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Author Topic: Fr. Seraphim (Rose) to be a Saint?  (Read 4214 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 06, 2004, 01:55:03 AM »

Is any Orthodox Church talking about declaring Fr. Seraphim (Rose) a Saint?
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2004, 11:01:19 PM »

I was planning on posting that question here, but you beat me to it. I am very interested to know if there is a movement promoting the glorificatin of Fr. Seraphim. I have come across those very much in love with Fr. Seraphim's books and believe he is truly a Saint, but I have also run into those who oppose the idea 100%.
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2004, 01:12:51 AM »

It's difficult to say. What is interesting though is that on the 20th anniversary of his repose, prominent clergy from a number of Orthodox jurisdictions(inlcuding Fr. Thomas Hopko!) served a pannikhida at his grave. Also, he has a universally appealing quality, as his writings and ascetic life are celebrated throughout the Orthodox world.

Whether he is officially glorified soon or not, those who have reverence for him already count him amongst the saints, praying for his heavenly intercessions. His intercessions are already with those who believe in his sanctity, and I suppose that's the most important thing.
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2004, 01:20:27 PM »

well these things take time.  I know one schismatic greek group has glorified him.   But either ROCOR (under whom he was a Hieromonk) or the Serbian Church (where his monastary is today) should be the one to Glorify him, at least IMO, if and when the time comes.

Patience folks, his body has hardly settled.  It will take many  many more years for him to be Glorified.

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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2010, 10:44:57 PM »

Here is a link to an interesting article concerning Fr. Rose:

http://jonathanscorner.com/seraphim/

I tend to agree with the author.  From what I have seen in Fr. Rose's supporters online, there is an almost hateful attitude displayed to any that criticize him.  People that disagree with some of Fr. Rose's opinions are frequently treated as if they are traitors to Orthodoxy.  When we consider the love and admiration that the memory of saints such as Seraphim of Sarov invoke, the very fact that Fr. Rose engenders such controversy speaks volumes regarding the wisdom of glorifying him by the Church.
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2010, 11:48:38 PM »

From what I have seen in Fr. Rose's supporters online, there is an almost hateful attitude displayed to any that criticize him.  People that disagree with some of Fr. Rose's opinions are frequently treated as if they are traitors to Orthodoxy.  When we consider the love and admiration that the memory of saints such as Seraphim of Sarov invoke, the very fact that Fr. Rose engenders such controversy speaks volumes regarding the wisdom of glorifying him by the Church.

I cannot speak for anyone other than myself.  Fr. Seraphim turned his back on the same sin that I recently put behind me and pursued (apparently with tremendous success) a life of great holiness and prayer, persevering to the end.  It is true that he may have devotees who get carried away in their exuberance, and that some who were close to him may have strayed from the faith after he reposed, both of which are truly very sad.  For me, Fr. Seraphim is an example of someone who grew up in largely the same culture I did, struggled with the same passions I struggle with, yet kept his faith.  There are remarkably few examples of this, at least that I know of. 

Time - perhaps quite a lot of it - will tell whether he is ultimately glorified. 

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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2010, 11:59:02 PM »

People that disagree with some of Fr. Rose's opinions are frequently treated as if they are traitors to Orthodoxy.  

Yes, it is very unfortunate that traitors to Orthodoxy continue to cricize Fr. Seraphim's writings  Wink

I do not think that his writings are nearly as controversial outside of America as they are inside America.  Listen, for instance, to this audio from a priest in Greece, or read the transcript:

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/postcards/fr._seraphim_rose_in_greece

Most of the controversy is limited to a single monastery in America that left ROCOR in 1986 and is no longer in communion with the Orthodox Patriarchates.  A certain man whom the OCA received from a schismatic group a few years ago and gave the title "retired Archbishop" to is the main initiator of this controversy and he too was closely affiliated with this same schismatic monastery.  In traditionally Orthodox countries Fr. Seraphim seems to be more venerated than in America and his writings much more accepted.  What angers many people is that the “opinions” of Fr. Seraphim that people reject are often not simply his opinions at all, but are rather the teachings of the Church that have been handed down by countless saints and Church Fathers.  Because of this one vocal retired Archbishop and this schismatic group he was affiliated with, many heap all kinds of criticism on Fr. Seraphim when in most cases he was simply quoting other saints and Fathers.

