We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, and we respect and honor with gratitude the land itself, the legacy of the ancestors, and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Donate to Giving Tuesday, 2023 for the Village Harvest

How we are meeting the challenge?


1. Donating online. Click the “Donate button” to donate to Giving Tuesday in honor of the Village Harvest on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.

2. You can also send a check by mail or donate on Sunday in the plate:

St. Peter’s Church P. O. Box 399 Port Royal, Virginia 22535

We thank you for your donation to support our Village Harvest Food Ministry, now beginning its 10th year in November, 2023.!

Photos, Patawomeck Village tour, Nov. 8, 2023, Sacred Ground

(full size gallery)

Tour notes are here

St. Peter’s Sacred Ground group had a wonderful fall tour of the Patawomeck Indian settlement just east of Fredericksburg on Route 17 on Nov. 8, 2023. The goal of the visit was to understand their history and culture as well as our role as well. They are one of 11 tribes recognized by Virginia.

There is the 1915 home originally owned by Duff Green that has two rooms of history plus an outside village that opened just this year in July. It is a “work in progress”. The tribe did most of the work to repair the house and create the village.

The tribe originally settled in North Stafford but moved south when Quantico took some of the land. The Indians played a major role in helping the Jamestown colony survive during the winter of 1609-1610 (“the starving time”). Unfortunately, the English did not return the favor but pushed them out. A group settled near us in Port Royal from 1750 to 1820 when they then moved to the Little Falls area of Stafford County and coalesced. There are 2,500 in the tribe today. Thanks to Brad Hatch, a member of tribe and Tribal Council for his tour. An excellent tour and definitely a site worth visiting!

Summary of Diocesan Convention, Fri. Nov 5 from Andrea Pogue

The topic for Friday was “Closing the Gap between religion and life” How do we close it? It was led by Bishop Stevenson and guest speaker Dr. Catherine Meeks

They talked about reparations, racism, church declining numbers, and young people.

1 Reparations are not only associated with money but is about relationship with one another, acknowledging the wrong that was done, the struggles that we are still facing, haves and haves-nots which are for the most part due to the color of their skin.
2. Race. In the church, the community is diverse. One person spoke about their community as more than 50% Afro-Americans but only 17% in church. Are we not approachable? Is our faith keeping people away? Let’s do something about that.
3. Decline in church – Bishop Stevenson mentioned a church that had declined to 15 members, 4 -5 years ago. Now -5 years later they have 40 members in the church. That’s awesome!

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Videos, All Saints Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023

1. Prelude – “For All the Saints”

2. Opening Hymn – “I sing a song of the saints of God”

3. Hymn of praise – “Ye watchers and holy one”

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The Beatitudes

“Sermon on the Mount” – Carl Bloch

The Sermon on the Mount is the beginner’s guide to the kingdom of heaven according to Amy-Jill Levine’s book of the same topic.  

Matthew 5:1 tells us that the Sermon is not delivered to outsiders; it’s delivered to four disciples, insiders who have already left their homes and their families in order to follow this Galilean charismatic healer and teach. They could be considered “Jesus Greatest Hits, according to Levine.”<

Jesus begins with a series of nine statements called beatitudes, from the Latin term for “blessed.   /p>

Jesus’ words describe the life that believers are to live in relation to one another and to the world.

The Beatitudes, the Gospel for All Saints, Year A begin the Sermon in a manner similar to the way the Ten Commandments introduce the law, so that the analogy to Matthew’s mountain may well be Sinai, with Jesus re-presenting the law as the “New Moses.” There is an A/B pattern of characteristics of the believer with the reward they will receive:

Poor in spirit -> will receive the kingdom of heaven
Mourn -> will be comforted
Meek -> will inherit the earth
Hunger for righteousness –>will be filled
Merciful -> will receive mercy
Pure in heart-> will receive God
Peacemakers-> will see God
Persecuted -> theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Reviled -> will receive blessings

Levine’s book concentrates on the first 3 and summarizes the others:

