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  • virginiabrasov
    Nov 2 10:57 AM

      I found this article very clear:

      ***Lest anyone think that the Orthodox Church endorses
      the "celebration" of Halloween, consider, please, the following
      homily from the web site of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St.
      John the Baptist (ROCOR) in Washington, DC

      http://www.stjohndc .org/russian/ Homilies/ e_HOMHALWN. HTM

      Concerning Halloween

      … Because most of us are either newly Orthodox or newly aware of
      our Orthodoxy, we must carefully examine every aspect of our
      involvement in the world – its activities, festivals, associations,
      and societies – to be certain whether or not these involvements are
      compatible with our Holy Orthodox Faith. This difficult task can
      lead to some pain when we realize that we cannot take part in some
      popular organizations and activities.

      Most of our schools, local community organizations, and
      entertainments in television, radio and the press will share in and
      capitalize upon the festival of Halloween. But Orthodox Christians
      cannot participate in this event at any level. The simple issue –
      Fidelity to God and the Holy Orthodox Christian Faith. Halloween has
      its roots in paganism, and it continues as a form of idolatry to
      worship Satan, the angel of death. As we know, the very foundation
      of our Holy Church is build upon the blood of martyrs who refused
      despite painful penalties to worship, venerate, or pay obeisance in
      any way to the idols who are Satan's angels. Because of the
      faithfulness, obedience, and self-sacrifice of the Holy Martyrs, God
      poured out abundant Grace upon His Holy Church, whose numbers
      increased daily. The persecution did not stem the spread of faith.
      Differing from the world's values, humble faithfulness and obedience
      to God were the very strength of their life in Christ, Who gave them
      true spiritual peace, love and joy, and participation in the
      miraculous workings of His Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Holy Church
      calls us to faithfulness by our turning away from falsehood toward
      Truth and eternal life.

      We can stay away from the pagan festival of Halloween if we
      understand the spiritual danger and history of this anti-Christian

      The feast of Halloween began in pre-Christian times among the Celtic
      peoples who lived more than 2,000 years ago in what is no United
      Kingdom, Ireland, and northern France. These pagan peoples believed
      that physical life was born from death. Therefore, they celebrated
      the beginning of the "new year" in the fall (on the eve of October
      31 and into the day of November 1), when, as they believed, the
      season of cold, darkness, decay and death began. The Celts believed
      that a certain deity, whom they called Samhain, was the lord of
      death. To him they gave honor at their New Year's festival.

      From an Orthodox Christian point of view, many diabolical beliefs
      and practices were associated with this feast, which have endured to
      this current time. On the eve of the New Year's festival, the
      Druids, who were the priests of the Celtic cult, instructed their
      people to extinguish all hearth fires and lights. On the evening of
      the festival they ignited a huge bonfire built from oak branches,
      which they believed to be sacred. Upon this fire, they offered burnt
      sacrifices of crops, animals, and even human beings to appease and
      cajole Samhain, the lord of death. They also believed that Samhain,
      being pleased by their faithful offerings, allowed the souls of the
      dead to return to homes for a festal visit on this day. This belief
      led to the ritual practice of wandering about in the dark dressed in
      costumes indicating ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, fairies and demons.
      The living entered into fellowship and communion with their dead by
      this ritual act of imitation, through costume and the wandering
      about in the darkness, even as the souls of the dead were believed
      to wander.

      The dialogue of "trick-or-treat" is integral to Halloween beliefs
      and practices. The souls of the dead had – by Celtic tradition –
      entered into the world of darkness, decay, and death, and made total
      communion with and submission to Samhain, the lord of death. They
      bore the affliction of great hunger on their festal visit. This
      belief brought about the practice of begging as another Celtic
      ritual imitation of the activities of the souls of the dead on their
      festal visit. The implication was that any souls of the dead and
      their imitators who are not appeased with "treats", i.e. offerings,
      will provoke the wrath of Samhain, whose angels and servants (the
      souls and human imitators) could retaliate through a system
      of "tricks" or curses.

      The Orthodox Christian must understand that taking part in these
      practices at any level is an idolatrous betrayal of our God and our
      Holy Faith. For if we imitate the dead by dressing up in or
      wandering about in the dark, or by begging with them, then we have
      willfully sought fellowship with the dead, whose Lord is not a
      Celtic Samhain, but is Satan the Evil One, who stands against God.
      Further, if we submit to the dialogue of "trick-or-treat," our
      offering goes not to innocent children, but rather to Samhain, the
      Lord of Death whom they have come to serve as imitators of the dead,
      wandering in the darkness.

      We must stay away from other practices associated with Halloween,
      the eve of the Celtic New Year festival. The Druid priests used to
      instruct their faithful to extinguish their hearth fires and lights
      and to gather around the fire of sacrifice to make their offerings
      and to pay homage to the Lord of Death. This sacred fire was the
      fire of the new year, to be taken home to rekindle lights and hearth
      fires. The sacred New Year's fire developed into the practice of the
      Jack-o'-lantern (in the U.S.A. a pumpkin, in older days other
      vegetables were used), which was carved in imitation of the dead and
      used to convey the new light and fire to the home, where the lantern
      was left burning throughout the night. Even the use and display of
      the Jack-o'-lantern honors the Samhain, the Celtic god of death.
      Orthodox Christians cannot share in this Celtic activity, but must
      counter the secular customs by instead burning candles to the
      Savior, the Most Holy Mother of God, and to all the Holy Saints.