While that is the case, there nevertheless remains controversy in America over Fr. Seraphim which is a clear sign that it is not yet time for his veneration.  Perhaps another 50 yrs are needed.  Once the few people who campaigned against him have reposed, we will see whose works will endure and whose voices will be both silenced and forgotten.    
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2010, 12:26:20 AM »

Dear Britt and Jah777,

Thank you for very reasoned and thoughtful posts.  Britt, I am happy that Fr. Rose has been an inspiration to you in your spiritual struggles.  That is truly a blessing.  Jah777, thank you for the link.  I will check it out.  As for Archbishop Lazar, I am actually a friend of his Grace's on Facebook, and I own several of his works from Synaxis Press.  I realize that many view his clerical career with suspicion, but I have found his writings to be thoughtful, well researched, and Orthodox.  Not all of his works deal with Fr. Rose; his work, co-written with Fr.Azkoul, "Thinking Theologically: the Mystic and the Lawyer," is an excellent comparison of the Orthodox mystical approach vs. the Western legalistic approach.

I do credit Fr. Rose with being a sincere, devout Christian who dedicated his life to teaching the Faith.  I still feel that some of his views are questionable (the same applies to Blessed Augustine) and I would not support his being recognized as a saint.  Obviously, as Britt can attest, his life has been a great inspiration to many.
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2010, 01:04:47 AM »

I cannot see that Fr Seraphim should be held up as an outstanding theologian (there is, people say, much that is wrong in his writings) but I am recommending him for his heroic struggle with his own sexuality.  He is similar to Saint Augustine whom the Orthodox would draw back from recommending as a theologian but will praise him for the repentance and piety found in his Confessions.  He is a model of repentance; Fr Seraphim offers a similar model of repentance for our sex-obsessed century.

He would provide a suitable intercessor for those struggling with same-sex attraction.  In this way, in his own spiritual and moral struggles, he may provide more comfort for the people of our times than modern theologians.  We can love him and venerate him for this alone.

There is a major question mark hanging over any suggestion of glorification - would it receive the approval of the Moscow Patriarchate?

       
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2010, 01:32:15 AM »

In this way, in his own spiritual and moral struggles, he may provide more comfort for the people of our times than modern theologians.  We can love him and venerate him for this alone.

Father, bless.

I must disagree and say that I believe there is much to be admired in his writings in addition to his repentance. For example, his writings against what he experienced in the university life and intellectual circles have resonated with many people in our generation.
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2010, 06:55:05 AM »

So how does the glorification process work, exactly? How does such a thing get set in motion?
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2010, 02:00:02 PM »

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Glorification
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2010, 06:39:58 PM »

My own opinion is that Father Seraphim Rose is indeed worthy of canonization. The ascetic struggles against his own passions and his prophetic insights about the demonic deceptions that were only beginning to emerge in his day but have now come to full blown fruition demonstrate that he was indeed a God-bearer. I find it revealing that most critics of Father Rose are stauch believers in evolutionary theory. So I find that the hatred comes not from the supporters of Father Rose, but from those who oppose Father Rose because he spoke the truth. Had Father Rose "embraced his homosexuality" and defended evolution (as sadly Bishop Ware has done- with evolution, not homosexuality), then I imagine these same ciritcs would be promoting his canonization. I also think it is a shameful and disgraceful argument to associate Father Rose with "Protestantism" simply because he so valiantly critiqued the deception of evolutionary theory. 


Selam
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2010, 06:59:38 PM »

Glorification usually starts with the people.  I, and many others, already consider him a Saint.  This can be evidinced by the Icons already made of him.
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2010, 07:11:09 PM »

I also think it is a shameful and disgraceful argument to associate Father Rose with "Protestantism" simply because he so valiantly critiqued the deception of evolutionary theory. 

Thos who say this can just as fairly be accused of atheism or agnosticism for promoting Darwinism.
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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2010, 07:21:44 PM »

I also think it is a shameful and disgraceful argument to associate Father Rose with "Protestantism" simply because he so valiantly critiqued the deception of evolutionary theory. 

