Our Patron Saints - Saints Cosmas and Damianos

Patron Saints Cosmas and Damianos
Observed, November 1st


On February 28, 1931, Archbishop Athenagoras was enthroned as Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in North and South America. He was highly regarded as a man of vision with extraordinary administrative ability. A new era in the life and mission of the Greek community commenced under his leadership.

These were turbulent times for the Greeks in America. Archbishop Athenagoras soon realized the urgency of providing adequate philanthropic and relief services to the poor and suffering omogenia. With the convening of the Archdiocese Fourth General Assembly in New York City in November 1931, the Philoptochos Society was an important item on the agenda. A decision was taken to establish a national women’s organization as the official philanthropic auxiliary of the Church, merging all of the existing chapters, which numbered more than 300, to function under the Archdiocese constitution with specific By-laws issued for the Philoptochos.

Archbishop Athenagoras addressed many communications to the women, over the years, offering suggestions, counseling their efforts, praising their accomplishments, as he did on June 17, 1936, stating in an encyclical to the Priests, Board of Trustees and all Greek Orthodox Christians in the Archdiocese: “the mission promoted by the Philoptochos in many parishes has accomplished miracles”. On another occasion the Archbishop offered many suggestions to increase the membership of the Philoptochos in order to aid the poor. He asked that the ladies be concerned for the school and the students who are poor; and he asked that the Feast day of Saints Cosmas and Damianos, which is observed on November 1st, be designated as the Patron Saint of the Philoptochos.