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Author Topic: For Catholics: Souls in Purgatory assured of salvation?  (Read 5293 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 30, 2012, 12:28:09 AM »

Orthodox state those in Hades with light sins may get out of hades.  Pretty much like Purgatory without fire. 

But Orthodox believe these souls are not sure of their salvation (or do I have this wrong?)

My understanding of Roman Catholic teaching is that the souls in Purgatory ARE assured of their eventual salvation. 

Is this definitely true Catholics?  Or does Rome allow for the belief that those in purgatory are not assured of their salvation?

~K
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2012, 01:35:35 AM »

Salvation is assured for those in purgatory.
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 01:49:26 AM »

so the damned don't go through purgatory then, they just go straight to hell?
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 02:14:17 AM »

so the damned don't go through purgatory then, they just go straight to hell?
Yes
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 04:05:25 AM »

so the damned don't go through purgatory then, they just go straight to hell?
Yes

so basically, RC's pray for others when they are departed as if they went to purgatory? Since you can never know for sure if someone went to hell....
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2012, 09:32:55 AM »

My understanding of Roman Catholic teaching is that the souls in Purgatory ARE assured of their eventual salvation. 

Quote
‘But there is a real choice after death? My Roman Catholic friends would be surprised, for to them souls in Purgatory are already saved. And my Protestant friends would like it no better, for they’d say that the tree lies as it falls.’
- from The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2012, 01:03:03 PM »

so the damned don't go through purgatory then, they just go straight to hell?
Yes

so basically, RC's pray for others when they are departed as if they went to purgatory? Since you can never know for sure if someone went to hell....
Yes...we pray for everyone who is departed in the hopes that they at least went to purgatory. There is a pious belief that I've heard from somewhere (can't recall exactly where) that if you are praying for someone who is actually in hell that God applies your prayer to another soul or souls. To me it seems like a reasonable belief because it is based on the assumption that a prayer never goes to waste or is never in vain.
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2012, 03:30:29 AM »

I think Orthodox would say that our prayers for those who are experiencing a foretaste of hell can be beneficial for those souls, in what way we can't say.
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2012, 04:28:47 AM »

Orthodox state those in Hades with light sins may get out of hades. 

Much more than that.  Out of hell.  For a little more on the Orthodox belief see message 1216
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424768.html#msg424768

The Russian Church has a beautiful and compunctionate "Akathist for the repose for those who have fallen asleep" in which we pray for suicides and other souls. It was printed in Orthodox Life, Vol 6, No. 5, Sept-Oct.,1955, p. 3-11.

If we read these prayers with our eyes wide open, it is amazing what is being said in them - about God, about the nature of His mercy, about His willingness to forgive even beyond the grave.

This is from Ikos 5:

And we believe that even beyond the grave Thy loving kindness, which is merciful even
to all rejected sinners, does not fail. We grieve for hardened and wicked blasphemers of
Thy Holiness. May Thy saving and gracious will be over them. Forgive, O Lord, those
who have died without repentance.

Save those who have committed suicide in the darkness of their mind,
that the flame of their sinfulness may be extinguished in the ocean of Thy grace.

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



You can find this whole lengthy prayer for those who have died as an “add-on” at the bottom of message 1207
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424505.html#msg424505
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2012, 08:35:11 AM »

Orthodox state those in Hades with light sins may get out of hades. 

Much more than that.  Out of hell.  For a little more on the Orthodox belief see message 1216
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424768.html#msg424768

That statement can be contrasted with the Orthodox belief as taught at GOARCH.org:

Quote
God's Judgement

JUDGMENT of the soul according to its faith and deeds on earth, is an unquestioned teaching of the Gospel. It is also a self-evident demand of human nature and reasoning. The Christian Church places this judgment at the very moment of the death of the individual for two reasons:

1.Any moral progress of the soul is excluded after its separation from the body; and
2.there is no hope of repentance or betterment after death.

The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.


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« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2012, 10:24:33 AM »

GOARCH's belief about this seems attuned to the Roman Catholic.

Is it what is taught in the seminaries?  

We obviously have a very significant diversion of belief between Greeks and Russians, with Greeks having no hope of repentance or betterment after death, and Russians believing that we do..

Thank you for the info from GOARCH.  I did not know that Greeks and Russians differ,

Orthodox state those in Hades with light sins may get out of hades.  

Much more than that.  Out of hell.  For a little more on the Orthodox belief see message 1216
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424768.html#msg424768

That statement can be contrasted with the Orthodox belief as taught at GOARCH.org:

Quote
God's Judgement

JUDGMENT of the soul according to its faith and deeds on earth, is an unquestioned teaching of the Gospel. It is also a self-evident demand of human nature and reasoning. The Christian Church places this judgment at the very moment of the death of the individual for two reasons:

1.Any moral progress of the soul is excluded after its separation from the body; and
2.there is no hope of repentance or betterment after death.

The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.


« Last Edit: January 31, 2012, 10:32:16 AM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2012, 10:37:27 AM »


The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided.

Well, there is a one positive side effect of this teaching - no toll houses.  Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2012, 10:41:57 AM »

GOARCH's belief about this seems attuned to the Roman Catholic.

Is it what is taught in the seminaries?  

We obviously have a very significant diversion of belief between Greeks and Russians, with Greeks having no hope of repentance or betterment after death, and Russians believing that we do..

Thank you for the info from GOARCH.  I did not know that Greeks and Russians differ,

Orthodox state those in Hades with light sins may get out of hades.  

Much more than that.  Out of hell.  For a little more on the Orthodox belief see message 1216
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424768.html#msg424768

That statement can be contrasted with the Orthodox belief as taught at GOARCH.org:

Quote
God's Judgement

JUDGMENT of the soul according to its faith and deeds on earth, is an unquestioned teaching of the Gospel. It is also a self-evident demand of human nature and reasoning. The Christian Church places this judgment at the very moment of the death of the individual for two reasons:

1.Any moral progress of the soul is excluded after its separation from the body; and
2.there is no hope of repentance or betterment after death.

The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.


So far, Fr. Ambrose, all you've quoted on this thread are a couple of posts you submitted and the text of a Russian hymn that can be interpreted a plethora of different ways. Fr. Chris countered with an official Web page from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Whom do you expect will be deemed more believable? Are we supposed to trust you against the GOAA on your authority alone?

If you wish to be believed, Fr. Ambrose, the best way to accomplish this is to show us an official Web page of the Russian Orthodox Church that supports your doctrines on the possibility of repentance after death.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2012, 10:46:26 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2012, 10:58:47 AM »

GOARCH's belief about this seems attuned to the Roman Catholic.

Is it what is taught in the seminaries?  

We obviously have a very significant diversion of belief between Greeks and Russians, with Greeks having no hope of repentance or betterment after death, and Russians believing that we do..

Thank you for the info from GOARCH.  I did not know that Greeks and Russians differ,

Orthodox state those in Hades with light sins may get out of hades.  

Much more than that.  Out of hell.  For a little more on the Orthodox belief see message 1216
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424768.html#msg424768

That statement can be contrasted with the Orthodox belief as taught at GOARCH.org:

Quote
God's Judgement

JUDGMENT of the soul according to its faith and deeds on earth, is an unquestioned teaching of the Gospel. It is also a self-evident demand of human nature and reasoning. The Christian Church places this judgment at the very moment of the death of the individual for two reasons:

1.Any moral progress of the soul is excluded after its separation from the body; and
2.there is no hope of repentance or betterment after death.

The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.


So far, Fr. Ambrose, all you've quoted on this thread are a couple of posts you submitted and the text of a Russian hymn that can be interpreted a plethora of different ways. Fr. Chris countered with an official Web page from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Whom do you expect will be deemed more believable? Are we supposed to trust you against the GOAA on your authority alone?


I am not sure what authority I have.  On this forum, none. I am neither parish priest nor spiritual father to any forum members.  But there is the authority of the Gospel and the words of the Saviour about the forgiveness of sin after death.   There is also of course the liturgical tradition of the Church and the Third Kneeling Prayer which we read in church on Pentecost Sunday. We  pray to the Lord Almighty that He will release those who are held in the bondage of Hell.   

...who also on this all-perfect and saving feast, art graciously pleased to accept
propitiatory prayers for those who are imprisoned in Hell, promising unto us and
unto those held in bondage great hope of release from the vileness that doth
hinder us and hinder them.  We who are living will bless thee, and will pray,
and offer unto thee propitiatory prayers and sacrifices for their souls."


You may understand that I do not believe the GOARCH site is correctly portraying Orthodox belief.
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« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2012, 11:18:53 AM »

If you wish to be believed, Fr. Ambrose, the best way to accomplish this is to show us an official Web page of the Russian Orthodox Church that supports your doctrines on the possibility of repentance after death.

Here is the official website of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate

http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/11/1/5.aspx

See the antepenultimate paragraph.
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« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2012, 12:03:17 PM »

I read through the GOA website article, and it has some 'anomalies':

1) There is no author mentioned.

2) The only source mentioned for this teaching is Christos Androutsos, who was considered a 'scholastic' and heavily influenced by Western thinking (c.f. http://www.scribd.com/doc/35976216/Lucian-Turcescu-editor-Dumitru-Staniloae-Tradition-and-Modernity-in-Theology, p.1).

3) This appears to be the reproduction of a tract rather than a proper theological dissertation.

4) Androutsos had a number of theological problems, such as "...[he] rejected the essence/energies distinction (p. 203) and accepted ‘Anselm’s juristic interpretation of Christ’s crucifixion’ (p. 205),..." (http://logismoitouaaron.blogspot.com/2009_09_01_archive.html)

I have not found this teaching in any other Orthodox book in my possession, so I assume that it is strictly a repeat of Androutsos.  Given that his dogmatics is not even available in English, I assume that he is no longer an influential figure in Greek Orthodox theology.  Otherwise, he would have been translated as an essential part of any Greek Orthodox library in English.

This might be going out on a limb, but my experience is that websites are maintained by computer people, not theologians.  Unless I see the name of a GOA bishop attached to an article, I would not necessarily assume that this or anything else represents an official statement of the Faith.  Particularly in a large organization, things can fall through the cracks.

Greek Orthodox theology went through a rather profound shift in the 20th century, with figures like Fr. John Romanides redefining a great deal of the Greek Orthodox approach to theology.  I think this article looks to be a 'pre-renaissance' hold-over.  You certainly won't find this approach in the Athonite Fathers.


Orthodox state those in Hades with light sins may get out of hades.  

Much more than that.  Out of hell.  For a little more on the Orthodox belief see message 1216
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424768.html#msg424768

That statement can be contrasted with the Orthodox belief as taught at GOARCH.org:

Quote
God's Judgement

JUDGMENT of the soul according to its faith and deeds on earth, is an unquestioned teaching of the Gospel. It is also a self-evident demand of human nature and reasoning. The Christian Church places this judgment at the very moment of the death of the individual for two reasons:

1.Any moral progress of the soul is excluded after its separation from the body; and
2.there is no hope of repentance or betterment after death.

The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.


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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2012, 01:06:38 PM »

GOARCH's belief about this seems attuned to the Roman Catholic.

Is it what is taught in the seminaries?  

We obviously have a very significant diversion of belief between Greeks and Russians, with Greeks having no hope of repentance or betterment after death, and Russians believing that we do..

Thank you for the info from GOARCH.  I did not know that Greeks and Russians differ,

Orthodox state those in Hades with light sins may get out of hades.  

Much more than that.  Out of hell.  For a little more on the Orthodox belief see message 1216
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424768.html#msg424768

That statement can be contrasted with the Orthodox belief as taught at GOARCH.org:

Quote
God's Judgement

JUDGMENT of the soul according to its faith and deeds on earth, is an unquestioned teaching of the Gospel. It is also a self-evident demand of human nature and reasoning. The Christian Church places this judgment at the very moment of the death of the individual for two reasons:

1.Any moral progress of the soul is excluded after its separation from the body; and
2.there is no hope of repentance or betterment after death.

The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.


So far, Fr. Ambrose, all you've quoted on this thread are a couple of posts you submitted and the text of a Russian hymn that can be interpreted a plethora of different ways. Fr. Chris countered with an official Web page from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Whom do you expect will be deemed more believable? Are we supposed to trust you against the GOAA on your authority alone?


I am not sure what authority I have.  On this forum, none. I am neither parish priest nor spiritual father to any forum members.  But there is the authority of the Gospel and the words of the Saviour about the forgiveness of sin after death.   There is also of course the liturgical tradition of the Church and the Third Kneeling Prayer which we read in church on Pentecost Sunday. We  pray to the Lord Almighty that He will release those who are held in the bondage of Hell.   

...who also on this all-perfect and saving feast, art graciously pleased to accept
propitiatory prayers for those who are imprisoned in Hell, promising unto us and
unto those held in bondage great hope of release from the vileness that doth
hinder us and hinder them.  We who are living will bless thee, and will pray,
and offer unto thee propitiatory prayers and sacrifices for their souls."


You may understand that I do not believe the GOARCH site is correctly portraying Orthodox belief.

If you wish to be believed, Fr. Ambrose, the best way to accomplish this is to show us an official Web page of the Russian Orthodox Church that supports your doctrines on the possibility of repentance after death.

Here is the official website of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate

http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/11/1/5.aspx

See the antepenultimate paragraph.
But the GOAA article also cites the Gospel and our hymnography in support of its position, and, until proven otherwise, I'm left to assume that the article has the approval of the Holy Synod of the GOAA. The article you post from Metropolitan Hilarion, though submitted to an official Web page of the Russian Orthodox Church by possibly the most eminent theologian of said church, does represent the theological musing of one man and not the approved proclamation of a synod. So again, I ask why we should believe you over Fr. Chris and the GOAA.
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« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2012, 01:22:37 PM »

  The GOAA article is unsigned, thus it has far less reliability than a signed one.

You cannot assume that the article has been approved by the Holy Synod unless you know for sure that all materials on the website are given such a review process.  From my experience, a large (though dwindling) number of bishops do not view their own websites and have little idea of their contents.

Unless you can prove your assumption to be correct, it is no less of a jump to a conclusion than Fr. Ambrose.


But the GOAA article also cites the Gospel and our hymnography in support of its position, and, until proven otherwise, I'm left to assume that the article has the approval of the Holy Synod of the GOAA. The article you post from Metropolitan Hilarion, though submitted to an official Web page of the Russian Orthodox Church by possibly the most eminent theologian of said church, does represent the theological musing of one man and not the approved proclamation of a synod. So again, I ask why we should believe you over Fr. Chris and the GOAA.
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« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2012, 01:47:11 PM »

 The GOAA article is unsigned, thus it has far less reliability than a signed one.
Far less reliability to whom? Personally, I think an unsigned article posted on an official Web site of the GOAA more reliable than an article signed by only one bishop. With the former, we have the possibility that the article has the approval of a synod, but with the latter we have the certainty that it represents the thoughts of only one man.

You cannot assume that the article has been approved by the Holy Synod unless you know for sure that all materials on the website are given such a review process.
Maybe you can't. I would think one would usually assume automatically that materials posted on an official Web site would undergo such a review process, but you're right about the possibility they may not have.

From my experience, a large (though dwindling) number of bishops do not view their own websites and have little idea of their contents.

Unless you can prove your assumption to be correct, it is no less of a jump to a conclusion than Fr. Ambrose.[/font][/size]
Which I will admit may be true. However, Fr. Ambrose has posted as authoritative a teaching that contradicts what many here have received as Orthodox doctrine, and on little more than his own authority, AISI. Following Fr. Chris's lead, I'm merely trying to get Fr. Ambrose to defend his position from sources at least equal in authority to what Fr. Chris has posted.

It's also possible from my perspective that Fr. Chris may be citing faulty sources and that he needs to cite something more authoritative. I'll grant that it's certainly your prerogative to call his sources into question if you feel you must.
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« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2012, 02:03:03 PM »

Orthodox state those in Hades with light sins may get out of hades.  

