Author Topic: Toll houses?  (Read 279409 times)

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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #990 on: September 16, 2011, 08:19:26 PM »
The funny thing about toll houses is that it is exactly the sort of thing that many Orthodox would blast Catholics for if the RCs had come up with it.

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #991 on: September 16, 2011, 08:31:08 PM »

Where was Fr. Seraphim's Bishop in all this? 



His bishop made his opinion known by prohibiting the sale of "The Soul After Death" in all the bookstores of the San Francisco diocese

Offline peteprint

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #992 on: September 16, 2011, 08:32:51 PM »
Thank you Father.

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #993 on: September 16, 2011, 08:34:47 PM »

“Supererogatory works” has nothing to do with the tollhouses.  Those who are insufficiently purified benefit from the prayers of the Church (including the prayers of one’s spiritual father), good deeds done on behalf of the soul, and commemoration in the Divine Liturgy.  The Roman Catholic teaching regarding “Supererogatory works” specifies that the “excess merits” of the saints are accumulated in a celestial bank account from which the Pope can withdraw to pay the debts of sinners.


Once again the text has been bowlderised by the English translators who have become aware that the original text teaches the heresy of supererogatory works.

The original text does NOT say "the treasure of holy Basil's prayers.  It says "the treasury of Saint Basil's GOOD WORKS.



Another way that you have no comprehension of Catholic teaching and understanding.

In the Catholic Church PRAYER is the greatest of ALL works.

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #994 on: September 16, 2011, 09:03:39 PM »

Another way that you have no comprehension of Catholic teaching and understanding.

 I was quoting jah   :laugh: ;D

You know too little about the context to reach a true judgement

>'With these words he took out a full dark red bag and, giving it to
>the Angels, he said: `When you pass through the aerial toll booths,
>and the wicked spirits begin to torture her soul, redeem her debts
>with this. I am wealthy in God's grace, gathered many riches by
>fasting and my labors, and I make a gift of this bag to the soul that
>served me'. Having said this, he departed.

There is everything RIGHT about a spiritual father praying for the soul of
his spiritual daughter.

There is a great deal WRONG with a spiritual father dishing out his
superfluous merits (supererogatory works) gained by his prayers and
ascetic labours to pay her way through the toll houses, at those particular
toll houses where she does not have sufficient of her own personal merits
to outweigh her bad deeds and she is about to be carried off to hell by
the toll house Ethiopians.



Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #995 on: September 16, 2011, 09:24:42 PM »

Another way that you have no comprehension of Catholic teaching and understanding.

 I was quoting jah   :laugh: ;D

You know too little about the context to reach a true judgement

>'With these words he took out a full dark red bag and, giving it to
>the Angels, he said: `When you pass through the aerial toll booths,
>and the wicked spirits begin to torture her soul, redeem her debts
>with this. I am wealthy in God's grace, gathered many riches by
>fasting and my labors, and I make a gift of this bag to the soul that
>served me'. Having said this, he departed.

There is everything RIGHT about a spiritual father praying for the soul of
his spiritual daughter.

There is a great deal WRONG with a spiritual father dishing out his
superfluous merits (supererogatory works) gained by his prayers and
ascetic labours to pay her way through the toll houses, at those particular
toll houses where she does not have sufficient of her own personal merits
to outweigh her bad deeds and she is about to be carried off to hell by
the toll house Ethiopians.

There is NOTHING wrong with a spiritual father offering his prayers and good works for his spiritual child.   All grace is of divine origin in any event.  Our merits are nothing but the merits of Jesus Christ...I don't care what you call them:  they are all grace.

Offline peteprint

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #996 on: September 16, 2011, 09:30:18 PM »

Another way that you have no comprehension of Catholic teaching and understanding.

 I was quoting jah   :laugh: ;D

You know too little about the context to reach a true judgement

>'With these words he took out a full dark red bag and, giving it to
>the Angels, he said: `When you pass through the aerial toll booths,
>and the wicked spirits begin to torture her soul, redeem her debts
>with this. I am wealthy in God's grace, gathered many riches by
>fasting and my labors, and I make a gift of this bag to the soul that
>served me'. Having said this, he departed.

There is everything RIGHT about a spiritual father praying for the soul of
his spiritual daughter.

There is a great deal WRONG with a spiritual father dishing out his
superfluous merits (supererogatory works) gained by his prayers and
ascetic labours to pay her way through the toll houses, at those particular
toll houses where she does not have sufficient of her own personal merits
to outweigh her bad deeds and she is about to be carried off to hell by
the toll house Ethiopians.

There is NOTHING wrong with a spiritual father offering his prayers and good works for his spiritual child.   All grace is of divine origin in any event.  Our merits are nothing but the merits of Jesus Christ...I don't care what you call them:  they are all grace.

Works are not something tangible that can be transferred from one individual to another.   While we can pray for someone, they cannot share in any "merit" we acquire from our own actions.  Even the idea that our pleasing actions (pleasing to God) can be put into a bag and handed off to someone else is un-Orthodox.  Face it.  The story of Theodora is heretical.

Offline peteprint

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #997 on: September 16, 2011, 09:34:54 PM »
Part of the problem is looking at Grace, Prayer, Works, even Sin, as "things" that are tangible.  They are not. Sin is not a thing, a substance that can be held or touched; it is an action or thought, not separate from the person that does it.  Neither sin, nor prayers, nor works can be stacked in a pile, or transferred like cash from a bank.

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #998 on: September 16, 2011, 09:45:33 PM »
Part of the problem is looking at Grace, Prayer, Works, even Sin, as "things" that are tangible.  They are not. Sin is not a thing, a substance that can be held or touched; it is an action or thought, not separate from the person that does it.  Neither sin, nor prayers, nor works can be stacked in a pile, or transferred like cash from a bank.

That is quite true and very scholastic of you, in so far as the scholastics separated the transcendent from popular expressions of religious piety.

