Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Brief History of Halloween for Orthodox Christians

By John Sanidopoulos

In one or two words, what do you think of when you hear the word Halloween? This is a question I once asked some Orthodox Christian children, and they responded with the following words: Trick-or-Treating, Candy, Costumes, Fall, Pumpkins, Orange, October, Fun, Scary Movies and Stories, Haunted Houses, Hay Rides, Corn Mazes. For the children, these were all seen as positive things, though some didn't like scary movies. When this was asked of Orthodox young adults and young parents, the answers were very similar, though some added that it was just a holiday for children. But when I asked some Orthodox Christian adults and clergy, sometimes I got a positive answer similar to those above, but other times words like "pagan" and "devil's holiday" and "commercialization" were added. Largely what you get is a positive outlook on the holiday, though some who don't like Halloween, or have outgrown it, especially as adults, tend to express their negative attitudes by demonizing it, even calling it evil, and they justify their opinions with a lot of falsehoods and misinformation that have very little to do with the truth. With this guide, I hope to clear things up in a short summary, without going into all the details.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Saint Who Starved and the Witch Who Devoured

In the Orthodox Church we commemorate a Saint on September 3rd who is relatively unknown to us, except for his name and how he died. His name is Saint Archontios, and he died as a martyr for Christ by being starved to death. The iambic verses composed in his honor in the Synaxarion of Constantinople poetically describes his martyrdom as follows:

Archontios starved and hence was worn out,
The ruler of this world is a noetic lamia.