Called to Be Saints

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Greetings on All Saints’ Day!

In the New Testament we are called to be saints, and the Orthodox Church gives the title of saint to those who throughout history, have lived and died in Christ.

While Canonized (Glorified) Saints have their own feast days, there are countless multitudes of saints who don’t have a feast day… and some of these are even nameless Saints – known only to God!

Since the 4th century in Eastern Christendom, on the first Sunday after Pentecost, the Church continues to commemorate All the Saints (both past/present, known/unknown)! As all are alive in Christ, the saints are our friends and alive in Heaven. They are venerated, but not worshipped.

Today is a joint celebration honouring the Holy Apostles who spread the Gospel to the four corners of the earth, as well as All the Saints who’ve shone forth great love of Christ… whether by living a God-pleasing, righteous life, or by receiving a martyric crown. 

[During the 8th century in Western Christendom, the Sunday of All Saints was transferred to the first Sunday in November – and even more recently was moved again to November 1st.]

Previous *All Saints’ Day* Blisswood Posts
God’s Garden ~ Posted June 14, 2020
Sunday of All Saints ~ Posted June 27, 2021
God Giveth the Increase ~ Posted June 19, 2022

Every one of us is the painter of his own life. Our soul is like the canvas, and the virtues are the paint. Jesus Christ is the image we should copy. ~ St. Gregory of Nyssa

To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 1:7

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s: ~ 1 Corinthians 1:2

We live together with them (the Saints in heaven), in the house of the Heavenly Father, only in different parts of it. We live in the earthly, they in the heavenly half; but we can converse with them, and they with us. ~ St. John of Kronstadt

In God and in His Church there is no division between the living and the departed, but all are one in the love of the Father. Whether we are alive or whether we are dead, as members of the Church we still belong to the same family, and still have a duty to bear one another’s burdens. Therefore just as Orthodox Christians here on earth pray for one another and ask for one another’s prayers, so they pray for the faithful departed and ask the faithful departed to pray for them. Death cannot sever the bond of mutual love which links the members of the Church together. ~ Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

May you have a blessed All Saints’ Feast Day!

Lampstand of the Light

Dome Mosaic of St. John the Baptist – St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Canada

St. John the Baptist is called the voice of the Word, the Lampstand of the Light, the morning star and Forerunner of the Sun of Righteousness.

He is named Forerunner, as he preceded Christ… being sent as a Messenger to prepare the people for Christ’s ministry. Angel in Greek means messenger, and some icons of St. John the Baptist depict him with angelic wings, on account of Malachi’s prophecy from the Old Testament.

Several dates during the Liturgical year specifically celebrate the birth, life and death of St. John the Forerunner and Baptist of Christ.

On September 11 (August 29, Julian calendar) we remember St. John the Baptist’s heavenly birthday and martyrdom. In honour of the greatest of all prophets who have ever lived, and since ancient times, the Church has celebrated this leading luminary by establishing this day as a fast.

St. John the Baptist is the personification of faithfulness to God, righteousness, and asceticism. He is so revered, that each Tuesday, every week of the year is also dedicated to him.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. ~ St. John 1:6-9

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St. John the Baptist – St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Canada

St. John the Baptist Resource Page

700 years before the birth of Christ, the Prophet Isaiah foretold the preaching of John the Baptist. Isaiah called St. John  “the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness”  (Isaiah 40:3); who was to “prepare  the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” 

Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets, who lived more than 400 years before the birth of Christ foretold the coming of St. John the Baptist, and refers to him as an angel. Behold I will send My Angel, and he shall prepare the way before Me; and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Angel of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. ~ Malachi 3:1-2

St. Luke 1:5-80

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. ~ St. John 1:6-9

St. Matthew 3:1-12

St. Matthew 3:13-17

St. Mark 6:17-29

Christ Himself said: Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. ~ St. Matthew 11:11

Through the holy prayers of St. John the Forerunner and Baptist of Christ, our Leading Luminary, may we, too, stand as steadfast shining candles before the Lord; radiating His Effulgent and Gladsome Light!

O Gladsome Light is an ancient Christian hymn originally written in Greek around the 3rd or 4th century. It is the earliest known hymn recorded outside the Bible still in use today, and is still sung in Orthodox Christian Vespers services daily. St. Basil the Great (329-379 AD) referred to this hymn (already considered old in his time) as a cherished church tradition. It is also called the Lamp-lighting Hymn, for at that time in Jerusalem, a lamp was kept perpetually burning at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre inside the empty tomb of Christ. As Christians gathered there to worship, this hymn was sung, and a candle lit from the lamp was brought forth from the tomb, its bright solitary flame reminding all of the Risen Lord. ~ Wikipedia

Sunday of All Saints

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.

All the Saints are like fragrant flowers in God’s Heavenly Garden.

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!

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.

Polyeleos (Much Mercy)

God’s Garden

Happy All Saints’ Day!

Since the 4th century, All Saints’ Day is celebrated the first Sunday after the Great Feast of Pentecost. Today we commemorate all saints from everywhere and from every time. 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.

All the Saints are like fragrant flowers in God’s Heavenly Garden.

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.

Let us…

Grow where planted.

Beware the weeds.

Welcome the rain.

Embrace the sun.

Joyfully bloom.

Share the Harvest.

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… Hebrews 12:1-2

He will send rain at the right time for your land. He will bless everything you do… Deuteronomy 28:12

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