Dearest to Christ Stavro,
We are talking about two different issues and two different definitions and there was no reason for saying that my words are shameful.
I called them shamefull because they would associate some great and sainted teachers of the Church with such abuses of Scripture and Tradition to the point of denial of even our Lord's Divinity. I find that shamefull, however, it is equally shamefull of me that I said such openly and did not send you a private message to speak of this concern of mine. Forgive me, a sinner.
If you mean by Universalism the desire for the whole Universe to be saved and come to know the Truth (as you defined it previously), then I agree and so does the OO Church.
I did not intend to make it such,.. Cos the desire corresponds to a realistic and possible eschaton (final end of things). I only refuse to say it MUST be so, cos that would be to deny free-will.
But as you added a new addition and said that there "may" be some salvation after death, then of course we disagree and the arguments the OO Church would use against such an idea is the same as the ones used against Purgatory.
The Eastern Church has always prayed for the salvation of those who have died without it. St. Mark of Ephesus quotes a prayer from St. Basil the Great which says:
"Who, also on this all-perfect and saving feast, are graciously pleased to accept propitiatory prayers for those who are imprisoned in hell, granting us a great hope of improvement for those wo are imprisoned from the defilements which have imprisoned them, and that Thou wilt send down Thy consolation (Third Kneeling prayer at Vespers)."
Theophanes the Confessor:
"Deliver o Saviour, Thy slaves who are in the hell of tears and sighing (Octoechos, Saturday canon for the reposed)."
Abba Macarius the Great also learns that his prayers can easy the burden and pain of those in hell from a skull in the desert (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, macarius the Great, saying 38).
Once more St. Mark of Ephesus:
"And behold, some of the saints who prayed not only for the faithful, but even for the impious, were heard and by their prayers rescued them from eternal torment, as for example the First Woman-martyr Thecla rescued Falconila, and the divine Gregory the Dialogist, as it is related rescued the emperor Trajan."
The prayers for the departed, both pious and impious, believers and unbelievers are given to the Church and are powerful instruments to make available God's grace to even the hopeless. In the earliest life we have of St. Gregory the Dialogist, he gains the salvation of the pagan emperor by his prayer and tears, the Church, therefore, gives a realistic hope that ALL may be saved. It is this that which I defend as Orthodox "universalism" and it does indeed imply salvation after death.
The unnatural, dis-incarnate, state of death, is a stage in between earthly life, and the final resurrection. This state of being is not static but dynamic. Its dynamics are different from the dynamics on earth, but they can be influenced for the better by prayer. Reepetance, as possible on earth, is not possible in the after-life state, but in its own way of things those who are in this state are not necessarily deprived of salvation. Our prayers for them, are capable of continuing the "divine synergy" of salvation that they cannot continue out of their own powers (personally I think this is so because lacking a body and a physical condition of earthlyness they cannot perform deeds that are included in "saving faith" which is why they depend on our prayers and actions on their behalf).
I do not know what the EO think of the Purgatory, but the idea you present here is very similar to it.
We reject purgatory as a if it were a place, and its idea of corporeal flames. There is only paradise and hell (as depicted in the parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus) there is no such thing as purgatory. Purgatory is simply a mistaken interpretation of the dynamics in the afterlife peculiar to Latin theology.
Not everything that the Saints said was accepted as part of the Tradition, even if they are as holy and saintly as St.Gregory.
Nor is Orthodox Tradition exhausted by what has been dogmatically defined, which is again, a peculiarity of Latin theology. Orthodoxy has few dogma's and a very rich Tradition of thelogoumena and theological opinions. Tho there may be conflicting theological opinions in Orthodox Tradition, they do not (as a rule) imply dogmatic conflict, and certainly not heresy. Traditionalism, as an attitude that seeks to force Tradition into a uniform, plastic, whole, (different from the loyal adherence to Tradition) is a philosophical peculiarity of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism in particular. Western theology is characterized by a dogmatizing attitude,.. seeing to create dogma's where no such need exists, whereas Orthodox theology is chracterized by an attitude of worship. In slavonic language Orthodoxy translates as Pravoslavie
, which means "true glory" thereby revealing the deeply worshipful and relational attitude of Orthodoxy. We are concerned to bring fallen creatures into a truthful relation of worship to the Trinity, not with defining and limiting God and His ways in human philosophical categories.
The worship of the Church and her Liturgical Tradition call for prayer for our beloved departed, that by them we may may assist them to be saved in the Trinity's grace and love. The sayings of saints like St Gregorios of Nyssa are rooted in this, and are therefore Orthodox and not to be numbered with such attitudes that deny the Divinity of our Lord, or that would support homosexuality. I know that the tradition represented by St. Gregorios is not the only
[/b] one or even the most popular one, but is fully Orthodox nonetheless.