Thos who say this can just as fairly be accused of atheism or agnosticism for promoting Darwinism.

Then both sides would be wrong, and we'd all be miserable, but we'd be miserable together.  police
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« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2010, 09:10:39 PM »

I have no doubt that he is a Saint. I Do not agree with all of his teachings, however as one studies the theologumen of various saints, they often disagree with each other on the theologumen but agree with dogmatic theology.

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« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2010, 09:40:16 PM »

An icon that I bought of him arrived in the mail today. Smiley I consider Seraphim of Platina to be a Saint and I pray that I will be able to make a pilgrimage to Platina in a few months, God willing. He has been an incredible inspiration to me for many reasons, but mainly for his undying dedication to preserving and propagating the Holy Orthodox Faith. I have read most of his books and pray to him daily. Needless to say, I am another who eagerly awaits his canonization.

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« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2010, 09:41:29 PM »

It appears that I am in the minority regarding Fr. Seraphim's status as a saint.  I also know that will not make me popular here.  I am concerned with the glorification of anyone that is as controversial as Fr. Seraphim.  I also feel the same regarding Blessed Augustine being viewed as a saint.  I realize that the issue of Augustine being a saint has been covered before on many Orthodox forums, I don't want to reopen that can of worms.

I have often heard the argument that many other saints, including the Fathers of the Church made controversial statements,or espoused some errors,and that did not preclude them from being considered saints.  I don't doubt that, but off the top of my head I cannot think of any major errors or controversy attached to John of Damascus, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, Athanasius, Seraphim of Sarov, Gregory Nazianzus, etc.

The problem, as I see it, of official recognition of a person who, in the case of Fr. Seraphim wrote things that many do consider controversial, or, in the case of Augustine, taught things that are undoubtedly un-Orthodox, raises the issue of adding disclaimers when ever discussing them.  To future generations of Orthodox believers, a saint is a saint.  When I read the writings of say, St. John of Damascus, I do not see disclaimers that "this and this are correct, but on this and this point he was in error".

That individuals are free to venerate any departed person at home is fine, and a non-issue, which is the case now with Fr. Seraphim.  I feel that it is better to err on the side of caution when it comes to the Church formally recognizing someone as a saint, if that person is controversial because of their teachings.

Probably no one will agree with me on this, but those are my feelings on the subject.  As I have stated before, I believe Fr. Seraphim was a devout and holy man.  I also believe the same about Augustine, however, so much of what Augustine taught was wrong that referring to him as a saint is problematic to me.  If he is a saint in spite of his numerous errors, than I suppose there are many that we can consider saints.  Even many of the OO saints ( not to mention RCC saints) that were/are condemned by many of the EO lived saintly lives and wrote much that is correct.  Why not overlook their errors as well and glorify them?
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« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2010, 09:43:52 PM »

I just read about the life of Fr. Seraphim Rose, and it seems quite beautiful... quite holy.
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« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2010, 09:59:14 PM »

It appears that I am in the minority regarding Fr. Seraphim's status as a saint.  I also know that will not make me popular here.  I am concerned with the glorification of anyone that is as controversial as Fr. Seraphim.  I also feel the same regarding Blessed Augustine being viewed as a saint.  I realize that the issue of Augustine being a saint has been covered before on many Orthodox forums, I don't want to reopen that can of worms.

I have often heard the argument that many other saints, including the Fathers of the Church made controversial statements,or espoused some errors,and that did not preclude them from being considered saints.  I don't doubt that, but off the top of my head I cannot think of any major errors or controversy attached to John of Damascus, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, Athanasius, Seraphim of Sarov, Gregory Nazianzus, etc.

The problem, as I see it, of official recognition of a person who, in the case of Fr. Seraphim wrote things that many do consider controversial, or, in the case of Augustine, taught things that are undoubtedly un-Orthodox, raises the issue of adding disclaimers when ever discussing them.  To future generations of Orthodox believers, a saint is a saint.  When I read the writings of say, St. John of Damascus, I do not see disclaimers that "this and this are correct, but on this and this point he was in error".

