050. Worship of the saints: medicine.

The Christian religious tradition includes the worship of the saints as one of its pillars. The similarities with Greco-Roman custom are (at least) too great to know.



The miracle of the Hermitage in San Tirso and San Bernabe (Merindade de Sutusquiva). Photo by MG Valeno.

We can distinguish at least two details in the Christian miraculous tradition. One of them is the early appearance of parallels between pagan heroes and Christian saints, for example, a pair of saints oddly enough to closely resemble what the classical tradition claimed about the most famous physicians in mythology. Cosme and Damian were medical twins born to Christian parents and historians of the last century. Third. They practiced medicine in Cilicia, specifically in the Aegean (modern verses), so that it could be said for free. If their knowledge was not enough, then their belief in God gave them the most necessary healing, to the point where they were able to convert many pagans. His death occurred during the persecution of Diocletian: they were arrested with his three younger brothers and subjected to torture, stoning and crucifixion, but emerged alive. Finally, a decree was issued to behead him, and it appears to have been effective.

The myth of these martyrs does not only include the miracle of their constant resistance to torment. It is interesting to note how, once they died, they acted like another immortal physician, Asclepius, who performed the therapy during sleep or inspired the therapy. Thus, perhaps the best known miracle of these saints is the healing of a leg afflicted with severe ischemia. Deacon Justinian, attached to the Cathedral of these Saints in Rome, suffered from serious gangrene in one of his legs. In one night after praying so much for the brothers, She appeared to him in a dream discussing how to treat the problem. They decided to amputate a man, an Ethiopian man who was recently killed, and then replace his leg, “he no longer needs it.” Upon waking up, the deacon felt recovered and found that his illness had already disappeared from his body.

The great similarity to the Asclepius miracle that I mentioned in Post-049 is great. What’s more is the fact that the saints were brothers, like the myths Mashaon and Podalerio, who appear in the Iliad as doctors of the Greek army. The best known cure for these ailments is the one they came up with for Philoctetes, one of the Greek leaders who was bitten by a snake on the island of Tenedos during his voyage to Troy. The accident resulted in a terrible infection by rotting and stench that drove his comrades to abandon him on the island. When, as a result of Oracle, the Philoctetes were taken to Troy to conquer the city, the brothers cured them of this type of gangrene.

The second interesting detail of the Christian tradition about miraculous saints (in fact almost all of them), is the existence of many sanctuaries that celebrate extraordinary treatments: through paintings, sculptures, and poems that relate (sometimes in an earlier form of modern comics) the history of these treatments, a custom that We totally recorded it in Epidaurus, as Asclepius inspired healing during dreams. One of the many examples is the top picture of this post, which was taken at San Terrezzo and San Bernabe sanctuary in the Ojo Guarena caves. The ceiling of the cave and the walls at a certain height are covered with frescoes representing the miracles that the poems helped to explain the pictures.

Regarding specific miracles, this time related to the shape of Jesus of Nazareth, here is a link to an interview Gabriel Andrade gave me a few months ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLi5z89f4XQ

Best Regards.

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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