Today we commemorate all the Saints of our church. Yes, there are many, and many have their own individual day of commemoration. However, since there are many unknown saints also and their number continues to increase over time, the church has appointed this day for the commemoration of all the Saints.
Today we celebrate the harvest of the coming of the Holy Spirit into the world; it is the glorification of the Saints as & the foundation of the Church, the perfection of the Gospel, they who fulfilled indeed the sayings of the Saviour (Sunday of All Saints, Doxasticon of Vespers). We reverently honour and call blessed all the Righteous, the Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Shepherds, Teachers, and Holy Monastics, both men and women alike, known and unknown. These were people who were shining examples of virtue, the keeper of God’s commandments and personification of sacrificial love during their lives on earth. The martyrs and saints commemorated today “bore witness” to Christ in their lives each in different ways; Some through the shedding of their blood, and others through the emptying of themselves, and living a life of self- sacrifice. Their lives were dedicated to the cultivation of Christ-like love through the service of their neighbour.
Through this Christ-like love, sacrifice, and holy lives, they maintained the perfect image and likeness of Christ. We also honour all the Angels and the All Pure and Most Blessed Virgin Mary today whose life was one of virtue, purity, and complete trust in God and His will.
We are all called to become saints. St Athanasios says, “God became man, that man might become God”. It might sound like a big task, but it can start with the small things. Let’s take the lives of our saints as examples of the love they had for their neighbour, and use it as a time of self -reflection. To what extent do we not only concern ourselves with our own matters, but are willing to help others around us? Do we know someone who is lonely? Is someone we know having a hard time? Or is someone we know that’s not well. What can we offer them to help make their load a little lighter? Small gestures can make a big impact.
Let’s take this day as an opportunity to read up on the life of a saint we are not yet familiar with, and ask for their prayers and intercessions on our behalves. Their lives can be a source of spiritual nourishment and inspiration for us all.
Apolytikion of All Saints
Your Church, O Christ our God, clothed itself in the blood of Your martyrs from throughout the world, as though it were a robe of linen and purple; through them, she cries out to You, Send down upon Your people compassion, grant peace to Your commonwealth, and to our souls, great mercy.
Kontakion of All Saints
Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The world offers You, the author of all creation, as the first-fruits of nature, the God-bearing martyrs. O most merciful, by their intercessions, through the Theotokos, maintain Your Church in perfect peace.