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HALLOWEEN-what is it?

HALLOWEEN-what is it?

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Published by cetnikstankovic
A lecture from the Orthodox Priest.A MUST READ!!
A lecture from the Orthodox Priest.A MUST READ!!

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Published by: cetnikstankovic on Feb 16, 2014
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03/22/2015

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Hallo\ryeen
Orthodoxy
and
Secular
Culture
by
Father
John
Moses
A
talk given
at the 2004
Southern Missions Conference held
at
the
St.
John
of Shanghai
&
San
Francisco
Russian Orthodox
Chopel
(ROCOR) in
Mobile,Alabamo"
USA.On the evening before
October
19
(Noy.
2),
1964,the
Russian
Church Abroad
celebrated
the solemn
can-
onaation
of
Father John
of
Kronstadt,
whom VladykaJohn
Maximovitch
loved. Vladyka had
even been in-volved in compiling of
the service and akathist
to him.
A
group
of
Russians organized
on this night
a
Halloween
Ball.
When
the
All
Night
Vigil
celebrated
to
St.
John
of
Kronstadt
began,
many
people
were
absent,
to
the
great
sorrow
of
Vladyka.
After
the
service,
St.
John
went
to
the place where
the
ball
was being
held.
He
entered
the
hall
and
the
music
stopped
as
Vladyka,
in
absolute silence, glared
at the
people, and
with
his
staff
in
hand,
he slowly walked
around
the
entire hall.
He
didn't
speak,
but
the sight
of
Vladyka
brought
gen-
eral
consternation
to the
party
.
Vladyka left
but
the
next
day
in
church
he
called all to
the devout
Christian
life.
In
some
ways,
talking
to
an
Orthodox goup
about
Halloween
is like
what we
use
to
call
"preaching
to
the choir."
In
other words, non-participation
in
Hal-loween
should be a
"no-brainer." Yet,
I
believe
thatthe
issue
of
Halloween
is
an example
of
a
more
fundamen-
tal
struggle between
Orthodoxy
and
the
secular
spirit
of
our
age.
What
I
hope
to
accomplish in this
speech
is
for
us
to
begin
to
understand
the
cause
and
the
nafure
of
this
struggle and begin
to gain
some idea
of
how
to
deal
with
it.
Halloween
First,
on
the
slim
chance
that
some
of you
are
un-
familiar
with
its
origin,
I will
present
some
basic
facts
about Halloween.
Fr. Victor
Potapov relates
this
his-
tory:
"The
feast
of
Halloween
began among
the
Celtic
peoples
of
Britain,
Ireland,
and
northern
France.
These
pagan peoples
believed
that
physical
life
was
born from
lnnocence betrayed?
 
2
death. Therefore,
they
celebrated
the
beginning
of
the"new
year"
in
the
fall
(on the
eve
of
October 31 and
into
the day
of November
1),
when
they
believed, the
season
ofcold,
darkness, decay and death began.
The
Celts be-
lieved that
a
certain deity,
whom they
called
Samhain,
[pronounced
-
sow-in]
was the
Lord of
Death.
To
him
they
gave
honour
at
their New
Year's
festival
(N.8.
Sadly
Father
Victor's
explanation
of
the
origins of
Samhain,
which
is
widely
believed
by
mctny
consemative
Christian groups,
is
flawed.
Samhain
ISNOT
the name
of
a
Celtic god but rather
the
name
of
the day
heralding
the beginning
of
the northern
winterand the Celtic
new
yeor.
This confusion however
does
not
negate
in
any way opposition
to
celebrating
Hal-
loween
as
the
pagqn Celtic spiritual practices
cele-
brated
on this day, however
diluted or
sanitisedfor
con-
temporary
public
consumption,
are
in
total
contradic-
tion
to
Orthodox
Christian
belief.
Please
read
the
boxed
article
opposite
-
Ed.)
Many beliefs
and practices
were
associated
with
this
feast,
which
have
endured
to
this
current
time.
On
the
eve
of
the
New
Year's festival,
the Druids,
whowere the priests
of
the
Celtic cult,
inskucted
their
peo-
ple
to
extinguish
all
hearttr
fires
and
lights. On the
eve-
ning
of
the
festival ttrey
ignited
a
huge
bonfire builtfrom
oak branches,
which they
believed
to
be
sacred.
