Fr. Dimitrios Bokos
The Sunday of All Saints follows the Sunday of Pentecost and is the last day of the Pentikostario. It closes the cycle of movable feasts which starts with the opening of the Triodio, includes the Great Fast, Great Week, Easter, and extends throughout the Pentikostario. All told, 18 weeks. As of today, we return to the order of the fixed yearly cycle of feasts. In the everyday Church services, the Gospel of Matthew and the epistles of Saint Paul start to be read.
The fast of the Apostles Peter and Paul begins on the Monday following All Saints. According to tradition, we have a dispensation for fish, except on Wednesdays and Fridays, until the feast of the Forerunner (24 June), after which we can still take oil and wine.
So, ‘On this day we celebrate the feast of All Saints throughout the world, in Asia, Libya and Europe, North and South’ [synaxari for the feast].
The feast of All Saints was placed directly after the Sunday of Pentecost and the descent of the Holy Spirit in order for the Church to demonstrate immediately the fruits of his living presence and activity. The Holy Spirit sanctifies people. He’s the source of sanctification and therefore is able to transmit it. He’s the treasury of all spiritual blessings, the giver of life and of salvation. He’s ‘light and life, the Spirit of wisdom, the Spirit of prudence, God and deifier’. Any good that occurs in the world does so through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Trinity, our Triune God, executes everything with common energy and will, as one God, but each of the three Persons has a special aspect and role. ‘Holy is God (the Father), who created everything through the Son, with the engagement of the Holy Spirit’. The Holy Trinity is present in all things. ‘The Father acts through the Son in the Holy Spirit’.
After the Ascension, we live in the time of the Holy Spirit. His work of renewal is manifested by its results. ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’. Wherever such fruits exist, we can feel the breath of the Spirit. The saints are the blessed fruit, the unshakeable proof of his transformational presence. Our own unwavering aim, too, should be to align ourselves with the precepts of the Spirit (Gal. 5, 22-25).