Much more than that.  Out of hell.  For a little more on the Orthodox belief see message 1216
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424768.html#msg424768

That statement can be contrasted with the Orthodox belief as taught at GOARCH.org:

Quote
God's Judgement

JUDGMENT of the soul according to its faith and deeds on earth, is an unquestioned teaching of the Gospel. It is also a self-evident demand of human nature and reasoning. The Christian Church places this judgment at the very moment of the death of the individual for two reasons:

1.Any moral progress of the soul is excluded after its separation from the body; and
2.there is no hope of repentance or betterment after death.

The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.




ok now i'm confused, what's the purpose of praying for the dead then if there's "no help from the outside world"?
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« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2012, 02:05:36 PM »

GOARCH's belief about this seems attuned to the Roman Catholic.

Is it what is taught in the seminaries? 
We obviously have a very significant diversion of belief between Greeks and Russians, with Greeks having no hope of repentance or betterment after death, and Russians believing that we do..

Thank you for the info from GOARCH.  I did not know that Greeks and Russians differ,

Orthodox state those in Hades with light sins may get out of hades.  

Much more than that.  Out of hell.  For a little more on the Orthodox belief see message 1216
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424768.html#msg424768

That statement can be contrasted with the Orthodox belief as taught at GOARCH.org:

Quote
God's Judgement

JUDGMENT of the soul according to its faith and deeds on earth, is an unquestioned teaching of the Gospel. It is also a self-evident demand of human nature and reasoning. The Christian Church places this judgment at the very moment of the death of the individual for two reasons:

1.Any moral progress of the soul is excluded after its separation from the body; and
2.there is no hope of repentance or betterment after death.

The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.



Wasn't taught in my catechesis. Almost makes me wonder if this isn't a bait and switch tactic, to tell inquirers (mainly protestants) what they want to hear...
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« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2012, 02:20:49 PM »

When a bishop speaks, he does not so on his own, but on behalf of the Church (unless he specifically states otherwise).  If he misspeaks, then he is liable to be sanctioned by his synod.  This is far more of an authoritative relationship than an anonymous posting even on an official website, since we do not know what the policies are for posting.  The canons do not regulate websites, but they do regulate the speech of bishops.

The direct statement of a bishop in regards to doctrine clearly falls under canonical norms.  Websites only so by extension, which implies a great deal more leeway.  Therefore, the signed statement is far more authoritative than the unsigned in that it is directly government by canonical norms.  Until a Great Council writes new canons governing websites, you can't really compare the two.

To be honest, you really can't call out Fr. Ambrose on the topic because you already know from previous threads (remember the Toll House Saga?) that there are no authoritative statements on the topic that are universally-recognized.


 The GOAA article is unsigned, thus it has far less reliability than a signed one.
Far less reliability to whom? Personally, I think an unsigned article posted on an official Web site of the GOAA more reliable than an article signed by only one bishop. With the former, we have the possibility that the article has the approval of a synod, but with the latter we have the certainty that it represents the thoughts of only one man.

You cannot assume that the article has been approved by the Holy Synod unless you know for sure that all materials on the website are given such a review process.
Maybe you can't. I would think one would usually assume automatically that materials posted on an official Web site would undergo such a review process, but you're right about the possibility they may not have.

From my experience, a large (though dwindling) number of bishops do not view their own websites and have little idea of their contents.

Unless you can prove your assumption to be correct, it is no less of a jump to a conclusion than Fr. Ambrose.[/font][/size]
Which I will admit may be true. However, Fr. Ambrose has posted as authoritative a teaching that contradicts what many here have received as Orthodox doctrine, and on little more than his own authority, AISI. Following Fr. Chris's lead, I'm merely trying to get Fr. Ambrose to defend his position from sources at least equal in authority to what Fr. Chris has posted.

It's also possible from my perspective that Fr. Chris may be citing faulty sources and that he needs to cite something more authoritative. I'll grant that it's certainly your prerogative to call his sources into question if you feel you must.
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« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2012, 02:43:43 PM »

Orthodox Priests pray for forgiveness of sins during the Trisagion Prayers for the newly departed:

Quote
p. 184 - Again we pray for the repose of the soul of the servant of God, N., departed this life; and that Thou wilt pardon his/her every transgression, both voluntary and involuntary.

Quote
p. 185 - That the Lord God will establish his/her soul where the Just repost; the mercies of God, the kingdom of heaven, and remission of his sins, let us ask of Christ, our Immortal King and our God.

Service Book of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Tenth Edition, 1997, p. 184-185.

So, why would Orthodox Priests pray for the pardon of his/her every transgression, if these newly departed souls could not benefit from this prayer?
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« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2012, 02:45:14 PM »

Orthodox Priests pray for forgiveness of sins during the Trisagion Prayers for the newly departed:

Quote
Again we pray for the repose of the soul of the servant of God, N., departed this life; and that Thou wilt pardon his/her every transgression, both voluntary and involuntary.

Service Book of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Tenth Edition, 1997, p. 184.

So, why would they pray for the pardon of his/her every transgression, if they could not benefit from this prayer?
That entire thing has had me confused...

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« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2012, 02:49:17 PM »

When a bishop speaks, he does not so on his own, but on behalf of the Church (unless he specifically states otherwise).  If he misspeaks, then he is liable to be sanctioned by his synod. This is far more of an authoritative relationship than an anonymous posting even on an official website, since we do not know what the policies are for posting.  The canons do not regulate websites, but they do regulate the speech of bishops.

The direct statement of a bishop in regards to doctrine clearly falls under canonical norms.  Websites only so by extension, which implies a great deal more leeway.  Therefore, the signed statement is far more authoritative than the unsigned in that it is directly government by canonical norms.  Until a Great Council writes new canons governing websites, you can't really compare the two.

To be honest, you really can't call out Fr. Ambrose on the topic because you already know from previous threads (remember the Toll House Saga?) that there are no authoritative statements on the topic that are universally-recognized.

I'm calling him out on this? I didn't think I was doing that. Fr. Chris called Fr. Ambrose out on this. I'm merely challenging Fr. Ambrose to accept the challenge of proving that his doctrine really is Orthodox.
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« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2012, 02:51:09 PM »

Then there is more from the same Service Book (p. 185)

Quote
O God of spirits and of all flesh, who has trampled down Death, and made powerless the Devil, and given life to the world: Do Thou, the same Lord, give rest to the soul of Thy departed servant, N., in a place of brightness, a place of verdure, a place of repose, whence all sickness, sorrow, and sighing have fled away. Pardon every sin which he/she hath committed, whether by word, or deed, or thought; for Thou are good, and lovest mankind: for there is no man who liveth and sinneth not, and Thou only art without sin, and Thy righteousness is to all eternity, and Thy law is truth.
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« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2012, 02:52:34 PM »

GOARCH's belief about this seems attuned to the Roman Catholic.

Is it what is taught in the seminaries?  

We obviously have a very significant diversion of belief between Greeks and Russians, with Greeks having no hope of repentance or betterment after death, and Russians believing that we do..

Thank you for the info from GOARCH.  I did not know that Greeks and Russians differ

Perhaps you don't remember, but I have pointed that out before on more than one doctrinal point over the years.

I don't think all is confusion or conflict here, regardless of what is there in black and white. 

It happens this way between Orthodox and Catholics too on a variety of issues. 

IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil, once we are dead and the soul temporarily separated from the body, there is no self-generated moral progress.  That seems evident and not in contrast or contradiction with the Fathers, whose hope for the soul lies in the mercy of God and not in the right actions of the conscience from which come all personal moral goods.

In that way, both teachings can be true.
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« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2012, 02:56:36 PM »

And from the Funeral Service from that Antiochian Service Book, p. 188

Quote
Give rest, O Lord, to the soul of thy servant, and establish him/her in Paradise; where the Choirs of the Saints, and of the Just, shine like the stars of heaven; Give rest to they servant who hath fallen asleep, regarding not all the charges against him/her.

Quote
Devoutly do we hymn the triple Splendor of the one Godhead, crying aloud: Holy art thou, O Father, who art from everlasting; O Son, Co-eternal; and Spirit divine! Illumine us who with faith do worship thee; and rescue us from fire eternal.

Yes I do believe that our prayers are effective, as are the prayers for remission of sin which the priest prays over the newly departed.

So, could these prayers release a departed one from fire eternal?
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« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2012, 02:56:43 PM »

Orthodox Priests pray for forgiveness of sins during the Trisagion Prayers for the newly departed:

Quote
p. 184 - Again we pray for the repose of the soul of the servant of God, N., departed this life; and that Thou wilt pardon his/her every transgression, both voluntary and involuntary.

Quote
p. 185 - That the Lord God will establish his/her soul where the Just repost; the mercies of God, the kingdom of heaven, and remission of his sins, let us ask of Christ, our Immortal King and our God.

Service Book of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Tenth Edition, 1997, p. 184-185.

So, why would Orthodox Priests pray for the pardon of his/her every transgression, if these newly departed souls could not benefit from this prayer?

Prayer to God has the benefit of not being restricted by time in its efficacy.  Since He (beyond exists) beyond the limits of linear time, a prayer to Him can have benefit even for those who have already passed on.  It is not a fruitless exercise.

However, from the POV of the deceased, their time to repent is over at death.  As a simple spirit with no body, they are predisposed to act in death as they have in life, and do not have the benefit of the changability of the body to justify repentance (i.e. the distinction between human and angelic sin - when the angels rebelled they had no chance to repent, since as simple spirits they were aligned purely without distraction; we, on the other hand, are distracted by our senses, feelings, limited scope, etc.).  We become in a manner of speaking like the angels - i.e. we are at that moment only spirit - and, like them, have a straight trajectory to follow.

Our hope rests in the Church militant, the living followers of Christ, that they may pray for us and our benefit, to plead before God (as the angels, saints, and, most of all, the Theotokos do) for mercy on our souls.
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« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2012, 02:59:53 PM »

And from the Funeral Service from that Antiochian Service Book, p. 188

Quote
Give rest, O Lord, to the soul of thy servant, and establish him/her in Paradise; where the Choirs of the Saints, and of the Just, shine like the stars of heaven; Give rest to they servant who hath fallen asleep, regarding not all the charges against him/her.

Right - the belief that we can effectively pray for the deceased is not limited by the belief that the deceased cannot pray for themselves.

At the funeral service when a hierarch presides (and, in some jurisdictions, at all funerals), a prayer of absolution is read.  In that prayer he releases the deceased from any curse, ban, anathema, etc. that was against him - would he be praying an ineffective prayer?  (What about lex orandi lex credendi?)  Of course he isn't - he is praying to the One Who (beyond) exists outside of the boundaries and limitations of time.
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« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2012, 03:00:39 PM »

However, from the POV of the deceased, their time to repent is over at death.  As a simple spirit with no body, they are predisposed to act in death as they have in life, and do not have the benefit of the changability of the body to justify repentance (i.e. the distinction between human and angelic sin - when the angels rebelled they had no chance to repent, since as simple spirits they were aligned purely without distraction; we, on the other hand, are distracted by our senses, feelings, limited scope, etc.).  We become in a manner of speaking like the angels - i.e. we are at that moment only spirit - and, like them, have a straight trajectory to follow.

But only God is truly "simple" and "only spirit," thus while we are material to a much lesser extent in the afterlife (both before and after the general resurrection), we will still be material in some sense compared to God, as the angels also are.
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« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2012, 03:13:46 PM »

And from the Funeral Service from that Antiochian Service Book, p. 188

Quote
Give rest, O Lord, to the soul of thy servant, and establish him/her in Paradise; where the Choirs of the Saints, and of the Just, shine like the stars of heaven; Give rest to they servant who hath fallen asleep, regarding not all the charges against him/her.

Right - the belief that we can effectively pray for the deceased is not limited by the belief that the deceased cannot pray for themselves.

At the funeral service when a hierarch presides (and, in some jurisdictions, at all funerals), a prayer of absolution is read.  In that prayer he releases the deceased from any curse, ban, anathema, etc. that was against him - would he be praying an ineffective prayer?  (What about lex orandi lex credendi?)  Of course he isn't - he is praying to the One Who (beyond) exists outside of the boundaries and limitations of time.

Here is the prayer of absolution from the Funeral Service (Antiochian Service Book, p. 198-199)

Quote
PRIEST: Our Lord Jesus Christ, by his divine grace, as also by the gift and power vouchsafed unto his holy Disciples and Apostles, that they should bind and loose the sins of men: (For he said unto them: Receive ye the Holy Spirit: Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted; and whosesoever sins ye retain they are retained. And whatsoever ye shall bind or loose upon earth shall be bound or loosed also in heaven.  By that same power, also, transmitted unto us from them, this my spiritual child, N., is absolved, through me, unworthy through I be, from all things wherein, as mortal, he hath sinned against God, whether in word, or deed, or thought, and with all his senses, whether voluntary or involuntary;' whether with knowledge or through ignorance. If he be under the ban or excommunication of a Bishop, or of a Priest; or that sinned by any oath; or hath been bound, as man, by any sins whatsoever, but hath repented him thereof, with contrition of heart: he is now absolved from all those faults and bonds. May all those things which have proceeded from the weakness of his mortal nature be consigned to oblivion, and be remitted unto him: Through His loving-kindness; through the prayers of our most holy, and blessed, and glorious Lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary' of the holy, glorious, and all-laudable Apostles and of all the Saints. Amen.

In this final prayer of absolution, there is the mention that the newly departed has repented with contrition of heart.
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« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2012, 03:16:59 PM »

Whew ok i'm glad we got that cleared up. Ya, so i think someone should pm the webmaster over at GOAA or whoever and tell him that's not representative of orthodox teaching...
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« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2012, 03:36:28 PM »

The effect is much the same, isn't it?   Wink

I'm calling him out on this? I didn't think I was doing that. Fr. Chris called Fr. Ambrose out on this. I'm merely challenging Fr. Ambrose to accept the challenge of proving that his doctrine really is Orthodox.
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« Reply #34 on: January 31, 2012, 03:37:20 PM »

However, from the POV of the deceased, their time to repent is over at death.  As a simple spirit with no body, they are predisposed to act in death as they have in life, and do not have the benefit of the changability of the body to justify repentance (i.e. the distinction between human and angelic sin - when the angels rebelled they had no chance to repent, since as simple spirits they were aligned purely without distraction; we, on the other hand, are distracted by our senses, feelings, limited scope, etc.).  We become in a manner of speaking like the angels - i.e. we are at that moment only spirit - and, like them, have a straight trajectory to follow.

But only God is truly "simple" and "only spirit," thus while we are material to a much lesser extent in the afterlife (both before and after the general resurrection), we will still be material in some sense compared to God, as the angels also are.

Any terminology that we use to describe the angels and men will also be insufficient to describe God, so I was using the terminology without using God as a reference point in its application.
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« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2012, 03:38:02 PM »

Whew ok i'm glad we got that cleared up. Ya, so i think someone should pm the webmaster over at GOAA or whoever and tell him that's not representative of orthodox teaching...

It's obvious by your concluding statement that nothing is cleared up.
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« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2012, 03:38:25 PM »

And from the Funeral Service from that Antiochian Service Book, p. 188

Quote
Give rest, O Lord, to the soul of thy servant, and establish him/her in Paradise; where the Choirs of the Saints, and of the Just, shine like the stars of heaven; Give rest to they servant who hath fallen asleep, regarding not all the charges against him/her.

Right - the belief that we can effectively pray for the deceased is not limited by the belief that the deceased cannot pray for themselves.

At the funeral service when a hierarch presides (and, in some jurisdictions, at all funerals), a prayer of absolution is read.  In that prayer he releases the deceased from any curse, ban, anathema, etc. that was against him - would he be praying an ineffective prayer?  (What about lex orandi lex credendi?)  Of course he isn't - he is praying to the One Who (beyond) exists outside of the boundaries and limitations of time.

