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« Reply #45 on: June 28, 2010, 11:47:15 AM »

Dear Papist,

Perhaps it would be helpful to understand the history of the term 'venial,' since I have not come across it in Patristic sources we commonly use.  Then we might better be able to understand how forgiveness is limited in your teachings.

I was taught that categorizing sins too carefully can lead to mankind's over-reliance on human judgment over Divine Justice.



Fr. Ambrose, you know very well that the Catholic Church has always believed in the possibility of the forgiveness of venial sins after death.
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« Reply #46 on: June 28, 2010, 12:36:42 PM »

There is an article in the Catholic Encylopedia about sin, and it covers the topic of venial sin:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14004b.htm#V
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« Reply #47 on: June 28, 2010, 12:45:00 PM »


Fr. Ambrose, you know very well that the Catholic Church has always believed in the possibility of the forgiveness of venial sins after death.

And, when it was orthodox in its beliefs, it (the Roman Catholic Church) believed in the forgiveness of 'mortal sin' after death.    Your Eastern Catholics still do.  I suppose that would make them heretics or would that be a permissble belief for them but forbidden for Roman Catholics?

Of course the division of sin into mortal and venial is a later development in the West.  While the Church (the una sancta orthodoxa) has always believed that some sins are more grave than others, it has never developed the Roman Catholic understanding that there is a category of sin which is labeled "mortal" and this is said to entail the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit and the withdrawal of all sanctifying grace.  The soul is in reality 'dead' and in this state of mortal sin and spiritual death it has no other destination than the fires of hell.

Now the Church teaches otherwise, namely that the Holy Spirit which comes at Baptism will NEVER entirely abandon even the greatest sinner during his life.    The Holy Spirit will only withdraw entirely on the day that poor sinful person enters hell.
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« Reply #48 on: June 28, 2010, 01:01:11 PM »


Fr. Ambrose, you know very well that the Catholic Church has always believed in the possibility of the forgiveness of venial sins after death.

And, when it was orthodox in its beliefs, it (the Roman Catholic Church) believed in the forgiveness of 'mortal sin' after death.    Your Eastern Catholics still do.  I suppose that would make them heretics or would that be a permissble belief for them but forbidden for Roman Catholics?

Of course the division of sin into mortal and venial is a later development in the West.  While the Church (the una sancta orthodoxa) has always believed that some sins are more grave than others, it has never developed the Roman Catholic understanding that there is a category of sin which is labeled "mortal" and this is said to entail the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit and the withdrawal of all sanctifying grace.  The soul is in reality 'dead' and in this state of mortal sin and spiritual death it has no other destination than the fires of hell.

Now the Church teaches otherwise, namely that the Holy Spirit which comes at Baptism will NEVER entirely abandon even the greatest sinner during his life.    The Holy Spirit will only withdraw entirely on the day that poor sinful person enters hell.
Father, thank you for sharing and I am aware that the Eastern Orthodox distinguish between differing levels of sins as Cathlics do. I am glad that we are bound in this common belief.
As for the forgiveness of Mortal Sins after death, what is the concrete evidence that Eastern Christians accept this idea. Where in the Liturgy or councils can this belief be found? Why would the East profess such a clearly unscriptural belief?
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« Reply #49 on: June 28, 2010, 01:31:45 PM »

As for the forgiveness of Mortal Sins after death, what is the concrete evidence that Eastern Christians accept this idea. Where in the Liturgy or councils can this belief be found? Why would the East profess such a clearly unscriptural belief?

It is misleading and confusing to allow Roman Catholics to have the impression that the Orthodox (and Eastern Catholics) mean the same thing as Roman Catholics when they speak of "mortal sin."  The words may be the same but the presuppositions are not.   Mary, being a Ruthenian Catholic, could probably explain it far better than I can.

