1st SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 8. Holy Apostle Jude, the brother of the Lord (ca. 80). All Saints.
Tone 8 Troparion (Resurrection)
You descended from on high, O Merciful One! You accepted the three day burial to free us from our sufferings!// O Lord, our Life and Resurrection, glory to You!
Tone 4 Troparion (All Saints)
As with fine porphyry and royal purple, Your Church has been adorned with Your martyrs’ blood shed throughout all the world. She cries to You, O Christ God: “Send down Your bounties on Your people,// grant peace to Your habitation and great mercy to our souls!”
Tone 8 Kontakion (All Saints)
The universe offers You the God-bearing Martyrs as the first fruits of creation, O Lord and Creator. By their prayers keep Your Church, Your habitation, in abiding peace// through the Theotokos, O most Merciful One!
Tone 8 Prokeimenon (Resurrection)
Pray and make your vows / before the Lord, our God! (Ps. 75:10a)
V. In Judah God is known; His Name is great in Israel. (Ps. 75:1)
Tone 4 Prokeimenon (All Saints)
God is wonderful in His saints, / the God of Israel. (Ps. 67:35a)
Hebrews 11:33-12:2 (Epistle)
. . . Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
V. The righteous cried and the Lord heard them, and delivered them out of all their troubles. (Ps. 33:17)
V. Many are the afflictions of the righteous; the Lord will deliver them out of them all. (Ps. 33:19)
Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38, 19:27-30 (Gospel)
Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
Sunday of All Saints — 2022
To the clergy, monastics, and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America,
Dear beloved children in the Lord,
Today, on the Sunday of All Saints, we behold the fruit of the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost as we remember all those throughout the whole world who answered Christ along with St. Peter in the Gospel: “Lo, we have left everything and followed you” (Mt. 19:27).
On this day we place in the center of our churches the icon of the feast depicting all the holy ones of God, known and unknown, men, women, and children from every walk of life. But while most of the holy icons which adorn and beautify our temples stay the same year to year, century to century, the icon of the Feast of All Saints is different. It expands and grows larger every year as the Lord reveals new saints throughout the earth. We take comfort in this and find inspiration from the saints’ example as we follow in their footsteps, walking the narrow path of sanctity we are also called to walk (cf. Matt. 7:14).
At the same time as we behold the icon of the feast, we see other more terrible images as well. The tragedies of our time seem to march in steady pace before our eyes: the continuing gun violence in the United States, wars in Ukraine and Ethiopia, the slaughter of Roman Catholic faithful in Nigeria, and the conflict and violence in many parts of the world. These are, tragically, only a few recent examples of the horrors we human beings visit upon each other in our pride, hopelessness, greed, and thirst for power. All these violent acts are contrary to the Gospel of Christ who is the “prince of peace,” as the Prophet Isaiah proclaims (Isa. 9:7). Our Lord’s way for us to follow is to lay down our lives for the other, not to shed another’s blood (cf. Jn. 15:13).
In the face of such evil in our world it is difficult to avoid the feelings of discouragement and helplessness. Take comfort that all the saints faced the evils of their age too. We, like them, can strengthen our hearts with Christ’s words: “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:27). Let us continue to follow the example of the saints and meet evil with good, hostility with love, and violence with sincere prayer that Christ, who Himself is our peace (Eph. 2:14), will reign amongst us.
On this Sunday of All Saints I exhort the faithful to pray for the peace of the world, and I conclude with the comforting words of the Apostle Paul: “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6).
May we all forever imitate the love and self-sacrifice of all the saints of God.
I remain sincerely yours in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
Synaxis of All Saints
The Sunday following Pentecost is dedicated to All Saints, both those who are known to us, and those who are known only to God. There have been saints at all times, and they have come from every corner of the earth. They were Apostles, Martyrs, Prophets, Hierarchs, Monastics, and Righteous, yet all were perfected by the same Holy Spirit.
The Descent of the Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to rise above our fallen state and to attain sainthood, thereby fulfilling God’s directive to “be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44, 1 Peter 1:16, etc.). Therefore, it is fitting to commemorate All Saints on the first Sunday after Pentecost.
This feast may have originated at an early date, perhaps as a celebration of all martyrs, then it was broadened to include all men and women who had borne witness to Christ by their virtuous lives, even if they did not shed their blood for Him.
Saint Peter of Damascus, in his “Fourth Stage of Contemplation,” mentions five categories of saints: Apostles, Martyrs, Prophets, Hierarchs, and Monastic Saints (Philokalia [in English] Vol. 3, p.131). He is actually quoting from the Octoechos, Tone 2 for Saturday Matins, kathisma after the first stichology.
Saint Νikόdēmos of the Holy Mountain (July 14) adds the Righteous to Saint Peter’s five categories. The list of Saint Νikόdēmos is found in his book The Fourteen Epistles of Saint Paul (Venice, 1819, p. 384) in his discussion of I Corinthians 12:28.