Here is the prayer of absolution from the Funeral Service (Antiochian Service Book, p. 198-199)

Quote
PRIEST: Our Lord Jesus Christ, by his divine grace, as also by the gift and power vouchsafed unto his holy Disciples and Apostles, that they should bind and loose the sins of men: (For he said unto them: Receive ye the Holy Spirit: Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted; and whosesoever sins ye retain they are retained. And whatsoever ye shall bind or loose upon earth shall be bound or loosed also in heaven.  By that same power, also, transmitted unto us from them, this my spiritual child, N., is absolved, through me, unworthy through I be, from all things wherein, as mortal, he hath sinned against God, whether in word, or deed, or thought, and with all his senses, whether voluntary or involuntary;' whether with knowledge or through ignorance. If he be under the ban or excommunication of a Bishop, or of a Priest; or that sinned by any oath; or hath been bound, as man, by any sins whatsoever, but hath repented him thereof, with contrition of heart: he is now absolved from all those faults and bonds. May all those things which have proceeded from the weakness of his mortal nature be consigned to oblivion, and be remitted unto him: Through His loving-kindness; through the prayers of our most holy, and blessed, and glorious Lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary' of the holy, glorious, and all-laudable Apostles and of all the Saints. Amen.

In this final prayer of absolution, there is the mention that the newly departed has repented with contrition of heart.


Yes - before death, on their deathbed.
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« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2012, 03:38:54 PM »

Nevertheless, according to one Orthodox source, it seems like the newly departed may experience some torments for a time (similar to purgatory):

Quote
The Fathers of the Church, basing themselves on the word of God, suppose that the torments of sinners before the Last Judgment have a preparatory character. These torments can be eased and even taken away by the prayers of the Church ("Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs," par. 18). Likewise, the fallen spirits are reserved in everlasting chains under darkness (in hell) until the judgment of the great day (Jude, v. y; II Peter 2:4).

Pomazansky, Michael, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Third Edition, Trans. by Seraphim Rose, St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2005. p. 335

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« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2012, 03:44:46 PM »

Nevertheless, according to one Orthodox source, it seems like the newly departed may experience some torments for a time (similar to purgatory):

Quote
The Fathers of the Church, basing themselves on the word of God, suppose that the torments of sinners before the Last Judgment have a preparatory character. These torments can be eased and even taken away by the prayers of the Church ("Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs," par. 18). Likewise, the fallen spirits are reserved in everlasting chains under darkness (in hell) until the judgment of the great day (Jude, v. y; II Peter 2:4).

Pomazansky, Michael, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Third Edition, Trans. by Seraphim Rose, St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2005. p. 335

You notice that the quote states that the torments can be taken away by the "prayers of the Church," not by the individual.  There is still no repentance or change enacted by the individual.  (I'm not accepting the teaching of toll houses by making this response, btw.)
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« Reply #39 on: January 31, 2012, 03:53:30 PM »

Whew ok i'm glad we got that cleared up. Ya, so i think someone should pm the webmaster over at GOAA or whoever and tell him that's not representative of orthodox teaching...
No one's saying that.
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« Reply #40 on: January 31, 2012, 04:09:45 PM »

Why can't that someone be you?    police

Whew ok i'm glad we got that cleared up. Ya, so i think someone should pm the webmaster over at GOAA or whoever and tell him that's not representative of orthodox teaching...
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« Reply #41 on: January 31, 2012, 04:10:32 PM »

Why can't that someone be you?    police

Whew ok i'm glad we got that cleared up. Ya, so i think someone should pm the webmaster over at GOAA or whoever and tell him that's not representative of orthodox teaching...

lol...well i dont carry much authority... Embarrassed
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« Reply #42 on: January 31, 2012, 04:13:35 PM »

Wasn't taught in my catechesis. Almost makes me wonder if this isn't a bait and switch tactic, to tell inquirers (mainly protestants) what they want to hear...

I don't know why I didn't catch this earlier - this is a serious charge, you know (considering bait and switch is illegal in, say, retail sales and the like).  And what sinister purpose is behind such a "bait and switch" in theology?  Why would the GOA webmaster put up an article that is more serious and, ostensibly, less merciful (in that it doesn't provide a means for the individual to repent after death) that what you purport to be the Orthodox position?
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« Reply #43 on: January 31, 2012, 04:15:12 PM »

Why can't that someone be you?    police

Whew ok i'm glad we got that cleared up. Ya, so i think someone should pm the webmaster over at GOAA or whoever and tell him that's not representative of orthodox teaching...

lol...well i dont carry much authority... Embarrassed

You could form it as a question.  You don't need much authority to ask.  Or do you?
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« Reply #44 on: January 31, 2012, 04:19:35 PM »

Wasn't taught in my catechesis. Almost makes me wonder if this isn't a bait and switch tactic, to tell inquirers (mainly protestants) what they want to hear...

I don't know why I didn't catch this earlier - this is a serious charge, you know (considering bait and switch is illegal in, say, retail sales and the like).  And what sinister purpose is behind such a "bait and switch" in theology?  Why would the GOA webmaster put up an article that is more serious and, ostensibly, less merciful (in that it doesn't provide a means for the individual to repent after death) that what you purport to be the Orthodox position?

i've seen Orthodox articles before that express teachings in a manner that are more "convert friendly" or less controversial to the protestant eye than what the church actually teaches. And considering most people reading that article are probably going to be inquirers (most likely from a protestant background) I think its something that should be considered. Is true Orthodox teaching being distorted here to make it seem more palatable to the audience?

I think it goes without saying that protestants are more comfortable with the view expressed on the GOA website than the contrary position which is being represented in this thread. So with all that being said, i think we should at least acknowledge the possibility.
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« Reply #45 on: January 31, 2012, 04:22:37 PM »

Wasn't taught in my catechesis. Almost makes me wonder if this isn't a bait and switch tactic, to tell inquirers (mainly protestants) what they want to hear...

I don't know why I didn't catch this earlier - this is a serious charge, you know (considering bait and switch is illegal in, say, retail sales and the like).  And what sinister purpose is behind such a "bait and switch" in theology?  Why would the GOA webmaster put up an article that is more serious and, ostensibly, less merciful (in that it doesn't provide a means for the individual to repent after death) that what you purport to be the Orthodox position?

When I was a catechumen in the Greek Orthodox Church, I was taught by my priest that after death there is no repentance, but as scriptures are silent, there is not much we do know about the time between death and the final judgment. Nevertheless, we are not sleepers, as we are alive with Christ and awaiting the Final Judgment with a foretaste of our own destination (heaven or hell).

My priest also taught that we go from "glory to glory," in the Presence of God. How can we remain as we are when the Divine Energies are purifying (the elect) or burning (the dammed)?
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« Reply #46 on: January 31, 2012, 04:25:09 PM »

In addressing the Orthodox part of this post:

1) Hades is the condition of death for the soul/spirit, prior to the soul's entrance into the place of rest with Christ.  All souls pass through Hades, or for those who reject Christ, remain there with nowhere else to go until the General Resurrection.

2) Sins are not 'light' or 'heavy' since all sins lead to death.

3) When the person dies, he is left with his conscience.  Those sins that he has not repented of become a source of accusation for the demons that gather around the soul.  Their intent is to torment the soul to keep it from entering rest.

4) The soul and spirit without the body are an incomplete person, and so the faculty of prayer is lost for those in Hades until they enter into the presence of Christ and can intercede with Him directly.

5) The Church offers prayers of repentance and alms on behalf of those souls who are struggling with their consciences during this process of death.  The absolution prayers assure the soul of God's mercy, and the offering of prayers on behalf of the dead help them by acting on their behalf.  Prayer is a sacrifice of time and effort to God.

6) God does not compel those who love Him to enter into His rest, which is why Hades is not utterly abolished until the Parousia.  So, Hades can be either a short or long experience.

7) Those in Hades are tormented by their own refusal to repent and their hatred of God.

Cool Those who do not hate God, even if they are not Orthodox prior to death, may receive God's plenteous mercy so long as they are willing to receive Him as He truly is (i.e. convert after death by accepting The Truth).  After all, a Buddhist is not going to enter into God's rest as a Buddhist.

I hope this helps.


Orthodox state those in Hades with light sins may get out of hades.  Pretty much like Purgatory without fire. 

But Orthodox believe these souls are not sure of their salvation (or do I have this wrong?)

My understanding of Roman Catholic teaching is that the souls in Purgatory ARE assured of their eventual salvation. 

Is this definitely true Catholics?  Or does Rome allow for the belief that those in purgatory are not assured of their salvation?

~K
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« Reply #47 on: January 31, 2012, 04:25:36 PM »

However, from the POV of the deceased, their time to repent is over at death.  As a simple spirit with no body, they are predisposed to act in death as they have in life, and do not have the benefit of the changability of the body to justify repentance (i.e. the distinction between human and angelic sin - when the angels rebelled they had no chance to repent, since as simple spirits they were aligned purely without distraction; we, on the other hand, are distracted by our senses, feelings, limited scope, etc.).  We become in a manner of speaking like the angels - i.e. we are at that moment only spirit - and, like them, have a straight trajectory to follow.

But only God is truly "simple" and "only spirit," thus while we are material to a much lesser extent in the afterlife (both before and after the general resurrection), we will still be material in some sense compared to God, as the angels also are.

Any terminology that we use to describe the angels and men will also be insufficient to describe God, so I was using the terminology without using God as a reference point in its application.

I suppose what I am arguing is that a change in status can take place after the first judgment but before the second judgment and receiving of our transfigured bodies. Thus while I guess I'd agree with your comparison with angels, I would think that it wouldn't be realised until after the second judgment.
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« Reply #48 on: January 31, 2012, 04:31:35 PM »


8. Those who do not hate God, even if they are not Orthodox prior to death, may receive God's plenteous mercy so long as they are willing to receive Him as He truly is (i.e. convert after death by accepting The Truth).  After all, a Buddhist is not going to enter into God's rest as a Buddhist.

I hope this helps.

Is #8 speculation? Is conversion possible after death especially when a Buddhist may have never encountered Christ or His Holy Church while on this earth? I would hope so, but does not conversion require repentance?

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« Reply #49 on: January 31, 2012, 04:35:16 PM »

However, from the POV of the deceased, their time to repent is over at death.  As a simple spirit with no body, they are predisposed to act in death as they have in life, and do not have the benefit of the changability of the body to justify repentance (i.e. the distinction between human and angelic sin - when the angels rebelled they had no chance to repent, since as simple spirits they were aligned purely without distraction; we, on the other hand, are distracted by our senses, feelings, limited scope, etc.).  We become in a manner of speaking like the angels - i.e. we are at that moment only spirit - and, like them, have a straight trajectory to follow.

But only God is truly "simple" and "only spirit," thus while we are material to a much lesser extent in the afterlife (both before and after the general resurrection), we will still be material in some sense compared to God, as the angels also are.

Any terminology that we use to describe the angels and men will also be insufficient to describe God, so I was using the terminology without using God as a reference point in its application.

I suppose what I am arguing is that a change in status can take place after the first judgment but before the second judgment and receiving of our transfigured bodies. Thus while I guess I'd agree with your comparison with angels, I would think that it wouldn't be realised until after the second judgment.

What are we to make about the claim of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg? She said that after (30+) years of praying, sleeping on her husband's grave at night, and fasting, that she saw the soul of her deceased husband spring out of hades and ascend into heaven, even though he had died in a drunken brawl.
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« Reply #50 on: January 31, 2012, 04:35:54 PM »

GOARCH's belief about this seems attuned to the Roman Catholic.

Is it what is taught in the seminaries?  

We obviously have a very significant diversion of belief between Greeks and Russians, with Greeks having no hope of repentance or betterment after death, and Russians believing that we do..

Thank you for the info from GOARCH.  I did not know that Greeks and Russians differ,

Orthodox state those in Hades with light sins may get out of hades.  

Much more than that.  Out of hell.  For a little more on the Orthodox belief see message 1216
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg424768.html#msg424768

That statement can be contrasted with the Orthodox belief as taught at GOARCH.org:

Quote
God's Judgement

JUDGMENT of the soul according to its faith and deeds on earth, is an unquestioned teaching of the Gospel. It is also a self-evident demand of human nature and reasoning. The Christian Church places this judgment at the very moment of the death of the individual for two reasons:

1.Any moral progress of the soul is excluded after its separation from the body; and
2.there is no hope of repentance or betterment after death.

The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. (see Androutsos Dogmatics p. 409). It will be judged not according to its deeds one by one, but according to the entire total results of its deeds and thoughts. The Orthodox Church believes that at this moment the soul of the dead person begins to enjoy the consequences of its deeds and thoughts on earth - that is, to enjoy the life in Paradise or to undergo the life in Hell. There is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge.


So far, Fr. Ambrose, all you've quoted on this thread are a couple of posts you submitted and the text of a Russian hymn that can be interpreted a plethora of different ways. Fr. Chris countered with an official Web page from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Whom do you expect will be deemed more believable? Are we supposed to trust you against the GOAA on your authority alone?


I am not sure what authority I have.  On this forum, none. I am neither parish priest nor spiritual father to any forum members.  But there is the authority of the Gospel and the words of the Saviour about the forgiveness of sin after death.   There is also of course the liturgical tradition of the Church and the Third Kneeling Prayer which we read in church on Pentecost Sunday. We  pray to the Lord Almighty that He will release those who are held in the bondage of Hell.   

...who also on this all-perfect and saving feast, art graciously pleased to accept
propitiatory prayers for those who are imprisoned in Hell, promising unto us and
unto those held in bondage great hope of release from the vileness that doth
hinder us and hinder them.  We who are living will bless thee, and will pray,
and offer unto thee propitiatory prayers and sacrifices for their souls."


You may understand that I do not believe the GOARCH site is correctly portraying Orthodox belief.

If you wish to be believed, Fr. Ambrose, the best way to accomplish this is to show us an official Web page of the Russian Orthodox Church that supports your doctrines on the possibility of repentance after death.

Here is the official website of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate

http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/11/1/5.aspx

See the antepenultimate paragraph.
But the GOAA article also cites the Gospel and our hymnography in support of its position, and, until proven otherwise, I'm left to assume that the article has the approval of the Holy Synod of the GOAA. The article you post from Metropolitan Hilarion, though submitted to an official Web page of the Russian Orthodox Church by possibly the most eminent theologian of said church, does represent the theological musing of one man and not the approved proclamation of a synod. So again, I ask why we should believe you over Fr. Chris and the GOAA.

I m not asking you to choose to believe me over Fr Chris and what he has quoted from the GOARCH site.  But I believe it does not present the orthodox beliefs on life after death.  And if assumption is correct and this has the approval of the Synod of the GOAA then I am sad.
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« Reply #51 on: January 31, 2012, 04:37:47 PM »

It's a pretty simple conclusion:

1) Conversion consists of one's acceptance of Jesus Christ as 'The Way' to the Father.

2) Not all people are exposed to this preaching, or only to heretical versions of Christ, or are impeded by the poor example lived by Orthodox Christians.

3) God shows His mercy to all men, saints and sinners alike.

4) If someone dies and finally sees the truth for the first time, and is willing to accept it, then He can receive the rest Christ promises all men who come to Him.

5) That means the person finally 'converts,' having accepted this reality.  There is no separate salvation for those who rejected or knew nothing of Christ in this life.  After all, you can't enter into Christ without agreeing to the truth about Him, yes?



8. Those who do not hate God, even if they are not Orthodox prior to death, may receive God's plenteous mercy so long as they are willing to receive Him as He truly is (i.e. convert after death by accepting The Truth).  After all, a Buddhist is not going to enter into God's rest as a Buddhist.

I hope this helps.[/font][/size]

Is #8 speculation? Is conversion possible after death especially when a Buddhist may have never encountered Christ or His Holy Church while on this earth? I would hope so, but does not conversion require repentance?


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« Reply #52 on: January 31, 2012, 04:42:44 PM »

What are we to make about the claim of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg? She said that after (30+) years of praying, sleeping on her husband's grave at night, and fasting, that she saw the soul of her deceased husband spring out of hades and ascend into heaven, even though he had died in a drunken brawl.