Also, click on the Tag "Forgiveness after death" and it will bring up threads where these things have been discussed previously.
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« Reply #50 on: June 28, 2010, 01:34:38 PM »


Fr. Ambrose, you know very well that the Catholic Church has always believed in the possibility of the forgiveness of venial sins after death.

And, when it was orthodox in its beliefs, it (the Roman Catholic Church) believed in the forgiveness of 'mortal sin' after death.    Your Eastern Catholics still do.  I suppose that would make them heretics or would that be a permissble belief for them but forbidden for Roman Catholics?

Of course the division of sin into mortal and venial is a later development in the West.  While the Church (the una sancta orthodoxa) has always believed that some sins are more grave than others, it has never developed the Roman Catholic understanding that there is a category of sin which is labeled "mortal" and this is said to entail the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit and the withdrawal of all sanctifying grace.  The soul is in reality 'dead' and in this state of mortal sin and spiritual death it has no other destination than the fires of hell.

Now the Church teaches otherwise, namely that the Holy Spirit which comes at Baptism will NEVER entirely abandon even the greatest sinner during his life.    The Holy Spirit will only withdraw entirely on the day that poor sinful person enters hell.
Father, thank you for sharing and I am aware that the Eastern Orthodox distinguish between differing levels of sins as Cathlics do. I am glad that we are bound in this common belief.
As for the forgiveness of Mortal Sins after death, what is the concrete evidence that Eastern Christians accept this idea. Where in the Liturgy or councils can this belief be found? Why would the East profess such a clearly unscriptural belief?

My guess is that the evidence for this would tend, for the most part, to be anecdotal. There is, for example, the story of Pope St. Gregory the Great (IIRC) praying for the emperor Trajan, and by his prayers delivering him from suffering.

We do know, however, that when prayers and alms are offered with faith and love, even the worst sinners receive benefit--maybe simply that their sufferings are temporarily eased. But, the main point is, I think, that, by the mercy of God, the loving works of the living can benefit the departed. Until the Last Judgment, there is the possibility (and not just that, but it has happened numerous times, as God has revealed), for souls experience torments in anticipation of eternal punishment to be released from this and be granted a state of rest, some even to rest in the same way as the righteous who anticipate eternal blessedness.

We still do not know how things will turn out, since we are not the Judge. We pray for everyone, and believe that, so long as there is still love, faith, prayer, and time, it is possible for the souls of those anticipating eternal punishment to find relief or deliverance. But the state of these souls and their suffering cannot be treated lightly.
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« Reply #51 on: June 28, 2010, 02:32:48 PM »

As for the forgiveness of Mortal Sins after death, what is the concrete evidence that Eastern Christians accept this idea. Where in the Liturgy or councils can this belief be found? Why would the East profess such a clearly unscriptural belief?

It is misleading and confusing to allow Roman Catholics to have the impression that the Orthodox (and Eastern Catholics) mean the same thing as Roman Catholics when they speak of "mortal sin."  The words may be the same but the presuppositions are not.   Mary, being a Ruthenian Catholic, could probably explain it far better than I can.

Also, click on the Tag "Forgiveness after death" and it will bring up threads where these things have been discussed previously.
Fr. Ambrose, can you provide at least one quick liturtical reference?
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« Reply #52 on: July 07, 2010, 06:50:51 AM »

Quote
It is misleading and confusing to allow Roman Catholics to have the impression that the Orthodox (and Eastern Catholics) mean the same thing as Roman Catholics when they speak of "mortal sin."  The words may be the same but the presuppositions are not. 
Quote
Of course the division of sin into mortal and venial is a later development in the West.  While the Church (the una sancta orthodoxa) has always believed that some sins are more grave than others, it has never developed the Roman Catholic understanding that there is a category of sin which is labeled "mortal" and this is said to entail the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit and the withdrawal of all sanctifying grace.  The soul is in reality 'dead' and in this state of mortal sin and spiritual death it has no other destination than the fires of hell.
"There is a sin that is always 'unto death': the sin for which we do not repent. For this sin even a saint's prayers will not be heard" (St. Mark the Ascetic).

