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Author Topic: Eastern Catholic Theology of the Toll Houses  (Read 3467 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 26, 2011, 12:57:53 PM »

What is the Eastern Catholic Theology of the toll houses? 
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« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2011, 01:06:07 PM »

I don't know for sure, but since the Catholic theology of purgatory is, in its official standing, simply limited to the notion that those who die in Christ but also in venial sin undergo a purgation of their sins after death, it seems that a wide range of interpretations of the toll houses could fit in to the theology of purgatory without any necessary tension.
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« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2011, 04:23:49 PM »

I have never seen an Eastern Catholic bishop/theologian talk or write about them.
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« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2011, 04:54:58 PM »

I have never seen an Eastern Catholic bishop/theologian talk or write about them.

Deacon Lance echoes what I said, from my position of being two generations removed from Greek Catholicism.

However, I have to say, and I sincerely mean this, that IF the toll house teachings were part of the tradition of 15th and 16th century Orthodoxy, it would have been part of the faith held by the Orthodox peoples living along the Carpathians who were brought into the Catholic Church through the Unia during the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Rusyns, the Ukrainians, the Galicians and  the Romanians (all of whom were part of or influenced by the Unias)  who lived in these regions were greatly influenced by religious imagery and stories as the vital part of keeping alive the faith from generation to generation.

The allegorical power of the toll house teachings is so graphic, visual and frightening and my ancestors were so superstitious and remained in possession of former pagan legends (vampires, werewolves, Perun etc...) they surely would have orally passed down such a frightful tale of demons and toll houses  in addition to the regular teachings they received.

Such a powerful story surely would have survived the Unia and would likely have been adapted by the Jesuits of the time in a manner to make it consistent with their 17th century views of purgatory. I never heard of toll houses in any way, nor did I ever see any iconographic rendering of it in any Greek Catholic church, surviving or newly constructed Orthodox church of the region or the Americas or in any museum.

Why such a BIG secret if it were common knowledge prior to Fr. Seraphim Rose?
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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2011, 05:03:23 PM »

What is the Eastern Catholic Theology of the toll houses? 
I don't think there is a theology of "toll houses" in Eastern Catholicism.
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2011, 03:18:35 AM »

I have never seen an Eastern Catholic bishop/theologian talk or write about them.

Deacon Lance echoes what I said, from my position of being two generations removed from Greek Catholicism.

However, I have to say, and I sincerely mean this, that IF the toll house teachings were part of the tradition of 15Th and 16Th century Orthodoxy, it would have been part of the faith held by the Orthodox peoples living along the Carpathians who were brought into the Catholic Church through the Unia during the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Rusyns, the Ukrainians, the Galicians and  the Romanians (all of whom were part of or influenced by the Unias)  who lived in these regions were greatly influenced by religious imagery and stories as the vital part of keeping alive the faith from generation to generation.

The allegorical power of the toll house teachings is so graphic, visual and frightening and my ancestors were so superstitious and remained in possession of former pagan legends (vampires, werewolves, Perun etc...) they surely would have orally passed down such a frightful tale of demons and toll houses  in addition to the regular teachings they received.

Such a powerful story surely would have survived the Unia and would likely have been adapted by the Jesuits of the time in a manner to make it consistent with their 17th century views of purgatory. I never heard of toll houses in any way, nor did I ever see any iconographic rendering of it in any Greek Catholic church, surviving or newly constructed Orthodox church of the region or the Americas or in any museum.

Why such a BIG secret if it were common knowledge prior to Fr. Seraphim Rose?

That's interesting.  What exactly did Carpatho Russians who became Greek Catholics believe about Purgatory?  Did they accept that Latin concept or did they hold to the more hazy Greek Orthodox view of an "intermediary state"?  Did they hold to a Latin concept of Purgatory by the time of the creation of ACROD and, if so did they take the idea of a concrete, legalistic Purgatory with them into ACROD as a Latinization?
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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2011, 11:17:11 AM »

I have never seen an Eastern Catholic bishop/theologian talk or write about them.

Deacon Lance echoes what I said, from my position of being two generations removed from Greek Catholicism.

However, I have to say, and I sincerely mean this, that IF the toll house teachings were part of the tradition of 15Th and 16Th century Orthodoxy, it would have been part of the faith held by the Orthodox peoples living along the Carpathians who were brought into the Catholic Church through the Unia during the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Rusyns, the Ukrainians, the Galicians and  the Romanians (all of whom were part of or influenced by the Unias)  who lived in these regions were greatly influenced by religious imagery and stories as the vital part of keeping alive the faith from generation to generation.

