All Saints Day

On November 1, we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints, also known as Hallowmas and All Hallows. Today's feast honors all the saints of the Church, known and unknown, whose virtues and efforts in this life are considered to have earned them an eternal reward with God. On this day, Catholics are asked to reflect on holiness and sainthood and to celebrate the holiness of men and women who gave their lives in faithfulness and service to God, and whose witness continues to inspire us today.

Christians have been honoring saints and martyrs since at least the second century AD. Initially, the calendars of saints and martyrs varied by location, with churches honoring local saints. However, gradually feast days became more universal. The first reference to a general feast celebrating all saints occurred with St Ephrem the Syrian (d. AD 373). St. John Chrysostom (d. AD 407) assigned a day to the feast, the first Sunday after Pentecost, where in the Eastern Churches the feast is celebrated to this day.

In the West, this date was probably originally used, and then the feast was moved to May 13th. The current observance (November 1) originates from the time of Pope Gregory III (d. AD 741), and was likely first observed on November 1st in Germany.


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