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Unmercenary doctors

31 October 2007

While Western Christians celebrate Hallowe’en, Orthodox Christians will be commemorating the unmercenary physicians SS Cosmas and Damian:

Trained and skilled as physicians, they received from the Holy Spirit the gift of healing people’s illnesses of body and soul by the power of prayer. They even treated animals. With fervent love for both God and neighbor, they never took payment for their services. They strictly observed the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Freely have you received, freely give.” (Mt. 10:8). The fame of Sts Cosmas and Damian spread throughout all the surrounding region, and people called them unmercenary physicians.

The idea of unmercenary physicians () is pretty countercultural nowadays with the prevailing free-market ideology, where the media talk of the “health-care industry” as a business like any other.

In South Africa the Thatcherist policies of the ANC have reinforced this trend, with the deterioration of state hospitals, and the tendency of medical aid schemes to drift away from being mutual friendly societies and to become businesses like any other, distributing dividends to outside shareholders, engaging in competitive advertising and dubious “customer loyalty” incentive schemes.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 31 October 2007 11:21 am

    A good observation.

    The idea of “what can I get out of this” is very deep rooted in our psyche. I see these kinds of maladies as far more serious than things like synchretism, heresy, carnality and the like.

    In fact, commoditisation stands stands in fundamental opposition to the rule of G-d in this age.


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