According to Pope Urban IV, All Saints’ Day is a Catholic tradition created in memory of all the saints, both well-known and lesser-known, to make up for the feasts of the saints that the faithful may have missed throughout the year. What led to the development of this Catholic custom?
November 1 — All Saints’ Day Celebration
The anniversary of the death of a martyr was commemorated by the early Church. The common celebration was because groups of martyrs frequently died on the same day.
During the persecution of Diocletian, there were so many martyrs that no specific day could be set aside for them. However, the Church set aside a frequent day for all because it felt that each martyr deserved to be honored. The Sunday before Pentecost in Antioch is the first example of this.
St. Ephrem the Syrian also referred to this common feast in a sermon he delivered in 373.
Martyrs and St. John the Baptist
The first days were dedicated to honoring only the martyrs and St. John the Baptist.
When the standard canonization procedure was established, more saints were gradually added and, in early 411, a “Commemoratio Confessorum” for Friday was added to the Chaldean calendar of Eastern Christians.
Between 609 and 610, Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs, giving the Western Church the occasion to commemorate the event.
Gregory III (731-741) designated November 1 as the anniversary of the dedication of a chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica to all the saints. In the mid-ninth century, Gregory IV expanded the scope of the November 1 celebration to include the entire Church.
What exactly is a saint?
They are those who, according to the Catholic Church, strove to live as pleasing as possible in the eyes of the Lord.
The Supreme Pontiff, for someone to be declared a saint, must confirm their participation in miracles of the highest caliber and their heroic behavior throughout their life.
To determine if the candidate’s lifestyle was truly exemplary and qualified him to be named the first Servant of God, this title truly deserves a thorough examination. He is called Venerable if it is believed that heroic virtues also exist in him.
If he participates in a scientifically impossible miracle, he is considered Blessed. In addition, he is recognized as a Saint by the Pope if a new miracle for which he has prayed is discovered.
In addition to being a difficult process, the proclamation of a Servant of God as a Saint can take up to 100 years. It is even claimed that this day is especially dedicated to the many saints who have not yet received canonization.