The allegorical power of the toll house teachings is so graphic, visual and frightening and my ancestors were so superstitious and remained in possession of former pagan legends (vampires, werewolves, Perun etc...) they surely would have orally passed down such a frightful tale of demons and toll houses  in addition to the regular teachings they received.

Such a powerful story surely would have survived the Unia and would likely have been adapted by the Jesuits of the time in a manner to make it consistent with their 17th century views of purgatory. I never heard of toll houses in any way, nor did I ever see any iconographic rendering of it in any Greek Catholic church, surviving or newly constructed Orthodox church of the region or the Americas or in any museum.

Why such a BIG secret if it were common knowledge prior to Fr. Seraphim Rose?

That's interesting.  What exactly did Carpatho Russians who became Greek Catholics believe about Purgatory?  Did they accept that Latin concept or did they hold to the more hazy Greek Orthodox view of an "intermediary state"?  Did they hold to a Latin concept of Purgatory by the time of the creation of ACROD and, if so did they take the idea of a concrete, legalistic Purgatory with them into ACROD as a Latinization?

When I was growing up in the 1950's and 60's and going to  an ACROD Church School, we were taught that purgatory was a Roman Catholic teaching that we did not accept. Since most of the nationalities impacted in east and central Europe came into the union from Orthodox Churches more aligned with Constantinople rather than Moscow, I suspect that the 'hazy' Greek view most likely prevailed. I can't think of anyone alive to ask who would really know the answer to your question, but I will check it out!
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2011, 09:23:44 PM »

Quote from: Saint Seraphim of Sarov

"Two Nuns, who had both been Abbesses, died. The Lord revealed to me how their souls had been subjected to the aerial tests, how they had been tried and then condemned. For three days and nights I prayed, wretched as I am, entreating the Mother of God for them, and the Lord in His goodness pardoned them through the prayers of the Mother of God; they passed all the aerial tests and received forgiveness through God's mercy."  

St. Seraphim of Sarov: A Spiritual Biography, Archimandrite Lazarus Moore,
New Sarov Press, 1994

This is one of the more frightening aspects of the toll house theory and highlights its danger to sober orthodox soteriology.  Without the prayers of a highly advanced Elder or Saint people don't make it through but are taken to hell.

These two abbesses had already been condemned to hell and were rescued by the prayers of Saint Seraphim.  How many ordinary Christians will have a Saint of that calibre to stop them going to hell?

But two important theological points emerge from this event in the toll houses...

1.  souls condemned to hell may be rescued
2.  God forgives sins after death.

Would this be acceptable teaching to Eastern Catholics?
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2011, 10:22:17 PM »

I can't speak for Eastern Catholics, but the Catholic doctrine of purgatory generally is that if you undergo purgation you have already been forgiven, and any soul who undergoes purgation is assured of entering heaven. An interpretation of the toll houses that differs from this may find itself in some tension with the Catholic doctrine of purgatory.
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2011, 11:15:53 PM »

Quote from: Saint Seraphim of Sarov

"Two Nuns, who had both been Abbesses, died. The Lord revealed to me how their souls had been subjected to the aerial tests, how they had been tried and then condemned. For three days and nights I prayed, wretched as I am, entreating the Mother of God for them, and the Lord in His goodness pardoned them through the prayers of the Mother of God; they passed all the aerial tests and received forgiveness through God's mercy."  

St. Seraphim of Sarov: A Spiritual Biography, Archimandrite Lazarus Moore,
New Sarov Press, 1994

This is one of the more frightening aspects of the toll house theory and highlights its danger to sober orthodox soteriology.  Without the prayers of a highly advanced Elder or Saint people don't make it through but are taken to hell.

These two abbesses had already been condemned to hell and were rescued by the prayers of Saint Seraphim.  How many ordinary Christians will have a Saint of that calibre to stop them going to hell?

But two important theological points emerge from this event in the toll houses...

1.  souls condemned to hell may be rescued
2.  God forgives sins after death.

Would this be acceptable teaching to Eastern Catholics?


Based upon the following paragraphs in the CCC, I would say that it is more than acceptable to say that some sins may be forgiven after death.

But it is much more difficult to say that a soul condemned to hell may be rescued.  In the first place one's heart must be hardened beyond all compunction in order to find one's way into hell...The Trinity will never force a soul to repent.  Therefore it would be impossible for anyone else to coerce a reprobate soul to convert.

Quote
1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:607

    As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.608

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."609
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« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2011, 11:34:53 PM »

Grace and Peace,

In my mind, this doesn't offer any clarity at all. I've always understood that to make a sin mortal three things are necessary: a grievous matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will.