Take her claim at face value: she prayed for Him.  The prayers of the righteous can do much for the rest of us - hence, why we still pray that she entreat the Lord for His mercy on us.  It's happened once, it can happen again.
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« Reply #53 on: January 31, 2012, 04:44:46 PM »

When a bishop speaks, he does not so on his own, but on behalf of the Church (unless he specifically states otherwise).  If he misspeaks, then he is liable to be sanctioned by his synod. This is far more of an authoritative relationship than an anonymous posting even on an official website, since we do not know what the policies are for posting.  The canons do not regulate websites, but they do regulate the speech of bishops.

The direct statement of a bishop in regards to doctrine clearly falls under canonical norms.  Websites only so by extension, which implies a great deal more leeway.  Therefore, the signed statement is far more authoritative than the unsigned in that it is directly government by canonical norms.  Until a Great Council writes new canons governing websites, you can't really compare the two.

To be honest, you really can't call out Fr. Ambrose on the topic because you already know from previous threads (remember the Toll House Saga?) that there are no authoritative statements on the topic that are universally-recognized.

I'm calling him out on this? I didn't think I was doing that. Fr. Chris called Fr. Ambrose out on this. I'm merely challenging Fr. Ambrose to accept the challenge of proving that his doctrine really is Orthodox.



For 30 years I have read the Prayer over a dead body releasing the person from sin and giving absolution.  This takes place at the ending of the funeral..... in other words it takes place 3 or 5 or 10 days after what the GOARCH site claims is the definitive moment of death after which there can be absolutely no change nor forgiveness nor betterment.
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« Reply #54 on: January 31, 2012, 04:46:08 PM »

It's a pretty simple conclusion:

1) Conversion consists of one's acceptance of Jesus Christ as 'The Way' to the Father.

2) Not all people are exposed to this preaching, or only to heretical versions of Christ, or are impeded by the poor example lived by Orthodox Christians.

3) God shows His mercy to all men, saints and sinners alike.

4) If someone dies and finally sees the truth for the first time, and is willing to accept it, then He can receive the rest Christ promises all men who come to Him.

5) That means the person finally 'converts,' having accepted this reality.  There is no separate salvation for those who rejected or knew nothing of Christ in this life.  After all, you can't enter into Christ without agreeing to the truth about Him, yes?



8. Those who do not hate God, even if they are not Orthodox prior to death, may receive God's plenteous mercy so long as they are willing to receive Him as He truly is (i.e. convert after death by accepting The Truth).  After all, a Buddhist is not going to enter into God's rest as a Buddhist.

I hope this helps.[/font][/size]

Is #8 speculation? Is conversion possible after death especially when a Buddhist may have never encountered Christ or His Holy Church while on this earth? I would hope so, but does not conversion require repentance?

But, of course, this isn't a conversion in the sense that they're being changed from death to life; these cases are most likely a fulfillment of what St. Paul wrote to the Romans: "For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves." (2:14)  They have followed the way of mercy and love that was written in their hearts, and now have Christ revealed to them as the destination they could not see (not unlike St. Paul's argument to the Athenians of the unknown god).
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« Reply #55 on: January 31, 2012, 04:49:00 PM »

It's a pretty simple conclusion:

1) Conversion consists of one's acceptance of Jesus Christ as 'The Way' to the Father.

2) Not all people are exposed to this preaching, or only to heretical versions of Christ, or are impeded by the poor example lived by Orthodox Christians.

3) God shows His mercy to all men, saints and sinners alike.

4) If someone dies and finally sees the truth for the first time, and is willing to accept it, then He can receive the rest Christ promises all men who come to Him.

5) That means the person finally 'converts,' having accepted this reality.  There is no separate salvation for those who rejected or knew nothing of Christ in this life.  After all, you can't enter into Christ without agreeing to the truth about Him, yes?



8. Those who do not hate God, even if they are not Orthodox prior to death, may receive God's plenteous mercy so long as they are willing to receive Him as He truly is (i.e. convert after death by accepting The Truth).  After all, a Buddhist is not going to enter into God's rest as a Buddhist.

I hope this helps.

Is #8 speculation? Is conversion possible after death especially when a Buddhist may have never encountered Christ or His Holy Church while on this earth? I would hope so, but does not conversion require repentance?

But, of course, this isn't a conversion in the sense that they're being changed from death to life; these cases are most likely a fulfillment of what St. Paul wrote to the Romans: "For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves." (2:14)  They have followed the way of mercy and love that was written in their hearts, and now have Christ revealed to them as the destination they could not see (not unlike St. Paul's argument to the Athenians of the unknown god).

Thank you, Father, for clarifying this teaching.

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« Reply #56 on: January 31, 2012, 04:49:13 PM »


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.
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« Reply #57 on: January 31, 2012, 04:50:41 PM »


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.
Paralysis of the will? Father you kill me. You know very well that the will is intact for Catholics after death. Its just that the choices that we made on earth are made permanent in eternity. C.S. Lewis is known for saying that the door to hell is locked from the inside and I tend to agree with him.
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« Reply #58 on: January 31, 2012, 04:54:52 PM »

When a bishop speaks, he does not so on his own, but on behalf of the Church (unless he specifically states otherwise).  If he misspeaks, then he is liable to be sanctioned by his synod. This is far more of an authoritative relationship than an anonymous posting even on an official website, since we do not know what the policies are for posting.  The canons do not regulate websites, but they do regulate the speech of bishops.

The direct statement of a bishop in regards to doctrine clearly falls under canonical norms.  Websites only so by extension, which implies a great deal more leeway.  Therefore, the signed statement is far more authoritative than the unsigned in that it is directly government by canonical norms.  Until a Great Council writes new canons governing websites, you can't really compare the two.

To be honest, you really can't call out Fr. Ambrose on the topic because you already know from previous threads (remember the Toll House Saga?) that there are no authoritative statements on the topic that are universally-recognized.

I'm calling him out on this? I didn't think I was doing that. Fr. Chris called Fr. Ambrose out on this. I'm merely challenging Fr. Ambrose to accept the challenge of proving that his doctrine really is Orthodox.



For 30 years I have read the Prayer over a dead body releasing the person from sin and giving absolution.  This takes place at the ending of the funeral..... in other words it takes place 3 or 5 or 10 days after what the GOARCH site claims is the definitive moment of death after which there can be absolutely no change nor forgiveness nor betterment.

Is the prayer similar to that found in the Service Book of the Antiochians?

If it is different, could you kindly copy the source and the prayer?

I remember talking with a Priest in the OCA who had just said the funeral for a 16 year old girl.
He was very sad, because this young girl had died a horrible death.
He was with her for most of her final struggles, from the moment when her illness worsened with kidney failure until the moment of her death. He tried to get her to reconcile with the Church, but she did not want to die. Her mother left Orthodoxy after her death. It was tragic.

If reading the funeral prayers were simply able to forgive the girl's sins, then everyone should have been happy.
Lord have mercy.
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« Reply #59 on: January 31, 2012, 04:56:32 PM »


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.
Paralysis of the will? Father you kill me. You know very well that the will is intact for Catholics after death.

Quote from: elijahmaria
IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,
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« Reply #60 on: January 31, 2012, 04:59:03 PM »

When a bishop speaks, he does not so on his own, but on behalf of the Church (unless he specifically states otherwise).  If he misspeaks, then he is liable to be sanctioned by his synod. This is far more of an authoritative relationship than an anonymous posting even on an official website, since we do not know what the policies are for posting.  The canons do not regulate websites, but they do regulate the speech of bishops.

The direct statement of a bishop in regards to doctrine clearly falls under canonical norms.  Websites only so by extension, which implies a great deal more leeway.  Therefore, the signed statement is far more authoritative than the unsigned in that it is directly government by canonical norms.  Until a Great Council writes new canons governing websites, you can't really compare the two.

To be honest, you really can't call out Fr. Ambrose on the topic because you already know from previous threads (remember the Toll House Saga?) that there are no authoritative statements on the topic that are universally-recognized.

I'm calling him out on this? I didn't think I was doing that. Fr. Chris called Fr. Ambrose out on this. I'm merely challenging Fr. Ambrose to accept the challenge of proving that his doctrine really is Orthodox.



For 30 years I have read the Prayer over a dead body releasing the person from sin and giving absolution.  This takes place at the ending of the funeral..... in other words it takes place 3 or 5 or 10 days after what the GOARCH site claims is the definitive moment of death after which there can be absolutely no change nor forgiveness nor betterment.

Is the prayer similar to that found in the Service Book of the Antiochians?

If it is different, could you kindly copy the source and the prayer?


Dearv Maria,  I would need you to post the Antiochian prayer so I can compare them.
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« Reply #61 on: January 31, 2012, 05:03:30 PM »

Before jumping to any conclusions, could either Mary or Papist explain this concept?  This seems to be very odd and I have a feeling that there must be more to this.


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.
Paralysis of the will? Father you kill me. You know very well that the will is intact for Catholics after death. Its just that the choices that we made on earth are made permanent in eternity. C.S. Lewis is known for saying that the door to hell is locked from the inside and I tend to agree with him.
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« Reply #62 on: January 31, 2012, 05:04:06 PM »

And from the Funeral Service from that Antiochian Service Book, p. 188

Quote
Give rest, O Lord, to the soul of thy servant, and establish him/her in Paradise; where the Choirs of the Saints, and of the Just, shine like the stars of heaven; Give rest to they servant who hath fallen asleep, regarding not all the charges against him/her.

Right - the belief that we can effectively pray for the deceased is not limited by the belief that the deceased cannot pray for themselves.

At the funeral service when a hierarch presides (and, in some jurisdictions, at all funerals), a prayer of absolution is read.  In that prayer he releases the deceased from any curse, ban, anathema, etc. that was against him - would he be praying an ineffective prayer?  (What about lex orandi lex credendi?)  Of course he isn't - he is praying to the One Who (beyond) exists outside of the boundaries and limitations of time.

Here is the prayer of absolution from the Funeral Service (Antiochian Service Book, p. 198-199)

Quote
PRIEST: Our Lord Jesus Christ, by his divine grace, as also by the gift and power vouchsafed unto his holy Disciples and Apostles, that they should bind and loose the sins of men: (For he said unto them: Receive ye the Holy Spirit: Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted; and whosesoever sins ye retain they are retained. And whatsoever ye shall bind or loose upon earth shall be bound or loosed also in heaven.  By that same power, also, transmitted unto us from them, this my spiritual child, N., is absolved, through me, unworthy through I be, from all things wherein, as mortal, he hath sinned against God, whether in word, or deed, or thought, and with all his senses, whether voluntary or involuntary;' whether with knowledge or through ignorance. If he be under the ban or excommunication of a Bishop, or of a Priest; or that sinned by any oath; or hath been bound, as man, by any sins whatsoever, but hath repented him thereof, with contrition of heart: he is now absolved from all those faults and bonds. May all those things which have proceeded from the weakness of his mortal nature be consigned to oblivion, and be remitted unto him: Through His loving-kindness; through the prayers of our most holy, and blessed, and glorious Lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary' of the holy, glorious, and all-laudable Apostles and of all the Saints. Amen.

In this final prayer of absolution, there is the mention that the newly departed has repented with contrition of heart.


Here it is Father Ambrose. Other prayers are listed before this post.
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« Reply #63 on: January 31, 2012, 05:05:23 PM »

When a bishop speaks, he does not so on his own, but on behalf of the Church (unless he specifically states otherwise).  If he misspeaks, then he is liable to be sanctioned by his synod. This is far more of an authoritative relationship than an anonymous posting even on an official website, since we do not know what the policies are for posting.  The canons do not regulate websites, but they do regulate the speech of bishops.

The direct statement of a bishop in regards to doctrine clearly falls under canonical norms.  Websites only so by extension, which implies a great deal more leeway.  Therefore, the signed statement is far more authoritative than the unsigned in that it is directly government by canonical norms.  Until a Great Council writes new canons governing websites, you can't really compare the two.

To be honest, you really can't call out Fr. Ambrose on the topic because you already know from previous threads (remember the Toll House Saga?) that there are no authoritative statements on the topic that are universally-recognized.

I'm calling him out on this? I didn't think I was doing that. Fr. Chris called Fr. Ambrose out on this. I'm merely challenging Fr. Ambrose to accept the challenge of proving that his doctrine really is Orthodox.



For 30 years I have read the Prayer over a dead body releasing the person from sin and giving absolution.  This takes place at the ending of the funeral..... in other words it takes place 3 or 5 or 10 days after what the GOARCH site claims is the definitive moment of death after which there can be absolutely no change nor forgiveness nor betterment.

Is the prayer similar to that found in the Service Book of the Antiochians?

If it is different, could you kindly copy the source and the prayer?

I remember talking with a Priest in the OCA who had just said the funeral for a 16 year old girl.
He was very sad, because this young girl had died a horrible death.
He was with her for most of her final struggles, from the moment when her illness worsened with kidney failure until the moment of her death. He tried to get her to reconcile with the Church, but she did not want to die. Her mother left Orthodoxy after her death. It was tragic.

If reading the funeral prayers were simply able to forgive the girl's sins, then everyone should have been happy.


I do not understand the "mechanics" of it.  I do know that a priest has the authority to forgive sins even aftrer death.  How that is effected I do not know.  Presumably it is because the dead person is able to repent after death.  For me it is a great joy to read that prayer of forgiveness over the body.  In our tradition that prayer is printed and it is placed in the dead person's hand and goes to the grave with him.  I know that this action brings great comfort to grieving families.
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« Reply #64 on: January 31, 2012, 05:10:13 PM »


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.
Paralysis of the will? Father you kill me. You know very well that the will is intact for Catholics after death.

Quote from: elijahmaria
IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,
So you believe that a soul in heaven can choose to sin, and as a result, go to hell?
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« Reply #65 on: January 31, 2012, 05:14:59 PM »

Do you believe that a free will is an integral part of humanity, and to lose it one loses one's humanity?


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.
Paralysis of the will? Father you kill me. You know very well that the will is intact for Catholics after death.

Quote from: elijahmaria
IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,
So you believe that a soul in heaven can choose to sin, and as a result, go to hell?
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« Reply #66 on: January 31, 2012, 05:17:33 PM »

In Orthodoxy, the free will is essential to humanity.  It cannot be parted with unless someone literally becomes something other than humanity.

The question would be why would someone be in the presence of Christ and still chose sin?

Of course, we know that the devil did, but why would we?  I think that answering this question resolves the issue.



IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.
Paralysis of the will? Father you kill me. You know very well that the will is intact for Catholics after death.

Quote from: elijahmaria
IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,
So you believe that a soul in heaven can choose to sin, and as a result, go to hell?
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« Reply #67 on: January 31, 2012, 05:18:06 PM »

Do you believe that a free will is an integral part of humanity, and to lose it one loses one's humanity?


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.
Paralysis of the will? Father you kill me. You know very well that the will is intact for Catholics after death.

Quote from: elijahmaria
IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,
So you believe that a soul in heaven can choose to sin, and as a result, go to hell?

Of course I believe free will is integral and I don't believe that we lose free will when we die.
But on a side note, this wasn't addressed to you. I was actually addressing Fr. A's point that if a person won't choose to repent after death that that means that they have a paralyzed will. If I follow Fr. A's logic, then I would have to conclude that those in heaven have a parlayzed will.
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« Reply #68 on: January 31, 2012, 05:18:32 PM »

In Orthodoxy, the free will is essential to humanity.  It cannot be parted with unless someone literally becomes something other than humanity.

The question would be why would someone be in the presence of Christ and still chose sin?

Of course, we know that the devil did, but why would we?  I think that answering this question resolves the issue.



IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.
Paralysis of the will? Father you kill me. You know very well that the will is intact for Catholics after death.

Quote from: elijahmaria
IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,
So you believe that a soul in heaven can choose to sin, and as a result, go to hell?
So then, so may fall again, after entering into paradise?
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« Reply #69 on: January 31, 2012, 05:19:52 PM »

Do you believe that once a devout soul beholds the source of Life and Light, Christ-God, that one could reject Him?

