Author Topic: Purgatory, and the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Views on Sin and Forgiveness  (Read 72025 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JLatimer

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,202
Quote
In the fifth sitting (June 4) Cardinal Julian gave the following definition of the Latin doctrine on purgatory: "From the time of the Apostles," he said, "the Church of Rome has taught, that the souls departed from this world, pure and free from every taint,—namely, the souls of saints,—immediately enter the regions of bliss. The souls of those who after their baptism have sinned, but have afterwards sincerely repented and confessed their sins, though unable to perform the epitimia laid upon them by their spiritual father, or bring forth fruits of repentance sufficient to atone for their sins, these souls are purified by the fire of purgatory, some sooner, others slower, according, to their sins; and then, after their purification, depart for the land of eternal bliss. The prayers of the priest, liturgies, and deeds of charity conduce much to their purification. The souls of those dead in mortal sin, or in original sin, go straight to punishment. [2]
The Greeks demanded a written exposition of this doctrine. When they received it, Mark of Ephesus and Bessarion of Nice each wrote their remarks on it, which afterwards served as a general answer to the doctrine of the Latins. [3]
When giving in this answer (June 14th), Bessarion explained the difference of the Greek and Latin doctrine on this subject. The Latins, he said, allow that now, and until the day of the last judgment, departed souls are purified by fire, and are thus liberated from their sins; so that, he who has sinned the most will be a longer time undergoing purification, whereas he whose sins are less will be absolved the sooner, with the aid of the Church; but in the future life they allow the eternal, and not the purgatorial fire. Thus the Latins receive both the temporal and the eternal fire, and call the first the purgatorial fire. On the other hand, the Greeks teach of one eternal fire alone, understanding that the temporal punishment of sinful souls consists in that they for a time depart into a place of darkness and sorrow, are punished by being deprived of the Divine light, and are purified—that is, liberated from this place of darkness and woe—by means of prayers, the Holy Eucharist, and deeds of charity, and not by fire. The Greeks also believe, that until the union of the souls to the bodies, as the souls of sinners do not suffer full punishment, so also those of the saints do not enjoy entire bliss. But the Latins, agreeing with the Greeks in the first point, do not allow the last one, affirming that the souls of saints have already received their full heavenly reward. [4]

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

A beginning?
1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

Offline JLatimer

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,202
The reason I included "Sin and Forgiveness" in the title is because I think a lot hinges on this little matter of "atonement" that the Cardinal brings up. This is not immediately addressed in the preliminary Orthodox response quoted above, but it's important. What is mentioned above is the Orthodox understanding of there being one fire, as opposed to two in Catholic understanding (that may or may not be a distortion of Catholic teaching, though in any case we would have to determine why and how the Orthodox got such an impression of Latin doctrine).

I also think an interesting aspect of this discussion from the cafeteria thread is how exactly do we relate sin, forgiveness, repentance, and the  soul's experience after death to the redemptive work of Christ? As Christians we agree that's the central issue, so let us try to understand eachother on that point.
1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Strategos
  • ******************
  • Posts: 41,350
Quote
From the time of the Apostles," he said, "the Church of Rome has taught, that the souls departed from this world, pure and free from every taint,—namely, the souls of saints
This sounds a lot like what the Church of the Vatican has claimed from the time of Pius IX about the Theotokos, who said it was "a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God."

Given the Latin setup, it is conceivable that a poor but not grevious sinner, will suffer more in the fire, than a great rich sinner who leaves sums for masses to release him sooner.

When I saw this thread announced in the other thread, I thought of my sons going to confession after we saw the movie "Ghost Rider." When they came down from confession I told them, "now, if they gave you the penitent stare, nothing would happen."  I get the feeling (actually, more than that) that the Vatican dogma holds that something would happen.

From the Catechism of St. Peter Movila, who put it (too much) into Latin terms:
Quote
Q. 112. Which is the fifth mystery?

R. The fifth mystery is sacred penance, which is sorrow of heart for sins with the confession of the same before a priest and the unchangeable resolution to better one's life, along with the intention of performing the satisfaction designated by the priest. This mystery takes effect, when absolution is given by the priest according to the rite of the Church; the second it is pronounced, one's sins are remitted, as goes the saying: "Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained."[272]



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q. 113. What should be noted about this mystery?

R. First, it should be noticed that the penitent should be a Christian of the orthodox-catholic faith, for penance without faith is not true penance and not pleasing to God. Secondly, it should be noted that the one who hears the confession ought to be an Orthodox confessor, because the heretic and the apostate lack the power to absolve. Thirdly, it is required that the penitent have contrition of heart, or sorrow for the sins by which he offended God or neighbor, about which contrition the Prophet speaks thus: "A contrite and humble heart God does not despise."[273] This contrition should be followed by an oral confession of individual sins. For the confessor cannot absolute unless he knows what ought to be absolved and which penance to prescribe. Such a confession is expressed in Sacred Scripture, when it states: "And many of them that believed, came confessing and declaring their deeds."[274] Similarly, in another place: "Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be saved."[275] Likewise, those who were baptized by John were confessing their sins, as Scripture testifies: "And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all they of Jerusalem, and were baptized by him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins."[276] This confession should have such qualities as humility, modesty, truth and sincerity, self-accusation and sorrow in the act of confessing. The third part of penance should be the satisfaction, assigned by the confessor, such as prayers, almsgivings, fasts, pilgrimages to holy places, prostrations and similar such things, which the confessor should designate in accord with good judgment. Nevertheless, the person who has made his confession should ponder the words spoken in the Psalm: "Turn away from evil and do good."[277] The Savior himself also mentions the same: "Go, and now sin no more,[278] lest some worse thing happen to you."[279] Although it is impossible for man to completely avoid sin, still all orthodox are bound in conscience to make some improvement in life from one confession to the next.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q. 114. What are the advantages of this mystery?

R. The first advantage is this: just as we lose through sin the innocence gained in baptism, so do we return thereunto in penance; and just as we lose grace through sin, so through penance do we regain it; and just as we enter the devil's captivity through sin, so are we freed from it through penance; and just as chaos and fear overcome our conscience through sin, so through penance peace and our filial trust return.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline militantsparrow

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 653
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
We don't do penance in the way you understand it. What we do is epitimia, which is medicine for our souls.
Well allow me to turn the tables on you and play the same game as you're playing. Why would you need penance as medicine for your souls if Christ died to save us from our sins. Are you saying that Christ is not enough for our souls to be healed and that something else (penance) must be added?
The medicine we receive is not apart from Christ but is part and parcel of the reality of that healing that flows from the Cross.
The same can be said of purgatory.

