All Souls Day

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Saint Of The Day

Today we pray for all those who have died. Although prayers for the dead are inscribed in some of the early Roman catacombs, it wasn't until about 636 that the Church began keeping this day officially. At first only dead monks were specially commemorated. Odilo, Abbot of Cluny (d 1049) extended the commemoration for 'all the dead who have existed from the beginning of time to the end of time.'

The custom was soon brought to England by the monastic communities. At least four ancient dedications are known - the most famous of which are All Souls College in Oxford and All Souls, Langham Place, in London.

On this day in many countries, families visit cemeteries. In Poland, on the evening of All Souls, all cemeteries will be glowing with candlelight and full of flowers.

See also: Meditation video on St Anthony of Padua for All Souls Day

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