Last February, I wrote on this same subject, but his coming Sunday the Church commemorates two feasts that interest me enough so that I will discuss it once more. The first feast is All Saints Sunday. In our lectionary and movable calendar, All Saints is always the Sunday after Pentecost. The Western churches mark this feast on the day before Halloween. Honestly, the connection has become lost in all the Halloween nonsense. Don’t get me wrong, I love Halloween for toddlers and pre-school children…they’re really cute all dressed up, but after that it goes down hill fast. The whole thing has lost its dimension. Never mind that now, All Saint’s Sunday has been set aside to commemorate all people enlightened by the Holy Spirit. The beauty of this feast day is that the Church remembers those souls who are unrecognised saints. What? Those persons who we do not recognise as saints, but who have known God and whom he knows. This group of people has lived in all times and places, and has reflected Christ in their lives. Each of us have known such people of faith and have said to ourselves: “He/she is a real saint.” Well, the Church sets a side this Sunday to commemorate them. Don’t think the rest of the year these people are forgotten. At every liturgy, immediately after the consecration ,the celebrant prays for a group of saints who have been ‘well-pleasing to God’. Each function they have provided the Church is listed from ancestors, to apostles, to teachers, the last phrase spoken is “every righteous spirit made perfect in faith.” Again, we are called to understand that we can’t recognise everyone who is righteous, only God has this insight. This Sunday we take time to acknowledge our own limited perceptions.
The second commemoration we observe this Sunday is taken from the fixed calendar book of the months. The Menaion for June 14 celebrates St. Elijah the prophet and St. Methodios I, Patriarch of Constantinople. Methodios is someone extremely special to me. You see, he was the subject of my doctoral studies. I spent time getting to know Saint Methodios. I could go on for many pages about this saint of the Church. Reading my book (See link below) I would like to point out that Patriarch Methodios started out as a complete stranger, but the real man came to life as I studied him. I understood his humanity, moreover I became aware of his sanctity and the contribution he made to the Church. Each of us need to know a saint, really know him or her. They are more than names on a calendar or a figures in an icon, they are people who struggled and overcame their humanity to become a reflection of Christ. Holy Saints of God Pray for Us!