Augustine Sokolovski

On the first Sunday after Pentecost, the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of All Saints. In displaying the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, All Saints is a tripartite celebration:

1. On this day, all those saints who are known by name and canonized by the Church are solemnly remembered.

2. All those who lived righteously, who are remembered among the people of God, and who will be glorified in the saints here on earth, are also commemorated.

3. We also remember those who, according to a special “method of grace”, are on earth in obscurity, while in Heaven, not knowing fatigue, they intercede for the Universe.

Historically, the Church knew two dates for the annual celebration in honor of the saints. One of them was constant and from year to year fell on November 1st. This tradition of celebration has been preserved in Western Christianity.

Another practice, which has become the property of the Orthodox Tradition, has combined the memory of all saints with the Paschal liturgical cycle. The celebration of All Saints depends on the date of Easter, it can be early or late, but always falls on the Sunday after Pentecost.

Church historians tell us that the celebration of All Saints on the first Sunday after Pentecost was established by the Byzantine Emperor Leo VI the Wise (886–912). In memory of his former wife Theophano (865–895), who was later canonized by the Church for her righteousness, Leo built a church in Constantinople and dedicated it to All Saints.

In turn, theologians, and theology is the art of seeing signs in time following the call of Jesus (cf. Matt. 16:4), see in this decision of Leo an involuntary prophetic gesture (cf. 1 Sam. 19:24).

After all, the correlation of All Saints with Paschal Time, and Pentecost is the culmination of Easter, is very rich in theological consequences.

So, there is a wonderful analogy between the day of All Saints and the Sunday of the Apostle Thomas, which in the Orthodox liturgy is called Antipascha.

Sunday after Easter, dedicated by the Church to the assurance of the Apostle Thomas (cf. John 20:24), among other things, signifies the introduction into the sacrament of Christ's Resurrection of the entire Apostolic Community. The confession of the Resurrection spread to the entire apostolic circle. According to the Gospel of John, and in a reflection of eternity, this happened on the eighth day.

Similarly, on the eighth Sunday after Easter, the celebration of All Saints signifies the triumph of the Resurrection Faith, which has become the property of all people. All Saints are the community of Paschal happiness, the Paschal society of the blessed, the “Elysian fields” of the resurrected people.

At the same time, the countdown, exactly eight days from the day of All Saints, as well as a hermeneutical icon of eternity, leads us to the universal memorial Saturday before Pentecost. Like the saints, glorified and unknown, the Church on this day prays for all the dead, whose names she remembers, but especially for those for whom there is no one to pray for and whom there is no one to remember.

Faith in the communion of saints is proclaimed in the Apostles' Creed: "I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Universal Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, eternal life."

Pentecost is a historical celebration of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, which contains the dogmatic component of the disclosure of the dogma of the Holy Trinity. Similarly, All Saints is the memory of all who shone in holiness, and, at the same time, шn the language of theology, an ideological feast.

This is the living liturgical and eucharistic confession of the Church, as a Community of Faithful and the Body of Christ, of the truth that the invocation of saints is not only possible and permissible but is a duty and a commandment.

The Saints are with the Lord and intercede for the Church and the World. In the image of the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, in the celebrations of Pascha, Pentecost and All Saints, a single and, at the same time, threefold logic is revealed.

If the life of Jesus Christ ended with His death on the Cross, this would mean the greatest triumph of the forces of evil in history. But God raised up His Son (Acts 3:26). Jesus rose from the dead and revealed the Father and God in fullness.

If the Lord Jesus, after His Resurrection, dwelt forever and continued to appear to the Community only here on Earth, he would not be accessible to the entire Universe and the Church. “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself,” Jesus said in the Gospel (John 12:32).

Jesus ascended into Heaven and sat at the right hand of God. He completely retained His human nature. The human heart of the Lord beats with of God. The Holy Spirit was sent down by Jesus.

“Amen, I say to you, it is better for you that I go; for if I do not go, the Comforter will not come to you, but if I go, I will send Him to you”, according to the words of the Gospel (John 16:7). Ascension and Pentecost are one event. In His descent, the Holy Spirit in fullness reveals to the Universe and the Church the Son of God.

Continuing this saving theological logic, it should be recognized that if the intercession of the saints could not be invoked, then holiness would remain the "privilege" of God. The Holy Spirit, in this amazing paradox, would forever remain invisible. But there is holiness. Grace is communication. Grace is the sacrament of God's self-communication to people.

God in Christ through the Holy Spirit reveals himself in the Church in the daily life of the world and people. From now on, history is the “Preparation of the Throne”. It will soon end completely and irrevocably. God is Spirit (John 4:24). We will see Him as He is (1 John 3.2). Then the Holy Spirit will be revealed in the saints.