Allyne Smith remarks: "Here Mark the Ascetic is citing 1 John 5:16. While the Roman Catholic tradition has identified particular acts as 'mortal' sins, in the Orthodox tradition we see that only a sin for which we don't repent is 'mortal'" (Allyne Smith, in Philokalia: The Eastern Christian Spiritual Texts: Selections Annotated and Explained, p. 2).
« Last Edit: July 07, 2010, 06:58:16 AM by xariskai » Logged

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« Reply #53 on: July 07, 2010, 08:31:41 AM »

As for the forgiveness of Mortal Sins after death, what is the concrete evidence that Eastern Christians accept this idea. Where in the Liturgy or councils can this belief be found? Why would the East profess such a clearly unscriptural belief?

It is misleading and confusing to allow Roman Catholics to have the impression that the Orthodox (and Eastern Catholics) mean the same thing as Roman Catholics when they speak of "mortal sin."  The words may be the same but the presuppositions are not.   Mary, being a Ruthenian Catholic, could probably explain it far better than I can.

Also, click on the Tag "Forgiveness after death" and it will bring up threads where these things have been discussed previously.
Fr. Ambrose, can you provide at least one quick liturtical reference?

Dear Papist,  Apologies, I have only just noticed your question.   Not sure though what you want the liturgical reference to refer to...?  Could you please explain.
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« Reply #54 on: July 07, 2010, 10:05:14 AM »

As for the forgiveness of Mortal Sins after death, what is the concrete evidence that Eastern Christians accept this idea. Where in the Liturgy or councils can this belief be found? Why would the East profess such a clearly unscriptural belief?

It is misleading and confusing to allow Roman Catholics to have the impression that the Orthodox (and Eastern Catholics) mean the same thing as Roman Catholics when they speak of "mortal sin."  The words may be the same but the presuppositions are not.   Mary, being a Ruthenian Catholic, could probably explain it far better than I can.

Also, click on the Tag "Forgiveness after death" and it will bring up threads where these things have been discussed previously.
Fr. Ambrose, can you provide at least one quick liturtical reference?

Dear Papist,  Apologies, I have only just noticed your question.   Not sure though what you want the liturgical reference to refer to...?  Could you please explain.
I would just like a liturgical reference demonstrating that the Eastern Orthodox do in fact believe that a person who does not reprent in life can repent and be saved after death.
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« Reply #55 on: July 07, 2010, 10:19:11 AM »

As for the forgiveness of Mortal Sins after death, what is the concrete evidence that Eastern Christians accept this idea. Where in the Liturgy or councils can this belief be found? Why would the East profess such a clearly unscriptural belief?

It is misleading and confusing to allow Roman Catholics to have the impression that the Orthodox (and Eastern Catholics) mean the same thing as Roman Catholics when they speak of "mortal sin."  The words may be the same but the presuppositions are not.   Mary, being a Ruthenian Catholic, could probably explain it far better than I can.

Also, click on the Tag "Forgiveness after death" and it will bring up threads where these things have been discussed previously.
Fr. Ambrose, can you provide at least one quick liturtical reference?

Dear Papist,  Apologies, I have only just noticed your question.   Not sure though what you want the liturgical reference to refer to...?  Could you please explain.
I would just like a liturgical reference demonstrating that the Eastern Orthodox do in fact believe that a person who does not reprent in life can repent and be saved after death.

The Third Kneeling Prayer which we read recently 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."

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 #56 on: July 07, 2010, 10:23:41 AM »

As for the forgiveness of Mortal Sins after death, what is the concrete evidence that Eastern Christians accept this idea. Where in the Liturgy or councils can this belief be found? Why would the East profess such a clearly unscriptural belief?