Are our wills confirmed in goodness after we die a devout death?

Do you believe that a free will is an integral part of humanity, and to lose it one loses one's humanity?


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.
Paralysis of the will? Father you kill me. You know very well that the will is intact for Catholics after death.

Quote from: elijahmaria
IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,
So you believe that a soul in heaven can choose to sin, and as a result, go to hell?
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« Reply #70 on: January 31, 2012, 05:20:20 PM »

Here is the prayer of absolution from the Funeral Service (Antiochian Service Book, p. 198-199)

Quote
PRIEST: Our Lord Jesus Christ, by his divine grace, as also by the gift and power vouchsafed unto his holy Disciples and Apostles, that they should bind and loose the sins of men: (For he said unto them: Receive ye the Holy Spirit: Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted; and whosesoever sins ye retain they are retained. And whatsoever ye shall bind or loose upon earth shall be bound or loosed also in heaven.  By that same power, also, transmitted unto us from them, this my spiritual child, N., is absolved, through me, unworthy through I be, from all things wherein, as mortal, he hath sinned against God, whether in word, or deed, or thought, and with all his senses, whether voluntary or involuntary;' whether with knowledge or through ignorance. If he be under the ban or excommunication of a Bishop, or of a Priest; or that sinned by any oath; or hath been bound, as man, by any sins whatsoever, but hath repented him thereof, with contrition of heart: he is now absolved from all those faults and bonds. May all those things which have proceeded from the weakness of his mortal nature be consigned to oblivion, and be remitted unto him: Through His loving-kindness; through the prayers of our most holy, and blessed, and glorious Lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary' of the holy, glorious, and all-laudable Apostles and of all the Saints. Amen.

In this final prayer of absolution, there is the mention that the newly departed has repented with contrition of heart.


Thank you for the Prayer.  It seems to be identical.

The absolution takes place days after death.  “he is now absolved from all those faults and bonds.”


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« Reply #71 on: January 31, 2012, 05:22:07 PM »


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.

This is certainly not something I've come across in Eastern Catholicism.  Nor have I encountered this teaching in Western Catholicism, at least not in the words you have used.  Where might I find it?
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« Reply #72 on: January 31, 2012, 05:25:44 PM »


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.

This is certainly not something I've come across in Eastern Catholicism.  Nor have I encountered this teaching in Western Catholicism, at least not in the words you have used.  Where might I find it?
Read Aquians. I'll find you some references. It's not that our wills are paralyzed, they are merely actualized.
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« Reply #73 on: January 31, 2012, 05:26:08 PM »


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.

This is certainly not something I've come across in Eastern Catholicism.  Nor have I encountered this teaching in Western Catholicism, at least not in the words you have used.  Where might I find it?

Yes, it does seem strange.

Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?
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« Reply #74 on: January 31, 2012, 05:28:06 PM »


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.

This is certainly not something I've come across in Eastern Catholicism.  Nor have I encountered this teaching in Western Catholicism, at least not in the words you have used.  Where might I find it?

Yes, it does seem strange.

Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?
I don't think there is any problem with that.
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« Reply #75 on: January 31, 2012, 05:31:34 PM »

Do you believe that a free will is an integral part of humanity, and to lose it one loses one's humanity?


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.
Paralysis of the will? Father you kill me. You know very well that the will is intact for Catholics after death.

Quote from: elijahmaria
IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,
So you believe that a soul in heaven can choose to sin, and as a result, go to hell?

Of course I believe free will is integral and I don't believe that we lose free will when we die.
But on a side note, this wasn't addressed to you. I was actually addressing Fr. A's point that if a person won't choose to repent after death that that means that they have a paralyzed will. If I follow Fr. A's logic, then I would have to conclude that those in heaven have a parlayzed will.

I do not think that the logic is sustainable.  We believe that until the Last Judgement the fate of a dead soul may change,  but only for its betterment and not for its harm.

Although to be fair, toll house adherents believe a soul may sin on the journey through the toll houses and forfeit its salvation.  That, to me, is an outlandish belief.
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« Reply #76 on: January 31, 2012, 05:39:58 PM »


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.

This is certainly not something I've come across in Eastern Catholicism.  Nor have I encountered this teaching in Western Catholicism, at least not in the words you have used.  Where might I find it?
Read Aquians. I'll find you some references. It's not that our wills are paralyzed, they are merely actualized.

Thanks!!

When you say "actualized", does that mean what Maria means when she writes: "Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?"?
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« Reply #77 on: January 31, 2012, 05:56:31 PM »


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.

This is certainly not something I've come across in Eastern Catholicism.  Nor have I encountered this teaching in Western Catholicism, at least not in the words you have used.  Where might I find it?
Read Aquians. I'll find you some references. It's not that our wills are paralyzed, they are merely actualized.

Thanks!!

When you say "actualized", does that mean what Maria means when she writes: "Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?"?

Has is the possibility of any betterment after death achieved if the will is inoperative?  Is the improvement forced upon the soul against its will?
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« Reply #78 on: January 31, 2012, 06:01:42 PM »


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.

This is certainly not something I've come across in Eastern Catholicism.  Nor have I encountered this teaching in Western Catholicism, at least not in the words you have used.  Where might I find it?
Read Aquians. I'll find you some references. It's not that our wills are paralyzed, they are merely actualized.

Thanks!!

When you say "actualized", does that mean what Maria means when she writes: "Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?"?

Has is the possibility of any betterment after death achieved if the will is inoperative?  Is the improvement forced upon the soul against its will?

You're answering a question with two others.  I thought only we Jews did that  Grin laugh.  But...you've lost me, I'm afraid.
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« Reply #79 on: January 31, 2012, 06:02:30 PM »


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.

This is certainly not something I've come across in Eastern Catholicism.  Nor have I encountered this teaching in Western Catholicism, at least not in the words you have used.  Where might I find it?
Read Aquians. I'll find you some references. It's not that our wills are paralyzed, they are merely actualized.

Thanks!!

When you say "actualized", does that mean what Maria means when she writes: "Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?"?

Has is the possibility of any betterment after death achieved if the will is inoperative?  Is the improvement forced upon the soul against its will?

When I was a Catholic attending a Catholic university, the Dominican priest who taught us theology said that our wills would be perfected in the afterlife, so we could only desire the good.

If we only had a trace of charity in our souls, we would still desire good.

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« Reply #80 on: January 31, 2012, 06:33:18 PM »

Quote
Devoutly do we hymn the triple Splendor of the one Godhead, crying aloud: Holy art thou, O Father, who art from everlasting; O Son, Co-eternal; and Spirit divine! Illumine us who with faith do worship thee; and rescue us from fire eternal.

Catholics speak much the same way, but they understand it to mean save us from going to hell.
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« Reply #81 on: January 31, 2012, 06:54:01 PM »

Sin is based on falsehood, primarily forgetting who God is and His omnipresence.  In the rest of Christ, the soul would not have the necessary ingredients for sin, but the will cannot be inhibited.  So, the person must always have a free-will, though circumstances would make the choice of sin to be totally irrational.

In Orthodoxy, the free will is essential to humanity.  It cannot be parted with unless someone literally becomes something other than humanity.

The question would be why would someone be in the presence of Christ and still chose sin?

Of course, we know that the devil did, but why would we?  I think that answering this question resolves the issue.



IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.
Paralysis of the will? Father you kill me. You know very well that the will is intact for Catholics after death.

Quote from: elijahmaria
IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,
So you believe that a soul in heaven can choose to sin, and as a result, go to hell?
So then, so may fall again, after entering into paradise?
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« Reply #82 on: January 31, 2012, 08:38:44 PM »

Sin is based on falsehood, primarily forgetting who God is and His omnipresence.  In the rest of Christ, the soul would not have the necessary ingredients for sin, but the will cannot be inhibited.  So, the person must always have a free-will, though circumstances would make the choice of sin to be totally irrational.

In Orthodoxy, the free will is essential to humanity.  It cannot be parted with unless someone literally becomes something other than humanity.

The question would be why would someone be in the presence of Christ and still chose sin?

Of course, we know that the devil did, but why would we?  I think that answering this question resolves the issue.



IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.
Paralysis of the will? Father you kill me. You know very well that the will is intact for Catholics after death.

Quote from: elijahmaria
IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,
So you believe that a soul in heaven can choose to sin, and as a result, go to hell?
So then, so may fall again, after entering into paradise?

But the soul could choose to be irrational, right? Is that what Satan and the demons did?

If so, then what'd stop one third of the saved (like one third of the angels who became demons) from falling?
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« Reply #83 on: January 31, 2012, 11:29:26 PM »

Yes, but man's place in the rest with Christ came at the price of struggling to get there.  Not so with the angels, nor with Adam and Eve for that matter.

Sin is based on falsehood, primarily forgetting who God is and His omnipresence.  In the rest of Christ, the soul would not have the necessary ingredients for sin, but the will cannot be inhibited.  So, the person must always have a free-will, though circumstances would make the choice of sin to be totally irrational.

In Orthodoxy, the free will is essential to humanity.  It cannot be parted with unless someone literally becomes something other than humanity.

The question would be why would someone be in the presence of Christ and still chose sin?

Of course, we know that the devil did, but why would we?  I think that answering this question resolves the issue.



IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.
Paralysis of the will? Father you kill me. You know very well that the will is intact for Catholics after death.

Quote from: elijahmaria
IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,
So you believe that a soul in heaven can choose to sin, and as a result, go to hell?
So then, so may fall again, after entering into paradise?

But the soul could choose to be irrational, right? Is that what Satan and the demons did?

If so, then what'd stop one third of the saved (like one third of the angels who became demons) from falling?
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« Reply #84 on: February 01, 2012, 02:48:50 AM »


IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.

This is certainly not something I've come across in Eastern Catholicism.  Nor have I encountered this teaching in Western Catholicism, at least not in the words you have used.  Where might I find it?
Read Aquians. I'll find you some references. It's not that our wills are paralyzed, they are merely actualized.

Thanks!!

When you say "actualized", does that mean what Maria means when she writes: "Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?"?

Has is the possibility of any betterment after death achieved if the will is inoperative?  Is the improvement forced upon the soul against its will?

When I was a Catholic attending a Catholic university, the Dominican priest who taught us theology said that our wills would be perfected in the afterlife, so we could only desire the good.

If we only had a trace of charity in our souls, we would still desire good.



I believe if you had probed, you would have found this to be true after the final judgment when are souls are reunited with our glorified bodies.

M.
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« Reply #85 on: February 01, 2012, 12:04:26 PM »

I know of no such Orthodox teaching regarding 'confirming' a soul after death.  Remember, death is an incompleteness of the person.  This is why there is no 'purgatory' in Orthodox teaching, since human sin cannot be 'punished' apart from the body, which is part of the person.  The risk here is to elevate the importance of the soul over the body, which pushes us ever closer to Plato and the body being a 'meat cage.'

How this incomplete person exists and operates in the intermediate state is difficult to assess because the Church hasn't recognized any one theory.  However, I would say that the idea that the soul's decision-making faculties are 'unplugged' or tampered with after death seems too far of a reach, considering the descriptions of many saints about the temptations of demons at death and how the soul must battle through their assaults by using its own will, aided by the saints and angels. This means that the dead exercise their free will all through the death process.

Once they have come to the rest of Christ, the passions no longer hold sway and the will becomes more natural, thus sin no longer appeals.  However, this does not mean that the ability to sin is ever lost, but there no longer appears the need to exercise such a choice.

I hope this makes sense.



IF you consider that once one is dead, the conscience can no longer choose between good and evil,

The Roman Catholic teaching on the paralysis of the will after death has always appeared odd to me.

This is certainly not something I've come across in Eastern Catholicism.  Nor have I encountered this teaching in Western Catholicism, at least not in the words you have used.  Where might I find it?

Yes, it does seem strange.

Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?
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« Reply #86 on: February 01, 2012, 01:14:52 PM »

Once again, Fr. Ambrose, can a soul that is saved and in heaven, choose to sin, fall, and be comdemned to hell?
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« Reply #87 on: February 01, 2012, 04:01:13 PM »

Once again, Fr. Ambrose, can a soul that is saved and in heaven, choose to sin, fall, and be comdemned to hell?

good question...
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« Reply #88 on: February 01, 2012, 04:12:43 PM »

If the human soul can sin after death or convert to Christ before the Final Resurrection, then couldn't it also repent?

Again, bringing to mind all the penances, prayers, and fastings that St. Xenia of St. Peterburg offered for her deceased husband, who had died in an drunken brawl and who was seen after 30 some years in a vision leaving hell, would this not indicate that a person can repent/be forgiven their sins with the funeral prayers of the Church (that includes absolution) and the prayers of the faithful?

I know of no such Orthodox teaching regarding 'confirming' a soul after death.  Remember, death is an incompleteness of the person.  This is why there is no 'purgatory' in Orthodox teaching, since human sin cannot be 'punished' apart from the body, which is part of the person.  The risk here is to elevate the importance of the soul over the body, which pushes us ever closer to Plato and the body being a 'meat cage.'

How this incomplete person exists and operates in the intermediate state is difficult to assess because the Church hasn't recognized any one theory.  However, I would say that the idea that the soul's decision-making faculties are 'unplugged' or tampered with after death seems too far of a reach, considering the descriptions of many saints about the temptations of demons at death and how the soul must battle through their assaults by using its own will, aided by the saints and angels. This means that the dead exercise their free will all through the death process.

Once they have come to the rest of Christ, the passions no longer hold sway and the will becomes more natural, thus sin no longer appeals.  However, this does not mean that the ability to sin is ever lost, but there no longer appears the need to exercise such a choice.

I hope this makes sense.



Yes, it does seem strange.

Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?
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« Reply #89 on: February 01, 2012, 04:16:45 PM »

Did I say that souls could not repent after death?  The only things I'm pretty sure we can say plainly is that souls cannot pray while in Hades and that souls do not become 'lost.'  The rest is rather confusing to clearly communicate.

If the human soul can sin after death or convert to Christ before the Final Resurrection, then couldn't it also repent?

Again, bringing to mind all the penances, prayers, and fastings that St. Xenia of St. Peterburg offered for her deceased husband, who had died in an drunken brawl and who was seen after 30 some years in a vision leaving hell, would this not indicate that a person can repent/be forgiven their sins with the funeral prayers of the Church (that includes absolution) and the prayers of the faithful?

I know of no such Orthodox teaching regarding 'confirming' a soul after death.  Remember, death is an incompleteness of the person.  This is why there is no 'purgatory' in Orthodox teaching, since human sin cannot be 'punished' apart from the body, which is part of the person.  The risk here is to elevate the importance of the soul over the body, which pushes us ever closer to Plato and the body being a 'meat cage.'

How this incomplete person exists and operates in the intermediate state is difficult to assess because the Church hasn't recognized any one theory.  However, I would say that the idea that the soul's decision-making faculties are 'unplugged' or tampered with after death seems too far of a reach, considering the descriptions of many saints about the temptations of demons at death and how the soul must battle through their assaults by using its own will, aided by the saints and angels. This means that the dead exercise their free will all through the death process.

Once they have come to the rest of Christ, the passions no longer hold sway and the will becomes more natural, thus sin no longer appeals.  However, this does not mean that the ability to sin is ever lost, but there no longer appears the need to exercise such a choice.

I hope this makes sense.



Yes, it does seem strange.

Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?
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« Reply #90 on: February 01, 2012, 06:10:35 PM »

Did I say that souls could not repent after death?  The only things I'm pretty sure we can say plainly is that souls cannot pray while in Hades and that souls do not become 'lost.'  The rest is rather confusing to clearly communicate.

If the human soul can sin after death or convert to Christ before the Final Resurrection, then couldn't it also repent?

Again, bringing to mind all the penances, prayers, and fastings that St. Xenia of St. Peterburg offered for her deceased husband, who had died in an drunken brawl and who was seen after 30 some years in a vision leaving hell, would this not indicate that a person can repent/be forgiven their sins with the funeral prayers of the Church (that includes absolution) and the prayers of the faithful?