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Sunday Links, Nov. 5, 2023

A feast Day- All Saints Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023

  • Web site
  • YouTube St. Peter’s Page for viewing services
  • Facebook St. Peter’s Page
  • Location – 823 Water Street, P. O. Box 399, Port Royal, Virginia 22535
  • Sun. Nov. 5 2023, 11am Church service – Eucharist Live or YouTube St. Peter’s Page
  • Lectionary link for Nov. 5, All Saints Sunday

  • Serving – Holy Eucharist
    Lector: Cookie Davis
    Chalice Bearer: Johnny Davis
    Altar Cleanup: BJ Anderson
  • Sun. Nov. 5 2023, 12PM Coffee Hour
  • ECM Thanksgiving Donations due Nov. 5
  • Write a check to “ECM Thanksgiving”

  • Ecumenical Bible Study, Wed., Nov. 8 10am-12pm, Parish House Reading Lectionary for Nov 12, Pentecost 24
  • Patawomeck Tour, Wed., Nov. 8, 2:30pm, 638 King’s Highway, Fredericksburg, VA 22405. Purchase ticket online ahead – $10 or $8 senior citizen, age 65+. Please let Catherine know you are coming.
  • Planning Meeting for 2024, Thurs., Nov. 9, 7pm on Zoom. What would like to see on our church calendar? What do you think we should be doing? All are welcome to attend.  Zoom linkMeeting ID: 865 8692 9772 Passcode: 408230
  • All articles for Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023
  • Nov., 2023 newsletter
  • Looking ahead…

  • Stewardship pledges for 2024 are due by Sun., Nov 19th. By pledge (Estimate of Giving) card or online

  • Sun., Nov 26, 3:30 PM Advent workshop. Families, come make a family Advent wreath. Cost to cover supplies will be announced. Kids can make nativity scenes, pinecone bird feeders and decorate cookies
  • All Saints Day

    All Saints Sunday


    In our Baptismal Covenant we, along with traditional Christians around the globe, profess in the ancient Baptismal Creed the words: “I believe in… the communion of saints, … the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.” (Book of Common Prayer, page 304)

    From its very beginning, the Church understood the Body of Christ to encompass all baptized persons, both the living and the dead. Christ’s kingdom transcends time and space; and not even death can sever the relationship that the faithful have in Christ.

    All are united in a mystical communion with Christ by virtue of baptism (1 Corinthians 6:11). The term saint was used by Paul to designate all baptized Christians (Romans 1:7; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1), even the unruly ones (1 Corinthians 1:2)!

    In the New Testament, all those who believe and were baptized were referred to as saints. The word saint originally meant "holy".

    On All Saints Day, we make celebrate this idea in the here and now by recognizing and celebrating our relationship, not only with those around us today, but also with all those who have gone before us in all times and place. They are connected in one communion. 

    All Saints is also a time for welcoming new members. Traditionally baptisms are held in the Episcopal Church at the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord,  Easter, Pentecost,  and All Saints. 

    It wasn’t until round about the third century that the church began using the word saint to refer to those who had been martyred for the faith

    The early Church especially honored martyrs, those who had died for their faith. Praying for the dead is actually borrowed from Judaism, as recorded in 2 Maccabees 12:41-45 of the Apocrypha.

    Local churches kept a record of their own martyrs and each year celebrated their “birthdays,” the dates of death when they were “born” into eternal life.

    By the fourth century many parts of the Church had set a day of observance for their martyrs, their confessors (those who had been punished for their faith but did not die), and their virgins, all of those known by name and unknown.

    The celebration of All Saints’ Day on November 1 began as a feast day commemorating all martyrs, confessors and virgin, including those whose names were not known. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV officially established All Saints’ Day in order to honor all the saints at one time.

    It was originally celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost, and the Eastern Church still observes this date. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III moved it to November 1.

    The confusing aspect of saints is that we have many saints that we honor on specific days. However, there are many unknown or unsung Saints, who may have been forgotten. On All Saints’ Day, we celebrate these Holy Ones of the Lord, and ask for their prayers for us.

