The above warning was given to me when I first met Orthodoxy in 1986. Today [2009] it is even more perilous, even more difficult to find the Royal Path. For one thing there is a far greater abundance of misinformation. And many materials are missing, and other materials are being rapidly rewritten. For another thing there are fewer than ever guides remaining on the Royal Path, especially who speak English. Hopefully this website will be a place where Newcomers to the Faith can keep at least one foot on solid ground, while they are "exploring."

blog owner: Joanna Higginbotham


jurisdiction: ROCA under Vladyka Agafangel

who did not submit to the RocorMP union in 2007


24 October 2011

Halloween is a Pagan Feast

"the gods of the pagans are demons" ICor. 10:20, Dt. 32:17, Ps. 106:37

Orthodox don't participate in halloween activities

Orthodox halloween survival kit:
√ life of Jose Muños
√ about the Iveron icon
√ Akathist hymn [words]
√ Akathist hymn [melody]

The above links are just one way to survive halloween.  When we were at Fr. Gregory's, halloween passed unnoticed.  It is a Church feast day, and St. John of Kronstadt is the patron saint of the SJKP press.  We spent the evening at Vigil, and nobody gave a thought to what might be happening in town.

But Orthodox living on a cul-de-sac in a suburban neighborhood might not have it so easy.   I found myself [alone] in that situation one year.  I put the car in the garage, removed my pumpkins-gourds-mums decoration off the porch, locked up, turned off all the lights, pretended not to be home, and waited for the evil hours to pass.  It was kinda' fun, actually, but it is was not enough.

When we love somebody it hurts us to see them ignored or ridiculed.  It causes us to want to somehow make it up to them somehow.  Hiding in a dark house for an evening does not satisfy this pain of heart.  I wanted to make it up to God, somehow, however small, that He was being ignored and mocked by the creatures He loves most.  This is where the akathists come in.  While the unbelievers and ignorant are honoring the demons [even if they do so unawares], we can honor the saints.  

The children should enjoy pretending "nobody's home" and "hiding" safely with Mom & Dad in a darkened room with a candle burning before an icon or a cross, and having a life of a saint read to them.  Jose Muños' life is full of mystery: he was a secret monk who is the victim of an unsolved murder, just a few years ago. 

Do not think that halloween is a harmless celebration, "just a way to dress up and get candy," as an Episcopal priest once said to me.  I had this argument with a young man [now a monk in RocorMP] in 1999.  He didn't want to listen to me, but God showed him, in the grocery store in a check out line that was moving too slowly.   While waiting in line, the future monk picked up a Farmer's Almanac and thumbed through it .

He saw an article where the Almanac had taken a survey to see if Americans would like the idea of celebrating halloween on the Saturday nearest the 31st, rather than when the 31st falls on some day during the week.  The strong protests to this idea from the witches and satan worshippers – not to mess with their special day – was unexpected by the editors of the Almanac and by the future monk.  He then ceased his arguing with me about it.

Personally I have my own sadness over this day.  The witch who murdered my husband's first wife brags that she was initiated into her mother's coven on a halloween night, at age 12 [or 13?], outdoors, under a full moon, in the nude, by Aleister Crowley himself.   This was around 1967 in Alabama.  This witch, [highly accomplished – not a wiccan burning herbs] put many spells on my husband which either caused or contributed to his death.

Interesting piece on Aleister Crowley

Another saint for this day is St. Varus.  He is known for his prayers for the dead.

And, of course, we have St. John of Kronstadt.  I'm not that fond of his akathist which seems to be written for only Russians, but the canon in his matins service is nice.  It is available from SJKP  .  And readings from his book, My Life in Christ can be selected to suit the individuals at your gathering, this book also available by SJKP.

St. John of Kronstadt: Life, Service & Akathist Hymn
trans. Isaac Lambertsen
A "flagship" publication of the press, the Life of St. John here presented is designed for simplicity and ease of comprehension (though by no means a children's book!). The liturgical service and akathist hymn in his honor accompany the life. Thus under one cover are found both understanding and prayer, for those who wish to honor the blessed Father. This edition is especially well suited for giving to others some understanding of one who is rightly understood to have a special concern for the life of the Church not only in his native Russia, but in our native land as well -- he at one time felt called to the American mission, but the Church needed him worse at home.
Item# 2003. (DC: X) Paperbound. $5.00.
My Life in Christ
St. John of Kronstadt
Certainly one of the great spiritual classics. The fruit of years of spiritual struggle and pastoral ministry amongst the poor and downtrodden of a harbor town, St. John's diary speaks eloquently of every dimension of the spiritual life.
Item# 2428. (DC: R) Hardbound. $35.00
Item# 2429. (DC: R) Perfect-bound. $25.00