On November 1, people throughout Slovakia, not only Roman Catholics, observe All Saints' Day – a day on which people gather in churches and cemeteries to pray for relatives who have passed away, the TASR newswire wrote. Priests in their sermons point to the saints as setting an example to Christians through their lives.
The history of the All Saints holiday goes back to the beginning of the 7th century when Pope Boniface IV converted the pagan Pantheon in Rome into a Christian church in the year 610 AD. He consecrated the church in honour of the Virgin Mary and all the saints who had been martyred in defence of the faith and the Catholic Church.
In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III declared November 1 to be All Saints' Day, the TASR newswire wrote. November 1 has been a state holiday in Slovakia since 1994. In the 10th and 11th centuries, All Souls' Day or the Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed was introduced to follow All Saints' Day.
It is based on the Catholic doctrine of purgatory, which states that the souls of the faithful who at death have not been cleansed from venial sins, or have not fully atoned for mortal sins, cannot yet attain the beatific vision but may be helped to do so by prayer and by the sacrifice of the Holy Mass. On November 2, priests usually appeal to people to repent and to avoid sin.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
2. Nov 2010 at 10:00