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Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Mid-Lent Station

Thursday after the Third Sunday in Lent.
The Middle of Lent.
Station at SS. Cosmas and Damian.
(SS. Cosma e Damiano)

The mosaic in the apse of the basilica.
The Greeks were in the habit of celebrating a day of festival

in honour of the holy cross in the middle of Lent,
making a break, as it were in the long period of fasting.
In Rome this solemnity was deferred to the Sunday following,
but Gregory II instituted this station at the Church of SS Cosmas and Damian,
in order not altogether to deprive the faithful
of that innocent satisfaction in the middle of Lent.

SS. Cosmas and Damian
The two martyrs known as "Anargyri" (moneyless)
-that is, they belonged to that class of pious Byzantine doctors
who despised money and gave their healing services free.
Moreover, considering the rigour of the Lenten fast in those days
it is easy to understand that many persons
must have needed to have recourse to these heavenly physicians.

The Mass has been adapted to the occasion;
it refers chiefly to the anniversary of their martyrdom,
and the frequent mention of health, sickness and healing
recalls the great popularity of the veneration
paid to the holy Moneyless martyrs in those early days.

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