We begin the month on All Saints’ Day. The commemoration of All Saints originated in Ireland, and spread from there to England. After the late 6th C. arrival in England of St. Augustine of Canterbury, the Celtic commemoration of All Saints was learned on the Continent, being observed eventually in Rome by the ninth century. In the East, from the third century a day commemorating all martyrs had been observed. All Saints’ Day is the only principal feast on the Calendar that may be observed twice. It must be observed on its given date, but may also be observed on the following Sunday.
All Saints’ Day is not about all the saints whom we do not know about; they are normally remembered on 2 November, on which we commemorate All Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day). All Souls’ dates from the tenth century. It was abolished at the Reformation (in an attempt to correct the abuses attendant on the sale of Masses for the dead), but restored to the calendar in the twentieth century following a renewed appreciation of the universality of the Church as both Militant and Triumphant. (Cf. the eucharistic prayers in which we recite our communion with those in heaven.)
November also include feasts of uniquely Anglican witnesses, including Richard Hooker (3 November), who was instrumental in the development of Anglican identity, and is best remembered as the originator of the three leggèd stool of Scripture, Reason and Tradition. (Hooker actually never used the phrase, but the thinking is his.) On 14 November we remember the consecration of the first bishop in The Episcopal Church (Samuel Seabury, 1784.)
The month ends with the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, patron both of Scotland and Russia. Other November notables include: Leo the Great (Bishop of Rome, d. 461, feast 10 November); and the royal saints, Margaret of Scotland (11th C.), Elizabeth of Hungary (d. 1231), Edmund of Anglia (d. 870) and Kamehameha and Emma of Hawaii (19th C.). St. Cecilia, martyred late 2nd C.—early 3rd. C. (feast 22 November) was a Roman noblewoman who is considered the patron saint of musicians. Her feast falls this year on the same day as Thanksgiving. Clement of Rome (ca. A.D. 100, feast 23 November), an early pope, is remembered for his letter (Clement I), written in the style of the letters of Paul. The letter was important in instructing in doctrine, and was of such authority that the early Church debated including it in the Bible. Its inclusion in the canon of Scripture was rejected because the letter was not known widely enough outside of Greece (to whence it had been addressed).
The last Sunday of the month in this year also The Last Sunday after Pentecost, The Feast of Christ the King. Deuteronomy 10.17 refers to the LORD (using God’s proper Name) as “God of gods, and Lord of lords”. 1 Tim. 6.15 takes this formula and applies it explicitly to Jesus, in Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to fight the good fight! It is by our recognition and confession of Jesus’ universal kingship (Phil. 2.10) that we can continue in the good fight, and the final Sunday of the Church year recognizes this reality.