Free Medical Care!

The Orthodox Church has a whole special category of Saints, the Unmercenary Physicians, numbering a couple dozen men and women who often treated the sick without taking money in return — centuries before Marx or Canadian health insurance! Sometimes there were miraculous healings involved, and conversions to Christianity. One of the greatest is St. Panteleimon, turned-in to anti-Christian authorities by competing medicine men for often taking as payment only the patient’s attribution of their cure to Christ. Like the proverbial inventor of the car that runs on NO GAS, Panteleimon was martyred.

Today (July 1) was a Feast of two other great Unmercenaries, Sts. Cosmas and Damian of Rome.

Orthodoxy considers caring for the sick a virtue, not a for-profit industry. Bishop St. Basil the Great of what is now Kayseri, Turkey, built a whole medical city in the early centuries of the Church, among his many other achievements. Orthodoxy was traditionally so associated with care for the needy that the Soviet government didn’t allow the Russian Church to do so.

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