Amphilochios, Bishop of Iconium
The Divine Apostle, recounting the achievements of the Saints, and setting forth their memorial as an example for us to turn away from earthly things and sin, and emulate their patience and courage in the struggles for virtue, says, “therefore we also are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every burden, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb 12:1).
Guided by the teaching of the Holy Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition, we honour the Saints, who are friends of God who keep His commandments, are shining examples of virtue, and are benefactors of mankind. Of course, we honour the known Saints on their own day of the year. However, many Saints are unknown and their number increases with time, so the Church has appointed that once a year a common commemoration be made of all the Saints on All Saints Day. This is the harvest of the coming of the Holy Spirit into the world; it is the “much fruit” brought forth by that “Grain of wheat that fell into the earth and died” (John 12:24); it is the glorification of the Saints as “the foundation of the Church, the Gospel’s perfection, they who fulfilled in deed the sayings of the Saviour” (Sunday of All Saints, Doxasticon of Vespers).
Gregory, Bishop of Agrigentum
Saint Gregory, the son of pious parents named Chariton and Theodora, was born in Agrigentum, a city of Sicily, and was great in virtue from his childhood. He was baptized, brought up, and tonsured reader by Bishop Potamion during the reign of Justinian II, in the seventh century. At the age of eighteen he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where he was ordained deacon by Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem. He traveled to Constantinople, and then to Rome where he was consecrated Bishop of his native Agrigentum. As Bishop of Agrigentum he worked many miracles and shone brilliantly in virtue, but also suffered many great temptation; from the priests Sabine and Crescentius, who so envied him that they slandered him to the Pope as a fornicator and had him cast into prison for two and a half years. In the end, however, he vindicated himself by casting the demon out of the woman who had falsely accused him of committing sin with her. Saint Gregory reposed in peace in deep old age.
Apolytikion of Gregory, Bp. of Agrigentum in the First Tone
O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Thy gentleness: take not Thy mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.
Kontakion of Gregory, Bp. of Agrigentum in the Fourth Tone
With the Holy Spirit’s rays, which shine a great light, doth the Church illuminate the way of them that celebrate thy joyous falling asleep today, O righteous Father, supremely blest Gregory.
Afterfeast of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple
Apolytikion of Afterfeast of the Entry of the Theotokos in the Fourth Tone
Today is the prelude of God’s pleasure and the proclamation of man’s salvation. The Virgin is clearly made manifest in the temple of God and foretells Christ to all. Let us also cry out to her with mighty voice, “Hail, fulfillment of the Creator’s dispensation.”
Also celebrated today are:
- Dionysios, Patriarch of Constantinople
- Sisinios the Confessor
- Ischyrion, Bishop of Egypt