The prayer has been handed down through the centuries from St. Modesto who was a priest and patriarch of Jerusalem.
Born in the year 292 AD, St. Modesto has been known for years as the Orthodox Christian patron saint of animals. During his life, he was known both for his piety and for his respect for animals. His prayer includes a request for the creator’s protection of the animals we love from all illness and injury. The feast of St. Modestos is observed on Dec. 16.
St. Modestos Patriarch of Jerusalem, a great Protector and Healer of Animals
Protector and Healer of Animals
Once, there was a poor widow who had five pairs of oxen, which were her only means of support, and which, unfortunately, at one point turned greatly sick. The woman was greatly worried, and mourned inconsolably. She took refuge in the Church, and entreated all of the Saints to help her in her time of need. Having not found any help, she called upon the Holy
Sts. Kosmas and Damian, to have mercy on her, the sinner, for because of her sins, her oxen were in danger of being lost. In her sleep, Sts. Kosmas and Damian appeared to her, and told her that to them was not granted the grace to heal animals, for this Grace was granted by God to the great Bishop of Jerusalem Modesto, and if she would go to him, her oxen would be healed. She awoke, and hastened straightaway, seeking St. Modesto, but did not find him, because he lived far from Jerusalem. She prayed with fervent faith for this Wonder working physician to be revealed...
One night, the woman saw the Saint in a dream, who asked her why she was weeping so, and revealing to her that he was the Modestos that she was seeking, and that he had heard her prayer, and had come to heal her oxen! He advised her to cut off a portion of her iron tools, and to go to a place called "Lagenas", where there was a Church of the Archangel Michael. There, in front of the Church, there lived a good artist named Eustathios, and with her iron, he would make a cross that she should bring to her home.
In the morning, when the priests would be serving liturgy, she should take the cross, dip it in some oil, and anoint her oxen straightaway in the name of Christ, and this supplication would heal them from their sickness.
The woman did as the Saint advised, and her oxen were healed, and again she was able to work without any problem, while all gave glory to God, Who gave such Wonder-working power to His servant Modesto. Since then, the art of the faithless and magicians could not affect the houses of faithful Christians, for they could not approach the wondrous power of that Cross. And even today, whoever celebrates the memory of Saint Modesto with faith, preparing a cross as mentioned above, his animals remain unharmed, through the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, from every diabolic energy and danger by men.