The question was rhetorical. Unfortunately it is an official teaching of the Orthodox Church.
When we asked a prominent scholar/Dr of Theology/Monk/Priest (yes, he is all of the above) of the Orthodox Church at the Q&A during a theological lecture, he reluctantly answered us: It IS an official belief of the Orthodox Church BUT it is “not taught”.
He also said that the “20 Torments” causes a lot of friction in the Church because the whole notion of the Torments is scary and not many people are prepared to accept its content. He quickly went on to the next question
My dear friends
The 20 Torments contradicts what the Bible teaches and the whole reason Christ became a man to die for our sins.
For those who haven’t read the story, I’ll paraphrase it.
Saint Gregory had a dream that St Theodora told him what happened when she died.
First a multitude of Ethiopians tried to take her soul but was saved by some beautiful white Angels. (The Ethiopians represent the Demons. St Theodora is a racist).
These Caucasian Angels took her to the Torments
First Torment. Here the souls are tormented for the sins of idle speech. The Angels traded her good deeds for bad but because she didn’t have enough good deeds, the angels offered some treasures (prayers) from St Basil. So she passed the first Torment.
Second Torment. "The Torment of lying”. Again she paid her way with good deeds and some prayers from St Basil.
Third Torment." speaking evil of others and spreading rumours about them”. Dito
Fourth Torment. " gluttony”
Fifth Torment- " sloth”
Sixth Torment. – “stealing”
Seventh Torment. " passed without stopping through the station of avarice and love of money.
Ninth Torment. "Now there lay before us the torment of injustice.
Tenth Torment. "As for the torment of envy, w
she passed it without giving anything at all in payment, for Ishe never had been envious.
Theodora asked the angel leaders: 'Tell me how can these terrible rulers of the air know in such detail all the evil deeds of men, and not only the open ones but even those that are secret?" The angels replied: 'Every Christian, as soon as he is baptised, receives from God an appointed guardian angel who guards him invisibly and inspires him night and day to every kind of good deed; he also records all his good deeds, for which that man later can hope to receive from the Lord grace and eternal recompense in the Heavenly Kingdom. The prince of darkness, who desires to draw into his own destruction the whole race of men as well, also appoints one of his evil spirits to walk in the man's steps and record all his evil deeds. It is his duty to inspire man to such deeds by any vile trickery in his power; and when he succeeds in his designs, he records all the wickedness of which the man has made himself guilty. Such an evil spirit spreads the report of every man's sins to all the stations of torment, and this is how the sins become known to the princes of the air. When the soul parts from its body and desires to go to its Creator in heaven, the evil spirits prevent the soul and show to it its sins. 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.
"Those who believe in the Holy Trinity and take as frequently as possible the Holy Communion of the Holy Mysteries of Christ our Saviour's Body and Blood--such people can rise to heaven directly, with no hindrances, and the holy angels defend them, and the holy saints of God pray for their salvation, since they have lived righteously. No one, however, takes care of the wicked and depraved heretics, who do nothing useful during their lives, and live in disbelief and heresy. The angels can say nothing in their defence.
"When a soul proves to be so sinful and impure before God that it has no hope of salvation, the evil spirits immediately bring it down into the abyss, where their own place of eternal torment is also. There the lost souls are kept until the time of the Lord's Second Coming. Then they will unite with their bodies and will incur torment in the fiery hell together with the devils 'Note also,' said the angels, 'that this is the way by which only those who are enlightened by the faith and by holy baptism can rise and be tested in the stations of torment. The unbelievers do not come here. Their souls belong to hell even before they part from their bodies. When they die the devils take their souls with no need to test them. Such souls are their proper prey, and they take them down to the abyss.'
THIS IS NOT BIBLICAL. Christ holds the book NOT Satan.
Theodora passed all 20 Torments with Basils help and her good deeds.
Jesus taught us that it is our Faith in Him that will save us and NOT our deeds. Our deeds are merely the proof of our faith. Jesus never ever taught that we must pray for our dead and that our prayers can help the dead.
This whole 20 Torments story is a fairy tale.
If we were to believe this story we would also believe that when a murderer dies, he can be saved if he has enough people praying for him and if a petty thief dies he will burn for ever if he had no friends. This Fairy Tale was written a long long time ago before the Bible was accessible by all men (and women). Now that we know the truth (By reading our Bibles) why doesn’t the Church dismiss this belief as heresy and stop praying to and for the dead and dismiss Theodora. Basil and Gregory as Heretics and NOT Saints?
Because Fr. Chris has indicated that you haven't privately messaged him the name of the priest that he asked for, you are being placed on Post Moderation (duration: indefinite) until you PM him the name. The name will be held in the strictest confidence, but it must be provided in order to validate your claims.
Thank you for your consideration. Please PM Fr. Chris.
- Cleveland, Global Moderator