That individuals are free to venerate any departed person at home is fine, and a non-issue, which is the case now with Fr. Seraphim.  I feel that it is better to err on the side of caution when it comes to the Church formally recognizing someone as a saint, if that person is controversial because of their teachings.

Probably no one will agree with me on this, but those are my feelings on the subject.  As I have stated before, I believe Fr. Seraphim was a devout and holy man.  I also believe the same about Augustine, however, so much of what Augustine taught was wrong that referring to him as a saint is problematic to me.  If he is a saint in spite of his numerous errors, than I suppose there are many that we can consider saints.  Even many of the OO saints ( not to mention RCC saints) that were/are condemned by many of the EO lived saintly lives and wrote much that is correct.  Why not overlook their errors as well and glorify them?

It might be helpful to list some specific teachings of Father Seraphim Rose that cause you to feel he is unworthy of canonization. I respect the fact that others do not view him in such a glorified light, but condemning evolution is not unOrthodox and does not preclude him from sainthood. I would also strongly disagree that being "controversial" is a strike against his canonization. We must remember that many if not most of the Saints we venerate today were quite controversial in their time. They stood for divine Truth and thus made emnity with the world (Cf. James 4:4). The martyrs were not slain for nothing; they were martyred for their unflinching proclamation of the Faith. 


Selam
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« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2010, 10:18:52 PM »

Dear Gefbre,

I think I mentioned that it is my feeling that most of the saints were not controversial in their lifetimes.   The issue of the martyrs is another thing entirely.  It is my understanding that it has always been the position of the Church that those who die for the faith are automatically considered saints.  My problem with Fr. Seraphim involves the toll-house issue. (I know that has been discussed to death, suffice to say I belong to the party that does not accept them).  I do not have strong feelings on Fr. Seraphim's views regarding evolution one way or the other.  I do not consider the belief in toll-houses to be heretical as some do; However, I do not consider them a dogma of the Church as many of Fr. Seraphim's supports insist, often vehemently.

In Christ,

Peter
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« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2010, 10:20:07 PM »

Gebre, sorry for the misspelling of your name.

Peter
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« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2010, 10:21:39 PM »

I think I mentioned that it is my feeling that most of the saints were not controversial in their lifetimes.   The issue of the martyrs is another thing entirely.  It is my understanding that it has always been the position of the Church that those who die for the faith are automatically considered saints.  My problem with Fr. Seraphim involves the toll-house issue. (I know that has been discussed to death, suffice to say I belong to the party that does not accept them).  I do not have strong feelings on Fr. Seraphim's views regarding evolution one way or the other.  I do not consider the belief in toll-houses to be heretical as some do; However, I do not consider them a dogma of the Church as many of Fr. Seraphim's supports insist, often vehemently.

Several glorified saints of the Orthodox Church already teach the tollhouse doctrine, so this is not a reason to hold back his glorification.

Also, I haven't seen anyone push the tollhouse doctrine nearly as vehemently as Archbishop Lazar Puhalo and his followers have denounced it and absurdly labeled it "Gnostic."
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« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2010, 10:32:40 PM »

Several glorified saints of the Orthodox Church already teach the tollhouse doctrine, so this is not a reason to hold back his glorification.

Agreed. I am keen to see Father Seraphim declared a Saint and placed in the Church's Calendar because he will provide a Patron Saint and a great example and strength to others who struggle with same sex orientation.  However it is this very area of his life which may worry Moscow and derail any glorification.

Quote
Also, I haven't seen anyone push the tollhouse doctrine nearly as vehemently as Archbishop Lazar Puhalo and his followers have denounced it and absurdly labeled it "Gnostic."

Take that as one may, it was a teaching also used by the Gnostics.

The last real Gnostic group remaining is in Iraq.  Here is their take on toll houses:

"...ascend also. The text continues with descriptions of the heavenly journey
through various worlds and purgatories, and the eventual return to the
highest heaven. This ascent includes interrogations by hostile guards at
each of the seven dark heavens of this world."

http://tinyurl.com/2bv8pnl

Here is an example from the gnostic books found in Egypt in 1948.  It is a
description of Paul's journey and the toll house account.

