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 endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:1-2
Since the 4th century All Saints’ Day is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Great Feast of Pentecost. Today we commemorate all saints from everywhere… from the time of Adam until the end of the world. We honour the known and unknown… Whether they be men, women or children… these shining clouds of witnesses have lived to the fruition of Holiness.
Kontakion (a little hymn) of All Saints: The universe offers to Thee, O Lord, as the Planter of Creation, the God-bearing martyrs as the first-fruits of nature. By their prayers, O Most Merciful One, through the Mother of God keep Thy Church, Thy estate, in deep peace.
Sermon on Sunday of All Saints ~ Igumen Zacchaeus Wood
Alleluia was inherited by the first Christians from Hebrew worship. It means Praise God.
The Polyeleos is the most festive part of the Matins service. The word comes from the Greek polys (much), and eleos (mercy). The Polyeleos Hymn consists of parts from Psalms 134 (Praise the name of the Lord, Alleluia) and Psalm 135 (Give thanks to the Lord, Alleluia) The Polyeleos singing is accompanied by multiple repetitions of For His mercy endures forever. During this part of service all the vigil lamps in the church are lit and blaze joyously.