Offline peteprint

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #999 on: September 16, 2011, 09:55:02 PM »
Part of the problem is looking at Grace, Prayer, Works, even Sin, as "things" that are tangible.  They are not. Sin is not a thing, a substance that can be held or touched; it is an action or thought, not separate from the person that does it.  Neither sin, nor prayers, nor works can be stacked in a pile, or transferred like cash from a bank.

That is quite true and very scholastic of you, in so far as the scholastics separated the transcendent from popular expressions of religious piety.

Scholastic?   ???  I thought the scholastic's were the RC's, who buy into this sort of tripe.   God did give us common sense- remember when the Lord said, "If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?"

The Lord spoke often in parables, but he never asked us to abandon our God-given ability to reason.  He generally spoke in such a way that even the simplest could understand His words.

Metaphysical flights of fancy don't count for much when sharing the Gospel.  Nor do bizarre tales that challenge people's credulity. 

Offline peteprint

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1000 on: September 16, 2011, 09:58:31 PM »
I still don't understand the dynamics of what exactly happens when we die, but I don't believe that whether or not I enter Heaven depends on if my parish priest has a bag of works to offer the tax-collectors on my behalf.  I doubt he has enough to go around for the whole parish.

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1001 on: September 16, 2011, 10:01:19 PM »
Part of the problem is looking at Grace, Prayer, Works, even Sin, as "things" that are tangible.  They are not. Sin is not a thing, a substance that can be held or touched; it is an action or thought, not separate from the person that does it.  Neither sin, nor prayers, nor works can be stacked in a pile, or transferred like cash from a bank.

That is quite true and very scholastic of you, in so far as the scholastics separated the transcendent from popular expressions of religious piety.

Scholastic?   ???  I thought the scholastic's were the RC's, who buy into this sort of tripe.   

Nope.  That is a myth.  

The principle of scholastic thinking is a systematic examination of the divine truths hidden beneath analogy and metaphor, or the marks of human understanding.  The primary access to these truths is prayer and contemplation.  

That is what a true scholastic is:  it is the systematizing aspect that breaks them out into "schools"...not all theologians employ precisely the same logic.

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1002 on: September 16, 2011, 10:02:32 PM »
I still don't understand the dynamics of what exactly happens when we die, but I don't believe that whether or not I enter Heaven depends on if my parish priest has a bag of works to offer the tax-collectors on my behalf.  I doubt he has enough to go around for the whole parish.

He may not but God does, and there seems to me to be no reason why God could not use your parish priest as a mediator for their "distribution" by way of prayer, fasting and alms giving.

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1003 on: September 16, 2011, 10:08:19 PM »
Something else struck me about this story: the hymnody of the Church asks for the intercessions of the Virgin and all the saints.  Notice how none of them are present during St. Theodora's passage?  Also, only St. Basil's prayers are effective, but no one else?
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Offline Cognomen

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1004 on: September 16, 2011, 10:08:52 PM »
The funny thing about toll houses is that it is exactly the sort of thing that many Orthodox would blast Catholics for if the RCs had come up with it.

Wow, never thought of it that way, but it seems about right.  I, for one, would be counted amongst the many Orthodox blasting away.
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Offline peteprint

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1005 on: September 16, 2011, 10:12:32 PM »
I still don't understand the dynamics of what exactly happens when we die, but I don't believe that whether or not I enter Heaven depends on if my parish priest has a bag of works to offer the tax-collectors on my behalf.  I doubt he has enough to go around for the whole parish.

He may not but God does, and there seems to me to be no reason why God could not use your parish priest as a mediator for their "distribution" by way of prayer, fasting and alms giving.

I do respect your opinion, but we are approaching this from two different perspectives.  You seem to see works and such as things that can be distributed.  I see it as asking God, in prayer, to bless someone, just as I pray that God will watch over my family.  How He chooses to answer that prayer is up to Him.  I can't understand the concept that my "good deeds" can be applied to another, regardless of their sins/actions, etc.  

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, why not pray Stalin into Heaven?  What the toll-house people are talking about is a transaction, a typically RC legalistic way of looking at things.  Also, as I mentioned before, where is the justice in one person getting into Heaven because he has people transferring their merits to him vs. the other person who has no one to do that for him?  This is un-Orthodox thinking.  

Offline peteprint

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1006 on: September 16, 2011, 10:13:40 PM »
Something else struck me about this story: the hymnody of the Church asks for the intercessions of the Virgin and all the saints.  Notice how none of them are present during St. Theodora's passage?  Also, only St. Basil's prayers are effective, but no one else?

Thank you Father.  According to the Theodora story, without the intercession of St. Basil Theodora would be damned. 

Offline Ionnis

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1007 on: September 16, 2011, 10:15:39 PM »
I know I traipse into these discussions and end up having stupid questions, but please humor me.  I thought our good works did benefit the dead.  I'm sure I have been told to give alms to help my living and dead relatives. Is this wrong?  I'm going to ask my father confessor tomorrow, but I'm curious as to what the response would be here.
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Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1008 on: September 16, 2011, 10:19:36 PM »
I still don't understand the dynamics of what exactly happens when we die, but I don't believe that whether or not I enter Heaven depends on if my parish priest has a bag of works to offer the tax-collectors on my behalf.  I doubt he has enough to go around for the whole parish.

He may not but God does, and there seems to me to be no reason why God could not use your parish priest as a mediator for their "distribution" by way of prayer, fasting and alms giving.

I do respect your opinion, but we are approaching this from two different perspectives.  You seem to see works and such as things that can be distributed.  I see it as asking God, in prayer, to bless someone, just as I pray that God will watch over my family.  How He chooses to answer that prayer is up to Him.  I can't understand the concept that my "good deeds" can be applied to another, regardless of their sins/actions, etc. 

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, why not pray Stalin into Heaven?  What the toll-house people are talking about is a transaction, a typically RC legalistic way of looking at things.  Also, as I mentioned before, where is the justice in one person getting into Heaven because he has people transferring their merits to him vs. the other person who has no one to do that for him?  This is un-Orthodox thinking.   

