All Souls Day

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In the New Testament “the saints” means all “Christian believers”, that is, all members of the church. But gradually the title “saint” came to mean the heroes and martyrs of the faith, and All Saints’ Day came to be regarded as day of commemeration for them.

Odilo, the abbot of Cluny in the first half of the 11th century, provided for a commemoration for all the ordinary Christian, faithful departed, especially those in our own families. Thus All Souls Day occurs annually on the day following All Saints Day and this Benedictine tradition spread throughout the church.

The feast was abolished in England at the Reformation, but has been restored to many Anglican Calendars. So today we remember those in our own families who have gone to their reward and 'when the roll is called up yonder, will be there'. Our ancestors who faithfully handed down the faith to us. Those in that great crowd of witnesses, watching and praying, patiently waiting for us to join them.