Saints Cosmas and Damian were twin brothers, both physicians, who lived in the 200s in present-day Turkey and Syria. They are said to have attracted many to Christianity by the simplicity of their lives and their miraculous abilities to heal. One of the most dramatic healings attributed to the brothers was the transplanting of an entire leg: It is told that Cosmas and Damian replaced the amputated leg of a patient with the leg of a recently deceased man.
The twins, along with their three younger brothers, were martyred in Cilicia under the persecution of Diocletian. They are the patrons of many groups, including physicians, barbers, confectioners, and orphanages.
Since I happened to have a single, lonely 9" round chocolate cake layer hanging out in my kitchen last night, I decided to decorate it for today's feast. Cosmas and Damian are usually depicted with the tools of their profession, but since I wasn't brave enough to attempt to recreate third century medical implements in frosting, I just put the caduceus in between their names. After more research, I discovered that it should have been the rod of asclepius, and that the caduceus has been erroneously used as a medical insignia since 1902! Wish I'd known that last night -- the rod of asclepius would have been a lot easier to shape.