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All Saints’ Day

ALL SAINTS’ DAY (Lat. Festum omnium sanctorum): The first day of November. The Greek Church as early as the time of Chrysostom consecrated the Sunday after Whitsunday to the memory of all martyrs. The underlying idea of this festival is the same as that of All Saints’ Day, although no connection between the two can be shown. The origin of All Saints’ Day is obscure. It is said that Boniface IV. (608-615) made the Pantheon at Rome a church of Mary and all martyrs and that the commemoration of this dedication was transferred from May 13 to Nov. 1 (Durand, Rationale, vii., chap. 34). More probable is the view that the festival is connected with the oratory which Gregory III. (731-741) erected in St. Peter’s, “in which he laid the bones of the holy apostles and of all the holy martyrs and confessors, just men made perfect in all the world” (Liber pontificalis, Vita Greg. III., ed. Duchesne, i. 417). Traces of the festival are found in the Frankish kingdom at the time of the Carolingians, it was commended by Alcuin (Epist., lxxv.), and in the ninth century it became general. Luther did not approve of the festival, and Lutheran and Reformed churches do not observe it. The Church of England, however, and its branches retain it.

W. Caspari.

« Allon, Henry All Saints’ Day All Souls’ Day »
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