You're welcome to think that. But believing something doesn't make it true (or logical).

You already admitted that sinners must undergo "punishment" for their sins, even after they forgiven and washed "whiter than snow" in the Sacrament of Repentance.

How is that punishment not Wrath or a curse? Do you or do you not believe that Christ took away the curse that was upon us, including the "temporal" aspects of that curse? To what avail did Christ come in the flesh, if he can only forgive our 'spiritual' debts?

I punish my children when they do something wrong. Even when they have already apologized and I have already forgiven them. God is our Father and we are His children. His punishment is not one of wrath or a curse, but is instead a "medicine" (as you say) administered by a loving Father to His children to help them grow in their closeness with Him.
I no longer post on this forum

Offline Wyatt

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,465
  • Faith: Catholic
  • Jurisdiction: Latin Church
I punish my children when they do something wrong. Even when they have already apologized and I have already forgiven them. God is our Father and we are His children. His punishment is not one of wrath or a curse, but is instead a "medicine" (as you say) administered by a loving Father to His children to help them grow in their closeness with Him.
Exactly. I think it is also important to note that when we Catholics speak of the fire of purgatory, we see it (especially in recent years) as a cleansing fire not a hellish, torturous one. Sure there have been Saints who have received private revelations and were said to have had visions of purgatory and it's torturous nature. Yet, we know that private revelations are not doctrine and, as such, we are not required to believe them. We may if we choose, but do not have to. Thankfully, the Catholic Church in her wisdom has not made any doctrinal pronouncements on the nature of purgatory. All the Church requires is that we believe purgatory exists. The Church does not tell us what it will be like. To me, the Orthodox view expressed in the opening post of this thread seems to be compatible with purgatory. "A place of darkness and sorrow" sounds like a different way of describing the same reality, which is that of an intermediate state before reaching Heaven.

I think perhaps it is quite possible that many Orthodox Christians are just uncomfortable using the word "purgatory" to describe such a state because of the fact that it sounds Roman, and many Orthodox seem to get skittish when it comes to using Latin theological terms.

Offline FatherGiryus

  • Don't Ask
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 4,195

I think a critical difference in the two theologies rests in the impositor of the 'judgment' by which the pain and suffering of those souls destine for eternal rest.

In the RC case, it appears that God renders a judgment and assigns a pennance, thus imposing His chastisement or 'temporal punishment' which was not part of Christ's atonement.

In the OC case, the conscience of the individual, with accusation from the demons and defense from the angels and saints, passes the judgment and renders its own 'conditions' under which it can finally accept Christ's forgiveness and thus enter into rest.

These are significant differences, though both are merciful in the sense that those who are negligent or even impious may enter into the Kingdom Eternal.


I punish my children when they do something wrong. Even when they have already apologized and I have already forgiven them. God is our Father and we are His children. His punishment is not one of wrath or a curse, but is instead a "medicine" (as you say) administered by a loving Father to His children to help them grow in their closeness with Him.
Exactly. I think it is also important to note that when we Catholics speak of the fire of purgatory, we see it (especially in recent years) as a cleansing fire not a hellish, torturous one. Sure there have been Saints who have received private revelations and were said to have had visions of purgatory and it's torturous nature. Yet, we know that private revelations are not doctrine and, as such, we are not required to believe them. We may if we choose, but do not have to. Thankfully, the Catholic Church in her wisdom has not made any doctrinal pronouncements on the nature of purgatory. All the Church requires is that we believe purgatory exists. The Church does not tell us what it will be like. To me, the Orthodox view expressed in the opening post of this thread seems to be compatible with purgatory. "A place of darkness and sorrow" sounds like a different way of describing the same reality, which is that of an intermediate state before reaching Heaven.

I think perhaps it is quite possible that many Orthodox Christians are just uncomfortable using the word "purgatory" to describe such a state because of the fact that it sounds Roman, and many Orthodox seem to get skittish when it comes to using Latin theological terms.
You can't find wisdom in the mirror.

Offline Jetavan

  • Argumentum ad australopithecum
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,850
  • Tenzin and Desmond
    • The Mystical Theology
I punish my children when they do something wrong. Even when they have already apologized and I have already forgiven them. God is our Father and we are His children. His punishment is not one of wrath or a curse, but is instead a "medicine" (as you say) administered by a loving Father to His children to help them grow in their closeness with Him.
Exactly.... "A place of darkness and sorrow" sounds like a different way of describing the same reality, which is that of an intermediate state before reaching Heaven.
A major difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy is that the former teaches that one's definite eternal destiny is determined right at death, whereas the latter teaches that one's definite eternal destiny is determined at the Final Judgement, which has not happened yet. Thus, in Catholicism, a person might die, and go right into purgatory (the fiery purification from sins) and then into heaven. In Orthodoxy, a person might die and go right into an unpleasant  state/foretaste of eternal damnation, but another person might die and go right into a pleasant state/foretaste of eternal salvation.

In Orthodoxy, the person in the unpleasant state/forestaste of eternal damnation, might somehow change trajectories, and enter into the pleasant state/foretaste of eternal salvation -- but this change is thought to occur solely via the prayers of the Church, and not through any process of a fiery purification.

Purgatory is not needed, indeed is superfluous, in Orthodoxy, because (1) one's eternal fate is not determined until the Final Judgement; and, until that time, (2) the prayers of the Church may induce a change in a person's trajectory.

If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline Papist

  • Patriarch of Pontification
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 13,758
From the Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem:

"the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought" (an enjoyment or condemnation that will be complete only after the resurrection of the dead); but the souls of some "depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not."
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline Jetavan

  • Argumentum ad australopithecum
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,850
  • Tenzin and Desmond
    • The Mystical Theology
From the Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem:

"the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought" (an enjoyment or condemnation that will be complete only after the resurrection of the dead); but the souls of some "depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not."

