What is a saint? A boy went to church with his mother on a sunny Sunday morning. He was enthusiastic about the many colourful glass figures that the sun traced through the stained glass windows onto the floor and he excitedly asked his mother what this and that meant. She whispered that this was such and such a saint, and that was another. Some time afterward, in religion class, the teacher asked if anybody knew what a saint was. The excited boy, raising his hand, said "I do". "A saint is someone that the light shines through!" —Various versions of this popular story of unknown origins exist. Photo: P. Burghardt/Shutterstock
All Saints' or All Hallows' Day, the Solemnity of All Saints, commemorates all the unsung saints and martyrs throughout Christian history, those who have no designated feast day in the calendar but are believed to have attained the beatific vision of God in heaven. True believers are obliged to attend church and avoid menial labour. Established circa 609 by Pope Boniface IV as the Feast of All Holy Martyrs, it was originally celebrated on May 13, and later moved to November. About 835, Pope Gregory IV fixed its date to Nov. 1. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes it on the first Sunday after Pentecost.
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Diana Swift is an award-winning writer and editor with 30 years’ experience in newspaper and magazine editing and production. In January 2011, she joined the Anglican Journal as a contributing editor.
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