      Divination was also part of this ancient Celtic festival. After the
      fire had died out the Druids examined the remains of the main
      sacrifices, hoping to foretell the coming years events. The
      Halloween festival was the proper night for sorcery, fortune
      telling, divination, games of chance, and Satan worship and
      witchcraft in the later Middle Ages.

      In the strictly Orthodox early Celtic Church, the holy Fathers tried
      to counteract this pagan new year festival that honored the Lord of
      Death, by establishing the Feast of All Saints on the same day. (It
      differs in the East, where the Feast of All Saints is celebrated on
      the Sunday following Pentecost). The custom of the Celtic Church was
      for the faithful Christians to attend a vigil service and a morning
      celebration of the Holy Eucharist. This custom created the term
      Halloween. The Old English of All Hallow e'en, i.e., the eve
      commemorating all those who were hallowed (sanctified) became

      The remaining pagan and therefore anti-Christian people, whose
      paganism had become deeply intertwined with the Occult, Satanism and
      Magic, reacted to the Church's attempt to supplant their festival by
      increased fervor on this evening. The early medieval Halloween
      became the supreme feast of the Occult, a night and day witchcraft,
      demonism, sorcery and Satanism of all kinds. Many practices involved
      desecration and mockery of Christian practices and beliefs. Costumes
      of skeletons developed as a mockery of the Church's reverence for
      Holy Relics; Holy things were stolen, such as crosses and the
      Reserved Sacrament, and used perversely in sacrilegious ways. The
      practice of begging became a system of persecution to harass
      Christians who were, by their beliefs, unable to participate with
      offerings to those who served the Lord of Death. The Western
      Church's attempt failed, to supplant this pagan festival with the
      Feast of All Saints.

      The ancient Slavic counterpart to Halloween in ancient Russia was
      Navy Dien' (Old Slavonic for the dead "nav"), which was also called
      Radunitsa and celebrated in the spring. To supplant it, the Eastern
      Church attached this feast to Easter, for celebration on Tuesday of
      Saint Thomas' Week (second week after Easter). The Church also
      changed the name of the feast into Radonitsa, from Russian "radost" -
      joy, of Easter and of the resurrection from the dead of the whole
      manhood of Jesus Christ. Gradually Radonitsa yielded to Easter's
      greater importance and became less popular. And many dark practice
      from old Russian pagan feasts (Semik, Kupalo, Rusalia and some
      aspects of the Maslennitsa) still survived till the beginning of our
      century. Now they are gone, but the atheist authorities used to try
      to reanimate them. Another "harmless" feast – May 1, proclaimed "the
      international worker's day" is a simple renaming the old satanic
      feast of Walpurgis Night (night of April 30 into the day of May 1),
      the yearly demonic Sabbath during which all participants united
      in "a fellowship of Satan".

      Paganism, idolatry and Satan worship–How then did things so
      contradictory to the Holy Orthodox Faith gain acceptance among
      Christian people? The answers are spiritual apathy and listlessness,
      which are the spiritual roots of atheism and turning away from God.
      In society today, one is urged to disregard the spiritual roots and
      origins of secular practices when the outward practices or forms
      seem ordinary, entertaining, and harmless. The dogma of atheism
      underlies many of these practices and forms, denying the existence
      of both God and Satan. Practices and forms of obvious pagan and
      idolatrous origin are neither harmless nor of little consequence.
      The Holy Church stand against them because we are taught by Christ
      that God stands in judgment over everything we do and believe, and
      that our actions are either for God or against God. Therefore, the
      customs of Halloween are not innocent, but are demonic, precisely as
      their origins prove.

      There are evil spirits. Devils do exist. Christ came into the world
      so that, through death, He might destroy him that had the dominion
      of death, that is, the Devil (Hebrews 2:14). Christians must see
      that our greatest foe is the Evil One who inspires nations and
      individuals to sin, and who keeps them from coming to the truth.
      Until we know that Satan is our real enemy, we can make little
      spiritual progress. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
      but against principalities, against powers, against the world rulers
      of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual hosts of
      wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).

      Today we witness a revival of satanist cults and special satanic
      ceremonies on Halloween night. Everywhere Satan reaches out to
      ensnare more innocent people with spiritualism, supernatural
      phenomena, seances, prophesies and all sorts of demonically inspired

      Divine Providence ensured that St. John of Kronstadt, that physician
      of our souls and bodies, should have his feast day on the very day
      of Halloween, a day the world dedicated to the destroyer, corrupter,
      and deceiver of humanity. God has provided us with this powerful
      counterpoise and weapon against the snares of Satan, and we should
      take full advantage of this gift, for truly God is wonderful in His

      Archpriest Victor Potapov