There's nothing there about purification: the "future release" is due to the prayers and good works of the living, not due to a purifying fire.
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline Papist

  • Patriarch of Pontification
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 13,758
From the Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem:

"the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought" (an enjoyment or condemnation that will be complete only after the resurrection of the dead); but the souls of some "depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not."

There's nothing there about purification: the "future release" is due to the prayers and good works of the living, not due to a purifying fire.
What is the point of their suffering?
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline Jetavan

  • Argumentum ad australopithecum
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,850
  • Tenzin and Desmond
    • The Mystical Theology
From the Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem:

"the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought" (an enjoyment or condemnation that will be complete only after the resurrection of the dead); but the souls of some "depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not."

There's nothing there about purification: the "future release" is due to the prayers and good works of the living, not due to a purifying fire.
What is the point of their suffering?
".... [They] there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed."
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline Wyatt

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,465
  • Faith: Catholic
  • Jurisdiction: Latin Church
From the Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem:

"the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought" (an enjoyment or condemnation that will be complete only after the resurrection of the dead); but the souls of some "depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not."

There's nothing there about purification: the "future release" is due to the prayers and good works of the living, not due to a purifying fire.
What is the point of their suffering?
".... [They] there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed."
So basically, the Orthodox believe that souls receive punishment due to their sins, but that the punishment does not purify the soul at all and that only the prayers of the Church release them from that state? What if a particular soul has no one to pray for them (i.e. a Protestant)? Does that mean they may be in that state forever?
« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 11:03:56 AM by Wyatt »

Offline Papist

  • Patriarch of Pontification
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 13,758
From the Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem:

"the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought" (an enjoyment or condemnation that will be complete only after the resurrection of the dead); but the souls of some "depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not."

There's nothing there about purification: the "future release" is due to the prayers and good works of the living, not due to a purifying fire.
What is the point of their suffering?
".... [They] there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed."
Do you agree with the council on this point?
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline Papist

  • Patriarch of Pontification
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 13,758
From the Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem:

"the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought" (an enjoyment or condemnation that will be complete only after the resurrection of the dead); but the souls of some "depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not."

There's nothing there about purification: the "future release" is due to the prayers and good works of the living, not due to a purifying fire.
What is the point of their suffering?
".... [They] there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed."
So basically, the Orthodox believe that souls receive punishment due to their sins, but that the punishment does not purify the soul at all and that only the prayers of the Church release them from that state? What if a particular soul has no one to pray for them (i.e. a Protestant)? Does that mean they may be in that state forever?
It's interesting to note on this point that the passage points out that souls in this state are aware of their future release.
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline Jetavan

  • Argumentum ad australopithecum
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,850
  • Tenzin and Desmond
    • The Mystical Theology
From the Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem:

"the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought" (an enjoyment or condemnation that will be complete only after the resurrection of the dead); but the souls of some "depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not."

There's nothing there about purification: the "future release" is due to the prayers and good works of the living, not due to a purifying fire.
What is the point of their suffering?
".... [They] there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed."
So basically, the Orthodox believe that souls receive punishment due to their sins, but that the punishment does not purify the soul at all and that only the prayers of the Church release them from that state? What if a particular soul has no one to pray for them (i.e. a Protestant)? Does that mean they may be in that state forever?
It's interesting to note on this point that the passage points out that souls in this state are aware of their future release.
Perhaps they know that they will be prayed for, by the Church.
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline Jetavan

  • Argumentum ad australopithecum
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,850
  • Tenzin and Desmond
    • The Mystical Theology
From the Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem:

"the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought" (an enjoyment or condemnation that will be complete only after the resurrection of the dead); but the souls of some "depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not."

There's nothing there about purification: the "future release" is due to the prayers and good works of the living, not due to a purifying fire.
What is the point of their suffering?
".... [They] there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed."
So basically, the Orthodox believe that souls receive punishment due to their sins, but that the punishment does not purify the soul at all and that only the prayers of the Church release them from that state? What if a particular soul has no one to pray for them (i.e. a Protestant)? Does that mean they may be in that state forever?
I believe that one is able to pray for all of the souls in unpleasant after-life states.
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline Jetavan

  • Argumentum ad australopithecum
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,850
  • Tenzin and Desmond
    • The Mystical Theology
From the Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem:

"the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought" (an enjoyment or condemnation that will be complete only after the resurrection of the dead); but the souls of some "depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not."

There's nothing there about purification: the "future release" is due to the prayers and good works of the living, not due to a purifying fire.
What is the point of their suffering?
".... [They] there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed."
Do you agree with the council on this point?
Yes, I believe sin has consequences.
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline FatherGiryus

  • Don't Ask
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 4,195

Dear Papist,

Again, the Synod's statement does not say that God imposes the punishment.  Again, it would seem odd that if God were to impose a necessary punishment that the prayers of the Church would somehow alleviate what is necessary.  I think you may recall our discussion on this topic from another thread.

The Orthodox position is that the 'punishment' spoken of here is the torment of the conscience, which is the natural consequence of loving God and so regretting one's sins.  The two go together and are inseparable.  In fact, I think OCs and RCs can agree that this idea is not entirely unreasonable from reading the Psalms and the Holy Fathers.

This understanding leads us to the conclusion that the efficacy of the prayers of the Church heal the conscience of the tormented rather than amending God's sentence.  For us, the encounter with God's judgment occurs at the Final Judgment, which seals for all time the fate of mankind.  Until that Judgment, it would seem that there would be opportunity to repent.  I don't know for sure that any will, but I do not think God would slam the door on any who would.



From the Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem:

"the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought" (an enjoyment or condemnation that will be complete only after the resurrection of the dead); but the souls of some "depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not."

You can't find wisdom in the mirror.

Offline JLatimer

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,202
I punish my children when they do something wrong. Even when they have already apologized and I have already forgiven them. God is our Father and we are His children. His punishment is not one of wrath or a curse, but is instead a "medicine" (as you say) administered by a loving Father to His children to help them grow in their closeness with Him.
Exactly.... "A place of darkness and sorrow" sounds like a different way of describing the same reality, which is that of an intermediate state before reaching Heaven.
A major difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy is that the former teaches that one's definite eternal destiny is determined right at death, whereas the latter teaches that one's definite eternal destiny is determined at the Final Judgement, which has not happened yet. Thus, in Catholicism, a person might die, and go right into purgatory (the fiery purification from sins) and then into heaven. In Orthodoxy, a person might die and go right into an unpleasant  state/foretaste of eternal damnation, but another person might die and go right into a pleasant state/foretaste of eternal salvation.