In the past on this forum, it has often been assumed that if a sin was of a grievious matter the other two were a given. I often see this by Fr. Ambrose...

But we know that three things are necessary... if all three are not met, then it is possible that an act, even if of a grievous matter, isn't actually a mortal sin... so my question is how does one know that one has committed a mortal sin? How do we know that one is going to Hell or Heaven? I'd argue that we honestly don't have a clue...

Any thoughts?
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« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2011, 11:37:17 PM »

Quote from: Saint Seraphim of Sarov

"Two Nuns, who had both been Abbesses, died. The Lord revealed to me how their souls had been subjected to the aerial tests, how they had been tried and then condemned. For three days and nights I prayed, wretched as I am, entreating the Mother of God for them, and the Lord in His goodness pardoned them through the prayers of the Mother of God; they passed all the aerial tests and received forgiveness through God's mercy."  

St. Seraphim of Sarov: A Spiritual Biography, Archimandrite Lazarus Moore,
New Sarov Press, 1994

This is one of the more frightening aspects of the toll house theory and highlights its danger to sober orthodox soteriology.  Without the prayers of a highly advanced Elder or Saint people don't make it through but are taken to hell.

These two abbesses had already been condemned to hell and were rescued by the prayers of Saint Seraphim.  How many ordinary Christians will have a Saint of that calibre to stop them going to hell?

But two important theological points emerge from this event in the toll houses...

1.  souls condemned to hell may be rescued
2.  God forgives sins after death.

Would this be acceptable teaching to Eastern Catholics?


Based upon the following paragraphs in the CCC, I would say that it is more than acceptable to say that some sins may be forgiven after death.

But it is much more difficult to say that a soul condemned to hell may be rescued.  In the first place one's heart must be hardened beyond all compunction in order to find one's way into hell...The Trinity will never force a soul to repent.  Therefore it would be impossible for anyone else to coerce a reprobate soul to convert.

Quote
1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:607

    As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.608

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."609

I don't think I'd want to say that the sin is forgiven after death; only that it's purgated after death.
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« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2011, 11:58:45 PM »


I don't think I'd want to say that the sin is forgiven after death; only that it's purgated after death.

I think the language used in the Catechism is pretty clear.  There is an element of forgiveness possible.  There is nothing in the teachings of the Holy Fathers or of the later Church that says that purgation cannot have an element of forgiveness.  Rather there is indication that forgiveness is possible.

Also in the story of the Toll Houses, the women who had been condemned were prayed out of that sort of interim period and not out of Hell itself. 

Getting into Hell requires a hardened heart, and so the Church says that if you get there ultimately then that is that...as with the story of Lazarus and Dives.  There's no doubt that Dives wanted to be released...but the answer was very clear.  You cannot ignore that gospel witness.
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« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2011, 12:03:49 AM »

I think my problem with it stems from the idea of God forgiving sins in time. It seems to me that He has forgiven all sins before all time. But in terms of that forgiveness participating in time, it may be largely meaningless to try to parse too much between purgation and forgiveness-in-time.
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« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2011, 12:22:33 AM »

But it is much more difficult to say that a soul condemned to hell may be rescued.  In the first place one's heart must be hardened beyond all compunction in order to find one's way into hell...The Trinity will never force a soul to repent.  Therefore it would be impossible for anyone else to coerce a reprobate soul to convert.

Quote
1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:607

    As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.608

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."609

It is a matter of some interest that the Roman Catechism quotes Maccabees but fails to grasp the significance of the verse.  The incident is about two things:

1.  Prayer for the dead, and the Eastern Catholics and Roman Catholics are quite right to pick up on this.

2.  Forgiveness of death-dealing mortal sin after death and redemption from Hell.


The sin of the slain soldiers of Judas Maccabeus was the grievous sin of idolatry, and for this offence to His majesty God had given them to death in battle.  They were condemned to Hell.   But the belief of Judas Maccabeus and their living comrades was that they could be rescued from Hell by their prayers and the prayers and sacrifices of the priests in the Jerusalem temple as well as by almsgiving to the temple.

I know that the rescue of souls from Hell is no longer a part of Roman Catholic belief but what of our Eastern Catholic counterparts?  Do they share our Orthodox belief?
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« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2011, 12:29:12 AM »

Getting into Hell requires a hardened heart, and so the Church says that if you get there ultimately then that is that...as with the story of Lazarus and Dives.  There's no doubt that Dives wanted to be released...but the answer was very clear.  You cannot ignore that gospel witness.

Are you talking about Hell proper or rather Hades?
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« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2011, 12:29:47 AM »


In my mind, this doesn't offer any clarity at all. I've always understood that to make a sin mortal three things are necessary: a grievous matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will.