    Since they are endowed with holiness, saints are close to God, and may perform miracles on earth. Roman Catholics, and some other Christians, honor saints and ask them for guidance in daily life.

    Not only is All Saints an occasion on which we might celebrate this communion of saints with prayer, it is also a reminder of God’s desire to sanctify the lives of all God’s people. Too often Christians have used the term saint to describe only those of extraordinary sanctity who have been officially recognized (canonized) by the Church.

    But the life of each Christian is to radiate the love of God given to us in Christ so that all the world might know that this love transforms lives.

    Lectionary, Pentecost 23, Year A, All Saints

    I.Theme – Experience of God’s salvation allows to consider life with the perspective of faith and to celebrate all the saints. The way of life should be based on the Gospel reading, the Beatitudes.

     "Sermon on the Mount"– Henrik Olrik (1860) Denmark

    The lectionary readings are here  or individually:

    First Reading – Revelation 7:9-17
    Psalm – Psalm 34:1-10, 22 Page 627, BCP
    Epistle –1 John 3:1-3
    Gospel – Matthew 5:1-12

    The readings this week provide guidelines how saints should live their lives – in the present based on the Beatitudes while mindful that life isn’t easy, persecution abounds but that we live in God’s presence and that the hope of salvation remains.

    The larger context of Revelation 7:9-17 is the opening of the seven seals (Revelation 6:1-8:5), which describe apocalyptic catastrophes that will accompany the close of this age. Revelation 7 is often described as an interlude between the sixth (Revelation 6:12-17) and seventh (Revelation 8:1-5) seals.

    The chapter separates between a description of the Church being persecuted at the close of the present age (vv. 1-8), and a picture of the Church in heaven in the new age after the saints have passed through the period of persecution (vv. 9-17). These portraits of the Church have been contrasted by past interpreters as the Church militant in the present age and the Church triumphant in the age to come. The lectionary lesson for All Saints Day is the latter half of chapter 7, the picture of the Church triumphant in the age

    The passage presents a vision of God’s eternal presence which is both profoundly Christ-centered and universal in its scope. It consists of a conversation between “one of the elders” and John, the author of the Revelation, giving details of what John saw in his vision and why the vast multitude from every nation is to gather before the throne of God.

    At the close of the age they were the ones who were persecuted (v. 14), and they now live in the eschatological age (vv. 15-17). The power of this text lies precisely in this discontinuity, for it states that our experience in this world cannot be a reliable indicator of the character of God or even of the quality of our salvation.

    All Saints is a celebration of the same mysterious, sovereign power of God, for in commemorating the dead we are in fact celebrating life. This feast is in many ways an affront to our everyday experience, because in celebrating it, we share in John’s end-time vision

    The good news of Revelation 7:9-17 was that God’s salvation is better than anything that we might experience in our everyday lives. The central metaphor used to convey this message was that God can make white from red, salvation from blood and persecution.

    The Psalm is a response to the Revelation reading. The main purpose of the psalm is to celebrate with gratitude the saving power of Yahweh. It expresses great confidence and trust in Yahweh’s special care for the righteous. 

    Viewed from a wider perspective, the psalm points to the constant mercy and love with which Yahweh watched over and delivered Israel from innumerable disasters. At the same time it draws more attention to the individual believer who trusts in Yahweh than to the nation as a whole. This too has been the attitude of saintly Christians through many generations.

    The psalm has been chosen for All Saints Sunday because of the reference to the "saints" in v. 9 (NRSV translates the Hebrew "you his holy ones"). The reference to the people of God as saints is unusual in the Old Testament, because this term usually refers to supernatural beings. This is probably the only reference where the people of God are identified as the saints.

    The psalm is concerned with the experience of God’s salvation. The exploration of salvation is done in the first person in v. 4, when the psalmist recounts an experience of deliverance, and it is repeated in v. 8 when the other worshipers are encouraged to taste and to see that the Lord is good.