Distribution is a pedestrian way of expressing mediation.

Morning prayer and evening prayer: east and west: contain prayers for those who have no one to pray for them.

As a child, I eagerly accepted the task of praying for all souls who had no one to pray for them.  When I found those prayers in morning and evening prayer in the eastern hours, when I transferred to the east, I cried.

You are much too much the cynic here.  That is not a terribly negative judgment.  I understand how you think and feel the way that you do.  You are not strange to me.  I am offering a different way of looking at it though, and thinking about it.

And I am deeply honored by your opening comment.

M.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 10:20:25 PM by elijahmaria »

Offline peteprint

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1009 on: September 16, 2011, 10:24:30 PM »
I know I traipse into these discussions and end up having stupid questions, but please humor me.  I thought our good works did benefit the dead.  I'm sure I have been told to give alms to help my living and dead relatives. Is this wrong?  I'm going to ask my father confessor tomorrow, but I'm curious as to what the response would be here.

Dear Ionnis,

I hope that the two Fathers involved in this discussion can help you with this;  I am a convert and a layman and my opinion is not authoritative.  

In this life we often give to charity in the name of another.  To me, this is similar to praying for them. It is a way of expressing our love for them and their memory.  And in this respect I believe it is pleasing to God as well.

I pray for my earthly father each night; I have no idea if he will be in Heaven, he was not Orthodox (so according to the Theodora story he is in Hell), but I believe that it is what God would want me to do. All we were commanded by the Lord was to love God and one another.  Showing our love to the departed is important I think.

Offline peteprint

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1010 on: September 16, 2011, 10:32:28 PM »
I still don't understand the dynamics of what exactly happens when we die, but I don't believe that whether or not I enter Heaven depends on if my parish priest has a bag of works to offer the tax-collectors on my behalf.  I doubt he has enough to go around for the whole parish.

He may not but God does, and there seems to me to be no reason why God could not use your parish priest as a mediator for their "distribution" by way of prayer, fasting and alms giving.

I do respect your opinion, but we are approaching this from two different perspectives.  You seem to see works and such as things that can be distributed.  I see it as asking God, in prayer, to bless someone, just as I pray that God will watch over my family.  How He chooses to answer that prayer is up to Him.  I can't understand the concept that my "good deeds" can be applied to another, regardless of their sins/actions, etc. 

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, why not pray Stalin into Heaven?  What the toll-house people are talking about is a transaction, a typically RC legalistic way of looking at things.  Also, as I mentioned before, where is the justice in one person getting into Heaven because he has people transferring their merits to him vs. the other person who has no one to do that for him?  This is un-Orthodox thinking.   

Distribution is a pedestrian way of expressing mediation.

Morning prayer and evening prayer: east and west: contain prayers for those who have no one to pray for them.

As a child, I eagerly accepted the task of praying for all souls who had no one to pray for them.  When I found those prayers in morning and evening prayer in the eastern hours, when I transferred to the east, I cried.

You are much too much the cynic here.  That is not a terribly negative judgment.  I understand how you think and feel the way that you do.  You are not strange to me.  I am offering a different way of looking at it though, and thinking about it.

And I am deeply honored by your opening comment.

M.

I understand.  I do respect your opinion.

I know a convert in my parish (the one that was excited about Fr. Seraphim's book and wanted me to read it), who is a good man, but has completely bought into the ultra-traditionalist outlook.  He spends more time criticizing the pews in the church and beardless priests than anything else I can see.

He confesses every week at Vespers, but says that he won't "take communion for a few years."  He is super hard-core about everything, in my opinion, a typical convert devotee of Fr. Seraphim.   Recently he wrote that when he became Orthodox he threw out everything even remotely "western" he won't even have a Nativity set in his home.  I am not saying that you are anything like him, its just that I see this mindset among so many in the Church.  By the way, he mentioned to me that he wants to see the wicked burn in hell because they deserve it.

Why is legalism so important to so many in the Church?

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1011 on: September 16, 2011, 11:08:42 PM »
The prayers of the living, and alms offered on behald of the departed, are very helpful.

However, these are always offered to God.  They are prayers for His mercy and forgiveness, in essence we are repenting for the person who has died and now wishes to repent.  We are not, however, praying that demons will not detail souls.  This is not present in our services, and so St. Basil's actions are, in light of the usual customs we have, highly irregular.  It is one of the troubling aspects of this story.

Our prayers and repentance, offered on behalf of the dead for their repose, is an aid not to 'purify' a soul (this is not in our services) but to help the conscience of the dead be eased.  Sins are not 'removed' at death, since this removal of sin is done at Baptism when we take up the Lord's death as our own so that we might be raised with Him.  The problem is that our consciences cannot enter into rest if we have great regrets, and so we are afforded the opportunity to 'journey' into rest.

Again, our Trisagion Service and the Parastasis/Pannykhida do not mention releasing souls from demonic torment, but rather recall God's mercy and forgiveness for those who have departed.  The controversy here is that the services of the Church do not line up with this story, which can make all of this rather confusing.

While some people look at this story and see truth in it (I commend you to jah777's posts for this viewpoint, which is well-researched and well-argued, though we don't necessarily see eye-to-eye in this matter), there are many who see this as an overly-embellished and even quasi-heretical fantasy.

However, dismissing the Toll House theory does not represent a dismissal of the prayers for the departed offered by the living.


I know I traipse into these discussions and end up having stupid questions, but please humor me.  I thought our good works did benefit the dead.  I'm sure I have been told to give alms to help my living and dead relatives. Is this wrong?  I'm going to ask my father confessor tomorrow, but I'm curious as to what the response would be here.
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Offline Cognomen

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1012 on: September 16, 2011, 11:12:34 PM »
I thought our good works did benefit the dead.  I'm sure I have been told to give alms to help my living and dead relatives. Is this wrong?

I've not heard that before.  It seems extraordinarily wrong from my understanding, which similarly lacks authority.  

In this life we often give to charity in the name of another.  To me, this is similar to praying for them. It is a way of expressing our love for them and their memory.  And in this respect I believe it is pleasing to God as well.

