We prepare to celebrate All Saints of North America this Sunday. The hymnography is mostly fine, but needs two major updates. One, relatively easy to fix: it is quite limited in the names it mentions, probably a product of when the service was written. That is fairly easy to fix, and not necessitating a mention of every name, for that would also soon be out of date, but to focus on more prominent or categorical additions.
The second issue needing an update is that that the wording of the service in its current form has in mind only immigrant saints, and we need to see that this is a living faith which has produced and continues to produce saints among the native-born people of the Americas. Within that issue, it is also a problem that though “men and women” is mentioned in various places, it still sounds past-tense, speaking of the immigrants; though we do not have canonized women saints in America, yet, we must intentionally commemorate the women among the all-saints of our lands, for All Saints is all about the saints we do not know about. Just think Matushka Olga.
So, here is a taste of how we could update the hymnography. This hymn, in the “Lord, I Call” section of the service, has examples of both of those types of updates, though some changes are just to make it fit more smoothly with the music:
ORIGINAL: Rejoice, O continent of North America, illumined by the Holy Gospel. Rejoice, every province, state, city, and town, which raised up citizens of the heavenly Kingdom. Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman, first saint of our land. Rejoice, O Martyrs Juvenaly and Peter, for your blood hast watered the seed of faith planted in Alaska. Rejoice, O holy hierarchs: Innocent, Tikhon, and Nikolai. Rejoice, O Holy Father Alexis and ye righteous priests. Rejoice, all ye saints of North America, for your light has shone forth to the ends of the earth. We beseech you to pray to Christ our God that our souls may be saved.
UPDATED: Rejoice, O continent of North America, illumined by the holy Gospel. Rejoice, every state and province, every city and town, for your men and women raised up to the heavenly kingdom. Rejoice, O venerable father Herman, first saint of our land. Rejoice, O martyrs Juvenaly and Peter, for your blood hath watered the seed of faith first planted in Alaska. Rejoice, O holy bishops: Innocent, Tikhon, Raphael, Nikolai, and John. Rejoice, O holy Alexis, Sebastian, Jacob, and all ye righteous priests. Rejoice, all ye holy ones of North America, for your light has shone forth to the ends of the earth. We beseech you to pray to Christ our God that our souls may be saved.