In the past on this forum, it has often been assumed that if a sin was of a grievious matter the other two were a given. I often see this by Fr. Ambrose...


Absolutely not.  I have never propounded such a thing which to my mind is illogical and introduces injustice into the nature of God.   Grievous sin must of course be preceded by both knowledge and consent on the part of the offender.

I believe that some Catholics have mischievously attributed such a position to me in other threads but they simply are misrepresenting me.  My belief on what is necessary for serious sin lines up with the Roman Catholic one.
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« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2011, 12:36:03 AM »

Getting into Hell requires a hardened heart, and so the Church says that if you get there ultimately then that is that...as with the story of Lazarus and Dives.  There's no doubt that Dives wanted to be released...but the answer was very clear.  You cannot ignore that gospel witness.

Are you talking about Hell proper or rather Hades?

Metropolitan Hilarion speaks of the saving power of prayer for those in Hell, not in Hades but in Hell.

Please see message 43
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« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2011, 12:42:51 AM »


In my mind, this doesn't offer any clarity at all. I've always understood that to make a sin mortal three things are necessary: a grievous matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will.

In the past on this forum, it has often been assumed that if a sin was of a grievious matter the other two were a given. I often see this by Fr. Ambrose...


Absolutely not.  I have never propounded such a thing which to my mind is illogical and introduces injustice into the nature of God.   Grievous sin must of course be preceded by both knowledge and consent on the part of the offender.

I believe that some Catholics have mischievously attributed such a position to me in other threads but they simply are misrepresenting me.  My belief on what is necessary for serious sin lines up with the Roman Catholic one.

Dear Ignatius,

Perhaps you are thinking of the Orthodox teaching of involuntary sin?   Have we discussed that somewhere?  I don't remember.  That can be difficult for non-Orthodox to grasp on first encounter.
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« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2011, 12:49:53 AM »

Getting into Hell requires a hardened heart, and so the Church says that if you get there ultimately then that is that...as with the story of Lazarus and Dives.  There's no doubt that Dives wanted to be released...but the answer was very clear.  You cannot ignore that gospel witness.

Are you talking about Hell proper or rather Hades?

Metropolitan Hilarion speaks of the saving power of prayer for those in Hell, not in Hades but in Hell.

Please see message 43
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,32546.msg514548.html#msg514548

But how can this be, if Hell proper does not yet "exist"?
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« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2011, 01:08:33 AM »

Getting into Hell requires a hardened heart, and so the Church says that if you get there ultimately then that is that...as with the story of Lazarus and Dives.  There's no doubt that Dives wanted to be released...but the answer was very clear.  You cannot ignore that gospel witness.

Are you talking about Hell proper or rather Hades?

Metropolitan Hilarion speaks of the saving power of prayer for those in Hell, not in Hades but in Hell.

Please see message 43
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,32546.msg514548.html#msg514548

But how can this be, if Hell proper does not yet "exist"?

Obviously Metropolitan Hilarion believes that it does (as do the Copts), and so also does Saint John Maximovitch.   The belief which is becoming popular in some quarters that  Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, has not yet been created but it will be created when Christ returns as Judge, that belief may be erroneous?
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« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2011, 01:38:26 AM »

Obviously Metropolitan Hilarion believes that it does (as do the Copts), and so also does Saint John Maximovitch.   The belief which is becoming popular in some quarters that  Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, has not yet been created but it will be created when Christ returns as Judge, that belief may be erroneous?

So if this distinction is in error, then are Hades and Hell synonymous?
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« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2011, 01:40:27 AM »

I thought that the Church of the first Millennium believed that there were two Hells, one of which was eternal and the other temporary?  The latter eventually became known as Purgatory in the West.
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« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2011, 01:46:33 AM »

Obviously Metropolitan Hilarion believes that it does (as do the Copts), and so also does Saint John Maximovitch.   The belief which is becoming popular in some quarters that  Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, has not yet been created but it will be created when Christ returns as Judge, that belief may be erroneous?

So if this distinction is in error, then are Hades and Hell synonymous?

Before we can talk "on the same page"  you would have to define Hades and Hell.

I see some Orthodox say that Hades is

1.  the place of waiting for the good souls (those who made it through the toll houses)

but they say also that Hades is

2.  the place of waiting for the evil souls (those who did not make it through the toll houses)
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« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2011, 09:06:42 AM »

Obviously Metropolitan Hilarion believes that it does (as do the Copts), and so also does Saint John Maximovitch.   The belief which is becoming popular in some quarters that  Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, has not yet been created but it will be created when Christ returns as Judge, that belief may be erroneous?

