Sunday of All Saints of Russia

Today is the feast of All Saints of Russia. A lot of righteous saints of different levels of holiness protected Rus, nurtured it spiritually, and elevated it to a high rank among other Christian nations.

The festive services at the Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery were held at the Trinity Cathedral. Presbyter Vladimir (Kargin), the senior priest of the monastery, presided.

The idea of the universal celebration of the Russian saints originated in the middle of the 16th century after the glorification of the host of Russian saints during Moscow’s Church Councils in 1547 and 1549. The first service honoring “new Russian wonderworkers” was complied by Monk Gregory of the Savior monastery of St Euphemius.

The first saints canonized by the Russian Church were the sons of Prince Vladimir, the holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb who suffered martyrs’ deaths at the hands of their brother Svyatopolk in 1015.  Their universal veneration preceded their canonization by the church and began immediately after the murder. Their incorrupt relics were uncovered in Kiev as early as 1020 and transferred to Vyshgorod where a church was erected in their name soon thereafter. In 1108, by request of Great Prince Svyatopolk, the church proclaimed their universal veneration as saints.

However, even before the official glorification of Holy Boris and Gleb as saints, the ancient Rus revered the Holy First Martyrs Theodore the Varangian and his son John (+983), the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Princess Olga (+969) followed by Great Prince St. Vladimir (+1015), the Evangelizer of Rus.

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