Could anyone help identify the two Saints pictured in this icon? I believe they're pictured standing beneath the Image of Edessa.

Also, if anyone has any sense of the date, I would greatly appreciate that. I was recently gifted the icon by a very kind gentleman at an antique shop, who estimated that it dated from the 18th century.

Thank you.


3 Answers 3


Based on the Slavonic, these are the unmercenary healers Saints Cosmas and Damian.

And yes, the icon above them is known as the Image of Edessa in some traditions, and in Orthodoxy the Icon Not-Made-by-Hands.


Identifying Saints in Icon?

I believe the two saints in the above icon are the the Christian martyrs Saints Cosmas and Damian

Saints Cosmas and Damian (died c. AD 287) were two Arab physicians in the town Cyrrhus, and were reputedly twin brothers, and early Christian martyrs. They practised their profession in the seaport of Aegeae, then in the Roman province of Syria.

As early as the 4th century, churches dedicated to the twin saints were established at Jerusalem, in Egypt and in Mesopotamia. Devotion to the two saints spread rapidly in both East and West. Theodoret records the division of their reputed relics.

Saints ANARGYROI Cosmas Damian Antique Greek Orthodox Print Icon on Wood

Saints Cosmas Damian Antique Greek Orthodox Print Icon on Wood

The two saints are definitely the twin brothers Cosmas and Damian.

It seems probable that the icon indeed dates from the 18th century, but it would have to be properly evaluated by experts, such as historians found at a major and well known museums.


The one on the left is holding a glass container in his right hand as if to collect the precious blood gushing out if the Sacred Heart . He must be St. Longinus who is believed to have pierced the Sacred Heart. The one on the right has a wound mark on his hand. He must be St Dismas, the Good Thief .

  • In the old days when picturising human faces perfectly was a difficult task, portraits of saints would contain an extra item popularly identified with the person. For instance you see St George with a dragon, St Sebastian's with arrows embedded on his body, St Thomas Apostle with the sphere he was martyred with, St Theresa with white lily flowers signifying purity etc. So the clue to identifying a saint lies in deciferring the item he or she is picturised with. In the image in the answer, the saints are holding medicine chests. But in the question they are not and are thus different . Jun 26, 2021 at 15:23
  • I also see the glass, but I believe the hole results from damage to the icon, and wasn't painted. Other answers appealed to the Slavonic writing above the Saints' heads.
    – shwaka
    Jun 27, 2021 at 13:08
  • I stand corrected . Thanks. Jun 28, 2021 at 4:31

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