    With a deep understanding of God’s ultimate purpose for the end of history, the Epistle of John attempts to describe just what we shall be like and how that will come about. He declares the simple faith that because God loves us and because we are the children of God, in the end we shall be like God. He spoke in spiritual terms, of course, which means that we shall be spiritual as God is Spirit. 

    The 1st Epistle of John contains many references to a congregation of Christians being under severe threat by a dissident group. These dissidents may have been either Greeks who rejected Jesus as a truly human person or Hebrews who rejected Jesus as the divine Messiah; or both. The epistle came from a time near the end of the 1st century CE, when those who believed in Jesus Christ and followed the Christian way had to be both clear about their faith and strong in their commitment.

    Because of the challenges they encountered every day from both imperial authorities and public hostility, they could never know when their faith would bring them face to face with death.

    The dissident members of their own congregation proclaimed a false teaching which sought to undermine the true understanding of the person and redemptive work of Christ. The dissidents broadcast far and wide that Jesus was not the Christ and therefore could not be the Saviour. How was it possible for them to maintain their commitment under such circumstances?

    They could be certain of only one thing: that they were loved by God; they were God’s holy children. A life rooted and grounded in love would bring them to the only worthwhile end. Whatever fate might bring upon them, and in particular rejection or even martyrdom for their faithfulness, they were constantly reassured that they would not only be with God, but would be like God.

    The Gospel reading is Matthew’s account of the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes set forth how Jesus saw those who are to inherit the reign of God’s gracious, redemptive love. While this description may seem to project beyond current reality into a far distant future, it also set forth a value system on the basis of which we can live from day to day because that reign of God has already begun. This is the way of life lived by the saints now and eternally. 

    The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 is a collection of sayings Jesus may have uttered at different times and places, rather than delivered all at once in a single discourse.  These have been influential over time. Dr. King often pointed out that it was Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount that inspired the "dignified social action" of the civil rights movement. His notion of "creative suffering" – borne by civil rights activists who endured persecution and police brutality – came from his Christian faith in the redemptive suffering of Jesus.

    The Beatitudes summarize the revolutionary values intended to guide those seeking to follow Jesus. Each one is a sermon in itself, and the whole passage has generated many a sermon series from pulpits of yesteryear. Those who would have a little variation from the lectionary would do well to select this passage for such a continuum.

    Beatitudes appear in the OT according to a single pattern beginning with the Hebrew word for blessed or happy) after which they usually described someone worthy of praise. Matthew quoted Jesus using the same method and adding the reason for this happy state.

    The main difference from OT beatitudes, however, is their stress on eschatological joy of sharing in the reign of God as opposed to receiving rewards for living righteously here and now. The reign of God comes, the beatitudes insist, not by implementing human schemes of moral and social improvement, but by the gracious gift of God.

    Another feature to be noted is the paradoxical quality of the Matthean beatitudes. They contradict the normal expectations of ordinary people and their reactions to human experience. The people Matthew identifies are not supposed to be happy – the poor, the mourners, the persecuted. Many martyred witnesses to the faith went to their death believing that a vastly better life awaited them in the heavenly realm.

    Yet the message of the Matthean beatitudes is not exclusively for a distant future. Rather, it is for the present. The words were spoken to generate trust in God in difficult circumstances, not simply to enable us to endure hard times.

    The beatitudes define the way that Jesus himself lived to the point of death as a rejected religious revolutionary and unjustly condemned criminal. Such spiritual power comes not through our most noble human efforts, but through the gift of grace the Spirit gives us.

    Read more

    Recent Articles, Nov. 5, 2023

    All Saints, Nov. 5, 2023
    Lectionary for All Saints
    Commentary Nov. 5
    Vanderbilt visual commentary
    The Gospel – The Beatitudes
    Stewardship Commentary

    End of October early Nov.
    Reformation Day Oct. 31, 2023
    Halloween, Oct. 31
    All Saints Day, Nov. 1
    All Souls Day, Nov. 2
    Veterans Day, Nov. 11

    Other links for All Saints
    All Saints for Children
    All Saints baptisms
    Teaching All Saints

    The Village Harvest, Oct. 2023, the end of 9 years
    ECM Thanksgiving donations
    Completion of God’s Garden class