In Orthodoxy, the person in the unpleasant state/forestaste of eternal damnation, might somehow change trajectories, and enter into the pleasant state/foretaste of eternal salvation -- but this change is thought to occur solely via the prayers of the Church, and not through any process of a fiery purification.

Purgatory is not needed, indeed is superfluous, in Orthodoxy, because (1) one's eternal fate is not determined until the Final Judgement; and, until that time, (2) the prayers of the Church may induce a change in a person's trajectory.



Well put.
1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

Offline elijahmaria

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,515
    • Irenikin: The Skete
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
I punish my children when they do something wrong. Even when they have already apologized and I have already forgiven them. God is our Father and we are His children. His punishment is not one of wrath or a curse, but is instead a "medicine" (as you say) administered by a loving Father to His children to help them grow in their closeness with Him.
Exactly.... "A place of darkness and sorrow" sounds like a different way of describing the same reality, which is that of an intermediate state before reaching Heaven.
A major difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy is that the former teaches that one's definite eternal destiny is determined right at death, whereas the latter teaches that one's definite eternal destiny is determined at the Final Judgement, which has not happened yet. Thus, in Catholicism, a person might die, and go right into purgatory (the fiery purification from sins) and then into heaven. In Orthodoxy, a person might die and go right into an unpleasant  state/foretaste of eternal damnation, but another person might die and go right into a pleasant state/foretaste of eternal salvation.

In Orthodoxy, the person in the unpleasant state/forestaste of eternal damnation, might somehow change trajectories, and enter into the pleasant state/foretaste of eternal salvation -- but this change is thought to occur solely via the prayers of the Church, and not through any process of a fiery purification.

Purgatory is not needed, indeed is superfluous, in Orthodoxy, because (1) one's eternal fate is not determined until the Final Judgement; and, until that time, (2) the prayers of the Church may induce a change in a person's trajectory.



Well put.

I have been told by some Orthodox clergy that Orthodoxy teaches a particular judgment just as the Catholic Church does....Otherwise how could Orthodoxy teach that it is possible to pray someone out of hell?

M.

Offline FatherGiryus

  • Don't Ask
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 4,195

Dear Mary,

I have also heard from some Roman Catholic clergy who believe that Black Masses have been celebrated at the Vatican.  That does not mean I have to believe what they say as representing the RCC.

If we are going to have a reasonable discussion on any matter, then please use sources you can cite with confidence.  'Anonymous tipsters' might work for TMZ, but not here.



I have been told by some Orthodox clergy that Orthodoxy teaches a particular judgment just as the Catholic Church does....Otherwise how could Orthodoxy teach that it is possible to pray someone out of hell?

M.
You can't find wisdom in the mirror.

Offline JLatimer

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,202

Dear Mary,

I have also heard from some Roman Catholic clergy who believe that Black Masses have been celebrated at the Vatican.  That does not mean I have to believe what they say as representing the RCC.

If we are going to have a reasonable discussion on any matter, then please use sources you can cite with confidence.  'Anonymous tipsters' might work for TMZ, but not here.



I have been told by some Orthodox clergy that Orthodoxy teaches a particular judgment just as the Catholic Church does....Otherwise how could Orthodoxy teach that it is possible to pray someone out of hell?

M.

Mary, your question was already answered above. Also, why don't we use terms such as hades and Gehenna instead of hell so only as to avoid confusion.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 06:34:01 PM by JLatimer »
1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

Offline militantsparrow

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 653
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
From the Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem:

"the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought" (an enjoyment or condemnation that will be complete only after the resurrection of the dead); but the souls of some "depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not."

There's nothing there about purification: the "future release" is due to the prayers and good works of the living, not due to a purifying fire.
What is the point of their suffering?
".... [They] there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed."

Yes. That is exactly what Catholics believe. I still don't see how the Orthodox position differs from the Catholic view of purgatory.
I no longer post on this forum

Offline Wyatt

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,465
  • Faith: Catholic
  • Jurisdiction: Latin Church

Dear Mary,

I have also heard from some Roman Catholic clergy who believe that Black Masses have been celebrated at the Vatican.  That does not mean I have to believe what they say as representing the RCC.

If we are going to have a reasonable discussion on any matter, then please use sources you can cite with confidence.  'Anonymous tipsters' might work for TMZ, but not here.



I have been told by some Orthodox clergy that Orthodoxy teaches a particular judgment just as the Catholic Church does....Otherwise how could Orthodoxy teach that it is possible to pray someone out of hell?

M.

Mary, your question was already answered above. Also, why don't we use terms such as hades and Gehenna instead of hell so only as to avoid confusion.

Could you elaborate on what's confusing about the term hell, please? I've always thought it was a pretty straightforward term.

Offline JLatimer

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,202

Dear Mary,

I have also heard from some Roman Catholic clergy who believe that Black Masses have been celebrated at the Vatican.  That does not mean I have to believe what they say as representing the RCC.

If we are going to have a reasonable discussion on any matter, then please use sources you can cite with confidence.  'Anonymous tipsters' might work for TMZ, but not here.



I have been told by some Orthodox clergy that Orthodoxy teaches a particular judgment just as the Catholic Church does....Otherwise how could Orthodoxy teach that it is possible to pray someone out of hell?

M.

Mary, your question was already answered above. Also, why don't we use terms such as hades and Gehenna instead of hell so only as to avoid confusion.

Could you elaborate on what's confusing about the term hell, please? I've always thought it was a pretty straightforward term.

Hel is the name of a pagan Germanic underworld deity, and as such, is a perfectly good translation of the Greek word hades (Hebrew sheol), which basically just means 'grave'; i.e., it indicates the general 'abode of the dead'. Hades is gloomy for sure, but it doesn't really carry any connotations of punishment, at least not originally. Gehenna, or gehinnom, on the other hand, was originally the name of the burning trash heap outside Jerusalem, and in Biblical and Patristic usage is synonymous with the 'lake of fire', a place or state of eternal punishment for the damned.

