First Sunday after Pentecost: All Saints Sunday
Holy, Glorious Apostles Barnabas and Bartholomew; Barnabas of Basa in Cyprus and Barnabas of Vetluga; commemoration of the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel to a monk on Athos and the revelation of the hymn “It is truly meet”
June 11, 2017
Troparion of the Resurrection – Tone 8
From the heights Thou didst descend, O compassionate One, and Thou didst submit to the three-day burial, that Thou might deliver us from passion; Thou art our life and our Resurrection, O Lord, glory to Thee.
Troparion of All Saints – Tone 4
Thy Church, O Christ God, hath regaled herself in the blood of Thy Martyrs throughout the entire world, as in porphyry and purple. Through them she lifteth her voice crying: Turn with Thy compassion toward Thy people, and grant peace to Thy city, and to our souls the Great Mercy.
Troparion of St Joseph – Tone 2
Proclaim, O Joseph to David, the ancestor of God, the amazing wonder, for by the angel they were revealed unto thee. For thou hast seen a Virgin great with child, and thou gave glory with the shepherds and didst worship with the Magi. Wherefore, plead with Christ God to save our souls.
Kontakion of All Saints – Tone 8
As first-fruits of our nature to the Planter of created things, the world presenteth the God-bearing martyred Saints in off’ring unto Thee, O Lord. Through their earnest entreaties, keep Thy Church in deep peace and divine tranquility, through the pure Theotokos, O Thou Who art greatly merciful.
Epistle – Hebrews 11:33-12:2
Brethren, all the saints through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfection of our faith.
Gospel – Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38; 19:27-30
The Lord said to His disciples, “Everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father Who is in heaven; but whoever denies Me before men, I also will 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 Me is not worthy of Me.” Then Peter said in reply, “Lo, we have left everything and followed Thee. What then shall we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the New World, when the Son of Man shall sit on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My Name’s sake, will receive a hundred fold, and inherit eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first.”
Sunday of All Saints
The first Sunday after the Feast of Holy Pentecost is observed by the Orthodox Church as the Sunday of All Saints. This day has been designated as a commemoration of all of the Saints, all the Righteous, the Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Shepherds, Teachers, and Holy Monastics, both men and women alike, known and unknown, who have been added to the choirs of the Saints and shall be added, from the time of Adam until the end of the world, who have been perfected in piety and have glorified God by their holy lives.
Honoring the friends of God with much reverence, the Prophet-King David says, "But to me, exceedingly honorable are Thy friends, O Lord" (Ps. 138:16). And the Apostle Paul, recounting the achievements of the Saints, and setting forth their memorial as an example that we might turn away from earthly things and from sin, and emulate their patience and courage in the struggles for virtue, says, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every burden, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1).
This commemoration began as the Sunday (Synaxis) of All Martyrs; to them were added all the ranks of Saints who bore witness (the meaning of "Martyr" in Greek) to Christ in manifold ways, even if occasion did not require the shedding of their blood.
Therefore, guided by the teaching of the Divine Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition, we honor all the Saints, the friends of God, for they are keepers of God's commandments, shining examples of virtue, and benefactors of mankind. Of course, we honor the known Saints especially on their own day of the year, as is evident in the Menologion. But since many Saints are unknown, and their number has increased with time, and will continue to increase until the end of time, the Church has appointed that once a year a common commemoration be made of all the Saints. This is the feast that we celebrate today. It is the harvest of the coming of the Holy Spirit into the world; it is the "much fruit" brought forth by that "Grain of wheat that fell into the earth and died" (Jn 12:24); it is the glorification of the Saints as "the foundation of the Church, the perfection of the Gospel, they who fulfilled in deed the sayings of the Savior" (Sunday of All Saints, Doxastikon of Vespers).
In this celebration, then, we reverently honor and call blessed all the Righteous, the Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Shepherds, Teachers, and Holy Monastics, both men and women alike, known and unknown, who have been added to the choirs of the Saints and shall be added, from the time of Adam until the end of the world, who have been perfected in piety and have glorified God by their holy lives. All these, as well as the orders of the Angels, and especially our most holy Lady and Queen, the Ever-virgin Theotokos Mary, do we honor on this day, setting their life before us as an example of virtue, and entreating them to intercede in our behalf with God, Whose grace and boundless mercy be with us all. Amen.