I hope that you had a fine All Saints’ Day. Unlike the Western tradition in which the feast of All Saints falls in the autumn, the Eastern tradition places the feast of All Saints on the Sunday following Pentecost. As the priest said today, Pentecost is the feast of the planting and All Saints’ Day is the feast of the harvest.
Next Sunday—the second Sunday after Pentecost—is another feast of all saints, but rather with an emphasis on local saints. Thus, in Serbia, it is a commemoration of all the Serbian saints, while in Greece, it is a commemoration of all the Greek saints. These “local” saints do not have to originate in the land where they are celebrated. In the case of the initial missionaries—the “apostles” to the land who first brought and spread the gospel, they are almost always foreigners, as Patrick was from Roman Britannia, but the Irish claim him as their own. Nina was from Cappadocia, but she is known as the apostle to and enlightener of Georgia. Americans have their local Orthodox saints, as well, though quite limited in number. Return next week to see a localized All Saints’ Day icon.