SUNDAY, JUNE 19: As the first Sunday after Pentecost, it’s All Saints’ Sunday for Eastern Christians today. Although Christians have always honored martyrs, tradition has it that Byzantine Emperor Leo VI dearly loved his wife, Theophano, whose life ended before his: Since Theophano was deeply religious during her lifetime, her husband hoped that she would be among the virtuous after death. After having built her a church, Emperor Leo VI set aside a day to commemorate all saints—including, he hoped, his wife. (Wikipedia has details.)
The three Sundays following Pentecost, beginning today, are set aside to honor saints of all levels. In addition, many saints are unknown, so Orthodox Christians use this time to focus on saints whose names may or may not be recorded. (Read more from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.)
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Paschal season officially ends today.
Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online journal covering religion and cultural diversity.