Interesting.  I suppose I can see this, even if it seems to be a bit of a stretch.  Still, paying, even in the context of alms, to help a deceased person, reeks of indulgences and paganism.  I'm genuinely not trying to be inflammatory, but that's how I view it.  

Can I pay for someone's tollhouse fare?  More importantly, can I give some money to someone to pay my fare?

ETA: Thanks for the above response, Father.  I still think it strongly resembles indulgences, even if it's not as juridical.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 11:17:04 PM by Cognomen »
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Offline jckstraw72

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1013 on: September 16, 2011, 11:36:14 PM »
I thought our good works did benefit the dead.  I'm sure I have been told to give alms to help my living and dead relatives. Is this wrong?

I've not heard that before.  It seems extraordinarily wrong from my understanding, which similarly lacks authority.  

In this life we often give to charity in the name of another.  To me, this is similar to praying for them. It is a way of expressing our love for them and their memory.  And in this respect I believe it is pleasing to God as well.

Interesting.  I suppose I can see this, even if it seems to be a bit of a stretch.  Still, paying, even in the context of alms, to help a deceased person, reeks of indulgences and paganism.  I'm genuinely not trying to be inflammatory, but that's how I view it.  

Can I pay for someone's tollhouse fare?  More importantly, can I give some money to someone to pay my fare?

ETA: Thanks for the above response, Father.  I still think it strongly resembles indulgences, even if it's not as juridical.

im pretty sure the Maccabees prayed and gave alms on behalf of the dead

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1014 on: September 16, 2011, 11:41:22 PM »

im pretty sure the Maccabees prayed and gave alms on behalf of the dead

See  Reply #175
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37255.msg592638.html#msg592638

It is totally scriptural
« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 11:46:34 PM by Irish Hermit »

Offline Ionnis

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1015 on: September 16, 2011, 11:46:22 PM »
Thank you, Father Giyrus. I am glad to know that the Lord receives our alms given on behalf of our loved ones. Your posts here have been very helpful to me and I am thankful for all the time you have taken on this thread.
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Offline Cognomen

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1016 on: September 16, 2011, 11:51:13 PM »
Thanks for the responses.  I'm still struggling with that concept, but I better understand the basis for it.
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1017 on: September 17, 2011, 12:40:23 AM »
The funny thing about toll houses is that it is exactly the sort of thing that many Orthodox would blast Catholics for if the RCs had come up with it.

This is in no way as blasphemous as unleavened filioque.

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1018 on: September 17, 2011, 12:43:51 AM »
B---U---M---P

 

 I sincerely wonder at your inability to stomach metaphors


If toll houses be but metaphor I sincerely wonder at your agitation about those who deny the metaphor.

But are you uaware that senior clergy in ROCA assert it is dogma?  *There* is the heat of the battle.

The father of lies wants to turn your metaphor into dogma.



why do you believe that metaphor is mutually exclusive from dogma?

What do you mean?

Is this helpful?  reply #876
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36319.msg638138.html#msg638138





you seem to think that if the imagery isnt literal then its impossible for it to be a dogma ... why?

Please define the dogma  This makes no sense to me


Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1019 on: September 17, 2011, 12:46:43 AM »

B---U---M---P

Just a note:  I have honestly benefitted a lot from this thread because it has prompted me to go back and reread some things which I have not picked up in a while.  In several posts I have expressed my partiality regarding the book “Life After Death” by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, which gives a rather complete presentation of the subject of life after death in general and also includes a very helpful section on the subject of “the taxing of souls”, which may otherwise be spoken of as the “tollhouse teaching”.  This thread, however, has also encouraged me to once again pick up “The Soul After Death” by Fr. Seraphim (Rose).  While he states very plainly that his intent in the book was not to give a complete presentation of the Orthodox teaching on the subject of life after death, but only to provide an Orthodox critique of the stories regarding “out of body” and “near death” experiences that were being published in secular and non-Orthodox publications at that time, I have been very impressed with the thoroughness of Fr. Seraphim’s presentation regarding the subject of life after death in general and the tollhouses in particular.  I have also found that practically every criticism that has been raised in this thread against the tollhouse teaching is addressed very well in his book.  Since Fr. Seraphim first serialized the book’s contents in his “Orthodox Word” periodical, he had an opportunity to receive letters critiquing and criticizing this work from many angles before publishing it in book form.  This helped him to make many clarifications and address common misconceptions in the book’s final publication.  I am convinced that most people who criticize this teaching either never read the book written by Fr. Seraphim (and probably not any other book which supports this teaching), or they read it years or decades ago and do not recall its contents accurately, or they read the work hastily and did not pay attention to what was actually said, or they simply do not want to live a life of repentance and resent Fr. Seraphim for reminding them in such clear terms what the Lord expects of them as Orthodox Christians.  In any case, if you have not read his book on the subject, or it has been a long time since you have read it, I would strongly encourage you to pick it up and carefully read it through.  It is worth owning even for the patristic texts which he quotes at great length throughout, including long portions from the homilies of St. Mark of Ephesus against the Roman Catholic teaching on Purgatory.  His work is certainly not the only presentation of the tollhouse teaching that has been written, and it may not even be the best, but since he is often the focus of criticism in the context of the tollhouse teaching, critics should at least take the time to carefully read what he actually wrote.  While I would encourage the reading or rereading of this text before expressing further criticisms, I may (as I have time) quote from this text at greater length in future posts if criticisms addressed in the book are expressed by those who are not able to take the time to read it for themselves. 

Who are these people?


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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1020 on: September 17, 2011, 12:53:38 AM »
The funny thing about toll houses is that it is exactly the sort of thing that many Orthodox would blast Catholics for if the RCs had come up with it.

This is in no way as blasphemous as unleavened filioque.