The hymnology for the feast of All Saints also lists six categories: “Rejoice, assembly of the Apostles, Prophets of the Lord, loyal choirs of the Martyrs, divine Hierarchs, Monastic Fathers, and the Righteous….”
Some of the saints are described as Confessors, a category which does not appear in the above lists. Since they are similar in spirit to the martyrs, they are regarded as belonging to the category of Martyrs. They were not put to death as the Martyrs were, but they boldly confessed Christ and came close to being executed for their faith. Saint Maximus the Confessor (January 21) is such a saint.
The order of these six types of saints seems to be based on their importance to the Church. The Apostles are listed first, because they were the first to spread the Gospel throughout the world.
The Martyrs come next because of their example of courage in professing their faith before the enemies and persecutors of the Church, which encouraged other Christians to remain faithful to Christ even unto death.
Although they come first chronologically, the Prophets are listed after the Apostles and Martyrs. This is because the Old Testament Prophets saw only the shadows of things to come, whereas the Apostles and Martyrs experienced them firsthand. The New Testament also takes precedence over the Old Testament.
The holy Hierarchs comprise the fourth category. They are the leaders of their flocks, teaching them by their word and their example.
The Monastic Saints are those who withdrew from this world to live in monasteries, or in seclusion. They did not do this out of hatred for the world, but in order to devote themselves to unceasing prayer, and to do battle against the power of the demons. Although some people erroneously believe that monks and nuns are useless and unproductive, Saint John Climacus had a high regard for them: “Angels are a light for monks, and the monastic life is a light for all men” (LADDER, Step 26:31).
The last category, the Righteous, are those who attained holiness of life while living “in the world.” Examples include Abraham and his wife Sarah, Job, Saints Joachim and Anna, Saint Joseph the Betrothed, Saint Juliana of Lazarevo, and others.
The feast of All Saints achieved great prominence in the ninth century, in the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Leo VI the Wise (886-911). His wife, the Holy Empress Theophano (December 16) lived in the world, but was not attached to worldly things. She was a great benefactor to the poor, and was generous to the monasteries. She was a true mother to her subjects, caring for widows and orphans, and consoling the sorrowful.
Even before the death of Saint Theophano in 893 or 894, her husband started to build a church, intending to dedicate it to Theophano, but she forbade him to do so. It was this emperor who decreed that the Sunday after Pentecost be dedicated to All Saints. Believing that his wife was one of the righteous, he knew that she would also be honored whenever the Feast of All Saints was celebrated.
From The Orthodox Faith: Volume 2, The Church Year, by Fr. Thomas Hopko
It is necessary to note that in the Orthodox Church the liturgical feasts are not “institutions” which are legislated by some ecclesiastical authority apart from the interest and consent of the people. The feasts of the Church, and even the canonization of saints, always follows from the living devotion of the Christian people. If there were no popular interest and veneration of a certain holy person, there would be no official canonization and no liturgical festival established in his or her honor. Once a person is recognized as a saint, however, and it is agreed that God himself is presenting this person as a living witness to himself and his Kingdom, then the Church hierarchy will set the day of the feast and will compose the proper liturgical service and hymns to be used in the celebration. The frequency and fervor of the celebration will then depend solely upon the will of the people, and once established the feast could only disappear organically, in a way similar to its appearance. It would not, and indeed it really could not be “disestablished” by the decree of any church authority.
Divine Grace Drove the Apostles Crazy, in a Good Way, and Excited Them
St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva
Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva, speaking about Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, said: On Pentecost, the grace of God was poured out not only on the apostles, but on all the people around them.
It affected the believers and the unbelievers. What does Acts say? While the Apostle Peter was speaking his own language, his language was being processed in the minds of the listeners at that time. In a secret way the Holy Spirit made them understand his words in their language, secretly, without being noticed. These miracles are done by the influence of the Holy Spirit. For example, the word “home” to someone who knew French would be heard as “la maison”. It was a kind of clairvoyance; they heard their own language. The sound was heard in the ear, but inwardly, with the illumination of God, the words were heard in their language. The Fathers of the Church do not reveal this interpretation of Pentecost very openly, they are afraid of distortion. The same is true of the Apocalypse of John. The ignorant cannot understand the meaning of the mystery of God. Below he says: “And every soul was filled with fear” (Acts 2:43). This “fear” was not fear. It was something else, something foreign, something incomprehensible, something we cannot explain. It was awe, it was fulfillment, it was grace. It was being filled with divine grace. At Pentecost, people suddenly found themselves in such a state of deification that they lost it. Thus, when divine grace overshadowed them, it drove them all crazy – in a good way – it excited them. This has made a big impression on me. It was what I sometimes call a “state of being”. It was excitement. A state of spiritual madness.