I would like to note here without rancor that it seems that Orthodoxy is still working on this one, so I don't think it is good, at this point to compare too finely between the Catholic Church which has made some decisions on the matter and Orthodoxy who seems still to be working on it.

The parable of Lazarus and Dives is a parable of our Lord and it indicates that for those who hardened their hearts in this life it is impossible to be removed from their torment in the next.  The Catholic Church has made it clear that part of revealed truth is that there will be reprobates in hell who will not come out and there are reprobates on earth who will not repent even if the dead will rise up to warn them.

There is some room for movement in this of course because of the paragraphs that I showed to you above.  But the matter is pretty well settled and I don't think that eastern Catholics think of matters much differently.   I have heard teachings and sermons from eastern Catholic priests and monks which deal with the parable of Lazarus and Dives and it is much as I have described it above.

Beyond these things, of course, it is not good to speculate, if the speculations cause unrest of the soul and intellect.
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« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2011, 09:28:14 AM »

The parable of Lazarus and Dives is a parable of our Lord and it indicates that for those who hardened their hearts in this life it is impossible to be removed from their torment in the next.

It is interesting that some Orthodox are constructing a modern cosmology of the afterlife in which they distinguish many spheres.

One thing many of them say is that Hell does not yet exist.  They believe that Christ will create it when he comes to judge the living and the dead.


So this places the Rich Man not in Hell but in Hades from where he may hope for salvation.  In Hades he is undergoing a partial punishment.

I don't accept that but you will find quite a few Orthodox who hold to this.  I do not know from where the belief proceeds.

Quote

Beyond these things, of course, it is not good to speculate, if the speculations cause unrest of the soul and intellect.


You can image that my belief, as Metropolitan Hilarion's, of salvation from Hell does not cause unrest of soul and intellect but great joy and spurs me all the more to pray for all dead souls.  My daily prayer rule includes chanting a Panikhida/Requiem and many many ejaculations during the day whenever the dead come to mind..
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« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2011, 09:32:36 AM »


You can image that my belief, as Metropolitan Hilarion's, of salvation from Hell does not cause unrest of soul and intellect but great joy and spurs me all the more to pray for all dead souls.  My daily prayer rule includes chanting a Panikhida/Requiem and many many ejaculations during the day whenever the dead come to mind..


There is never a need to imagine about this where you are concerned  Smiley

You are a good soul for this act of great mercy!!
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« Reply #27 on: May 31, 2011, 09:43:31 AM »


I would like to note here without rancor that it seems that Orthodoxy is still working on this one, so I don't think it is good, at this point to compare too finely between the Catholic Church which has made some decisions on the matter and Orthodoxy who seems still to be working on it.

Some Orthodox may be still working on it but I would think that the Church's teaching is already found in the Pentecostal Kneeling Prayers written by Saint Basil the Great in the early 4th century.

Quote
The parable of Lazarus and Dives is a parable of our Lord and it indicates that for those who hardened their hearts in this life it is impossible to be removed from their torment in the next.  .


The Third Kneeling Prayer which we will soon be reading in church on Pentecost Sunday prays to the Lord Almighty that he will release those who are held in the bondage of Hell.   

...who also on this all-perfect and saving feast, art graciously pleased to accept
propitiatory prayers for those who are imprisoned in Hell, promising unto us and
unto those held in bondage great hope of release from the vileness that doth
hinder us and hinder them.  We who are living will bless thee, and will pray,
and offer unto thee propitiatory prayers and sacrifices for their souls."


I imagine that this prayer is also contained in Eastern Catholic liturgical books?


It is this very prayer which the Copts recently removed from their Services and which the Russian Metropolitan Hilarion questioned them about.

 Bishop Hilarion: "Several years ago I came across a short article in a journal of the Coptic Church where it stated that this Church had decided to remove prayers for those held in hell from its service books, since these prayers “contradict Orthodox teaching”. Puzzled by this article, I decided to ask a representative of the Coptic Church about the reasons for this move. Recently I had the possibility to do so, and a Coptic Metropolitan replied that the decision was made by his Synod because, according their official doctrine, no prayers can help those in hell.

"I told the metropolitan that in the liturgical practice of the Russian Orthodox Church and other local Orthodox Churches there are prayers for those held in hell, and that we believe in their saving power. This surprised the Metropolitan, and he promised to study this question in more detail."

Here is the original article ...
 "Orthodox Worship as a School of Theology"

http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/12/1.aspx
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« Reply #28 on: May 31, 2011, 10:07:24 AM »


I would like to note here without rancor that it seems that Orthodoxy is still working on this one, so I don't think it is good, at this point to compare too finely between the Catholic Church which has made some decisions on the matter and Orthodoxy who seems still to be working on it.