Upon this fire, they
offered
burnt
sacrifices
of
crops,
animals, and
even
human beings
to
appease
and cajoleSamhain,
the lord
of
Death.
They
also believed
thatSamhain,
being
pleased
by their faithful
offerings,
al-
lowed
the souls
of the
dead
to
return
to
homes
for
a
fes-
tal
visit
on
this
day.
This
belief
led
to
the
ritual
practice
of
wandering about
in
the dark
dressed
in
costumes
in-
dicating
ghosts,
witches, hobgoblins,
fairies and
de-
mons. The
living
entered
into fellowship
and
commun-
ion with
their
dead
by
this ritual
act
of
imitation,through
costume
and the wandering about
in
the
dark-ness, even as
the
souls
of
the
dead
were
believed to
wander.The
dialogue
of
"trick
or
heat" is
integral
to Hal-loween
beliefs
and
practices.
The
souls
of
the
dead
had
-
by
Celtic
trad-ition*-.
ilter€-d into
the
world
of
darkness, decay,
and
death.
They bore the
affliction
of
great
hunger
on their
festal
visit.
This belief
broughtabout
the practice
of
begging as another
Celtic
ritual
imitation
of
the
dead.
The implication was
that
any
souls
of
the
dead and
their
imitators
who
are
not
ap-
peased
with
"treats",
i.e.
offerings,
will
provoke
the
wrath
of
Samhain, whose angels and servants
(the
souls
and human
imitators) could
retaliate
through
a
system
of
"tricks"
or
curses.
One
radio
commentator takes great
fun
in calling Halloweeh,
"Begoween.o'
The
sacred
fire
was
the
fire of
the
New
Year
was
taken
home
to rekindle lights
and hearth
fires. This
de-
veloped
into the
practice
of
the Jack
O
Lantern
(in
the
U.S.A.;
a
pumpkin,
in
older
days other vegetables were
used),
which
was
carved
in
imitation
of
the
dead
and
used
to
convey
the new
light
and
fire to
the
home,where the lantern was
left burning throughout
the
night.
Divination was
also
part
of
this
ancient
Celticfestival.
After
the
fire
had died out the
Druids
examinedthe remains
of
the
main
sacrifices,
hoping
to
foretell
the
F
The
Voice
Samhain, contrary
to
what some
believe,
is
not
a
Celtic god
of
the
dead.
lnstead,
it
is a Celtic
word
meaning
'summe/s end.' The
Celts, likemany
other
cultures,
saw the dark
of
the day
or
year as
the
beginning.Thus their days began at sunset and the winter
half
of
the year, starting
on
November 1st,
was the
beginning
of their new
year,
just as
it is
now
for
many Wiccans or Pagans. The Celts were
a
pastoral people as opposed toan agricultural people. The end of summer was significant to them becauseit meant the time of
year
when the structure
of
their lives changed radically.
The
caftle
were
brought down
from the
summer pastures
in the
hills andthe people were gathered
into
the houses for the
long
winter nights
of
story
telling
and
handicrafts.
ln the
Druidic
calendar,
this was
the
time
when
baniers
between man and
the
supernatural were lowered. Fires were lit tohonour the descending sun god. On the eve
of
Samhain, the gates
of
theAbyss
were
unlocked
and
spirits
from
below
flew free.
Human souls thathad been trapped
in
the bodies of animals were released
by
the
Lord of
theDead and sent
to
their new incamations
Samhaimvqs
lle
winler
s€rason
rrf
fhe
,neient Celts-The
c.Flts
divided
the
year
Info four
quarters: Samhain (winter), lmbolc (spring),
Beltane(summe$, and Lughnasadh (autumn). The Celtic year began in November,with Samhain. The
Celts
wele
influenced principally
by
the lunar and stellarcycles
wtilch
govemed
the
agricultural year
-
beginning and ending
in
au-tumn when the crops have been harvested and the soil is prepared for the
winter.
Pronunciation
differs radically between different groups
of
Celticlanguage speakers.Samhain Eve, in Erse, Oidhche
Shamhna,
is one of the principal festi-vals
of the
Celtic calendar,
and
is thought to
fall on or
around the 31st
ofOctober.
lt
represents
the final harvest.
ln
modern
lreland,
the
name
bywhich Halloween
is
known
in
the
lrish language
is
still Oictre Sharnhna.Bonfires played
a
large
part
in the festivities. Villagers cast
the
bones
of the
slaughtered
caftle
upon
the flames.