It is misleading and confusing to allow Roman Catholics to have the impression that the Orthodox (and Eastern Catholics) mean the same thing as Roman Catholics when they speak of "mortal sin."  The words may be the same but the presuppositions are not.   Mary, being a Ruthenian Catholic, could probably explain it far better than I can.

Also, click on the Tag "Forgiveness after death" and it will bring up threads where these things have been discussed previously.
Fr. Ambrose, can you provide at least one quick liturtical reference?

Dear Papist,  Apologies, I have only just noticed your question.   Not sure though what you want the liturgical reference to refer to...?  Could you please explain.
I would just like a liturgical reference demonstrating that the Eastern Orthodox do in fact believe that a person who does not reprent in life can repent and be saved after death.

The Third Kneeling Prayer which we read recently 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."

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


Father Ambrose,
Thank you for your response. Does your own communion have such a prayer in its liturgy?
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« Reply #57 on: July 07, 2010, 10:31:22 AM »

I would just like a liturgical reference demonstrating that the Eastern Orthodox do in fact believe that a person who does not reprent in life can repent and be saved after death.

The Akathist for Those Who Have Fallen Asleep.   This can be served in church or it can be prayed at home or at the graves.

"Forgive, O Lord, those who have died without repentance.  Save those who
have committed suicide in the darkness of their mind, that the flame of
their sinfulness may be extinguished in the ocean of Thy grace.

            O Lord of unutterable Love, remember Thy servants who have
                        fallen asleep."
Ikos 5

http://users.sisqtel.net/williams/akathist-repose.html


I've also added the whole Akathist as an attachment at the bottom of this message.

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« Reply #58 on: July 07, 2010, 10:32:22 AM »

I would just like a liturgical reference demonstrating that the Eastern Orthodox do in fact believe that a person who does not reprent in life can repent and be saved after death.

The Akathist for Those Who Have Fallen Asleep.   This can be served in church or it can be prayed at home or at the graves.

"Forgive, O Lord, those who have died without repentance.  Save those who
have committed suicide in the darkness of their mind, that the flame of
their sinfulness may be extinguished in the ocean of Thy grace.

            O Lord of unutterable Love, remember Thy servants who have
                        fallen asleep."
Ikos 5

http://users.sisqtel.net/williams/akathist-repose.html


I've also added the whole Akathist as an attachment at the bottom of this message.



Thanks Father. I really appreciate your wealth of knowledge.
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« Reply #59 on: July 07, 2010, 10:38:32 AM »


Thank you for your response. Does your own communion have such a prayer in its liturgy?

Every Orthodox Church has this prayer in its liturgy. 
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« Reply #60 on: July 07, 2010, 11:56:58 PM »

What does the Orthodox Church teach about life after death? And what is the Church's stance on the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul?

Do believers in Christ all go straight to Heaven after they die or do they "fall asleep" in the grave and only "wake up" at the Resurrection on the Last Day?

And concerning the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul in particular, what does the Church teach about the soul? How does the Church describe what it is? Something that a person has (Greek philosophy) or what a person is (Biblical Hebrew)?

Looking forward to your responses.
Here are a couple of additional quotations re. the OP on personal eschatology which might be of use.

"We believe that the souls of the departed are in either repose or torment as each one has wrought, for immediately after the separation from the body they are pronounced either in bliss or in suffering and sorrows, yet we confess that neither their joy nor their condemnation are yet complete. After the general resurrection, when the soul is reunited with the body, each one will receive the full measure of joy or condemnation due to him for the way in which he conducted himself, whether well or ill" (Synod of Jerusalem/1672 (Orthodox).

Cf. also St. Augustine's comment, which in this case reflects the Orthodox view:
"During the time, moreover, which intervenes between a man's death and the final resurrection, the soul dwells in a hidden retreat, where it enjoys rest or suffers affliction just in proportion to the merit it has earned by the life which it led on earth" (Augustine, Enchiridion, 1099 (A.D. 421).
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