Some Orthodox may be still working on it but I would think that the Church's teaching is already found in the Pentecostal Kneeling Prayers written by Saint Basil the Great in the early 4th century.

Quote
The parable of Lazarus and Dives is a parable of our Lord and it indicates that for those who hardened their hearts in this life it is impossible to be removed from their torment in the next.  .


The Third Kneeling Prayer which we will soon be reading in church on Pentecost Sunday prays to the Lord Almighty that he will release those who are held in the bondage of Hell.   

...who also on this all-perfect and saving feast, art graciously pleased to accept
propitiatory prayers for those who are imprisoned in Hell, promising unto us and
unto those held in bondage great hope of release from the vileness that doth
hinder us and hinder them.  We who are living will bless thee, and will pray,
and offer unto thee propitiatory prayers and sacrifices for their souls."


I imagine that this prayer is also contained in Eastern Catholic liturgical books?


It is this very prayer which the Copts recently removed from their Services and which the Russian Metropolitan Hilarion questioned them about.

 Bishop Hilarion: "Several years ago I came across a short article in a journal of the Coptic Church where it stated that this Church had decided to remove prayers for those held in hell from its service books, since these prayers “contradict Orthodox teaching”. Puzzled by this article, I decided to ask a representative of the Coptic Church about the reasons for this move. Recently I had the possibility to do so, and a Coptic Metropolitan replied that the decision was made by his Synod because, according their official doctrine, no prayers can help those in hell.

"I told the metropolitan that in the liturgical practice of the Russian Orthodox Church and other local Orthodox Churches there are prayers for those held in hell, and that we believe in their saving power. This surprised the Metropolitan, and he promised to study this question in more detail."

Here is the original article ...
 "Orthodox Worship as a School of Theology"

http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/12/1.aspx


Even in the Roman rite there are liturgical prayers which do not discourage but encourage prayers for those in eternal torment.  Period.  There is rightly no expectation that anyone be removed from the torment unrepentant.   I say unrepentant because it is my guess that they would wish to be released from torment.  That would not mean they had bent their will to the Lord's.

The papal Church will never teach that there is an irresistible grace nor will they teach that there will never be any souls in hell.  Those things run contrary to revelation.

So as long as one does not contradict revelation, it is good to trust in and encourage the mercy of God.

I don't know if that is too complicated.  It seems reasonable and right to me, and it seems to fit with what I know of eastern liturgical prayer.

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« Reply #29 on: May 31, 2011, 10:28:06 AM »

Even in the Roman rite there are liturgical prayers which do not discourage but encourage prayers for those in eternal torment.  Period.  There is rightly no expectation that anyone be removed from the torment unrepentant.   I say unrepentant because it is my guess that they would wish to be released from torment.

I am glad to hear you say that.  

Father Kimel disagrees:  "It's because the sinner is now definitively fixed in hatred of God and thus eternally rejects God's offer of forgiveness."

I suppose we could say that the Roman Catholic Church is still working on modifying its beliefs in this area.   laugh Grin


But of course Eastern Christians, whether Orthodox or Catholic, do NOT believe that either God or the prayers of the faithful will force a soul in Hell or a soul bound for Hell against its will.

But what is highly dubious and really must be rejected is the opposite scenario promoted by Roman Catholics that souls in Hell have had their will eternally paralysed at the moment of death and cannot make any further choices and cannot move towards acceptance of God's offer of forgiveness,

We have seen here in earlier posts that the belief in an eternal paralysis of the volitional principle of souls in Hell is not the belief of the apostolic Churches, and Rome herself came to the belief only late in her existence.
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« Reply #30 on: May 31, 2011, 10:34:14 AM »

Even in the Roman rite there are liturgical prayers which do not discourage but encourage prayers for those in eternal torment.  Period.  There is rightly no expectation that anyone be removed from the torment unrepentant.   I say unrepentant because it is my guess that they would wish to be released from torment.

I am glad to hear you say that. 

Father Kimel disagrees:  "It's because the sinner is now definitively fixed in hatred of God and thus eternally rejects God's offer of forgiveness."


But of course Eastern Christians, whether Orthodox or Catholic, do NOT believe that either God or the prayers of the faithful will force a soul in Hell or a soul bound for Hell against its will.

But what is highly dubious and really must be rejected is the opposite scenario promoted by Roman Catholics that souls in Hell have had their will eternally paralysed at the moment of death and cannot make any further choices and cannot move towards acceptance of God's offer of forgiveness,

We have seen here in earlier posts that the belief in an eternal paralysis of the volitional principle of souls in Hell is not the belief of the apostolic Churches, and Rome herself came to the belief only late in her existence.

