Gregory the Wonderworker & Bishop of Neo-Caesarea
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).