PATRON SAINTS OF PHILOPTOCHOS
St. Cosmas and Damianos, the Unmercenaries
During the 4th century, the physician brothers, Cosmas and Damianos, became known as the Holy "Unmercenaries". Their fame spread throughout the Empire as they invariably assisted the poor and the afflicted without the desire for any compensation. The Philoptochos Society, because of their own Christian dedication to the poor and the destitute, chose to celebrate the founding of their organization together with the feast day celebration of Saints Cosmas and Damianos. The word Philoptochos is the compound Greek word, "philos" and "ptochos" which mean "friend of the poor".
Philoptochos members honor their patron Saints, Cosmas and Damianos, the two wonder workers of the Church, on November 1. For this reason, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America dedicates the first Sunday of November to the Philoptochos Society. An *Artoklasia service usually follows the Divine Liturgy that day.*The Artoklasia (breaking of bread) commemorates Christs miracle of feeding thousands of people with five loaves of bread. Five loaves of bread are brought to the church, blessed, and distributed to the congregation in a short service of blessings and prayers for health and prosperity. Wine, olive oil, wheat and candles are included on the service table.