(the
word
bonfire is thought toderive from
these'bone
fires.") With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extin-guished
all
olher
fires.
Each
family
then solemnly
lit their
hearth from thecommon flame, thus bonding the families
of
the village together.
Like most Celtic festivals,
it
was
celebrated
on
a
number
of
levels.
Mateilally speaking
it
was the time of
gathering
food for
the
long wintermonths ahead, bdnging people
and their
livestock
in to
their winter quar-ters.
To
be alone and missing at this dangerous time was
to
expose your-
self and your spirit to the
perils
of
imminent
winter.
ln
present
times
theimportance
of
this part of
the
festival
has
diminished for most people.
From
the point of view of a tribal people for whom
a
bad season meant facing
a
long winter of famine
in
which many would not survive to the spdng,
it
wasparamount.Samhain was also a time for contemplation. Death was never very
far
away, yet to die was not the tragedy it is in modern times. Of signal impor-tanceito the Celts people was
io
die with honour and
to
live
in
the
memoryof thd tribe and be honoured
at
the greal feast
(in
lreland this would have
been
the
Fleadh nan
Maihh
(Fea$.
of the
Dead))
wtrich took place
on
Samhain
Eve.
_ Thig
was
llg_nqst
rnagroal
tirne of the year;
Samhain
was the
daywhich
did
not exist. During
the
night the great shield of Skathach was low-
ered,
allowing
the baniers
between
the worlds to fade and the lorces
ofchaos
to
invade
the
realms
of
order, the material world conjoining with theworld
of
the dead.
At
this time
the
spirits
of
the dead and those yet
to
be
bom walked amongst the living. The dead could return to the places wherethey had lived
and
food and entertainment were provided
in
their honour.
ln
this
way the
tribes
were at
one
with its
past, pre$ent and future,
This
as-
pect
of
the
festival was
never
totally subdued by Christianity.
On
the level of cosmic event, the rising of Pleiades, the northem winterstars, heralded the supremacy
of
night over day, the dark hatf ruled by therealms
of
the
moon.
ln the three days
preceding
the
Samhain month
the
Sun
God,
Lugh,
maimed at Lughnassadh, dies by the hand of
his
Tanist (his other self), theLord
of
Misrule. Lugh traverses
the
boundaries
of the worlds on the
firstday
of
Samhain.
His
Tanist is
a
miser and though he shines brightly in the
winter skies he gives no warmth. and does not
temper
the
breath
of
theCrone, Cailleach Bheare, the north wind. ln this may be discemed the age-less battle between the
light
and
dark
and the cyclic nature
of
life and theseasons.
ln
parts of western Brittany Samhain is still
leralded
by
the
baking
of
komigou.
Kornigou
are
cakes baked in the shape
of
antlers
to commeme
rate
the
god of
winter
shedding his
"cuckold"
horns
as
he
returns
to
his
kingdom
in
the
Otherworld. When
the
Romans made contact
with
theCelts, they added their feast
of
the dead to Samhain.
 
Vol.
5
No.
2
October 2005
coming year's
events. The
Halloween festival
was
the
proper
night
for
sorcery,
fortune
telling,
divination,
games
of
chance,
and
Satan
worship
and
witchcraft
in
the later
Middle
Ages."
The
Church
responds
"In
the
strictly orthodox
early
Celtic
Church,
the
holy
Fathers
tried to
counteract
this
pagan
new
year fes-
tival
that
honoured
the
Lord
of
Death,
by
establishingthe
Feast
of
All
Saints
on
the
same
day.
(It
differs
in
theEast,
where the
Feast
of
All
Saints
is
celebrated
on
theSunday
followirg
Pentecost).
The custom
of
the CelticChurch was
for
the
faithful
Christians
to
attend a
vigil
service and
a morning
celebration
of
the
Holy
Eucha-
rist. This
custom
created
the
term
Halloween. The Old
English
of
"All
Hallow
E'en", i.e., the
eve
commemo-
rating
all
those
who
were hallowed (sanctified)
became
Halloween.
