Monday, November 01, 2010

The Feast of All Saints

From the Breviary according to the use of the Roman Curia, 1529, the beginning of a Carolingian homily commonly read on the feast of All Saints in the Middle Ages.
We read in the histories of the Church that Saint Boniface, who was the fourth bishop of Rome after the blessed Gregory, by his entreaties obtained from the Caesar Phocas that the temple of Rome which was called the Pantheon by the ancients should be given to the Church of Christ, since it seemed to be be as it were the image of all of the gods. In this temple, having cleaned away all the filth, he made a church in honor of the holy Mother of God and of all the holy Martyrs of Christ, so that, the multitude of demons being shut out, the multitude of Saints might be held in memory there by the faithful, and the whole people on the first of November might come together to the church consecrated in honor of all the Saints…therefore, from this custom of the Roman church, as the Christian religion grew, it was decreed that in the church of God built through the length and breadth of the world, the honor and memory of the Saints should be kept in the day we have mentioned, so that whatever human frailty by ignorance or negligence or occupation with the affairs of this world did less fully on the solemnities of the Saints, might be completed by this holy observance, and so that, protected by their patronage, we may be able to come to the joys of Heaven. Now therefore, dearest brethren, …we must praise and glorify Him who made all the Saints, through whom all things were made, through whom all parts of the world subsist, whose majesty beginneth not nor endeth.

Mass celebrated in the Pantheon on May 13, 2009, the fourteenth centenary of the building's dedication as a Christian church. Photo courtesy of John Sonnen.

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