    Stewardship 2024
    To be a Church Rooted in Love
    Planning your financial giving
    Options for estimating your giving
    Ministry Connections

    About Stewardship
    5 Principles of Stewardship
    Stewardship is…
    Stewardship FAQ

    2024 Planning
    Walk in Love planning help

    Fall photos
    Robert Frost, October
    Early Fall
    Autumnal Tints

    Rev. Tom Hughes Sermon Summary, All Saints, Nov. 5, 2023

    We are not yet what we shall be. That’s one of Tom’s favorite Bible phrase

    “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed.”
    1 John 3:2

    What happens along the way when you are transformed and you become saintly? You are set apart by God. To be transformed in God, you are beyond the law and beyond history. You are unique from any other creature from anyone who has ever been.

    That’s what we want to be though we can be side-tracked. We don’t live by the standards of other people but live by what we learn from God.

    To be this complete person we have to be honest with ourselves and God, open and without self-deception and that’s why we confess our sins. We need to be free of those things.

    We are not controlled by things of this earth. To have our direction of how we live in this world come from God. That’s what sets us apart. What we want to be is genuine, not fake open with ourselves and God.

    You are blessed if you adhere to the Beatitudes

    We need to open ourselves to God in our lives and let God take the wheel The extent in which we do that is how real or genuine we are. The light of God is shining through them.

    Who are these people robed in white? They are robed in the Holy Spirit. We know that is what we should be

    The vision is that we are in that parade right now. We know what we shall be, the very creature God meant for us to be. This is the best outcome on the time on this earth and for eternity.

    Prayers of the People, All Saints, 2023

    The Prayers of the People

    We give you thanks for those we have known and loved in this lifetime who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no one can number, and with whom, in your son Jesus Christ, we are one.  

    James Abourezk, (friend of Linda Kramer), John Anderson (brother of Jim Anderson), Susan Allen (friend of Linda Kramer),  Bethune Andrews  (sister of Linneth Feliciano), Ruby Barnes  (sister of Laura Carey), Mattie Beale (friend of Mary Peterman and Denise Gregory), Easton Buchanan (cousin of Andrea Pogue), John Thomas Carter (Barbara Wisdom’s stepfather), Roger Chartters (friend of the Segars), Pansy Cohen (relative of Andrea Pogue) , Herb Collins (friend of Cookie Davis and Port Royal), David Fannon, David Fitzgerald (son of Lydia O’Neil),  Lynn Garrett,  Edward Geraci, (brother of Marion Mahoney), Louise Gossett (friend of Catherine Hicks) , Taylor Hayden (member of Scout Troop 304), Joan Johnson (Andrea Pogue’s family) , Billy Long (Larry Saylor’s brother-in- law)  Bill McKnight (Chris Fisher’s uncle) , Nancy Newton Nolen (friend of Barabara Segar), Beverly Pauken (Mary Peterman’s sister), Sandra Smith, John Stoddard (friend of the Upshaws), Paris Swisher ( friend of Tom and Alice Hughes), Edith Taylor (friend of Cookie Davis), John Vartonklan, MD.,  Robert Walker, Jane Harrington Webber  (Linda Kramer’s aunt), Jeremiah Williams 

    Tolling of the Bell 

    “We Remember Them”- Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer 

    At the rising of the sun and at its going down; We remember them. 

    At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter; We remember them. 

    At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring; We remember them. 

    At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer; We remember them. 

    At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn; We remember them. 

    At the beginning of the year and when it ends; We remember them.  

    When we are weary and in need of strength; We remember them. 

    When we are lost and sick at heart; We remember them. 

    When we have decisions that are difficult to make; We remember them. 

    When we have joy we long to share; We remember them. 

    When we have achievements that are based on theirs; We remember them. 

    For as long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as, we remember them. 

    Loving God, you have bound us together in one communion and fellowship.  Grant to us, your whole Church in heaven and on earth, your light and your peace as we continue on in our pilgrimage in faith with one another and with Jesus, our companion and friend.  Amen. 