"According to Paul's Apocalypse, each soul has to rise as best it can
through a hierarchy of heavens and face the increasingly difficult
challenges posed by the guardian angels of each heaven. The book..."

snip

"The soul spoke, saying, "What sin was it that I committed in the world?"
The "toll collector" of this heavenly gate accuses the soul. The soul
replies, "Bring witnesses! Let them show you in what body I committed
lawless deeds." Three bodies rise up as witnesses and accuse the soul of
anger and envy, and finally murder. When the soul heard these things, it
gazed downwards in sorrow ... It was cast down."

http://tinyurl.com/35fwut7
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« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2010, 10:39:31 PM »

Dear Gefbre,

I think I mentioned that it is my feeling that most of the saints were not controversial in their lifetimes.   The issue of the martyrs is another thing entirely.  It is my understanding that it has always been the position of the Church that those who die for the faith are automatically considered saints.  My problem with Fr. Seraphim involves the toll-house issue. (I know that has been discussed to death, suffice to say I belong to the party that does not accept them).  I do not have strong feelings on Fr. Seraphim's views regarding evolution one way or the other.  I do not consider the belief in toll-houses to be heretical as some do; However, I do not consider them a dogma of the Church as many of Fr. Seraphim's supports insist, often vehemently.

In Christ,

Peter


OK, thank you. I'm not familiar with the toll houses, and I've actually tried to avoid the topic (being relatively new to Orthodoxy, I don't think it's an issue with which I need to concern myself at this stage in my spiritual development.) My main concern is with those who attack Father Seraphim Rose as being antiquated or opposed to science because of his condemnation of evolution. I'm glad to know that your reservations are not based upon this. I would also hope that a "cult" does not develop around him, although St. John Chrysostom did write a book called the "Cult of the Saints."


Selam

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« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2010, 10:42:13 PM »

Gebre, sorry for the misspelling of your name.

Peter

No worries. Smiley

Selam
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« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2010, 10:48:25 PM »

Dear Iconodule,

I realize that many saints have believed the toll-house doctrine, I am not aware though that any of them actually wrote a book about the subject.  Prior to Fr. Seraphim's work, I doubt most Orthodox knew that those saints believed it, or were even aware that the doctrine existed.

It was a theologoumena that was not widely known in the Church, until Fr. Seraphim's book came upon the scene.  Of course his most ardent supporters refuse to accept it as a theologoumena and insist that everyone accept it as a dogma.  That, and those that have branded Fr. Seraphim as a heretic, have caused the intense divisions that pop up on most of the Orthodox discussion forums.

Most anti-toll house people, such as myself, are prepared to say that we doubt its validity.  The other side goes ballistic that anyone would dare to question it.  The book did not do the Church any favor.  Many Fathers have mentioned in the past that the subject of life after death should not be speculated on for reasons such as this.  The whole debate reminds me of what St. Paul wrote:

"Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations."
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« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2010, 10:57:28 PM »


OK, thank you. I'm not familiar with the toll houses, and I've actually tried to avoid the topic (being relatively new to Orthodoxy, I don't think it's an issue with which I need to concern myself at this stage in my spiritual development.)

Neither at this stage nor really at any stage.

According to the toll-house Saints you are going to Hell.  There can be no other destination for those who have not received an Orthodox baptism (and I suspect, sadly with a well-founded suspicion, that those who believe in the toll houses would include the OO as hell-bound.) 

Only baptized Orthodox are judged in the toll houses,  The rest of mankind is taken to hell immediately they die and do not go through the torments of the toll houses.  It is very sad for converts with non-Orthodox family and friends.

'Note also,' said the angels, 'that this is the way by which only those who are enlightened by the faith
and by holy baptism can rise and be tested in the stations of torment. The unbelievers do not come here.
Their souls belong to hell even before they part from their bodies. When they die the devils take their souls
with no need to test them. Such souls are their proper prey, and they take them down to the abyss.'