At some point, in English at least, "hell" stopped being hades and became synonymous with gehenna. This can create some confusion; for example, when we speak of Christ's "harrowing of hell", more properly this is the "harrowing of hades", the dark place where everybody who had previously died was before the Crucifixion. Christ did not descend into "hell", conceived of as the place of eternal punishment for the eternally damned: In Orthodox teaching, no one is yet in "hell" in that sense (gehenna), since the Orthodox do not believe souls will receive their final "assignment" to gehenna, or Heaven, until the Last Judgment.

Does that help? I'm probably mangling it, but I think that's on the right track.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 08:43:04 PM by JLatimer »
1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

Offline Wyatt

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,465
  • Faith: Catholic
  • Jurisdiction: Latin Church
Hel is the name of a pagan Germanic underworld deity, and as such, is a perfectly good translation of the Greek word hades (Hebrew sheol), which basically just means 'grave'; i.e., it indicates the general 'abode of the dead'. Hades is gloomy for sure, but it doesn't really carry any connotations of punishment, at least not originally. Gehenna, or gehinnom, on the other hand, was originally the name of the burning trash heap outside Jerusalem, and in Biblical and Patristic usage is synonymous with the 'lake of fire', a place or state of eternal punishment for the damned.

At some point, in English at least, "hell" stopped being hades and became synonymous with gehenna. This can create some confusion; for example, when we speak of Christ's "harrowing of hell", more properly this is the "harrowing of hades", the dark place where everybody who had previously died was before the Crucifixion. Christ did not descend into "hell", conceived of as the place of eternal punishment for the eternally damned: In Orthodox teaching, no one is yet in "hell" in that sense (gehenna), since the Orthodox do not believe souls will receive their final "assignment" to gehenna, or Heaven, until the Last Judgment.

Does that help? I'm probably mangling it, but I think that's on the right track.
Yes, that does help...thank you. Whenever I hear the word "hell" I automatically assume people are using it in the Gehenna/Lake of Fire context rather than just sheol. Although when discussing theology it probably is best to use the most precise wording possible.

Yes. That is exactly what Catholics believe. I still don't see how the Orthodox position differs from the Catholic view of purgatory.
Well, from the discussion so far it seems that there are some differences in what we believe and what they believe. I'm not convinced that gloomy darkness versus cleansing fire is really that different theologically since these are both likely metaphors to describe a spiritual state that we cannot yet understand. However, the fact that the Orthodox believe someone can be on their way to the lake of fire and then being prayed into the other direction seems quite different than the Catholic belief. Of course, the main reason why it doesn't make sense to us is because we believe in two judgments, the particular judgment and the general (final) judgment. So, as Catholics, we believe someone's fate is sealed as soon as they die.

Offline elijahmaria

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,515
    • Irenikin: The Skete
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox

Dear Mary,

I have also heard from some Roman Catholic clergy who believe that Black Masses have been celebrated at the Vatican.  That does not mean I have to believe what they say as representing the RCC.

If we are going to have a reasonable discussion on any matter, then please use sources you can cite with confidence.  'Anonymous tipsters' might work for TMZ, but not here.



I have been told by some Orthodox clergy that Orthodoxy teaches a particular judgment just as the Catholic Church does....Otherwise how could Orthodoxy teach that it is possible to pray someone out of hell?

M.

Mary, your question was already answered above. Also, why don't we use terms such as hades and Gehenna instead of hell so only as to avoid confusion.

I am going to fold on this one because...just because...though I think there's more than one approach to be found in Orthodoxy but until I can source what I want to say, I'd best be quiet.    But thanks for the good explanation.  I've heard both over time...both particular and general and general only, so again I'll wait.

M.

Offline Jetavan

  • Argumentum ad australopithecum
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,850
  • Tenzin and Desmond
    • The Mystical Theology
Hel is the name of a pagan Germanic underworld deity, and as such, is a perfectly good translation of the Greek word hades (Hebrew sheol), which basically just means 'grave'; i.e., it indicates the general 'abode of the dead'. Hades is gloomy for sure, but it doesn't really carry any connotations of punishment, at least not originally. Gehenna, or gehinnom, on the other hand, was originally the name of the burning trash heap outside Jerusalem, and in Biblical and Patristic usage is synonymous with the 'lake of fire', a place or state of eternal punishment for the damned.

At some point, in English at least, "hell" stopped being hades and became synonymous with gehenna. This can create some confusion; for example, when we speak of Christ's "harrowing of hell", more properly this is the "harrowing of hades", the dark place where everybody who had previously died was before the Crucifixion. Christ did not descend into "hell", conceived of as the place of eternal punishment for the eternally damned: In Orthodox teaching, no one is yet in "hell" in that sense (gehenna), since the Orthodox do not believe souls will receive their final "assignment" to gehenna, or Heaven, until the Last Judgment.

Does that help? I'm probably mangling it, but I think that's on the right track.
Yes, that does help...thank you. Whenever I hear the word "hell" I automatically assume people are using it in the Gehenna/Lake of Fire context rather than just sheol. Although when discussing theology it probably is best to use the most precise wording possible.

Yes. That is exactly what Catholics believe. I still don't see how the Orthodox position differs from the Catholic view of purgatory.
Of course, the main reason why it doesn't make sense to us is because we believe in two judgments, the particular judgment and the general (final) judgment.
I believe I have read some Orthodox speak of two judgements as well, but the two judgements are not of equal value. Only the Final Judgement is definitive.
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline Shanghaiski

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,980
  • Holy Trinity Church of Gergeti, Georgia
Have we addressed materialcreated fire vs. immaterial/uncreated fire?

Also, the notion that one can expect to stay so long in purgatory or suffering?

I really don't see a notion of purification in Orthodox teaching on the intermediate state and particular judgment. I always thought that purgatory, like the immaculate conception, was tied to Roman Catholic teaching on original sin/original guilt. Of course, Roman Catholic teaching has the tricky habit of changing over time.
Quote from: GabrieltheCelt
If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
Quote from: orthonorm
I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.

Offline JLatimer

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,202
Have we addressed materialcreated fire vs. immaterial/uncreated fire?

No we haven't...yet.
1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

Offline militantsparrow

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 653
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
I'm not convinced that gloomy darkness versus cleansing fire is really that different theologically since these are both likely metaphors to describe a spiritual state that we cannot yet understand.

I'm not either. It seems more of an issue with wording and imagery than it does with belief.