I know of no such Orthodox teaching regarding 'confirming' a soul after death.  Remember, death is an incompleteness of the person.  This is why there is no 'purgatory' in Orthodox teaching, since human sin cannot be 'punished' apart from the body, which is part of the person.  The risk here is to elevate the importance of the soul over the body, which pushes us ever closer to Plato and the body being a 'meat cage.'

How this incomplete person exists and operates in the intermediate state is difficult to assess because the Church hasn't recognized any one theory.  However, I would say that the idea that the soul's decision-making faculties are 'unplugged' or tampered with after death seems too far of a reach, considering the descriptions of many saints about the temptations of demons at death and how the soul must battle through their assaults by using its own will, aided by the saints and angels. This means that the dead exercise their free will all through the death process.

Once they have come to the rest of Christ, the passions no longer hold sway and the will becomes more natural, thus sin no longer appeals.  However, this does not mean that the ability to sin is ever lost, but there no longer appears the need to exercise such a choice.

I hope this makes sense.



Yes, it does seem strange.

Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?
Souls cannot pray at all while in hades, or souls cannot pray for themselves in hades? In other words, is it possible for those in hades to pray for their family and friends who are still living? I know in our Church, the common belief is that the souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves, but it is possible for them to offer prayers for those still on earth.
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« Reply #91 on: February 01, 2012, 07:18:21 PM »

No prayer in Hades, per the Psalms:

Psalm 88

O lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:

Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;

For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.

I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:

Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.

Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.

Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.

Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.

Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.

Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.

Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?

Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.

LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?

I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.

Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.

They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.

Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.


It is only when Christ liberates the righteous in Hades, those who receive His salvation, that the souls of the departed may intercede with Him face-to-face.



Did I say that souls could not repent after death?  The only things I'm pretty sure we can say plainly is that souls cannot pray while in Hades and that souls do not become 'lost.'  The rest is rather confusing to clearly communicate.

If the human soul can sin after death or convert to Christ before the Final Resurrection, then couldn't it also repent?

Again, bringing to mind all the penances, prayers, and fastings that St. Xenia of St. Peterburg offered for her deceased husband, who had died in an drunken brawl and who was seen after 30 some years in a vision leaving hell, would this not indicate that a person can repent/be forgiven their sins with the funeral prayers of the Church (that includes absolution) and the prayers of the faithful?

I know of no such Orthodox teaching regarding 'confirming' a soul after death.  Remember, death is an incompleteness of the person.  This is why there is no 'purgatory' in Orthodox teaching, since human sin cannot be 'punished' apart from the body, which is part of the person.  The risk here is to elevate the importance of the soul over the body, which pushes us ever closer to Plato and the body being a 'meat cage.'

How this incomplete person exists and operates in the intermediate state is difficult to assess because the Church hasn't recognized any one theory.  However, I would say that the idea that the soul's decision-making faculties are 'unplugged' or tampered with after death seems too far of a reach, considering the descriptions of many saints about the temptations of demons at death and how the soul must battle through their assaults by using its own will, aided by the saints and angels. This means that the dead exercise their free will all through the death process.

Once they have come to the rest of Christ, the passions no longer hold sway and the will becomes more natural, thus sin no longer appeals.  However, this does not mean that the ability to sin is ever lost, but there no longer appears the need to exercise such a choice.

I hope this makes sense.



Yes, it does seem strange.

Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?
Souls cannot pray at all while in hades, or souls cannot pray for themselves in hades? In other words, is it possible for those in hades to pray for their family and friends who are still living? I know in our Church, the common belief is that the souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves, but it is possible for them to offer prayers for those still on earth.
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« Reply #92 on: February 02, 2012, 12:57:32 AM »

Those who are in Hades would be those who are ultimately going to be condemned to Hell after the Final Judgment as they will be experiencing the foretaste of Hell.

Those Saints who are experiencing the foretaste of Heaven will be in Paradise, true?

What about all those sinners (us?) who have not yet made the cut to be with the Saints in Heaven or with those damned to Hell? Those souls would need the absolution of the Church and the prayers of the faithful. Would these souls then reside in Hades for a certain period of time? Could they be undergoing purification similar to that believed by Catholics in their doctrine of Purgatory? That would explain the vision of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg and others who saw people leave Hades for Heaven.

No prayer in Hades, per the Psalms:

Psalm 88

O lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:

Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;

For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.

I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:

Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.

Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.

Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.

Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.

Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.

Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.

Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?

Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.

LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?

I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.

Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.

They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.

Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.


It is only when Christ liberates the righteous in Hades, those who receive His salvation, that the souls of the departed may intercede with Him face-to-face.



Did I say that souls could not repent after death?  The only things I'm pretty sure we can say plainly is that souls cannot pray while in Hades and that souls do not become 'lost.'  The rest is rather confusing to clearly communicate.

If the human soul can sin after death or convert to Christ before the Final Resurrection, then couldn't it also repent?

Again, bringing to mind all the penances, prayers, and fastings that St. Xenia of St. Peterburg offered for her deceased husband, who had died in an drunken brawl and who was seen after 30 some years in a vision leaving hell, would this not indicate that a person can repent/be forgiven their sins with the funeral prayers of the Church (that includes absolution) and the prayers of the faithful?

I know of no such Orthodox teaching regarding 'confirming' a soul after death.  Remember, death is an incompleteness of the person.  This is why there is no 'purgatory' in Orthodox teaching, since human sin cannot be 'punished' apart from the body, which is part of the person.  The risk here is to elevate the importance of the soul over the body, which pushes us ever closer to Plato and the body being a 'meat cage.'

How this incomplete person exists and operates in the intermediate state is difficult to assess because the Church hasn't recognized any one theory.  However, I would say that the idea that the soul's decision-making faculties are 'unplugged' or tampered with after death seems too far of a reach, considering the descriptions of many saints about the temptations of demons at death and how the soul must battle through their assaults by using its own will, aided by the saints and angels. This means that the dead exercise their free will all through the death process.

Once they have come to the rest of Christ, the passions no longer hold sway and the will becomes more natural, thus sin no longer appeals.  However, this does not mean that the ability to sin is ever lost, but there no longer appears the need to exercise such a choice.

I hope this makes sense.



Yes, it does seem strange.

Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?
Souls cannot pray at all while in hades, or souls cannot pray for themselves in hades? In other words, is it possible for those in hades to pray for their family and friends who are still living? I know in our Church, the common belief is that the souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves, but it is possible for them to offer prayers for those still on earth.
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« Reply #93 on: February 02, 2012, 01:06:23 AM »


1) Hades is the condition of death for the soul/spirit, prior to the soul's entrance into the place of rest with Christ.  All souls pass through Hades, or for those who reject Christ, remain there with nowhere else to go until the General Resurrection.
So you reject a "River of Fire" concept of Hell?
Quote
4) The soul and spirit without the body are an incomplete person, and so the faculty of prayer is lost for those in Hades until they enter into the presence of Christ and can intercede with Him directly.

5) The Church offers prayers of repentance and alms on behalf of those souls who are struggling with their consciences during this process of death.  The absolution prayers assure the soul of God's mercy, and the offering of prayers on behalf of the dead help them by acting on their behalf.  Prayer is a sacrifice of time and effort to God.

6) God does not compel those who love Him to enter into His rest, which is why Hades is not utterly abolished until the Parousia.  So, Hades can be either a short or long experience.

7) Those in Hades are tormented by their own refusal to repent and their hatred of God.

Cool Those who do not hate God, even if they are not Orthodox prior to death, may receive God's plenteous mercy so long as they are willing to receive Him as He truly is (i.e. convert after death by accepting The Truth).  After all, a Buddhist is not going to enter into God's rest as a Buddhist.

So how can they come to full repentant and reception of God if they lack the capacity to pray?
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« Reply #94 on: February 02, 2012, 01:13:56 AM »

Hades is the condition of death, the 'pit' in the Old Testament which Christ leads the 'captives' from.  All souls pass through, though the ones that become entangled with the temptations of the demons or refuse to pass through to Christ are 'stuck.'  This is the post-mortem journey of the soul after death.

To those who become entangled, it is suffering.  Others suffer for a time in grief until they are ready to pass into rest, which is why we offer prayers for the rest of those who have departed.  Their consciences need to be reconciled, but there really is no 'purification' process of 'temporal debts' which is the typical interpretation of purgatory.


Those who are in Hades would be those who are ultimately going to be condemned to Hell after the Final Judgment as they will be experiencing the foretaste of Hell.

Those Saints who are experiencing the foretaste of Heaven will be in Paradise, true?

What about all those sinners (us?) who have not yet made the cut to be with the Saints in Heaven or with those damned to Hell? Those souls would need the absolution of the Church and the prayers of the faithful. Would these souls then reside in Hades for a certain period of time? Could they be undergoing purification similar to that believed by Catholics in their doctrine of Purgatory? That would explain the vision of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg and others who saw people leave Hades for Heaven.

No prayer in Hades, per the Psalms:

Psalm 88

O lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:

Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;

For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.

I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:

Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.

Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.

Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.

Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.

Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.

Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.

Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?

Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.

LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?

I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.

Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.

They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.

Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.


It is only when Christ liberates the righteous in Hades, those who receive His salvation, that the souls of the departed may intercede with Him face-to-face.



Did I say that souls could not repent after death?  The only things I'm pretty sure we can say plainly is that souls cannot pray while in Hades and that souls do not become 'lost.'  The rest is rather confusing to clearly communicate.

If the human soul can sin after death or convert to Christ before the Final Resurrection, then couldn't it also repent?

Again, bringing to mind all the penances, prayers, and fastings that St. Xenia of St. Peterburg offered for her deceased husband, who had died in an drunken brawl and who was seen after 30 some years in a vision leaving hell, would this not indicate that a person can repent/be forgiven their sins with the funeral prayers of the Church (that includes absolution) and the prayers of the faithful?

I know of no such Orthodox teaching regarding 'confirming' a soul after death.  Remember, death is an incompleteness of the person.  This is why there is no 'purgatory' in Orthodox teaching, since human sin cannot be 'punished' apart from the body, which is part of the person.  The risk here is to elevate the importance of the soul over the body, which pushes us ever closer to Plato and the body being a 'meat cage.'

How this incomplete person exists and operates in the intermediate state is difficult to assess because the Church hasn't recognized any one theory.  However, I would say that the idea that the soul's decision-making faculties are 'unplugged' or tampered with after death seems too far of a reach, considering the descriptions of many saints about the temptations of demons at death and how the soul must battle through their assaults by using its own will, aided by the saints and angels. This means that the dead exercise their free will all through the death process.

Once they have come to the rest of Christ, the passions no longer hold sway and the will becomes more natural, thus sin no longer appeals.  However, this does not mean that the ability to sin is ever lost, but there no longer appears the need to exercise such a choice.

I hope this makes sense.



Yes, it does seem strange.

Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?
Souls cannot pray at all while in hades, or souls cannot pray for themselves in hades? In other words, is it possible for those in hades to pray for their family and friends who are still living? I know in our Church, the common belief is that the souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves, but it is possible for them to offer prayers for those still on earth.
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« Reply #95 on: February 02, 2012, 02:58:24 AM »

Thanks.

Hades is the condition of death, the 'pit' in the Old Testament which Christ leads the 'captives' from.  All souls pass through, though the ones that become entangled with the temptations of the demons or refuse to pass through to Christ are 'stuck.'  This is the post-mortem journey of the soul after death.

To those who become entangled, it is suffering.  Others suffer for a time in grief until they are ready to pass into rest, which is why we offer prayers for the rest of those who have departed.  Their consciences need to be reconciled, but there really is no 'purification' process of 'temporal debts' which is the typical interpretation of purgatory.


Those who are in Hades would be those who are ultimately going to be condemned to Hell after the Final Judgment as they will be experiencing the foretaste of Hell.

Those Saints who are experiencing the foretaste of Heaven will be in Paradise, true?

What about all those sinners (us?) who have not yet made the cut to be with the Saints in Heaven or with those damned to Hell? Those souls would need the absolution of the Church and the prayers of the faithful. Would these souls then reside in Hades for a certain period of time? Could they be undergoing purification similar to that believed by Catholics in their doctrine of Purgatory? That would explain the vision of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg and others who saw people leave Hades for Heaven.

No prayer in Hades, per the Psalms:

Psalm 88

O lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:

Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;

For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.

I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:

Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.

Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.

Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.

Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.

Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.

Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.

Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?

Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.

LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?

I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.

Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.

They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.

Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.


It is only when Christ liberates the righteous in Hades, those who receive His salvation, that the souls of the departed may intercede with Him face-to-face.



Did I say that souls could not repent after death?  The only things I'm pretty sure we can say plainly is that souls cannot pray while in Hades and that souls do not become 'lost.'  The rest is rather confusing to clearly communicate.

If the human soul can sin after death or convert to Christ before the Final Resurrection, then couldn't it also repent?

Again, bringing to mind all the penances, prayers, and fastings that St. Xenia of St. Peterburg offered for her deceased husband, who had died in an drunken brawl and who was seen after 30 some years in a vision leaving hell, would this not indicate that a person can repent/be forgiven their sins with the funeral prayers of the Church (that includes absolution) and the prayers of the faithful?

I know of no such Orthodox teaching regarding 'confirming' a soul after death.  Remember, death is an incompleteness of the person.  This is why there is no 'purgatory' in Orthodox teaching, since human sin cannot be 'punished' apart from the body, which is part of the person.  The risk here is to elevate the importance of the soul over the body, which pushes us ever closer to Plato and the body being a 'meat cage.'

How this incomplete person exists and operates in the intermediate state is difficult to assess because the Church hasn't recognized any one theory.  However, I would say that the idea that the soul's decision-making faculties are 'unplugged' or tampered with after death seems too far of a reach, considering the descriptions of many saints about the temptations of demons at death and how the soul must battle through their assaults by using its own will, aided by the saints and angels. This means that the dead exercise their free will all through the death process.

Once they have come to the rest of Christ, the passions no longer hold sway and the will becomes more natural, thus sin no longer appeals.  However, this does not mean that the ability to sin is ever lost, but there no longer appears the need to exercise such a choice.

I hope this makes sense.



Yes, it does seem strange.

Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?
Souls cannot pray at all while in hades, or souls cannot pray for themselves in hades? In other words, is it possible for those in hades to pray for their family and friends who are still living? I know in our Church, the common belief is that the souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves, but it is possible for them to offer prayers for those still on earth.
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« Reply #96 on: February 02, 2012, 11:54:30 AM »

What did I say that implies this?

So you reject a "River of Fire" concept of Hell?


The operative struggle at death is with the conscience:

Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art with him in the way; lest haply the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the last farthing. (Mt 5:25-26)

This is a spiritual teaching (since the accused is assumed guilty).  Here, there is a path where man encounters an 'accuser' (we know to be demons) on his way to the 'judge' (his conscience) which will condemn him.  The officer is 'Hades' which will hold him until his conscience is clear.

So, what is the 'payment?'  We believe that at death, there are, in addition to the demons, the saints and angels who encourage the soul and remind it of the good that it did when the demons accuse.  Those who have done little good may have a more difficult time accepting the blessings of eternal rest with Christ because they are ashamed of their conduct.

To pay this debt, we the living can offer alms and prayers on behalf of the dead, asking them to pass into rest and to intercede with Christ for us when they arrive to be with Him.  This is a type of conscience-cleansing relationship between the living and the departed that is mutually beneficial and continues the life of the community far beyond the 'natural bounds.' 

This is seen here:

Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (He12:1-2)

These witnesses, 'martyrs' in the original text, not only bear the role of example, but actively participate in our struggle to attain the rest as the 'end of the race.'

I hope this is clear.
 