The
remaining
pagan and
therefore anti-Christian
people,
whose
paganism
had
be-
come deeply
in-
tertwined
with
the Occult,
Satan-
ism
and
Magic,
reacted
to
the
Church's
affempt
to
supplant their
festival
by
in-
creased
fervour
on
this
evening.
The
early
medie-
val
Halloween
became
the
su-
preme feast
of
the
Occult,
a
night
and day
witch-craft.,
demonism,
sorcery
and
Sa-
tanism
of
all
kinds.
Manypractic
e
s
in-
volved
desecra-
tion
and mockery
of
Christian practices and
beliefs.Costumes
of
skeletons
developed as
a
mockery
of
the
Church's reverence
for
Holy
Relics;
Holy
things
werestolen,
such
as
crosses and
the Reserved Sacrament,
arrd
used peryersely
in
sacrilegious
ways. The practice
of
begging became
a
system
of
persecution
to
harass
Christians
who
were, by
their beliofr,
unable
to partici-pate
with
offerings
to
those
who
served
the
Lord
of
Death.
The Western Church's attempt
failed,
to
supplant
this
pagan
festival
with
the
Feast
of
All
Saints."
Russian
Counterpart"The
ancient Slavic counterpart
to
Halloween inancient Russia was
Navy Dien'
(Old
Slavonic
for
the
dead
"nav'), which
was
also
called
Radunitsa and cele-
brated
in
the spring.
To
supplant
it,
the
Eastern Churchattached
this
feast
to
Easter,
for
celebration on
Tuesday
of
Saint Thomas'
Week
(second
week after
Easter). The
Church also
changed
the
name
of
the
feast
into
Ra-
3
donitsa,
from
Russian
"radost"
-
joy, of
Easter and
of
the
resurrection
from
the
dead
of
the
whole
manhood
of
Jesus
Christ.
Gradually
Radunitsa
yielded
to
Easter'sgreater importance and became
less
popular.
And
many
dark
practices
from
old
Russian pagan feasts
(Semik,
Kupalo,
Rusalia and
some aspects
of
the
Maslennitsa)
still
survived
till
the
beginning
of
our
century. Nowthey
are gone,
but the
atheist authorities
used
to try
to
reanimate them.
Another
"harmless" feast
-
May
1,
pro-claimed "the international worker's
day" is a
simple
re-
naming
the
old
satanic
feast
of
Walpurgis
Night
(night
of
April
30
into
the
day
of May
1),
the
yearly
demonicSabbath
during which
all
participants
united
in
"a fel-
lowship
of
Satar"."The
Modern
Context
when
we
try to
protest
to
our
neighbours, our
schools,
and
even
mmy of
our own
Orthodox
brethren
about the
origin
of
Halloween,
we
usually get
indiffer-
ence and hurnour.
Most
who
ob-
serve
Halloweenlaugh
at any
sug-
gestion
that
they
are
participating
in
evil,
or
hon-
ouring
Samhain,
or
entertaining
dead
spirits.
As
an
example,
let
me quote
from
an article
"Hallowing
Hal-
loween-Why
Christians
should
embrace
the
"devilish"
holiday
with
gusto-and
laughter.
"
by
Anderson
M.
Rearick
III.
Afterridiculing
various
statements
of
fel-
low
church members about
the evils
of
Halloween,
he
writes,
"l
have always considered
Halloween
a
day
tocelebrate
the
imagination,
to
become
for
a
short timesomething
wonderful
and
strange,
smelling
of
grease
paint,
to
taste
sweets
that
are permissible
only
once
a
year.
How
wonderfirl
to
be
with
other
children
dressed
up
as
what they
might
grow up
to
be,
what they
wished
they could
be,
or
even
what
they
secretly feared.
All
of
us,
dreams
and
nightmares,
were brought
together
onequal
footing, going
from
door
to
door
to
be
given
treats
and admired
for
our creativity.
How
delightful
to
go to
parties
with
doughnuts, apples,
brown cider,
and pump-
kin
cakes-and
to
hear spine-tingling ghost
stories
and
feel our
hearts
skip a
beat
when
the
teller
grabbed
for
us."
Dr.
Rearick
concludes
with
the
idea
that
we
shouldn't
abandon
Halloween
to
the dark
side
of
satan-
ists and Wiccans.
We
should
"reclaim the
season"
just
as
we did
with
Christmas. Therefore Halloween
can
be
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