Quote
However, the fact that the Orthodox believe someone can be on their way to the lake of fire and then being prayed into the other direction seems quite different than the Catholic belief.

Yes. I had never heard this before. I'd like to read some of the sources (probably Desert Fathers) who state this.
I no longer post on this forum

Offline elijahmaria

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,515
    • Irenikin: The Skete
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
I'm not convinced that gloomy darkness versus cleansing fire is really that different theologically since these are both likely metaphors to describe a spiritual state that we cannot yet understand.

I'm not either. It seems more of an issue with wording and imagery than it does with belief.

Quote
However, the fact that the Orthodox believe someone can be on their way to the lake of fire and then being prayed into the other direction seems quite different than the Catholic belief.

Yes. I had never heard this before. I'd like to read some of the sources (probably Desert Fathers) who state this.

Here is a thread on the Byzantine Forum that has some excellent material in it:

http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/339693/Praying%20people%20out%20of%20hell

Mary

Offline Irish Hermit

  • Kibernetski Kaludjer
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 10,980
  • Holy Father Patrick, pray for us
From Metropolitan Hilarion:

Is it possible at all that the fate of a person can be changed after his death? Is death that border beyond which some unchangeable static existence comes? Does the development of the human person not stop after death?

On the one hand, it is impossible for one to actively repent in hell; it is impossible to rectify the evil deeds one committed by appropriate good works. However, it may be possible for one to repent through a ‘change of heart’, a review of one’s values. One of the testimonies to this is the rich man of the Gospel we have already mentioned. He realized the gravity of his situation as soon as found himself in hell. Indeed, if in his lifetime he was focused on earthly pursuits and forgot God, once in hell he realized that his only hope for salvation was God[76] . Besides, according to the teaching of the Orthodox Church, the fate of a person after death can be changed through the prayer of the Church. Thus, existence after death has its own dynamics. On the basis of what has been said above, we may say that after death the development of the human person does not cease, for existence after death is not a transfer from a dynamic into a static being, but rather continuation on a new level of that road which a person followed in his lifetime.


http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/bishop-hilarion-alfeyev-on-the-descent-of-christ-into-hades/

Offline Irish Hermit

  • Kibernetski Kaludjer
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 10,980
  • Holy Father Patrick, pray for us

Here is a thread on the Byzantine Forum that has some excellent material in it:

http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/339693/Praying%20people%20out%20of%20hell

Mary


Second that!   :laugh:

Offline Dave in McKinney

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 85
What I find interesting is that I never heard of purgatory until I was 30 yrs old (cradle Roman Catholic)  And that was from my then future-wife who was taking RCIA.  Of course I grew up in the deep Protestant south.

From a Protestant perspective it does seem weird to use the terms punishment even after we have been (allegedly) forgiven.  It kind of seems to ruin the therapeutic value of confession if you know you're not really forgiven, that you're still going to be punished.

Seems far more reasonable to me that as we start to enter into the presence of the Divine that we realize how far from Him we are and his love is like a burning fire and purify and cleanses us.  I understand this from the standpoint of meeting someone who is truly holy and knowing that I am far from them and still a great, great sinner yet, long to be like them.

Also I see talk of soul and body but what of the spirit?

Offline militantsparrow

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 653
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
I'm not convinced that gloomy darkness versus cleansing fire is really that different theologically since these are both likely metaphors to describe a spiritual state that we cannot yet understand.

I'm not either. It seems more of an issue with wording and imagery than it does with belief.

Quote
However, the fact that the Orthodox believe someone can be on their way to the lake of fire and then being prayed into the other direction seems quite different than the Catholic belief.

Yes. I had never heard this before. I'd like to read some of the sources (probably Desert Fathers) who state this.

Here is a thread on the Byzantine Forum that has some excellent material in it:

http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/339693/Praying%20people%20out%20of%20hell

Mary

Thank you, Mary. I agree. There is a lot of great stuff on that thread.
I no longer post on this forum

Offline militantsparrow

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 653
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
From Metropolitan Hilarion:

Is it possible at all that the fate of a person can be changed after his death? Is death that border beyond which some unchangeable static existence comes? Does the development of the human person not stop after death?

On the one hand, it is impossible for one to actively repent in hell; it is impossible to rectify the evil deeds one committed by appropriate good works. However, it may be possible for one to repent through a ‘change of heart’, a review of one’s values. One of the testimonies to this is the rich man of the Gospel we have already mentioned. He realized the gravity of his situation as soon as found himself in hell. Indeed, if in his lifetime he was focused on earthly pursuits and forgot God, once in hell he realized that his only hope for salvation was God[76] . Besides, according to the teaching of the Orthodox Church, the fate of a person after death can be changed through the prayer of the Church. Thus, existence after death has its own dynamics. On the basis of what has been said above, we may say that after death the development of the human person does not cease, for existence after death is not a transfer from a dynamic into a static being, but rather continuation on a new level of that road which a person followed in his lifetime.


http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/bishop-hilarion-alfeyev-on-the-descent-of-christ-into-hades/

I have tremendous respect for Metropolitan Hilarion. However, this idea seems so contrary to everything I've ever believed. As long as we have friends who pray for us after we die, we can live however we want and still make it to heaven? I don't see any biblical evidence for this claim. I also don't see anything universally accepted in the Church to support this. I know some have presented some examples, but I still need to digest them.
I no longer post on this forum

Offline militantsparrow

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 653
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
This explanation by Fr. Kimel rings very true to me.

Quote
While on first glance it may appear that with the notion of "praying souls out of Hell," we are confronted with a significant difference between the Eastern and Latin Churches, I suggest that the difference is much smaller in reality.

First we need to make a clarification: when we speak of "Hell" in this context, we are not speaking of gehenna, i.e., the "place" or state of final condemnation subsequent to the Final Judgment. We are speaking, rather, of the intermediate state.

Theoretically, the Latin Church considers the particular judgment (the judgment experienced by the individual soul immediately after death) and the final judgment (the judgment experienced by all at the final resurrection) to be virtually identical. The judgment of the first will never be reversed by the latter. Why? Because the final orientation of the individual, either toward God or away from God, is definitively set at the moment of death. At that moment the individual will discover whether he loves God (however imperfectly) or hates God. Those who love God imperfectly must first undergo a process of purification before entering into the fullness of eternal joy and beatitude; but the final destiny of the souls in purgatory is certain. Theoretically, therefore, it would seem that the Latin Christian must reject the claim that we can pray people "out of Hell."