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/death/theodora.aspx
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« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2010, 11:07:02 PM »

My understanding is that the Saints, although God-bearers, were still not infallible in everything they said. One could live a truthful life, and still be incorrect in certain things they said. Just consider how long it took before the Book of Revelation was accepted as canonical, and that was written by St. John the Evangelist himself! In the balance, I would argue that the life and writings of Father Seraphim Rose did far more to contribute to  our sanctification than hinder it.


Selam
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« Reply #30 on: November 02, 2010, 11:12:08 PM »


OK, thank you. I'm not familiar with the toll houses, and I've actually tried to avoid the topic (being relatively new to Orthodoxy, I don't think it's an issue with which I need to concern myself at this stage in my spiritual development.)

Neither at this stage nor really at any stage.

According to the toll-house Saints you are going to Hell.  There can be no other destination for those who have not received an Orthodox baptism (and I suspect, sadly with a well-founded suspicion, that those who believe in the toll houses would include the OO as hell-bound.) 

Only baptized Orthodox are judged in the toll houses,  The rest of mankind is taken to hell immediately they die and do not go through the torments of the toll houses.  It is very sad for converts with non-Orthodox family and friends.

'Note also,' said the angels, 'that this is the way by which only those who are enlightened by the faith
and by holy baptism can rise and be tested in the stations of torment. The unbelievers do not come here.
Their souls belong to hell even before they part from their bodies. When they die the devils take their souls
with no need to test them. Such souls are their proper prey, and they take them down to the abyss.'

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



Father bless,

Forgive me, but are you in agreement with this teaching? Even if Father Seraphim Rose believed such a thing, I honor him still, for I'm sure he knows better now. I have far more respect for those who err on the side of striving to be Orthodox than for those who strive to compromise with the world.

Selam
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« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2010, 11:29:29 PM »


OK, thank you. I'm not familiar with the toll houses, and I've actually tried to avoid the topic (being relatively new to Orthodoxy, I don't think it's an issue with which I need to concern myself at this stage in my spiritual development.)

Neither at this stage nor really at any stage.

According to the toll-house Saints you are going to Hell.  There can be no other destination for those who have not received an Orthodox baptism (and I suspect, sadly with a well-founded suspicion, that those who believe in the toll houses would include the OO as hell-bound.) 

Only baptized Orthodox are judged in the toll houses,  The rest of mankind is taken to hell immediately they die and do not go through the torments of the toll houses.  It is very sad for converts with non-Orthodox family and friends.

'Note also,' said the angels, 'that this is the way by which only those who are enlightened by the faith
and by holy baptism can rise and be tested in the stations of torment. The unbelievers do not come here.
Their souls belong to hell even before they part from their bodies. When they die the devils take their souls
with no need to test them. Such souls are their proper prey, and they take them down to the abyss.'

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



Father bless,

Forgive me, but are you in agreement with this teaching?

No.
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« Reply #32 on: November 02, 2010, 11:47:30 PM »

Father Bless,

I just read the story again of Theodora's journey, which I had read in the past.  I had forgotten what a horrible tale this was:

"But how shall I tell you about that physical pain, that stress and close feeling which the dying experience?"

"The black Ethiopians shuddered and retreated some distance. One of the radiant youths, angrily addressing the black ones, said: 'O shameless, cursed, dark, and evil enemies of the human race!"

"Finally death cut off my head, and I no longer could move it, for it felt as if it belonged to someone else. Lastly, death dissolved in a cup some kind of mixture, and putting the cup to my lips, made me drink. The potion was so bitter that my soul was unable to endure it. It shuddered and went out of my body."

Monk Gregory must have had an exceptional memory!  I have never been able to remember word-for-word anything I have heard in a dream that was as lengthy as this story, which is 7,268 words long ( not counting the part about his retelling it to St. Basil).

I think it is totally contrary to Holy Scripture, Holy Tradition, and, without knowing the provenience, who actually wrote this, when it was published, etc.,  I can see no reason to except it as Orthodox truth.  It makes the Roman Purgatory look like a nice place to go when one dies.  I hate to think that stories such as this might keep people from approaching the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #33 on: November 02, 2010, 11:56:39 PM »

Father Bless,

I just read the story again of Theodora's journey, which I had read in the past.  I had forgotten what a horrible tale this was:

"But how shall I tell you about that physical pain, that stress and close feeling which the dying experience?"