So how can they come to full repentant and reception of God if they lack the capacity to pray?
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« Reply #97 on: February 02, 2012, 01:53:02 PM »

Once again, Fr. Ambrose, can a soul that is saved and in heaven, choose to sin, fall, and be comdemned to hell?

good question...
I hope it's a question that receives an answer.
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« Reply #98 on: February 02, 2012, 01:55:59 PM »

i thnk its about time i read a river of fire again...
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« Reply #99 on: February 02, 2012, 07:42:35 PM »

Once again, Fr. Ambrose, can a soul that is saved and in heaven, choose to sin, fall, and be comdemned to hell?

good question...
I hope it's a question that receives an answer.
I've heard people discussing this before on a Catholic forum, and someone said that it is impossible for the soul to desire sin once it has been exposed to the Beatific Vision. I'm not sure if this is grounded in Catholic doctrine, but it is an interesting thought. This would mean that, when the angels were created, there must have been a point where they chose either to go with God and experience the Beatific Vision or else rebel and go to hell.
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« Reply #100 on: February 03, 2012, 01:15:13 AM »

In Orthodoxy, the stress is on the intact free will.  A person never loses his free will, though he may be in circumstances that impede its exercise.

The angels rejected God after standing in His presence, yet those who will stand in the presence of God for all eternity will do so having endured this life's sorrows to get there.  It's an incentive not to 'turn back.'  Plus, our existence will not be fraught with the temptations and suffering we now experience.

Totally different way of existing.  Very hard to grasp.


Once again, Fr. Ambrose, can a soul that is saved and in heaven, choose to sin, fall, and be comdemned to hell?

good question...
I hope it's a question that receives an answer.
I've heard people discussing this before on a Catholic forum, and someone said that it is impossible for the soul to desire sin once it has been exposed to the Beatific Vision. I'm not sure if this is grounded in Catholic doctrine, but it is an interesting thought. This would mean that, when the angels were created, there must have been a point where they chose either to go with God and experience the Beatific Vision or else rebel and go to hell.
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« Reply #101 on: February 03, 2012, 02:18:09 AM »

In Orthodoxy, the stress is on the intact free will.  A person never loses his free will, though he may be in circumstances that impede its exercise.

The angels rejected God after standing in His presence, yet those who will stand in the presence of God for all eternity will do so having endured this life's sorrows to get there.  It's an incentive not to 'turn back.'  Plus, our existence will not be fraught with the temptations and suffering we now experience.

Totally different way of existing.  Very hard to grasp.


Once again, Fr. Ambrose, can a soul that is saved and in heaven, choose to sin, fall, and be comdemned to hell?

good question...
I hope it's a question that receives an answer.
I've heard people discussing this before on a Catholic forum, and someone said that it is impossible for the soul to desire sin once it has been exposed to the Beatific Vision. I'm not sure if this is grounded in Catholic doctrine, but it is an interesting thought. This would mean that, when the angels were created, there must have been a point where they chose either to go with God and experience the Beatific Vision or else rebel and go to hell.
So what would make the angels want to turn away from God after experiencing His presence? Was it the fact that they didn't experience the pain and suffering on earth that humans all have to endure, and thus didn't realize just how good they had it?
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« Reply #102 on: February 03, 2012, 11:02:37 AM »

As I learned, angels do not have the same type of 'deliberative will' that humans have.  St. Maximos calls this a gnomic will, but it is one that can choose back and forth between good and evil.  Christ displayed a 'natural will,' which only chooses good and does not deliberate because His human will existed in communion with His divinity (rather than either being unaffected or overridden by it).  He had the capacity to deliberate, but chose not to (e.g. He was tempted but did not succumb).

Angels appear to have a type of natural will, but in their case when their will breaks, it is irreparable.  Like a natural will, they appear not to deliberate once they make the decision to turn against God, but this is quite unnatural because they were intended to choose God over all else.  This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

In the Orthodox Church, this matter of the will is paramount, and I would say it is far more important than than concepts like 'redemption' or 'atonement.'  That is usually why most Orthodox get kind of stumped when encountering a Protestant who wants to talk about those things.  They are much lower on the priority scale.  For us, the free will and its healing provide the path to Christ: we are saved by being healed by Him that we may consistently choose Him over all else.  The rest are just details.  Therefore, you shouldn't worry as much about the mechanics of the atonement when you can't stop sinning and creating more things to be atoned for.

The same is true of the concept of 'purgatory': we reject it in large part because we see the concept of sin less about accruing debts (though this is true) than about healing from the Fall and its wounding of the person.  The purgatory as often described, and even how it is presently communicated, still involves the matter of 'temporal punishment' which we see as not only non-existent, but contrary to the healing of the will.  Punishment does not heal, but it is a type of wounding from which we must be healed.  We are chastened in order to open up repentance, rather than pay a debt.  For us, the only payment for sin is death, so after one dies there is no more debt.  However, what is left is much that needs to be healed if one has not repented and received that healing in order to begin with.

Just prior to Baptism, the catechumen is anointed with an oil of healing, to strengthen him for the death that he is to undergo.  It is very much like this life: we must be healed in order to die and be resurrected!  We must be healed in order to enter into the presence of Christ, which comes through repentance (i.e. the catechumen's decision to repent, which causes the Baptism, leads to this first healing).

Back to the original track: why an angel would turn his back on God is anybody's guess, I guess.  Sounds pretty crazy, but have you watched TV lately?    laugh



So what would make the angels want to turn away from God after experiencing His presence? Was it the fact that they didn't experience the pain and suffering on earth that humans all have to endure, and thus didn't realize just how good they had it?
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« Reply #103 on: February 03, 2012, 12:12:00 PM »

In Orthodoxy, the stress is on the intact free will.  A person never loses his free will, though he may be in circumstances that impede its exercise.

Can you show the folks here the teachings of a selection of the Holy Fathers or a contemporary Orthodox doctrine that teaches that after death the soul is still inclined to sin and open to temptations toward evil?

If it is so easy for me to make my points by finding direct and clear and precise citations then it must be as easy for you to do so on the Orthodox side, particularly since I am not adding anything to what you said above.

Also I would like some definition of freedom from the Orthodox perspective, particularly in light of scripture that tells us that choosing evil makes us slaves to sin, and the only true freedom for the human soul is the Light and Word of Jesus the Christ.

Mary
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« Reply #104 on: February 03, 2012, 04:31:13 PM »


Can you show the folks here the teachings of a selection of the Holy Fathers or a contemporary Orthodox doctrine that teaches that after death the soul is still inclined to sin and open to temptations toward evil
?

It is taught by those who believe in the toll houses. They believe that during the torments of the toll houses a soul may sin and turn from a saved soul into a damned soul.  They base this on the teaching found in Saint Basil the New's writing (a pre-schism Saint) where he is recounting the journey of Saint Theodora through the Aerial Toll Houses.  He acquired this knowledge from a young servant of his who had himself acquired it from Saint Theodora in a dream.  She, in the dream, claims that she acquired it by divine revelation from the angels helping her through the toll houses.

The rest of the Church has no interest in these "divine revelations" and I would say that the faith of the Church it that after death a saved soul acts only for its betterment and not for its harm. 
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« Reply #105 on: February 03, 2012, 05:13:45 PM »


Can you show the folks here the teachings of a selection of the Holy Fathers or a contemporary Orthodox doctrine that teaches that after death the soul is still inclined to sin and open to temptations toward evil
?

It is taught by those who believe in the toll houses. They believe that during the torments of the toll houses a soul may sin and turn from a saved soul into a damned soul.  They base this on the teaching found in Saint Basil the New's writing (a pre-schism Saint) where he is recounting the journey of Saint Theodora through the Aerial Toll Houses.  He acquired this knowledge from a young servant of his who had himself acquired it from Saint Theodora in a dream.  She, in the dream, claims that she acquired it by divine revelation from the angels helping her through the toll houses.

The rest of the Church has no interest in these "divine revelations" and I would say that the faith of the Church it that after death a saved soul acts only for its betterment and not for its harm. 
So then, is the saved soul's will "paralyzed" as you described it?
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« Reply #106 on: February 03, 2012, 05:46:25 PM »

Is there “willing” after death?  Is there repentance?

The rather awful opinion that there is neither probably prevails in the Catholic Church today, although I do not know if it is just a modern opinion from which one may dissent or if it has been officially magisterialised?

But in days gone by there were older and truer beliefs in the Western Church, and we see Saint Martin of Tours conversing with the Devil and assuring him that if he repents (exercising an act of his will) he will be saved.

Please see message 80
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« Reply #107 on: February 03, 2012, 05:50:18 PM »


Can you show the folks here the teachings of a selection of the Holy Fathers or a contemporary Orthodox doctrine that teaches that after death the soul is still inclined to sin and open to temptations toward evil
?

It is taught by those who believe in the toll houses. They believe that during the torments of the toll houses a soul may sin and turn from a saved soul into a damned soul.  They base this on the teaching found in Saint Basil the New's writing (a pre-schism Saint) where he is recounting the journey of Saint Theodora through the Aerial Toll Houses.  He acquired this knowledge from a young servant of his who had himself acquired it from Saint Theodora in a dream.  She, in the dream, claims that she acquired it by divine revelation from the angels helping her through the toll houses.

The rest of the Church has no interest in these "divine revelations" and I would say that the faith of the Church it that after death a saved soul acts only for its betterment and not for its harm. 
So then, is the saved soul's will "paralyzed" as you described it?

Not even Catholics really believe that the will cannot be exercised after death.  Catholics consider the prayers of the Holy Souls as one of the greatest benefits available to men on earth.

If the Holy Souls could not exercise their will, they would be unable to make a decision to pray.
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« Reply #108 on: February 03, 2012, 05:50:58 PM »

Is there “willing” after death?  Is there repentance?

The rather awful opinion that there is neither probably prevails in the Catholic Church today, although I do not know if it is just a modern opinion from which one may dissent or if it has been officially magisterialised?

But in days gone by there were older and truer beliefs in the Western Church, and we see Saint Martin of Tours conversing with the Devil and assuring him that if he repents (exercising an act of his will) he will be saved.

Please see message 80
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http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37255.msg589910.html#msg589910

An Orthodox priest once told me, "There is no repentance after death".  Was he right or wrong, according to (universal?) Orthodox teaching?
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« Reply #109 on: February 03, 2012, 06:08:00 PM »

Is there “willing” after death?  Is there repentance?

The rather awful opinion that there is neither probably prevails in the Catholic Church today, although I do not know if it is just a modern opinion from which one may dissent or if it has been officially magisterialised?

But in days gone by there were older and truer beliefs in the Western Church, and we see Saint Martin of Tours conversing with the Devil and assuring him that if he repents (exercising an act of his will) he will be saved.

Please see message 80
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http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37255.msg589910.html#msg589910

An Orthodox priest once told me, "There is no repentance after death".  Was he right or wrong, according to (universal?) Orthodox teaching?

I think there are some fuzzy minded modern Orthodox and particularly among converts.  They can tend, in some peripheral areas to transfer what they were taught in Catholicism or Protestantism.

Some of them will say that there is no repentance after death but all the same they believe that a man may be saved from Hell/Hades.  What they are unwittingly saying is that he cannot choose repentance but it can be forced upon him through the prayers of those still on earth.  It appears a nonsensical denial of the possibility of repentance after death.
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« Reply #110 on: February 03, 2012, 06:23:11 PM »

Is there “willing” after death?  Is there repentance?

The rather awful opinion that there is neither probably prevails in the Catholic Church today, although I do not know if it is just a modern opinion from which one may dissent or if it has been officially magisterialised?

But in days gone by there were older and truer beliefs in the Western Church, and we see Saint Martin of Tours conversing with the Devil and assuring him that if he repents (exercising an act of his will) he will be saved.

Please see message 80
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37255.msg589910.html#msg589910

An Orthodox priest once told me, "There is no repentance after death".  Was he right or wrong, according to (universal?) Orthodox teaching?

I think there are some fuzzy minded modern Orthodox and particularly among converts.  They can tend, in some peripheral areas to transfer what they were taught in Catholicism or Protestantism.

Some of them will say that there is no repentance after death but all the same they believe that a man may be saved from Hell/Hades.  What they are unwittingly saying is that he cannot choose repentance but it can be forced upon him through the prayers of those still on earth.  It appears a nonsensical denial of the possibility of repentance after death.


Well, he *was* a convert.  And an Antiochian, to boot  Grin!

What you write doesn't say much for the training/catechesis of modern American Orthodox priests.  But then, on the whole, my experience of them hasn't been that great, either  Sad.
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« Reply #111 on: February 03, 2012, 06:29:18 PM »

[What you write doesn't say much for the training/catechesis of modern American Orthodox priests.  But then, on the whole, my experience of them hasn't been that great, either  Sad.

The Church is aware of the problem in America where clergy from other traditions are ordained as priests without much, if any, Orthodox formation.  Mary and I could both tell you tales of that in a battle we undertook over "body, blood, soul and divinity" with a few such clergy many years ago.   laugh
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« Reply #112 on: February 03, 2012, 06:51:15 PM »

No, Mary, you are getting Orthodoxy wrong.  It is not about an inclination to evil, but rather the inspiration of goodness that the souls of the righteous experience after death.  It is the healing of the passions which free man from the temptation to sin, not the cauterizing of his will.

You can read more about this in N. Vassiliades' The Mystery of Death, pp. 405-407.  He pulls this from Homily 7 of St. gregory the Theologian and several other patristic sources.



In Orthodoxy, the stress is on the intact free will.  A person never loses his free will, though he may be in circumstances that impede its exercise.

Can you show the folks here the teachings of a selection of the Holy Fathers or a contemporary Orthodox doctrine that teaches that after death the soul is still inclined to sin and open to temptations toward evil?

If it is so easy for me to make my points by finding direct and clear and precise citations then it must be as easy for you to do so on the Orthodox side, particularly since I am not adding anything to what you said above.

Also I would like some definition of freedom from the Orthodox perspective, particularly in light of scripture that tells us that choosing evil makes us slaves to sin, and the only true freedom for the human soul is the Light and Word of Jesus the Christ.

Mary
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« Reply #113 on: February 03, 2012, 06:52:15 PM »

None of us are infallible!!!   Cheesy

Is there “willing” after death?  Is there repentance?

The rather awful opinion that there is neither probably prevails in the Catholic Church today, although I do not know if it is just a modern opinion from which one may dissent or if it has been officially magisterialised?

But in days gone by there were older and truer beliefs in the Western Church, and we see Saint Martin of Tours conversing with the Devil and assuring him that if he repents (exercising an act of his will) he will be saved.

Please see message 80
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37255.msg589910.html#msg589910

An Orthodox priest once told me, "There is no repentance after death".  Was he right or wrong, according to (universal?) Orthodox teaching?
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« Reply #114 on: February 03, 2012, 11:29:44 PM »

OK!!...Thanks for the clarification!

There's nothing at all that causes consternation in what you say here.

Father George contradicts this for the Greeks and Greek and Catholic teaching seem to be in accord that the soul, until it is reunited with its glorified body, is not able to will in any sense that we know it here in this life...but is certainly does seem to be the teaching among the Slavic Churches with heavy Russian influence.  That is how I have encountered it over the years.

It's an interesting bit of theology.  I tend to think there are good arguments on both sides, depending on how one understands "willing" or "inclining" or "being inspired"...willing and freedom, body and soul...

So many mysteries: So little time  Smiley

Always we can agree that all things are possible with grace.

M.


No, Mary, you are getting Orthodoxy wrong.  It is not about an inclination to evil, but rather the inspiration of goodness that the souls of the righteous experience after death.  It is the healing of the passions which free man from the temptation to sin, not the cauterizing of his will.

You can read more about this in N. Vassiliades' The Mystery of Death, pp. 405-407.  He pulls this from Homily 7 of St. gregory the Theologian and several other patristic sources.



In Orthodoxy, the stress is on the intact free will.  A person never loses his free will, though he may be in circumstances that impede its exercise.

Can you show the folks here the teachings of a selection of the Holy Fathers or a contemporary Orthodox doctrine that teaches that after death the soul is still inclined to sin and open to temptations toward evil?

If it is so easy for me to make my points by finding direct and clear and precise citations then it must be as easy for you to do so on the Orthodox side, particularly since I am not adding anything to what you said above.

Also I would like some definition of freedom from the Orthodox perspective, particularly in light of scripture that tells us that choosing evil makes us slaves to sin, and the only true freedom for the human soul is the Light and Word of Jesus the Christ.