    And now, let us pray for an end to all violence and for the desire to walk the way of Jesus, for if only we follow that path,  we will find God’s reign of love here, on this earth.  

    Lord, make us instruments of your peace.  Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.  Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.  For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  Amen. 

    Autumnal Tints

    Shortly before his death, Henry David Thoreau finished an extraordinary ode to autumn in his essay, “Autumnal Tints.” Enjoy the entire essay here – and read on for a few of its highlights, with Thoreau’s lovely prose laid out as poems for your reading pleasure.


    October is the month of painted leaves.
    Their rich glow now flashes round the world.
    As fruits and leaves and the day itself
    acquire a bright tint just before they fall,
    so the year near its setting.
    October is its sunset sky;
    November the later twilight.


    It is pleasant to walk over the beds
    of these fresh, crisp, and rustling leaves.
    How beautifully they go to their graves!
    How gently lay themselves down
    and turn to mould!
    Painted of a thousand hues, and fit
    to make the beds of us living.
    So they troop to their last resting place,
    light and frisky. They put on no weeds,
    but merrily they go scampering over the earth,
    selecting the spot,
    choosing a lot,
    ordering no iron fence…
    How many flutterings
    before they rest quietly in their graves!
    They that soared so loftily, how contentedly
    they return to dust again, and are laid low,
    resigned to lie and decay at the foot of the tree,
    and afford nourishment to new generations of their kind,
    as well as to flutter on high!
    They teach us how to die.


    Let your walks now be a little more adventurous;
    ascend the hills. If, about the last of October,
    you ascend any hill in the outskirts of our town,
    and probably of yours, and look over the forest,
    you may see well, what I have endeavored to describe.
    All this you surely will see, and much more,
    if you are prepared to see it,—if you look for it…
    Objects are concealed from our view,
    not so much because they are out of the course
    of our visual ray as because we do not bring
    our minds and eyes to bear on them;
    for there is no power to see in the eye itself,
    any more than in any other jelly.
    We do not realize how far and widely,
    or how near and narrowly, we are to look.
    The greater part of the phenomena of Nature
    are for this reason concealed from us all our lives.
    The gardener sees only the gardener’s garden…
    There is just as much beauty
    visible to us in the landscape
    as we are prepared to appreciate,
    —not a grain more.

    + Henry David Thoreau

    How do we get Halloween (Oct. 31) from All Saints (Nov. 1) and All Souls(Nov.2)?

    What is the Halloween connection ?

    Halloween originated in Celtic cultures and  spread to Christian.

    The word Halloween is a contracted form for All Hallows’ (holy persons or saints) Evening- the day before All Saints.  

    Halloween has been on Oct 31 because of the Celtic traditions.   Halloween also focused not only on death but on the  concept of death blending in the supernatural.    The Church scheduled All Saints and All Souls after Halloween.   The emphasis on All Soul’s  focused on those who had died only and did not dwell on stories surrounding death.

    All Soul’s did  satisfy many Catholics’ interest in death and the supernatural. But the unchristian idea of wandering spirits persisted in some areas. Conceding that they could not completely get rid of the supernatural elements of the celebrations, the Catholic Church began characterizing the spirits as evil forces associated with the devil. 

    Celtic Tradition

    Nov. 1 marked Samhain, the beginning of the Celtic winter. (The Celts lived as early as 2,000 years ago in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and northern France.) Samhain, for whom the feast was named, was the Celtic lord of death, and his name literally meant “summer’s end.” Since winter is the season of cold, darkness and death, the Celts soon made the connection with human death.

    The eve of Samhain, Oct. 31, was a time of Celtic pagan sacrifice, and Samhain allowed the souls of the dead to return to their earthly homes that evening. Ghosts, witches, goblins and elves came to harm the people, particularly those who had inflicted harm on them in this life. Cats, too, were considered sacred because they had once been human beings who had been changed as a punishment for their evil deeds on this earth

    The Roman conquest of England brought two other festivals commemorating the dead.

    Read more