"We sing your praises, O Most Holy Virgin, Mother of Christ our God, and we glorify your all-glorious patronage." (Hymn of Praise from the Sixteenth Century)

  Among the Marian feasts listed in our Liturgical Year, the feast of the Patronage of the Most Holy Mother of God deserves special consideration. The cult of the Mother of God as the Protectress of our nation reaches like a golden thread from the times of the Kievan princes to the present day.

"We extol you, O Lifegiver Christ, and honor your venerable Cross, by which you saved us from the
slavery of the enemy."
(Hymn of Praise in the Matins Service of the Feast)

"The veneration of the Holy Cross of the Lord," -  says the Servant of God Andrew Sheptytsky in his pastoral letter on the Holy Cross — "is one of the most significant aspects of the worship of the God-Man... Signing ourselves with the sign of the Cross is one of the oldest customs of Christians."

  "We extol you, Apostles, Martyrs, Prophets and all Saints, and we honor your holy memory, as you pray for us to Christ our God."
  (Hymn of Praise of the Sunday of All Saints)

  The eighth Sunday after the Resurrection, that is, the first Sunday after Pentecost, is called the Sunday of All Saints. This feast completes the cycle of moveable feasts. On this day the Eastern Church pays particular veneration to all those who are the fruit of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  "On this day, that is, the Sunday of Pentecost," we read in the Synaxary of this Sunday, "we celebrate the feast of all Saints all over the whole world in Asia, Libya, Europe, in the north and in the south. Our holy Fathers instituted this feast and directed it to be kept after the feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, as if to set before us an example of how the coming of the all-Holy Spirit enabled them to attain sanctity. He made holy and all wise those who were of the same nature as we in order to give them the place forfeited by the fallen angels. Through Christ, he brought them to God - some through suffering and martyrdom; others through perseverance in the life of heroic virtue.
  The Deacon Constantine (6c) of Constantinople, in his sermon on the first Sunday after the descent of the Holy Spirit says: "The Greek Church, by a distinguished and very illustrious feast, honors the memory of those immortal flowers which the whole earth brings forth from that soil which is con tinuously refreshed by the flowing streams of the Holy Spirit."

  Celebrating the 9th Easter of his pontificate, Pope Francis delivered a homily at the Easter Vigil Mass, reflecting on what it means to go to Galilee, where the Risen Lord would precede His disciples.