The Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of All Saints on the first Sunday after Pentecost. The parish in Fargo celebrated its Patron Saint Day – All Saints on this day, Sunday, June 30th. The name of our parish reflects our love for all of God's saints from all Orthodox jurisdictions and lands throughout the world.
The first Sunday after the Feast of Holy Pentecost is observed by the Orthodox Church as the Sunday of All Saints. This day has been designated as a commemoration of all of the Saints, all the Righteous, the Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Shepherds, Teachers, and Holy Monastics, both men and women alike, known and unknown, who have been added to the choirs of the Saints and shall be added, from the time of Adam until the end of the world, who have been perfected in piety and have glorified God by their holy lives. We also honor those saints who are known only to God, and have not been recognized officially by the Church. As we contemplate the lives of these saints, let us remember that we are also called by God to a life of holiness.
The present day of celebration of the feast of All Saints goes back at least to St. John Chrysostom, who in one of his homilies in Constantinople says that the commemoration of the Martyrs of the Universal Church was observed on the first Sunday after Pentecost.
The feast of All Saints achieved great prominence in the ninth century, in the reign of the Byzantine Emperor, Leo VI “the Wise” (886–911). His wife, Empress Theophano—commemorated on December 16—lived a devout life. After her death in 893, her husband built a church, intending to dedicate it to her. When he was forbidden to do so, he decided to dedicate it to “All Saints,” so that if his wife were in fact one of the righteous, she would also be honored whenever the feast was celebrated. According to tradition, it was Leo who expanded the feast from a commemoration of All Martyrs to a general commemoration of All Saints, whether martyrs or not.
The second Sunday after Pascha marks the close of the Paschal season. To the normal Sunday services are added special scriptural readings and hymns to All the Saints (known and unknown) from the Pentecostarion.
The Sunday of All Saints is celebrated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. The services of Vespers, Orthros, and the Divine Liturgy include Resurrectional hymns together with the hymns designated for the Sunday of All Saints.
Our parish has been blessed with a loving spiritual father, Antony Alekseyenko, who comes faithfully every month to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in Fargo. This Saturday, we were joined by other Orthodox faithful from Minneapolis who attended the celebration of the feast of All Saints in Fargo, ND. The services started on Saturday night with Vigil. Assisting Father Antony in serving the Divine Liturgy were Fr. ProtoDcn. Vasilii Gilliland. The choir sang under the direction of Natalia Kovaleva.
On Sunday morning, after the conclusion of Divine Liturgy, Fr. Antony lead a procession around the Church with the patronal icon of All Saints, which depicts our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ seated above the throne of heaven surrounded by the Saints. He blessed all the faithful who attended Liturgy and the procession.
A wonderful feast followed the divine services in the parish hall. May the example of All Saints and their prayers encourage and strengthen our souls.
-- A parishioner of All Saints Orthodox Church in Fargo, ND