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July 1, 2012

Synaxis of All Saints of Crete


Crete dances honoring with eulogies,
The honorable Holy God-bearers of the land.
Crete cries out to the all-famed chorus of Saints.

On the first Sunday of July the Orthodox Church celebrates the Synaxis of All Saints who shined brightly in Crete. Crete, throughout its history, has been blessed by God to have had many holy Christian personalities that were either born there or taught there.

Crete is a large island in the Mediterranean near the southern entrance to the Aegean Sea. It is a rugged mountainous region, once inhabited by a people whose reputation was less than ideal. A Greek philosopher, Epimenides (c. 600 B.C.), characterized the Cretans as perpetual liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons (Titus 1:12). Since Christianity arrived on the island, it has produced a chorus of saints of exemplary holiness for the past 2,000 years, and this is evidenced today by its numerous shrines and the piety of the people.

Christianity in Crete began with the arrival of the Apostle Titus, the first bishop of Crete ordained by St. Paul, together with the Apostle Paul, around 62 or 63 AD. From a consideration of the book of Titus, it is apparent that Paul visited Crete at some point following his first Roman imprisonment (Acts 28). Thus, a Greek convert of Paul’s (Galatians 2:3; Titus 1:4) had accompanied the apostle to the island and, in fact, was left there to assist in maturing the church, and to lend his opposition to certain false teachers (Titus 1:5-16). It is out of this background that Paul’s letter to Titus was written. The epistle provides needed instruction for the evangelist during his remaining time on the island.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
The glorious chorus, of all the Saints of Crete, forever enriches her, even to the new assortment of Athletes, let all of us sing reverent hymns, to the All Holy Trinity, worshiping the Father and the Son, together with the Holy Spirit: Glory to You all-blessed Trinity, glory to You in Your Saints, for through their intercessions we are saved.

Konakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Let us praise the fruits of the gospel, the well-formed chorus of Cretan Saints, as the tilled land of Titus the first-enthroned, who with the wealth of their boldness they save, from all misfortunes and circumstances, those who cry out: Rejoice honorable gathering.

Rejoice the chorus of Cretan Saints, the divine Apostles, Priests and Hierarchs, with the Martyrs and the Venerables, known and unknown cease not, to ever intercede for us to the Lord.