There was no
deity called Samhain who was the Lord of Death. Both His Grace Bishop Kyrill (in his own article) and Bishop Alexander have picked up this canard from who knows where.
Let's not take up arms against the resurgence of paganism by equipping our people with false "truths". There is quite a lot of misinformation in this article and in the name of truth it ought to be rewritten. If we are to fight neo-paganism we shan't do it by offering people false information. The neo-pagans will just laugh at us, and rightly so.
Samhain is pronounced "sow-in" (where "ow" rhymes with "cow"). Samhain is simply Irish Gaelic for the month of November.
The god Samhain myth first appears in the year 1770 when Col. Charles Vallency wrote a 6 volume set of books which attempted to prove that the Irish people once came from Armenia!! Geoffrey Higgins then promoted this error of a supposed god Samhain in a book in 1827 when he attempted to prove that the Druids originally came from India. The error might have originated in confusion over the name of Samana, an ancient Vedic/Hindu deity.
I have located a website which may not be everyone's favourite but it will provide a resource if anybody has the interest in dealing with this modern myth of a god named Samhainhttp://www.religioustolerance.org/hallo_sa.htm
On reflection I think that what irritates me is that the modern practice of Halloween is an *American* creation, but the blasphemy of it all is being unfairly laid upon my poor Irish ancestors!
In pre-Christian Ireland the feast of Samhain was nothing as wicked as what the bishop's article speaks of with the modern America celebration of this day.
In Ireland it provided the occasion for the great Feis (Parliament) at Tara where all the kings and druidic scholars (olamhs) gathered for a week to revise the laws and make new laws and to oversee the writing of another section into the Annals of Ireland.
Admittedly there were animal sacrifices at this time, but they were no worse than the animal sacrifices being offered in Jerusalem during this same pre-christian period.
There was no cowering at home in the dark, afraid of ghosts and ghoulies. Instead there were great bonfires (bone-fires) in all the villages and farms which people lit to dispose of the bones and carcases of the animals they had killed and salted away to provide their food for the coming winter. There was celebrations and happiness around these bone-fires as they celebrated the end of all the hard work of summer and autumn.
In fact the Irish (whose ability to create mythology is irrepressible) believed that the High King Ollamh Fodla who started these Samhain gatherings was none other than the great Psalmist King David come from Israel. Of course they also believe that the Prophet Jeremiah ended his days in Ireland, together with his daughters, and they can show you his grave today at Loughcrew, as well as Jacob's Pillow, the Stone of Destiny, which Jeremiah brought to Ireland!
And did I mention the Ark of the Covenant which every Irish child knows rests under the ruined chapel on the hill of Cashel? :-)