Feast of the Holy Relics

Traditionally this feast of the holy relics is celebrated in association with the Feast of All Saints and its Octave. Sadly this feast is not found in the Anglican Breviary. For that reason the Collect and Lessons are provided below. The feast is ranked as a Greater Double and the Responses are taken from the II Nocturn of Many Martyrs (as are all the other propers for this office). A common date for its celebration is November 5th or the Sunday in the Octave of All Saints.

See: Abbot Posper Gueranger OSB, The Liturgical Year vol. 15.


Increase within us, O Lord, the faith of the resurrection, thou who workest wonders in the relics of thy Saints: and make us partakers of immortal glory, of which we venerate the pledges in their ashes. Through.

Lesson iv 

(St. John of Damascus, An Exposition on the Orthodox Faith, Bk. IV, chapter 15).

The Master Christ made the remains of the saints to be fountains of salvation to us, pouring forth manifold blessings and abounding in oil of sweet fragrance: and let no one disbelieve this. For if water burst in the desert from the steep and solid rock at God’s will Exodus 17:6 and from the jaw-bone of an ass to quench Samson’s thirst Judges 15:17, is it incredible that fragrant oil should burst forth from the martyrs’ remains? By no means, at least to those who know the power of God and the honour which He accords His saints.

Lesson v

In the law every one who touches a dead body was considered impure Numbers 19:11, but these are not dead. For from the time when He that is Himself life and the Author of life was reckoned among the dead, we do not call those dead who have fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection and in faith on Him. For how could a dead body work miracles? How, therefore, are demons driven off by them, diseases dispelled, sick persons made well, the blind restored to sight, lepers purified, temptations and troubles overcome, and how does every good gift from the Father of lights James 1:17 come down through them to those who pray with sure faith? How much labour would you not undergo to find a patron to introduce you to a mortal king and speak to him on your behalf?

Lesson vi

Are not those, then, worthy of honour who are the patrons of the whole race, and make intercession to God for us? Yea, verily, we ought to give honour to them by raising temples to God in their name, bringing them fruit-offerings, honouring their memories and taking spiritual delight in them, in order that the joy of those who call on us may be ours, that in our attempts at worship we may not on the contrary cause them offense. For those who worship God will take pleasure in those things whereby God is worshipped, while His shield-bearers will be wrath at those things wherewith God is angry. In psalms and hymns and spiritual songs Ephesians 5:19, in contrition and in pity for the needy, let us believers worship the saints, as God also is most worshipped in such wise. Let us raise monuments to them and visible images, and let us ourselves become, through imitation of their virtues, living monuments and images of them.

Fr. Gregory Wassen

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