"The black Ethiopians shuddered and retreated some distance. One of the radiant youths, angrily addressing the black ones, said: 'O shameless, cursed, dark, and evil enemies of the human race!"

"Finally death cut off my head, and I no longer could move it, for it felt as if it belonged to someone else. Lastly, death dissolved in a cup some kind of mixture, and putting the cup to my lips, made me drink. The potion was so bitter that my soul was unable to endure it. It shuddered and went out of my body."

Monk Gregory must have had an exceptional memory!  I have never been able to remember word-for-word anything I have heard in a dream that was as lengthy as this story, which is 7,268 words long ( not counting the part about his retelling it to St. Basil).

I think it is totally contrary to Holy Scripture, Holy Tradition, and, without knowing the provenience, who actually wrote this, when it was published, etc.,  I can see no reason to except it as Orthodox truth.  It makes the Roman Purgatory look like a nice place to go when one dies.  I hate to think that stories such as this might keep people from approaching the Orthodox Church.


Wow. I have to agree with you. Although I have to say that I have an Ethiopian prayer book that has equally disturbing things in it, although I'm suspicious of how legitimate its source is.


Selam
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« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2010, 06:53:16 AM »

I have often heard the argument that many other saints, including the Fathers of the Church made controversial statements,or espoused some errors,and that did not preclude them from being considered saints.  I don't doubt that, but off the top of my head I cannot think of any major errors or controversy attached to John of Damascus, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, Athanasius, Seraphim of Sarov, Gregory Nazianzus, etc.

St. John the Goldenmouth stated that Theotokos sinned.
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« Reply #35 on: November 03, 2010, 07:49:01 AM »

According to the toll-house Saints you are going to Hell.  There can be no other destination for those who have not received an Orthodox baptism (and I suspect, sadly with a well-founded suspicion, that those who believe in the toll houses would include the OO as hell-bound.) 

Only baptized Orthodox are judged in the toll houses,  The rest of mankind is taken to hell immediately they die and do not go through the torments of the toll houses.  It is very sad for converts with non-Orthodox family and friends.


But there are at least a few of us, who are not Saints, who accept the Toll Houses and St. Seraphim without believing that the OO are condemned to Hell.
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« Reply #36 on: November 03, 2010, 09:02:45 AM »

i really think its simply not true that the toll houses were a relatively unknown teaching until Father Seraphim came along. Fr. Hopko says that you will find the toll house teaching in basically every Church Father - it was most definitely a well-known teaching.  It even exists in icons, these things weren't hidden from the people. and Fr. Seraphim didnt write a book on the subject, he wrote ONE chapter, and many Saints before him have written much more about it than he did.
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« Reply #37 on: November 03, 2010, 09:22:55 AM »

I cannot see that Fr Seraphim should be held up as an outstanding theologian (there is, people say, much that is wrong in his writings) but I am recommending him for his heroic struggle with his own sexuality.  He is similar to Saint Augustine whom the Orthodox would draw back from recommending as a theologian but will praise him for the repentance and piety found in his Confessions.  He is a model of repentance; Fr Seraphim offers a similar model of repentance for our sex-obsessed century.

He would provide a suitable intercessor for those struggling with same-sex attraction.  In this way, in his own spiritual and moral struggles, he may provide more comfort for the people of our times than modern theologians.  We can love him and venerate him for this alone.

There is a major question mark hanging over any suggestion of glorification - would it receive the approval of the Moscow Patriarchate?

       

I agree. While I personally think too much is made of the tollhouses, on both sides of the issue, Fr Seraphim's radical change in lifestyle is a glorious attestation to the power of Christ.

And it is my understanding that Fr Seraphim is venerated much more and is considered much less controversial in the Slavic world. The translation work he did was vital to the rejuvenation of the church after communism.

Fr Seraphim is a saint in my estimation, whether the Church ever officially glorifies him or not. (She can't possibly do so for every saint. I witnessed a saintly old woman at my parish confess during matins yesterday, and she wept from the time she arrived until she strugglingly bent and kissed the icon of Christ crucified. All that to say, unnoticed living saints are all around us.)
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« Reply #38 on: November 03, 2010, 09:30:16 AM »

i really think its simply not true that the toll houses were a relatively unknown teaching until Father Seraphim came along.


