REFORMATION / ALL SAINTS SUNDAY
October 30, 2016
8:30 a.m. Worship at The Lake Club ~ 10:30 a.m. Worship at The LOCC
“We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.” Hebrews 12:1
All Saints’ Sunday has within its roots the historic traditions of All Hallows’ Day,
All Saints’ Day and All Souls Day. And yes, the day is a cousin to All Hallows’ Eve – or Halloween as it has come to be known. Hallow, in Old English, means “holy” or “sacred.” Therefore, “Hallows’ Eve,” or “Halloween” simply means “the evening of holy persons” and refers to the evening before All Saints’ Day, which is November 1 currently.
In the early years when the Roman Empire persecuted people of faith, so many martyrs died for their faith that the Church set aside special days to honor them. For example, in 607 Emperor Phocas presented to the pope the beautiful Roman Pantheon temple. The pope removed the statues of Jupiter and the pagan gods and consecrated the Pantheon to “all saints” who had died from Roman persecution in the first three hundred years after Christ. Many bones were brought from other graves and placed in the rededicated Pantheon church. Since there were too many martyrs for each to be given a day, they were lumped together into one day. In the next century, All Saints Day was changed by Pope Gregory III to the date we currently observe – November l. People prepared for their celebration with a night of vigil on Hallows’ Eve — Halloween (possibly because of the strong holdover influence of the Celtic Samhein festival which many Christians in Ireland, Britain, Scotland, and Wales had continued to observe).
In the 10th century, Abbot Odela of the Cluny monastery added the next day – November 2nd – as “All Souls” Day to honor not just the martyrs, but all people of faith who had died. The combination of these two days and commemorations is now known to many as All Saints’ Sunday.