I disagree with you entirely.  Essentially the Catholic Church has always taught that the only souls in hell are the ones who have hardened their hearts.  Anyone with a shred of repentance may be tormented to some degree but will not be banished for eternity.

So you are still trying very hard to deny that each soul is responsible for choosing their eternity.

I think that is where you are [pun intended] dead wrong.
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« Reply #31 on: May 31, 2011, 11:23:18 AM »

Elijahmaria and Father Ambrose--With all due respect, you are in agreement; your disagreements are not with each other but other EO and RCC sources--of course, as you understand them. This is indeed a glorious day, glory be to God!
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« Reply #32 on: May 31, 2011, 11:31:42 AM »

Elijahmaria and Father Ambrose--With all due respect, you are in agreement; your disagreements are not with each other but other EO and RCC sources--of course, as you understand them. This is indeed a glorious day, glory be to God!

 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

Glorified is His Holy Name!!
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« Reply #33 on: May 31, 2011, 11:56:13 AM »


In my mind, this doesn't offer any clarity at all. I've always understood that to make a sin mortal three things are necessary: a grievous matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will.

In the past on this forum, it has often been assumed that if a sin was of a grievious matter the other two were a given. I often see this by Fr. Ambrose...


Absolutely not.  I have never propounded such a thing which to my mind is illogical and introduces injustice into the nature of God.   Grievous sin must of course be preceded by both knowledge and consent on the part of the offender.

I believe that some Catholics have mischievously attributed such a position to me in other threads but they simply are misrepresenting me.  My belief on what is necessary for serious sin lines up with the Roman Catholic one.

Dear Ignatius,

Perhaps you are thinking of the Orthodox teaching of involuntary sin?   Have we discussed that somewhere?  I don't remember.  That can be difficult for non-Orthodox to grasp on first encounter.

I think the two are very similar... we can and do recognize the evil of abortion or perhaps even contraception (i.e the matter) but due to the failure of sufficient reflection, and/or full consent of the will the guilt of the matter is mitigated.
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« Reply #34 on: May 31, 2011, 12:01:04 PM »

Quote from: Irish Hermit
But what is highly dubious and really must be rejected is the opposite scenario promoted by Roman Catholics that souls in Hell have had their will eternally paralysed at the moment of death and cannot make any further choices and cannot move towards acceptance of God's offer of forgiveness,

We have seen here in earlier posts that the belief in an eternal paralysis of the volitional principle of souls in Hell is not the belief of the apostolic Churches, and Rome herself came to the belief only late in her existence.

Can you elaborate? You're suggesting salvation is possible for souls who have been condemned to hell proper?
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« Reply #35 on: May 31, 2011, 04:42:44 PM »

Even in the Roman rite there are liturgical prayers which do not discourage but encourage prayers for those in eternal torment.  Period.  There is rightly no expectation that anyone be removed from the torment unrepentant.   I say unrepentant because it is my guess that they would wish to be released from torment.  That would not mean they had bent their will to the Lord's.

Offertory from the Requiem Mass:


Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory,

free the souls of all the faithful departed

from infernal punishment and the deep pit.

Free them from the mouth of the lion;

do not let Tartarus swallow them,

nor let them fall into darkness;

but may the standard-bearer Saint Michael,

lead them into the holy light

which you once promised to Abraham and his seed. 

Hostias et preces tibi, Domine,

laudis offerimus;

tu suscipe pro animabus illis,

quarum hodie memoriam facimus.

Fac eas, Domine, de morte transire ad vitam.

Quam olim Abrahæ promisisti et semini eius.  O Lord, we offer You

sacrifices and prayers of praise;

accept them on behalf of those souls

whom we remember today.

Let them, O Lord, pass over from death to life,

as you once promised to Abraham and his seed. 


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Requiem

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« Reply #36 on: May 31, 2011, 06:45:25 PM »

We should of course pray that no one will go to hell, but I don't think that's the same as saying that those who are in hell proper may leave it. Also note that the prayer refers to the faithful departed, not those who reject God.
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« Reply #37 on: May 31, 2011, 06:56:40 PM »


We should of course pray that no one will go to hell, but I don't think that's the same as saying that those who are in hell proper may leave it.

There was a time when the Church of Rome believed that souls could be liberated from hell, during the first millennium when it was united in one body with the Universal Church.