Orthodox who believe in the unleavened filioque will be taken to hell at the Nineteenth Torment

Catholics will be taken to hell anyway, no matter what they believe
« Last Edit: September 17, 2011, 12:58:03 AM by Irish Hermit »

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1021 on: September 17, 2011, 01:03:27 AM »
Once again the text has been bowlderised by the English translators who have become aware that the original text teaches the heresy of supererogatory works.

The original text does NOT say "the treasure of holy Basil's prayers.  It says "the treasury of Saint Basil's GOOD WORKS."


"И тебе самой невозможно было избежать этого, если бы не сокровищница добрых дел преподобного Василия, из которой были покрыты твои грехи."


Now since this is claimed as an angelic revelation it is obviously fraudulent since angels are seen as God's messengers and their words are seen as the words of God Himself.  Their words certainly cannot be heretical.   

These various heresies in the Theodoran Revelations call the whole thing into question, despite St Justin including the Theodoran Revelations among the dogma of Orthodox theology.

Father, since you bring this up again, can you address the substance of the response I offered the last time you mentioned this?  In case you didn’t see the response, I stated:


If you are going to make the above assertion regarding the Journey of St. Theodora and its “alteration” which you claim was done “in the last few years” on the Internet, please explain when this alteration was supposedly done and by whom.  The only English version I have in its entirety was translated and published in 1968 by Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, in the book “Eternal Mysteries Beyond the Grave.”  This is the version one can read at: 

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/death/theodora.aspx

Does this Internet version differ from the 1968 Jordanville version, or are you saying that Jordanville intentionally mistranslated the text in 1968?  If the Internet version agrees with the 1968 version from Jordanville, do you know what Russian or Slavonic text was used for the Jordanville version such that you are certain that we have an issue of intentional mistranslation as opposed to different texts with different wording?  Unfortunately, I have a sense that you cannot answer these questions and once again are unable to support your wild assertions.

Assuming that the Internet version linked above agrees with the 1968 translation presented in “Eternal Mysteries Beyond the Grave”, it is important to note that this text was translated and published by Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville years before Fr. Seraphim wrote and published his writings on the subject of “The Soul After Death.”  Interestingly, in Fr. Seraphim’s book he specifically states that he was not going to summarize or elaborate on the Journey of St. Theodora in his book since it had already been published in English, and because he believed it offered nothing new that the other patristic and hagiographical references didn’t already include.  Fr. Seraphim based his book on a long list of patristic and hagiographical references, and the longest quote he provided on the subject was from St. John of San Francisco.  Interestingly, when the current and previous schismatics Fr. Michael Azkoul of HOCNA and former defrocked deacon Lev Puhalo (now in the OCA with the title of “retired Archbishop”), go on about the “heresy” and “Gnosticism” of Fr. Seraphim, they are not brave enough to accuse St. John and other saints of the same, though Fr. Seraphim is just reiterating what St. John and others have taught for centuries.

Now, regarding your quote which refers to St. Basil’s comments that he is “wealthy in God’s grace” and “gathered many riches by fasting and my labors”, etc., I am aware that this is how the text appears in the English translation of Monk Mitrophan’s “How Our Departed Ones Live”, translated from the Russian by Fr. John Shaw (now Bishop Jerome of Manhattan).  If you think this is how the text appears in the Russian, what are we to make of the fact that throughout the remainder of the story (the comment you quoted by St. Basil is made at the very beginning of St. Theodora’s journey), St. Basil’s prayers are what actually helped St. Theodora, and no mention is made of any “merits” paying the “debts” of St. Theodora?  Do you have evidence that the references to his prayers throughout the text below are also falsifications? 

Journey of St. Theodora

 “However, through the prayers and the assistance of our common spiritual father Basil I was saved from these hardships.”
-
Second Torment: “Here the holy angels put down for my sins some of my good deeds, but the prayers of my spiritual father did even more to save me. We went on.”
-
Third Torment: “Here also the angels freed me by means of the prayers of the holy man Basil, and we continued to ascend.”
-
After the Fourth Torment:  ‘As we were ascending, the holy angels talked among themselves and said words to this effect: 'Truly does this soul have great help from Basil, a man who has pleased God. If it had not been for his prayers, she would have suffered a great deal in those stations of the air.”’

“You too would not have escaped here your evil lot, were it not that you have received the treasure of holy Basil's prayers.”
-
The Angels to St. Theodora after the 13th Torment:  “If the soul has done more good deeds than evil, they cannot keep it; but if the sins outweigh the good deeds, they keep the soul for some time, shut it up in the prison where it cannot know God, and torment it as much as God's power allows them, until that soul, by means of prayers of the Church and good deeds done for its sake by those who are still on earth, should be granted forgiveness.”
-
After the 15th Torment: “and especially have you been helped by the prayers of God's holy man Basil, whom you have served much and diligently.”
-
After the 18th Torment: “But you, Theodora, must thank God that you have already passed the torments of fornication by the prayers of the holy man Basil, your father. Now you will no longer fear.”
-
After the 20th Torment: “We, however, by the grace of Christ, passed this place without trouble, for we were helped by the prayers of the holy man Basil.
-
“Then I was led into the nether reaches of hell, where the Lord has bound and imprisoned Satan. There I saw frightening torments. Thence they led me westward, and there too I saw similar horrible torments, ready for sinners. As the angels showed all this to me, they said: 'Do you see from what misfortunes you have been saved by the prayers of the holy man?'”
-
"When we had passed and examined all this, one of the angels who, accompanied me said: 'You know, Theodora, that in the world there is the custom to remember the dead on the fortieth day after their death; today the holy man Basil remembers you on earth in his prayers.'”

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/death/theodora.aspx



When I previously responded to you assertion regarding supererogatory works with the words “Baseless, ridiculous, absurd”, I was specifically referring to your assertion that

This is in no way different to the Roman Catholic doctrine of the "merits of the
Saints" and thanks to the toll house dogma it is steadily making its way into
our holy Orthodoxy.

