were erected in their honour in the Byzantine capital.

11 May: Mokios the Roman, a priest of Amphipolis on the Strymon who was martyred in Byzantium. Emperor Constantine officially refounded the city as New Rome on his feast-day and Mokios was declared patron saint of the now Christian capital. The saint was buried in the old temple of Herakles, where his relics were later joined by those of Sampson Xenodochos. Originally the Emperor Constan-tine was commemorated with Mokios on this date. (d. 295)

13 May: Pausikakos the Physician, Bishop of Synnada in Phrygia Salutaria. He was originally from Myrleia-Apamea of Bithynia and achieved fame after healing the Byzantine Emperor Maurice. (d. sixth century)

14 May: Therapon the Lydian, Bishop of Cyprus. There is no mention of this saint having been a doctor but he is regularly titled Anargyros. According to the legendary Life he was exiled by the Byzantine iconoclasts and travelled as a pilgrim across the East. Reaching Cyprus he was elected bishop and was later martyred by Muslim raiders while celebrating the liturgy - making him an early new martyr. His relics were eventually moved to Constantinople and there a church dedicated to the saint was built by a holy well. (d. 632?)

20 May: Thallelaios the Phoenician. Based at Anazarbos (Anavarza) he worked across Osrhoene and Syria. He was martyred with Asterios, Alexander and others at Aigai (Ayas) in Cilicia. (d. 284)

22 May: Sophia the Egyptian physician and martyr. (d. third century)

I June: Agapit of Ukraine. He was a monk doctor of the Great Caves Lavra near Kiev. Russian Orthodox pilgrims brought his cult to Mount Athos and the Holy Land. (d. 1095)

II June: Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and Crimea. He was a modern unmer-cenery physician who combined Christian ministry and mission with medical care and teaching in the face of anti-Christian persecution in the USSR. (d. 1961)

20 June: Luke the Evangelist. This feast commemorates the translation of the reputed relics of the saint from Greek Thebes to Constantinople in the reign of Constantine. Here they were placed in the Church of the Holy Apostles on the Mese (a site now occupied by the beautiful Fatih Cami). As an 'equal to the Apostles' Constantine and his mother Helena were also buried in this church, as were later Byzantine rulers. According to Church tradition another saint, Arte-mios, was entrusted with this mission before being martyred by Julian the Apostate around 363. Commemorated on 20 October, Artemios is virtually ranked with the Anargyroi and considered the healer of many illnesses, not least ailments particular to men.

27June: Sampson the Xenodochos. Originally from Rome, he moved to Constantinople, was ordained priest and founded a charitable complex that included a large hospital. This Xenon received the support of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. Sampson was buried in the shrine of another doctor, Mokios, and came to be considered the patron of the entire medical profession (whose guild would march to his tomb on the feast-day). During the Latin occupation the Xenon was taken over by the Knights Templar. (d. sixth century)

28 June: Paul of Corinth. (d. seventh century)

28 June: Kyros and John. This feast is in memory of the transferral of reputed relics to Menouthis during the patriarchate of Cyril (fifth century). It is claimed that when this occurred the local temple of the goddess Isis sank into the sands. From then on the saints were considered patrons of the Egyptian delta region but eventually the relics were again removed and taken to Rome.

1 July: Kosmas and Damianos of Rome. These brothers are believed to have healed people and animals, to have been denounced by colleagues who were jealous of their success and annoyed that they charged no fees, and subsequently to have been martyred in Italy. (d. 284?)

9 July: Orestes of Tyana in Cappadocia. This date probably commemorates the transferral of relics or the foundation of some major church to honour the saint, perhaps in Constantinople.

9 July: The Theotokos of the Zoodochos Pege (life-giving spring). On this date is commemorated the foundation of this church in 559 by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. Associated with numerous feast-days, this title firmly characterizes the Theotokos as a heavenly healer and sets a precedent for later accounts that attribute miracles of healing to Mary. Rebuilt many times the church and monastery still exist outside the medieval walls of Istanbul and are called Balikli or 'Fishy Place' in Turkish.

25 July/22 April in the West: Alexander the Phrygian, martyr of Lugdunum in Gaul (France).

26 July/27 July in the West: Hermolaos the priest of Nicomedia in Bithynia. Associated with Panteleimon, he is commemorated with his fellow martyrs Hermippos and Hermokrates, also priests. (d. 306)

27 July: Panteleimon/Pantaleon of Nicomedia in Bithynia. His mother and assistant, Euboule, is remembered on 30 March and he is commemorated with numerous companions. Panteleimon is the best-loved saintly doctor of the East and was greatly revered in Italy also. Churches and monasteries were dedicated to the saint in Constantinople; one at Narsou claimed to treasure his head. His oldest shrine outside Nicomedia (Izmit-Kocaeli) was devastated by the Turks in the eighteenth century but survived as a major centre of pilgrimage up to 1922. The Russian monastery on Mount Athos, founded in the twelfth century, is dedicated to Panteleimon. In Greece today, a church at Aharne on the outskirts of Athens provides a focus for veneration of the saint. (d. 305)

12 August: Aniketos and Photios/Photinos, martyrs of Nicomedia in Bithynia. In Constantinople there was a church dedicated to these saints, allegedly an uncle and nephew, at Strategion. They were obviously popular on the island of Crete where local tradition maintains that a medieval saint, Kyr John, had a church built in their honour in the eleventh century, near Kissamos. (d. 305)

16 August: Diomedes the martyr of Nicaea (Iznik) in Bithynia. Originally from Tarsus of Cilicia, he was executed in the persecutions of Diocletian. A church of this saint by the walls of Constantinople served as a metochion for the Jerusalem Patriarchate. This was restored by Emperor Basil the Macedonian (or Bulgar-slayer) and it would appear that he regarded Diomedes as his personal patron and the protector of the Byzantines. (d. 288)

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