Announcements for June 14-20, 2009

Today: 8:30 Matins; 9:30 Liturgy; Brunch; IOCC presentation
Tuesday:  6:00 pm Vespers
Thursday: 6:00 pm Vespers
Saturday: 6:00 pm Vespers
Sunday:  8:30 am Matins; 9:30 am Liturgy & High Solemn Coffee Hour

Looking Ahead:
Thursday, June 25: “Naming the Child” presentation by Jenny Schroedel
Saturday, June 27: Five-Year Plan Forum #1
Mon – Sat, July 6-11 Iconography Workshop with Heather MacKean
Friday / Saturday, July 10/11: Teen Hike to Mt. Hood

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All Saints:

In the early days Christians were accustomed to solemnize the anniversary of a martyr’s death for Christ at the place of martyrdom.  In the fourth century, neighboring dioceses began to interchange feasts, to transfer relics, to divide them, and to join in a common feast; as is shown by the invitation of St. Basil of Caesarea (397) to the bishops of the Province of Pontus.  Frequently groups of martyrs suffered on the same day, which naturally led to a joint commemoration.

In the persecution of Diocletian the number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be assigned to each.  But the Church, feeling that every martyr should be venerated, appointed a common day for all.

The first trace of this can be found in Antioch on the Sunday after Pentecost.  There is also mention of this day in a sermon of St. Ephrem the Syrian (373), and in the 74th homily of St. John Chrysostom (407).  At first only martyrs and St. John the Forerunner were honored by a special day.  Other saints were added gradually, and increased in number when a regular process of canonization / glorification was established; still, as early as 411 there is in the Chaldean Orthodox Calendar a “Commemoration of the Confessors” for the Friday after Pascha.

The Feast of All Saints came to be an important event in the ninth century, during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Leo VI, “the Wise” (886-911).  His wife, Empress Theophano lived a deeply pious and devout life.  After her death in 897, Leo built a church, intending to dedicate it to her.  When the patriarch forbade him from doing this, he decided to dedicate it to “All the Saints,” so that if his wife were in fact one of the righteous, she would also be honored whenever the feast was celebrated.  According to tradition, it was Leo who expanded the feast from a commemoration of All Martyrs to a general commemoration of All Saints, whether martyrs or not.
This Sunday marks the close of the Paschal season. To the normal Sunday services are added special scriptural readings and hymns to all the saints (known and unknown) from the Pentecostarion.
The Sunday following All Saints Sunday (i.e., the second Sunday after Pentecost) is set aside as a commemoration of all locally venerated saints, such as All Saints of America.  The third Sunday after Pentecost may be observed for even more localized saints, such as “All Saints of Alaska.”

(It appears that in the Christian West the Feast of All Saints originated in the early 7th century and was kept on May 13.  By the mid 8th century it was transferred to November 1.  Both of these dates were connected with ancient Roman and Celtic commemorations of the dead.  The celebrations were ”baptized” and became part of the Christian calendar.)