Yes, it is true. I had been Orthodox for 14 years before I heard of the toll houses.  The first I knew of them was when Fr Seraphim Rose and Fr Herman Podmoshensky started to write a few articles about them in "The Orthodox Word" from Platina - this would be about 1977/78.

My parishioners (Russians from China, the Soviet Union, and the Western European refugee camps after WWII) did not know of them and when a visiting Russian priest from the States gave them some Xeroxed material on them they were rather surprised and asked if he had joined a sect.

And, if you check Fr Seraphim's "The Soul After Death" he writes there that the toll houses are pretty much unknown among the clergy and the laity.   

I would advise trying to get the first edition since I have been told that things such as this which mitigate against the toll houses were censored from later editions by Platina, after Fr Seraphim's death.  I find this credible since "Not of this World", Fr Seraphim's biography also saw its later editions censored and changed by the Platina monks who wanted to "sanitize" the book.
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« Reply #39 on: November 03, 2010, 10:34:19 AM »

i really think its simply not true that the toll houses were a relatively unknown teaching until Father Seraphim came along.


Yes, it is true. I had been Orthodox for 14 years before I heard of the toll houses.  The first I knew of them was when Fr Seraphim Rose and Fr Herman Podmoshensky started to write a few articles about them in "The Orthodox Word" from Platina - this would be about 1977/78.

My parishioners (Russians from China, the Soviet Union, and the Western European refugee camps after WWII) did not know of them and when a visiting Russian priest from the States gave them some Xeroxed material on them they were rather surprised and asked if he had joined a sect.

And, if you check Fr Seraphim's "The Soul After Death" he writes there that the toll houses are pretty much unknown among the clergy and the laity.   

I would advise trying to get the first edition since I have been told that things such as this which mitigate against the toll houses were censored from later editions by Platina, after Fr Seraphim's death.  I find this credible since "Not of this World", Fr Seraphim's biography also saw its later editions censored and changed by the Platina monks who wanted to "sanitize" the book.

Fr. Seraphim, Met. Hierotheos, and Nicholas Vassiliades all give examples from before the 10th century, whether or not you think they're attributed to the correct author ....
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« Reply #40 on: November 03, 2010, 10:40:53 AM »

i really think its simply not true that the toll houses were a relatively unknown teaching until Father Seraphim came along.


Yes, it is true. I had been Orthodox for 14 years before I heard of the toll houses.  The first I knew of them was when Fr Seraphim Rose and Fr Herman Podmoshensky started to write a few articles about them in "The Orthodox Word" from Platina - this would be about 1977/78.

My parishioners (Russians from China, the Soviet Union, and the Western European refugee camps after WWII) did not know of them and when a visiting Russian priest from the States gave them some Xeroxed material on them they were rather surprised and asked if he had joined a sect.

And, if you check Fr Seraphim's "The Soul After Death" he writes there that the toll houses are pretty much unknown among the clergy and the laity.   


For what it's worth speaking from my personal life experiences within the Slavic American community which traces its roots west of Russia and east of the Slovak lands, I concur with what Father posted above. I can not recall any discussion or story being told about toll houses ( let alone any dogmatic teaching)  within my extended family or within my parish or diocesan community. My grandparents, as did many others, often told stories that were considered 'folk' legends rather than religious truths and this was not one of them.
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« Reply #41 on: November 03, 2010, 11:03:39 AM »

When someone is made a catechuman or is Baptized at my Church ( Rocor Mission) the old ladies press a copy of Fr. Rose's biography into their hands... That is, by in large, the definition of who is considered a Saint in the Orthodox Church.. The rest is commentary.
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« Reply #42 on: November 05, 2010, 11:25:02 AM »

When someone is made a catechuman or is Baptized at my Church ( Rocor Mission) the old ladies press a copy of Fr. Rose's biography into their hands... That is, by in large, the definition of who is considered a Saint in the Orthodox Church.. The rest is commentary.

Well put!
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