However, given that no one, this side of death, can know whether any individual human being has, in actuality, eternally rejected God (we do not know this even for Judas Iscariot or Adolf Hitler), the Latin Christian may and indeed must pray for the salvation of all the departed, without exception. So even though Latin and Eastern believers disagree on the "fluidity" of the intermediate state, they do commend and practice prayer for all the departed and together may hope for the ultimate salvation of all humanity.
http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/339693/2
« Last Edit: July 24, 2010, 10:28:59 AM by militantsparrow »
I no longer post on this forum

Offline Irish Hermit

  • Kibernetski Kaludjer
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 10,980
  • Holy Father Patrick, pray for us
This explanation by Fr. Kimel rings very true to me.

Quote
While on first glance it may appear that with the notion of "praying souls out of Hell," we are confronted with a significant difference between the Eastern and Latin Churches, I suggest that the difference is much smaller in reality.

First we need to make a clarification: when we speak of "Hell" in this context, we are not speaking of gehenna, i.e., the "place" or state of final condemnation subsequent to the Final Judgment. We are speaking, rather, of the intermediate state.

Theoretically, the Latin Church considers the particular judgment (the judgment experienced by the individual soul immediately after death) and the final judgment (the judgment experienced by all at the final resurrection) to be virtually identical. The judgment of the first will never be reversed by the latter. Why? Because the final orientation of the individual, either toward God or away from God, is definitively set at the moment of death. At that moment the individual will discover whether he loves God (however imperfectly) or hates God. Those who love God imperfectly must first undergo a process of purification before entering into the fullness of eternal joy and beatitude; but the final destiny of the souls in purgatory is certain. Theoretically, therefore, it would seem that the Latin Christian must reject the claim that we can pray people "out of Hell."

However, given that no one, this side of death, can know whether any individual human being has, in actuality, eternally rejected God (we do not know this even for Judas Iscariot or Adolf Hitler), the Latin Christian may and indeed must pray for the salvation of all the departed, without exception. So even though Latin and Eastern believers disagree on the "fluidity" of the intermediate state, they do commend and practice prayer for all the departed and together may hope for the ultimate salvation of all humanity.
http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/339693/2

Yes, it's not a bad explanation and almost parallel with the Orthodox.  It tends towards universal salvation.  He is saying that Catholics are permitted to hope that there is nobody in Hell just as the Catechism permits Catholics to hope that there are no unbaptized babies in Hell.   The trouble is that in both cases the hope is only a hope and unbaptized babies may well be in Hell.  The teaching of Limbo at least kept babies out of Hell but the teaching since Pope John Paul and the new Catechism has brought back the possibility that they may be there after all.   Can the prayers of the Catholic faithful rescue unbaptized babies from Hell or prevent them going to Hell??

Offline Wyatt

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,465
  • Faith: Catholic
  • Jurisdiction: Latin Church
Seems far more reasonable to me that as we start to enter into the presence of the Divine that we realize how far from Him we are and his love is like a burning fire and purify and cleanses us.  I understand this from the standpoint of meeting someone who is truly holy and knowing that I am far from them and still a great, great sinner yet, long to be like them.
Have you read any of Pope Benedict's Encyclical Spe Salvi by any chance? He suggests that this may be exactly the nature of Purgatory in paragraph 47:

Quote from: 'Spe Salvi'
47. Some recent theologians are of the opinion that the fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour. The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away. This encounter with him, as it burns us, transforms and frees us, allowing us to become truly ourselves. All that we build during our lives can prove to be mere straw, pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain of this encounter, when the impurity and sickness of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation. His gaze, the touch of his heart heals us through an undeniably painful transformation “as through fire”. But it is a blessed pain, in which the holy power of his love sears through us like a flame, enabling us to become totally ourselves and thus totally of God. In this way the inter-relation between justice and grace also becomes clear: the way we live our lives is not immaterial, but our defilement does not stain us for ever if we have at least continued to reach out towards Christ, towards truth and towards love. Indeed, it has already been burned away through Christ's Passion. At the moment of judgement we experience and we absorb the overwhelming power of his love over all the evil in the world and in ourselves. The pain of love becomes our salvation and our joy. It is clear that we cannot calculate the “duration” of this transforming burning in terms of the chronological measurements of this world. The transforming “moment” of this encounter eludes earthly time-reckoning—it is the heart's time, it is the time of “passage” to communion with God in the Body of Christ[39]. The judgement of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace. If it were merely grace, making all earthly things cease to matter, God would still owe us an answer to the question about justice—the crucial question that we ask of history and of God. If it were merely justice, in the end it could bring only fear to us all. The incarnation of God in Christ has so closely linked the two together—judgement and grace—that justice is firmly established: we all work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). Nevertheless grace allows us all to hope, and to go trustfully to meet the Judge whom we know as our “advocate”, or parakletos (cf. 1 Jn 2:1).

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20071130_spe-salvi_en.html



Offline militantsparrow

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 653
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
Yes, it's not a bad explanation and almost parallel with the Orthodox.  It tends towards universal salvation.  He is saying that Catholics are permitted to hope that there is nobody in Hell just as the Catechism permits Catholics to hope that there are no unbaptized babies in Hell.   The trouble is that in both cases the hope is only a hope and unbaptized babies may well be in Hell.  The teaching of Limbo at least kept babies out of Hell but the teaching since Pope John Paul and the new Catechism has brought back the possibility that they may be there after all.   Can the prayers of the Catholic faithful rescue unbaptized babies from Hell or prevent them going to Hell??

I would say it is more than just human hope. To me it is the virtue of Hope. But to answer your question, we don't know what will happen to those children. We pray for them in as far as there is a possibility that they can be saved from hell. But our prayers would avail nothing if they were destined to hell by God's will.