"In itself, it is no rejection of Catholic dogma to suppose that God might at times, by way of exception, liberate a soul from hell. Thus some argued from a false interpretation of 1 Peter 3:19 sq., that Christ freed several damned souls on the occasion of His descent into hell. Others were misled by untrustworthy stories into the belief that the prayers of Gregory the Great rescued the Emperor Trajan from hell. But now theologians are unanimous in teaching that such exceptions never take place and never have taken place, a teaching which should be accepted.

" If this be true, how can the Church pray in the Offertory of the Mass for the dead: "Libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum de poenis inferni et de profundo lacu" etc.? Many think the Church uses these words to designate purgatory. They can be explained more readily, however, if we take into consideration the peculiar spirit of the Church's liturgy; sometimes she refers her prayers not to the time at which they are said, but to the time for which they are said. Thus the offertory in question is referred to the moment when the soul is about to leave the body, although it is actually said some time after that moment; and as if he were actually at the death-beds of the faithful, the priest implores God to preserve their souls from hell. But whichever explanation be preferred, this much remains certain, that in saying that offertory the Church intends to implore only those graces which the soul is still capable of receiving, namely, the grace of a happy death or the release from purgatory."

Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07207a.htm

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« Reply #38 on: May 31, 2011, 07:04:32 PM »

Is is the normative Eastern Orthodox position that the damned can be liberated from hell proper? If so, can you provide some sources on this? I was unaware of it and am interested. Statements like Matthew 25:46 ("They will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."), Mark 9:43 ("If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go in to hell, where the fire never goes out."), and John 3:36 (Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.") had always seemed to me to make pretty clear that hell was eternal, and I had never heard anything of the Eastern Orthodox differing on this point.
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« Reply #39 on: May 31, 2011, 07:16:10 PM »

Is is the normative Eastern Orthodox position that the damned can be liberated from hell proper? If so, can you provide some sources on this?
 

Things are scattered throughout the Forum.  Try a search with Hilarion hell .

Oh, and zoom back up to message 27 in this thread for Saint Basil the Great and our liturgical prayer.
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« Reply #40 on: May 31, 2011, 08:05:52 PM »

Hmm, I didn't know about that view.

This is from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:

Quote
The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There.is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.

http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7076

Your thoughts?
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« Reply #41 on: May 31, 2011, 08:09:21 PM »

Now it is time for Father Ambrose to become the non-legalist.

As I said at one point, it appears that the Catholic Church has made some decisions that Orthodoxy is still reviewing.


Hmm, I didn't know about that view.

This is from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:

Quote
The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There.is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.

http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7076

Your thoughts?
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« Reply #42 on: May 31, 2011, 08:25:25 PM »

Hmm, I didn't know about that view.

This is from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:

Quote
The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There.is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.

http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7076

Your thoughts?

Ghastly!  The soul, it says, will be judged not by its deeds but by the consequences of its deeds, "according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts".   Oh my gosh.... that even does away with the requirement for knowledge and consent.   The consequences of a sin may be the death of another person somewhere down the track, the spontaneous abortion of a foetus, the misery of a family for years to come (as when the executioner throws the electric switch.)   Paying farmers not to plant grain in America results in death by famine in Uganda.   And a soul will be judged on all these consequences which it neither intended nor had knowledge of!!    Who on earth wrote that Catechism?     It's out of whack with Orthodoxy.  It's out of whack with Catholicism.
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« Reply #43 on: May 31, 2011, 08:30:53 PM »

Best to let them know dontcha think?  And while you are at it...give them a head's up on that universal priesthood error too!!

Hmm, I didn't know about that view.

This is from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:

Quote
The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There.is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.

http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7076

Your thoughts?

Ghastly!  The soul, it says, will be judged not by its deeds but by the consequences of its deeds, "according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts".   Oh my gosh.... that even does away with the requirement for knowledge and consent.   The consequences of a sin may be the death of another person somewhere down the track, the spontaneous abortion of a foetus, the misery of a family for years to come (as when the executioner throws the electric switch.)   Paying farmers not to plant grain in America results in death by famine in Uganda.   And a soul will be judged on all these consequences which it neither intended nor had knowledge of!!    Who on earth wrote that Catechism?     It's out of whack with Orthodoxy.  It's out of whack with Catholicism.
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« Reply #44 on: May 31, 2011, 08:32:03 PM »


As I said at one point, it appears that the Catholic Church has made some decisions that Orthodoxy is still reviewing.


I believe the Catholic Church is still in the process of working out its beliefs.

In message 29 we see that Fr Kimel is adamant that there can be no repentance in hell and no rescue from hell.

You seem to disagree with that position.

This brings the conclusion that when two highly educated Catholics disagree your Church has no settled teaching on the subject and is still reviewing its understanding, sifting through contrary beliefs.
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