Please demonstrate that the Roman Catholic doctrine of “supererogatory works” is “steadily making its way into our holy Orthodoxy.”  I assert that this is an entirely false, contrived, ridiculous, and sensationalist statement that you are unable to demonstrate or support.  Please show us a single instance where an Orthodox priest or bishop has expressed his belief in the Roman Catholic doctrine of “supererogatory works”, and if you can find even a single such instance, please also show that the belief of the priest or bishop in the tollhouse teaching contributed to this false belief.  I think this question is entirely reasonable, but it is not unlike the many other reasonable questions I have asked of you which you ignore and refuse to address.

« Last Edit: September 17, 2011, 01:05:40 AM by jah777 »

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1022 on: September 17, 2011, 01:14:29 AM »

Where was Fr. Seraphim's Bishop in all this? 

His bishop made his opinion known by prohibiting the sale of "The Soul After Death" in all the bookstores of the San Francisco diocese

Strange that you should say that, since one of the primary texts used by Fr. Seraphim to present the Orthodox teaching on the tollhouses was an homily by his previous bishop, St. John the Wonderworker of San Francisco.  Obviously, St. John thought the subject important enough to give a detailed homily on the tollhouses to the faithful. 

Father, do you know what your current bishop and Metropolitan think about Fr. Seraphim’s book?  Is this photo any indication?

 

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1023 on: September 17, 2011, 01:17:28 AM »
Once again the text has been bowlderised by the English translators who have become aware that the original text teaches the heresy of supererogatory works.

The original text does NOT say "the treasure of holy Basil's prayers.  It says "the treasury of Saint Basil's GOOD WORKS."


"И тебе самой невозможно было избежать этого, если бы не сокровищница добрых дел преподобного Василия, из которой были покрыты твои грехи."


Now since this is claimed as an angelic revelation it is obviously fraudulent since angels are seen as God's messengers and their words are seen as the words of God Himself.  Their words certainly cannot be heretical.   

These various heresies in the Theodoran Revelations call the whole thing into question, despite St Justin including the Theodoran Revelations among the dogma of Orthodox theology.

Father, since you bring this up again, can you address the substance of the response I offered the last time you mentioned this?  In case you didn’t see the response, I stated:


If you are going to make the above assertion regarding the Journey of St. Theodora and its “alteration” which you claim was done “in the last few years” on the Internet, please explain when this alteration was supposedly done and by whom.  The only English version I have in its entirety was translated and published in 1968 by Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, in the book “Eternal Mysteries Beyond the Grave.”  This is the version one can read at: 

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/death/theodora.aspx

Does this Internet version differ from the 1968 Jordanville version, or are you saying that Jordanville intentionally mistranslated the text in 1968?  If the Internet version agrees with the 1968 version from Jordanville, do you know what Russian or Slavonic text was used for the Jordanville version such that you are certain that we have an issue of intentional mistranslation as opposed to different texts with different wording?  Unfortunately, I have a sense that you cannot answer these questions and once again are unable to support your wild assertions.

Assuming that the Internet version linked above agrees with the 1968 translation presented in “Eternal Mysteries Beyond the Grave”, it is important to note that this text was translated and published by Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville years before Fr. Seraphim wrote and published his writings on the subject of “The Soul After Death.”  Interestingly, in Fr. Seraphim’s book he specifically states that he was not going to summarize or elaborate on the Journey of St. Theodora in his book since it had already been published in English, and because he believed it offered nothing new that the other patristic and hagiographical references didn’t already include.  Fr. Seraphim based his book on a long list of patristic and hagiographical references, and the longest quote he provided on the subject was from St. John of San Francisco.  Interestingly, when the current and previous schismatics Fr. Michael Azkoul of HOCNA and former defrocked deacon Lev Puhalo (now in the OCA with the title of “retired Archbishop”), go on about the “heresy” and “Gnosticism” of Fr. Seraphim, they are not brave enough to accuse St. John and other saints of the same, though Fr. Seraphim is just reiterating what St. John and others have taught for centuries.

Now, regarding your quote which refers to St. Basil’s comments that he is “wealthy in God’s grace” and “gathered many riches by fasting and my labors”, etc., I am aware that this is how the text appears in the English translation of Monk Mitrophan’s “How Our Departed Ones Live”, translated from the Russian by Fr. John Shaw (now Bishop Jerome of Manhattan).  If you think this is how the text appears in the Russian, what are we to make of the fact that throughout the remainder of the story (the comment you quoted by St. Basil is made at the very beginning of St. Theodora’s journey), St. Basil’s prayers are what actually helped St. Theodora, and no mention is made of any “merits” paying the “debts” of St. Theodora?  Do you have evidence that the references to his prayers throughout the text below are also falsifications? 

Journey of St. Theodora

 “However, through the prayers and the assistance of our common spiritual father Basil I was saved from these hardships.”
-
Second Torment: “Here the holy angels put down for my sins some of my good deeds, but the prayers of my spiritual father did even more to save me. We went on.”
-
Third Torment: “Here also the angels freed me by means of the prayers of the holy man Basil, and we continued to ascend.”
-
After the Fourth Torment:  ‘As we were ascending, the holy angels talked among themselves and said words to this effect: 'Truly does this soul have great help from Basil, a man who has pleased God. If it had not been for his prayers, she would have suffered a great deal in those stations of the air.”’

“You too would not have escaped here your evil lot, were it not that you have received the treasure of holy Basil's prayers.”
-
The Angels to St. Theodora after the 13th Torment:  “If the soul has done more good deeds than evil, they cannot keep it; but if the sins outweigh the good deeds, they keep the soul for some time, shut it up in the prison where it cannot know God, and torment it as much as God's power allows them, until that soul, by means of prayers of the Church and good deeds done for its sake by those who are still on earth, should be granted forgiveness.”
-
After the 15th Torment: “and especially have you been helped by the prayers of God's holy man Basil, whom you have served much and diligently.”
-
After the 18th Torment: “But you, Theodora, must thank God that you have already passed the torments of fornication by the prayers of the holy man Basil, your father. Now you will no longer fear.”
-
After the 20th Torment: “We, however, by the grace of Christ, passed this place without trouble, for we were helped by the prayers of the holy man Basil.
-
“Then I was led into the nether reaches of hell, where the Lord has bound and imprisoned Satan. There I saw frightening torments. Thence they led me westward, and there too I saw similar horrible torments, ready for sinners. As the angels showed all this to me, they said: 'Do you see from what misfortunes you have been saved by the prayers of the holy man?'”
-
"When we had passed and examined all this, one of the angels who, accompanied me said: 'You know, Theodora, that in the world there is the custom to remember the dead on the fortieth day after their death; today the holy man Basil remembers you on earth in his prayers.'”