But because there is no definitive teaching, I personally believe God our Father would never let a baby enter into hell. He's our Father. He loves babies.
I no longer post on this forum

Offline Irish Hermit

  • Kibernetski Kaludjer
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 10,980
  • Holy Father Patrick, pray for us

Quote from: 'Spe Salvi'
47. Some recent theologians are of the opinion that the fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour. The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away. This encounter with him, as it burns us, transforms and frees us, allowing us to become truly ourselves. All that we build during our lives can prove to be mere straw, pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain of this encounter, when the impurity and sickness of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation. His gaze, the touch of his heart heals us through an undeniably painful transformation “as through fire”. But it is a blessed pain, in which the holy power of his love sears through us like a flame, enabling us to become totally ourselves and thus totally of God. In this way the inter-relation between justice and grace also becomes clear: the way we live our lives is not immaterial, but our defilement does not stain us for ever if we have at least continued to reach out towards Christ, towards truth and towards love. Indeed, it has already been burned away through Christ's Passion. At the moment of judgement we experience and we absorb the overwhelming power of his love over all the evil in the world and in ourselves. The pain of love becomes our salvation and our joy. It is clear that we cannot calculate the “duration” of this transforming burning in terms of the chronological measurements of this world. The transforming “moment” of this encounter eludes earthly time-reckoning—it is the heart's time, it is the time of “passage” to communion with God in the Body of Christ[39]. The judgement of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace. If it were merely grace, making all earthly things cease to matter, God would still owe us an answer to the question about justice—the crucial question that we ask of history and of God. If it were merely justice, in the end it could bring only fear to us all. The incarnation of God in Christ has so closely linked the two together—judgement and grace—that justice is firmly established: we all work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). Nevertheless grace allows us all to hope, and to go trustfully to meet the Judge whom we know as our “advocate”, or parakletos (cf. 1 Jn 2:1).

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20071130_spe-salvi_en.html

Am I reading this correctly?  Is Pope Benedict speaking of the possibility of transformation and forgiveness of sins after death?  If so, glory to God, that the Pope is speaking in a way which brings great joy to the Orthodox and which restores to the Church of Rome its older and more authentic teaching of forgiveness of sin after death and even of rescue from the fires of Hell..  Glory to God that the Church of Rome is returning to an authentic understanding of what took place with Judas Maccabeus and the idolatrous soldiers in 2 Maccabees 12.

2 Macc 12: 39-46
King James Version
http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/Kjv2Mac.html

Offline elijahmaria

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,515
    • Irenikin: The Skete
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
This explanation by Fr. Kimel rings very true to me.

Quote
While on first glance it may appear that with the notion of "praying souls out of Hell," we are confronted with a significant difference between the Eastern and Latin Churches, I suggest that the difference is much smaller in reality.

First we need to make a clarification: when we speak of "Hell" in this context, we are not speaking of gehenna, i.e., the "place" or state of final condemnation subsequent to the Final Judgment. We are speaking, rather, of the intermediate state.

Theoretically, the Latin Church considers the particular judgment (the judgment experienced by the individual soul immediately after death) and the final judgment (the judgment experienced by all at the final resurrection) to be virtually identical. The judgment of the first will never be reversed by the latter. Why? Because the final orientation of the individual, either toward God or away from God, is definitively set at the moment of death. At that moment the individual will discover whether he loves God (however imperfectly) or hates God. Those who love God imperfectly must first undergo a process of purification before entering into the fullness of eternal joy and beatitude; but the final destiny of the souls in purgatory is certain. Theoretically, therefore, it would seem that the Latin Christian must reject the claim that we can pray people "out of Hell."

However, given that no one, this side of death, can know whether any individual human being has, in actuality, eternally rejected God (we do not know this even for Judas Iscariot or Adolf Hitler), the Latin Christian may and indeed must pray for the salvation of all the departed, without exception. So even though Latin and Eastern believers disagree on the "fluidity" of the intermediate state, they do commend and practice prayer for all the departed and together may hope for the ultimate salvation of all humanity.
http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/339693/2

Yes, it's not a bad explanation and almost parallel with the Orthodox.  It tends towards universal salvation.  He is saying that Catholics are permitted to hope that there is nobody in Hell just as the Catechism permits Catholics to hope that there are no unbaptized babies in Hell.   The trouble is that in both cases the hope is only a hope and unbaptized babies may well be in Hell.  The teaching of Limbo at least kept babies out of Hell but the teaching since Pope John Paul and the new Catechism has brought back the possibility that they may be there after all.   Can the prayers of the Catholic faithful rescue unbaptized babies from Hell or prevent them going to Hell??

This is inaccurate.  Limbo was a part of heaven.  Removing the idea of Limbo as something that could be believe...or should be a way of conceptualizing what should be believed about unbaptized infants does not put those infants in hell....but puts them in heaven.  We simply no longer qualify how they are there or in what state.

So please don't continue to contribute to false statements about Church teaching.

Limbo was never a de fide belief in any event.

Mary

Offline elijahmaria

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,515
    • Irenikin: The Skete
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Yes, it's not a bad explanation and almost parallel with the Orthodox.  It tends towards universal salvation.  He is saying that Catholics are permitted to hope that there is nobody in Hell just as the Catechism permits Catholics to hope that there are no unbaptized babies in Hell.   The trouble is that in both cases the hope is only a hope and unbaptized babies may well be in Hell.  The teaching of Limbo at least kept babies out of Hell but the teaching since Pope John Paul and the new Catechism has brought back the possibility that they may be there after all.   Can the prayers of the Catholic faithful rescue unbaptized babies from Hell or prevent them going to Hell??

I would say it is more than just human hope. To me it is the virtue of Hope. But to answer your question, we don't know what will happen to those children. We pray for them in as far as there is a possibility that they can be saved from hell. But our prayers would avail nothing if they were destined to hell by God's will.

But because there is no definitive teaching, I personally believe God our Father would never let a baby enter into hell. He's our Father. He loves babies.

The virtue of hope is nothing less than absolute confidence in Divine caritas...It is the justified right to expect Divine Good for all who are penitent and who follow the two great commandments.

M.

Offline FatherGiryus

  • Don't Ask
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 4,195
More accurately:

"So please don't continue to contribute to false statements about Church of Rome teaching."

Don't forget that this is an Orthodox Forum and Orthodox do consider themselves (with indisputible evidence, I might add) as The Church of which Rome was/is (depending on your perspective) a part.

Limbo has never been an issue for the entire Church, merely the Western component.  Has the Church of Rome formally condemned Limbo and its proponents?



So please don't continue to contribute to false statements about Church teaching.

You can't find wisdom in the mirror.