CHRIST THE SAVIOR Orthodox Mission
SUNDAY: JUNE 23TONE 8
1ST Sunday after Pentecost: 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.
(at the Divine Liturgy)
Tone 8Troparion (Resurrection)
Thou didst descend from on high, O Merciful One!
Thou didst accept the three day burial
to free us from our sufferings!//
O Lord, our Life and Resurrection, glory to thee!
Tone 4Troparion (from the Pentecostarion)
As with fine porphyry and royal purple,
Thy Church has been adorned with Thy martyrs’ blood shed throughout all the world.
She cries to Thee, O Christ God:
“Send down Thy bounties on Thy people,//
grant peace to Thy habitation and great mercy to our souls!”
Tone 8 Kontakion(from the Pentecostarion)
The universe offers Thee the God-bearing Martyrs
as the first fruits of creation, O Lord and Creator.
By their prayers keep Thy Church, Thy habitation, in abiding peace//
through the Theotokos, O most Merciful One!
Pray and make your vows before the Lord our God! (Ps 75/76:11)
v: In Judah God is known; His name is great in Israel. (Ps 75/76:1)
God is wonderful in His saints, the God of Israel. (Ps 67/68:35)
 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought 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, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, 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 in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Tone 4 Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
v. The righteous cried and the Lord heard them and delivered them out of all their troubles. (Ps 33/34:18)
v. Many are the afflictions of the righteous; the Lord will deliver them out of them all. (Ps 33/34:20)
Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38; 19:27-30
 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
Praise the Lord from the heavens! Praise Him in the highest! (Ps 148:1)
Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous; praise befits the just! (Ps 32/33:1)
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
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 Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain (July 14) adds the Righteous to Saint Peter’s five categories. The list of Saint Nicodemus is found in his book THE FOURTEEN EPISTLES OF ST 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.
Today we commemorate these saints. Remember them in your prayers, and ask for their prayers.
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Orthodox Church in America, Diocese of New England
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