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/death/theodora.aspx



When I previously responded to you assertion regarding supererogatory works with the words “Baseless, ridiculous, absurd”, I was specifically referring to your assertion that

This is in no way different to the Roman Catholic doctrine of the "merits of the
Saints" and thanks to the toll house dogma it is steadily making its way into
our holy Orthodoxy.

Please demonstrate that the Roman Catholic doctrine of “supererogatory works” is “steadily making its way into our holy Orthodoxy.”  I assert that this is an entirely false, contrived, ridiculous, and sensationalist statement that you are unable to demonstrate or support.  Please show us a single instance where an Orthodox priest or bishop has expressed his belief in the Roman Catholic doctrine of “supererogatory works”, and if you can find even a single such instance, please also show that the belief of the priest or bishop in the tollhouse teaching contributed to this false belief.  I think this question is entirely reasonable, but it is not unlike the many other reasonable questions I have asked of you which you ignore and refuse to address.



If you want to have a better shot at the toll houses be sure to go out and find a spiritual father who has lots of superfluous  merits to pay your way through the tolls

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1024 on: September 17, 2011, 01:25:40 AM »

Do we know what Archbishop Lazar and the OCA Synod think about Fr. Seraphim’s book?  Is this photo any indication?



Offline jah777

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1025 on: September 17, 2011, 01:26:26 AM »

B---U---M---P

Just a note:  I have honestly benefitted a lot from this thread because it has prompted me to go back and reread some things which I have not picked up in a while.  In several posts I have expressed my partiality regarding the book “Life After Death” by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, which gives a rather complete presentation of the subject of life after death in general and also includes a very helpful section on the subject of “the taxing of souls”, which may otherwise be spoken of as the “tollhouse teaching”.  This thread, however, has also encouraged me to once again pick up “The Soul After Death” by Fr. Seraphim (Rose).  While he states very plainly that his intent in the book was not to give a complete presentation of the Orthodox teaching on the subject of life after death, but only to provide an Orthodox critique of the stories regarding “out of body” and “near death” experiences that were being published in secular and non-Orthodox publications at that time, I have been very impressed with the thoroughness of Fr. Seraphim’s presentation regarding the subject of life after death in general and the tollhouses in particular.  I have also found that practically every criticism that has been raised in this thread against the tollhouse teaching is addressed very well in his book.  Since Fr. Seraphim first serialized the book’s contents in his “Orthodox Word” periodical, he had an opportunity to receive letters critiquing and criticizing this work from many angles before publishing it in book form.  This helped him to make many clarifications and address common misconceptions in the book’s final publication.  I am convinced that most people who criticize this teaching either never read the book written by Fr. Seraphim (and probably not any other book which supports this teaching), or they read it years or decades ago and do not recall its contents accurately, or they read the work hastily and did not pay attention to what was actually said, or they simply do not want to live a life of repentance and resent Fr. Seraphim for reminding them in such clear terms what the Lord expects of them as Orthodox Christians.  In any case, if you have not read his book on the subject, or it has been a long time since you have read it, I would strongly encourage you to pick it up and carefully read it through.  It is worth owning even for the patristic texts which he quotes at great length throughout, including long portions from the homilies of St. Mark of Ephesus against the Roman Catholic teaching on Purgatory.  His work is certainly not the only presentation of the tollhouse teaching that has been written, and it may not even be the best, but since he is often the focus of criticism in the context of the tollhouse teaching, critics should at least take the time to carefully read what he actually wrote.  While I would encourage the reading or rereading of this text before expressing further criticisms, I may (as I have time) quote from this text at greater length in future posts if criticisms addressed in the book are expressed by those who are not able to take the time to read it for themselves. 

Who are these people?

You are asking for names?  This misses the entire point of the post. 

Offline jah777

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1026 on: September 17, 2011, 01:39:20 AM »
We are not, however, praying that demons will not detail souls.  This is not present in our services, and so St. Basil's actions are, in light of the usual customs we have, highly irregular.  It is one of the troubling aspects of this story.
---
Again, our Trisagion Service and the Parastasis/Pannykhida do not mention releasing souls from demonic torment, but rather recall God's mercy and forgiveness for those who have departed.  The controversy here is that the services of the Church do not line up with this story, which can make all of this rather confusing.

As mentioned previously, however, the Office for the Parting of the Soul from the Body does include such prayers.  For instance:


Canticle 2

O Refuge renowned for the sinful and contrite, make thy mercy known upon me, O Pure One, and deliver me from the hands of demons: For many dogs have compassed me about.

Canticle 3

The assembly of the crafty, gaping, have compassed me round about, and seek to bear me away and bitterly torment me. Crush thou their teeth and jaws and save me, O Pure One.

Canticle 4

O Conqueror and Tormentor of the fierce Prince of the air, O Guardian of the dread path, and Searcher of these vain words, help thou me to pass over unhindered, as I depart from earth.

Canticle 5

No one now delivereth, and, of a truth, there is none to aid. Succour thou me, O Lady; else as a helpless man shall I be captive in the hands of mine enemies.


Canticle 6

To the holy and honourable arms of the holy Angels transfer me, O Lady; that covered with their wings I behold not the ignominious and revolting and gloomy forms of devils.

Canticle 8

Vouchsafe that I may escape the hordes of bodiless barbarians, and rise through the abysses of the air, and enter into heaven; and I will glorify thee forever, O holy Theotokos.

http://orthodoxinfo.com/death/service_parting.aspx


Offline jah777

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1027 on: September 17, 2011, 01:42:37 AM »

Do we know what Archbishop Lazar and the OCA Synod think about Fr. Seraphim’s book?  Is this photo any indication?

Good one.  That is a nice photo and I'm sure there is a great story behind it.

I do find it strange that the defrocked former Deacon Lev (Puhalo) would cense an icon of Fr. Seraphim, since he has no qualms about calling Fr. Seraphim a heretic.  Would you ever cense the icon of someone you consider a heretic?   
« Last Edit: September 17, 2011, 01:49:35 AM by jah777 »

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1028 on: September 17, 2011, 01:47:18 AM »

Father, do you know what your current bishop and Metropolitan think about Fr. Seraphim’s book?  Is this photo any indication?

I admire Fr Seraphim very much and believe that in his struggle to rein in the "objective disorder" of his soul and the "strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil" he has achieved a great measure of holiness and is an outstanding inspiration and model for others who struggle with the same disorder of same sex attraction.    That is the crux of his sanctity.

But I would not place any trust in Father Seraphim on this point of the toll houses.  Why?  Because he is self contradictory.

See  Reply #756 at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36319.msg636453.html#msg636453

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1029 on: September 17, 2011, 01:55:51 AM »

Father, do you know what your current bishop and Metropolitan think about Fr. Seraphim’s book?  Is this photo any indication?

But I would not place any trust in Father Seraphim on this point of the toll houses.  Why?  Because he is self contradictory.

See  Reply #756 at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36319.msg636453.html#msg636453


I already responded to this assertion in Reply #770, in case you missed it:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36319.msg636940.html#msg636940

I was asking about the views of your bishop and Metropolitan, however.  Do you know what his views are on The Soul After Death?

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1030 on: September 17, 2011, 02:00:10 AM »


 


Aren't such "icons" forbidden by the 1979 Council of Bishops of ROCA?

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1031 on: September 17, 2011, 02:02:03 AM »
Sorry, I was not more precise: are all the souls that are not at rest detained by demons?

There are several types of detention: eternal and temporary.  The parting appears to be ambiguous as to which we are talking about.



We are not, however, praying that demons will not detail souls.  This is not present in our services, and so St. Basil's actions are, in light of the usual customs we have, highly irregular.  It is one of the troubling aspects of this story.
---
Again, our Trisagion Service and the Parastasis/Pannykhida do not mention releasing souls from demonic torment, but rather recall God's mercy and forgiveness for those who have departed.  The controversy here is that the services of the Church do not line up with this story, which can make all of this rather confusing.

As mentioned previously, however, the Office for the Parting of the Soul from the Body does include such prayers.  For instance:


Canticle 2

O Refuge renowned for the sinful and contrite, make thy mercy known upon me, O Pure One, and deliver me from the hands of demons: For many dogs have compassed me about.

Canticle 3

The assembly of the crafty, gaping, have compassed me round about, and seek to bear me away and bitterly torment me. Crush thou their teeth and jaws and save me, O Pure One.

Canticle 4

O Conqueror and Tormentor of the fierce Prince of the air, O Guardian of the dread path, and Searcher of these vain words, help thou me to pass over unhindered, as I depart from earth.

Canticle 5

No one now delivereth, and, of a truth, there is none to aid. Succour thou me, O Lady; else as a helpless man shall I be captive in the hands of mine enemies.


Canticle 6

To the holy and honourable arms of the holy Angels transfer me, O Lady; that covered with their wings I behold not the ignominious and revolting and gloomy forms of devils.

Canticle 8

Vouchsafe that I may escape the hordes of bodiless barbarians, and rise through the abysses of the air, and enter into heaven; and I will glorify thee forever, O holy Theotokos.

http://orthodoxinfo.com/death/service_parting.aspx


You can't find wisdom in the mirror.

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1032 on: September 17, 2011, 02:12:04 AM »

I was asking about the views of your bishop and Metropolitan, however.  Do you know what his views are on The Soul After Death?


No idea at all.

He probably holds the view of  Archbishop Antony Bartoshevich.


"The teaching about toll-houses is not a dogma of the Church: Pious dissertations on so-called "toll-houses" are not Church dogma, are not official teachings of the Church."

Reply #657 at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36319.msg635363.html#msg635363


Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1033 on: September 17, 2011, 02:21:46 AM »

I was asking about the views of your bishop and Metropolitan, however.  Do you know what his views are on The Soul After Death?


Or, if he was taught by Fr Michael Pomazansky at Jordanville

-subtle movements in the soul at the time of death by which the soul comes to a
realisation of its spiritual state and its abode until the Final Judgement.

"Let us take this earthly side of the symbolism [of the toll houses] into the spiritual understanding. Theodora is the soul of man; the angels - its virtues; the demons - its sins. Both are in the soul of a man and perhaps after death are found, as it were, on the scales of a balance. Is this image inconsistent with our religious concepts? Talking about the "balance" we imitate the symbolism contained in our hymns: "Thy Cross is found as the measure between the two thieves; for the one was brought down to hades by the weight of his blasphemy, but the other was lightened of his sins unto the knowledge of theology: O Christ God, glory to Thee" (Troparion of the 9th Hour)."
« Last Edit: September 17, 2011, 02:23:47 AM by Irish Hermit »

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Toll houses?
« Reply #1034 on: September 17, 2011, 03:23:15 AM »
I believe this is an analogy gone too far.  Even Fr. Seraphim implanted an escape clause in his book, though the balance of the book argues so forcefully for this metaphor that people don't pick up on that line, and so they become very entrenched in a literalist reading.  This is one reason why I do not advocate the reading of his book: while it may be accurate, its construction is such that it leads people to faulty conclusions.  That was the patristic consensus on many of Origen's writings that were not totally heretical, which is why he continued to be quoted even after being banned by the Fifth Ecumenical Council.

Thank you Father.    You have expressed what I see as Father Seraphim's confusion very very charitably.