Mary
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« Reply #115 on: February 04, 2012, 12:45:51 AM »

This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

What about St. Martin of Tours, the Patericon, the apocastasis, etc., Father?
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« Reply #116 on: February 04, 2012, 12:58:13 AM »

Father George contradicts this for the Greeks and Greek and Catholic teaching seem to be in accord that the soul, until it is reunited with its glorified body, is not able to will in any sense that we know it here in this life...

How then does a Holy Soul in Purgatory make a decision to pray for people on earth when asked?

How do the Saints in Heaven make decisions and respond to our prayers  if they cannot exercise their will?  Is the Mother of God with her glorified body, and Elijah the Prophet with his body, the only people in Heaven able to exercise any will?

Any magisterial statements to back up these strange teachings?  Who has taught you that souls after death are "not able to will in any sense that we know it here in this life"?
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« Reply #117 on: February 04, 2012, 01:14:29 AM »

Always we can agree that all things are possible with grace.

So you would say that now and again if she chooses the Mother of God, the compasssionate Mediator of All Grace, may supply a dead soul with a certain amount of grace which will temporarily allow its noramally inert will to jerk into action?
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« Reply #118 on: February 04, 2012, 01:50:12 AM »

What about them?  Could you be more precise?

This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

What about St. Martin of Tours, the Patericon, the apocastasis, etc., Father?
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« Reply #119 on: February 04, 2012, 01:55:38 AM »

What about them?  Could you be more precise?

This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

What about St. Martin of Tours, the Patericon, the apocastasis, etc., Father?

St. Martin told the devil he could be saved if he repented, the Patericon has a story about a demon being restored to the angelic ranks through the efforts of a human ascetic, the apocastasis would entail the restoration of demons, St. Isaac said we should pray for the demons, etc.
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« Reply #120 on: February 04, 2012, 02:04:37 AM »

Of course, the devil could be saved if he repented.  The problem is that he won't due to the nature of his decision and his nature itself.  St. Martin's statement is an indication of God's love being greater than even all the evil of the devil.

St. Isaac as well advises that we should pray for everyone, even those who hate and wrong us.  Good spiritual teaching.

The matter of a Patericon is that it just means 'Book of the Fathers' and there are numerous versions with different editors.  There are no 'critical editions' or versions that are universally recognized.  Most versions were assembled in local monasteries and added to over time.  No one doth make a dogma from one story.  It is a nice story, but just a story. 


What about them?  Could you be more precise?

This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

What about St. Martin of Tours, the Patericon, the apocastasis, etc., Father?

St. Martin told the devil he could be saved if he repented, the Patericon has a story about a demon being restored to the angelic ranks through the efforts of a human ascetic, the apocastasis would entail the restoration of demons, St. Isaac said we should pray for the demons, etc.
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« Reply #121 on: February 04, 2012, 02:20:19 AM »

Of course, the devil could be saved if he repented.  The problem is that he won't due to the nature of his decision and his nature itself.  St. Martin's statement is an indication of God's love being greater than even all the evil of the devil.

St. Isaac as well advises that we should pray for everyone, even those who hate and wrong us.  Good spiritual teaching.

The matter of a Patericon is that it just means 'Book of the Fathers' and there are numerous versions with different editors.  There are no 'critical editions' or versions that are universally recognized.  Most versions were assembled in local monasteries and added to over time.  No one doth make a dogma from one story.  It is a nice story, but just a story. 


What about them?  Could you be more precise?

This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

What about St. Martin of Tours, the Patericon, the apocastasis, etc., Father?

St. Martin told the devil he could be saved if he repented, the Patericon has a story about a demon being restored to the angelic ranks through the efforts of a human ascetic, the apocastasis would entail the restoration of demons, St. Isaac said we should pray for the demons, etc.

Why exactly have some holy men, including glorified saints, prayed for the demons if the demons can't repent (I'm thinking of St. Isaac and Elder Paisios, at the moment)?  I'm legitimately asking a question, not asking a question just to say "AHA!" or something.
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« Reply #122 on: February 04, 2012, 02:48:27 AM »

I'm often asked to pray for the healing of people with terminal diseases.  Should I stop?

Spiritual exercises are less about outcomes and more about growth for the one doing the work.


Of course, the devil could be saved if he repented.  The problem is that he won't due to the nature of his decision and his nature itself.  St. Martin's statement is an indication of God's love being greater than even all the evil of the devil.

St. Isaac as well advises that we should pray for everyone, even those who hate and wrong us.  Good spiritual teaching.

The matter of a Patericon is that it just means 'Book of the Fathers' and there are numerous versions with different editors.  There are no 'critical editions' or versions that are universally recognized.  Most versions were assembled in local monasteries and added to over time.  No one doth make a dogma from one story.  It is a nice story, but just a story. 


What about them?  Could you be more precise?

This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

What about St. Martin of Tours, the Patericon, the apocastasis, etc., Father?

St. Martin told the devil he could be saved if he repented, the Patericon has a story about a demon being restored to the angelic ranks through the efforts of a human ascetic, the apocastasis would entail the restoration of demons, St. Isaac said we should pray for the demons, etc.

Why exactly have some holy men, including glorified saints, prayed for the demons if the demons can't repent (I'm thinking of St. Isaac and Elder Paisios, at the moment)?  I'm legitimately asking a question, not asking a question just to say "AHA!" or something.
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« Reply #123 on: February 04, 2012, 03:13:53 AM »

Quote
Of course, the devil could be saved if he repented.  The problem is that he won't due to the nature of his decision and his nature itself.

But do we know this is the true story?  Who was there when God created the angelic powers and their natures?

Who has dogmatised that they were created with free will but only to be exercised once in their life?  When they used it to decide wrongly God removed it from them and decreed they can never exercise free will again and never repent?  Is this consistent with the way God has acted with us?

Did He not create Lucifer, the Angel of Light,  as the strongest and most beautiful of all the angels?  Did He not love him? Like the father of the prodigal son  His heart is sorrowing until Lucifer returns to His embrace.

I am always fearful of man-made beliefs and decisions which restrict God and in areas of which we have almost zero knowledge. 
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« Reply #124 on: February 04, 2012, 03:37:54 AM »

I'm often asked to pray for the healing of people with terminal diseases.  Should I stop?

Spiritual exercises are less about outcomes and more about growth for the one doing the work.


Of course, the devil could be saved if he repented.  The problem is that he won't due to the nature of his decision and his nature itself.  St. Martin's statement is an indication of God's love being greater than even all the evil of the devil.

St. Isaac as well advises that we should pray for everyone, even those who hate and wrong us.  Good spiritual teaching.

The matter of a Patericon is that it just means 'Book of the Fathers' and there are numerous versions with different editors.  There are no 'critical editions' or versions that are universally recognized.  Most versions were assembled in local monasteries and added to over time.  No one doth make a dogma from one story.  It is a nice story, but just a story.  


What about them?  Could you be more precise?

This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

What about St. Martin of Tours, the Patericon, the apocastasis, etc., Father?

St. Martin told the devil he could be saved if he repented, the Patericon has a story about a demon being restored to the angelic ranks through the efforts of a human ascetic, the apocastasis would entail the restoration of demons, St. Isaac said we should pray for the demons, etc.

Why exactly have some holy men, including glorified saints, prayed for the demons if the demons can't repent (I'm thinking of St. Isaac and Elder Paisios, at the moment)?  I'm legitimately asking a question, not asking a question just to say "AHA!" or something.

But Father, people with terminal diseases sometimes do get better, there is hope when one prays for them.  Also, such prayers might help them to spiritually prepare for death.  But, if the demons have no chance of ever repenting, then I don't understand the need to pray for them.  It would be as though God revealed to someone "John X is never entering paradise, he's going to Hell.  He will be there for all of eternity." and yet that man continued to pray for John X, what would be the point?

EDIT: I guess I'm just not sure what the point of praying, in order to obtain spiritual growth, a pray that you know cannot be answered with a yes, is?  I mean, why not exert your energy in a direction your prayer might impact?
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« Reply #125 on: February 04, 2012, 03:40:45 AM »

What did I say that implies this?

So you reject a "River of Fire" concept of Hell?
Well, you talk about souls going from Hell to the presence of Christ, which would go against the idea that Hell is an experience of Christ's presence. I could be misinterpreting you here though.
Quote
The operative struggle at death is with the conscience:

Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art with him in the way; lest haply the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the last farthing. (Mt 5:25-26)

This is a spiritual teaching (since the accused is assumed guilty).  Here, there is a path where man encounters an 'accuser' (we know to be demons) on his way to the 'judge' (his conscience) which will condemn him.  The officer is 'Hades' which will hold him until his conscience is clear.

So, what is the 'payment?'  We believe that at death, there are, in addition to the demons, the saints and angels who encourage the soul and remind it of the good that it did when the demons accuse.  Those who have done little good may have a more difficult time accepting the blessings of eternal rest with Christ because they are ashamed of their conduct.

To pay this debt, we the living can offer alms and prayers on behalf of the dead, asking them to pass into rest and to intercede with Christ for us when they arrive to be with Him.  This is a type of conscience-cleansing relationship between the living and the departed that is mutually beneficial and continues the life of the community far beyond the 'natural bounds.' 

This is seen here:

Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (He12:1-2)

These witnesses, 'martyrs' in the original text, not only bear the role of example, but actively participate in our struggle to attain the rest as the 'end of the race.'

I hope this is clear.
 


So how can they come to full repentant and reception of God if they lack the capacity to pray?
I think I get you here.
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« Reply #126 on: February 04, 2012, 05:32:15 AM »

So you reject a "River of Fire" concept of Hell?

May I chip in?

It is a case of three times bitten, four times shy.

1) I remember when I was a young man in the 1960s how enamoured many of us were with Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky's teaching "The Dogma of Redemption."   We saw it as the last and best explanation of how redemption took place.

We were fooled.  As the years went by more and more bishops told us that his work was heretical.  Ooops!

2) Then came Fr Seraphim Rose's "Life after Death" in the late 1970s and again many of us bowed down before him and said, yes! yes!  this is the teaching of the Fathers.   It wasn't.  We were fooled.

3) Then came Kalomiros and "The River of Fire" in 1980 and again we were exited and said:  This is wonderful, finally we can explain how the torments of hell are inflicted on mankind without attributing it to God and His justice.  Again, we were fooled.  While "The River of Fire" is a very attractive theologoumenon it is not Orthodox doctrine.

Now we have a succession of modern theologians still dealing with the theme of the afterlife, all of them putting together their clever pastiche of patristic quotes, as others have done before them in the last century.

Treat them very very carefully.  Treat them as hypotheses only.   As for this old man, he is going to stay with what he learnt years ago and he is not going to get enthusiastic over new theologians with theories which may claim to be patristic doctrine but which were not known to my generation.  Once bitten, twice shy!  Given my generation's disillusionment with Met Khrapovitsky, hieromonk Seraphim Rose and Kalomiros you will understand our cautious scepticism with these new writings.
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« Reply #127 on: February 04, 2012, 11:28:12 AM »

Where is Christ's presence not felt?  I did not say that.  In the afterlife this experience is more acute because there is no ignoring the truth of one's self and Christ.

Hades, however, is not 'hell' as we commonly express the term.  It is the condition of death through which all souls were once held captive, and now the righteous may pass through on their way to Christ.

The torment of experiencing Christ for the unwilling goes in in Hades, and so Hades becomes 'hell' for them that have nowhere else to go until the General Resurrection, thus they are the 'dead in Christ' mentioned by St. Paul.  They experience Christ, but in a 'dead' way rather than as the righteous experience Him in a living way.


Well, you talk about souls going from Hell to the presence of Christ, which would go against the idea that Hell is an experience of Christ's presence. I could be misinterpreting you here though.
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« Reply #128 on: February 04, 2012, 11:33:03 AM »

As an American, this concept sound ludicrous.  But, let me ask you this:

Why do people run on a treadmill that goes nowhere?

The monks encounter the demons frequently, and the advice of the Fathers has to do with how monks are to deal with demons.  Here, you will see a divergence of opinions, but all are designed to keep the monks from pathologically fearing the demons but rather use their assaults for spiritual development.

Just like martial arts, there are a number of ways on how to deal with an attacker.  The monks have different strategies.


But Father, people with terminal diseases sometimes do get better, there is hope when one prays for them.  Also, such prayers might help them to spiritually prepare for death.  But, if the demons have no chance of ever repenting, then I don't understand the need to pray for them.  It would be as though God revealed to someone "John X is never entering paradise, he's going to Hell.  He will be there for all of eternity." and yet that man continued to pray for John X, what would be the point?

EDIT: I guess I'm just not sure what the point of praying, in order to obtain spiritual growth, a pray that you know cannot be answered with a yes, is?  I mean, why not exert your energy in a direction your prayer might impact?
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« Reply #129 on: February 04, 2012, 11:39:22 AM »

While Fr. Ambrose cannot respond, I can say this regarding his important warning:

I've based my observation not upon universally-recognized teachings on the topic (there are none), but rather simple observations.  Here is a simple question: has a demon, or the devil for that matter, ever been depicted as doing anything good?

Are demons ever described in patristic literature as having compassion or even deliberating over their actions, whether to do good or evil?

No matter where you look, demons seek only evil and do so without deliberation.  Thus, their wills are different from ours.  They do not appear to deliberate.  One of the great mysteries is that the devil and his followers made this switch.  Christ speaks of an eternal preparation made for them.  Will they all go into it?  It would seem so, though perhaps there is a way that they can repent.

In the end, I don't know as much as God, and so I prostrate myself before Him and ask for His will to be done in all things.


Quote
Of course, the devil could be saved if he repented.  The problem is that he won't due to the nature of his decision and his nature itself.

But do we know this is the true story?  Who was there when God created the angelic powers and their natures?

Who has dogmatised that they were created with free will but only to be exercised once in their life?  When they used it to decide wrongly God removed it from them and decreed they can never exercise free will again and never repent?  Is this consistent with the way God has acted with us?

Did He not create Lucifer, the Angel of Light,  as the strongest and most beautiful of all the angels?  Did He not love him? Like the father of the prodigal son  His heart is sorrowing until Lucifer returns to His embrace.

I am always fearful of man-made beliefs and decisions which restrict God and in areas of which we have almost zero knowledge. 

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« Reply #130 on: February 04, 2012, 01:12:44 PM »

Father George contradicts this for the Greeks and Greek and Catholic teaching seem to be in accord that the soul, until it is reunited with its glorified body, is not able to will in any sense that we know it here in this life...

How then does a Holy Soul in Purgatory make a decision to pray for people on earth when asked?

How do the Saints in Heaven make decisions and respond to our prayers  if they cannot exercise their will?  Is the Mother of God with her glorified body, and Elijah the Prophet with his body, the only people in Heaven able to exercise any will?

Any magisterial statements to back up these strange teachings?  Who has taught you that souls after death are "not able to will in any sense that we know it here in this life"?

All kinds of statements that are judged to be true.  It is a logical system of thought.  What you are getting here are the conclusions.  It would take a chapter to give you the whole thing and its history.

Apparently the Greeks "get it"...In fact the west "gets it" because of the Greeks.  I don't think the Slavs missed the memo quite as profoundly as you have.  In ANY event...it seems that there is an Orthodox teaching that you don't understand or that goes against your own personal logic.  That does not mean that it cannot possibly be Orthodox.  Father George is not talking out of thin air.

When I say that we will not be able to will IN ANY SENSE that we know it here in this life, I mean that when we will in this life, we will against concupiscence.  That is quite different from the action of the will in life of the soul after it leaves the corruptible corpus behind.

Saints in Heaven can will only toward the good.  If that were not the case they would not be saints in Heaven.  Father Gyrus seems to have a handle on the freedom of the will and slavery to sin.  Maybe you should ask him to talk about it here.  Also nothing that is not perfectly good can exist in heaven.  So there is not choice between good and evil in heaven.

People in hell would not be in hell had they not fully and firmly hardened their heart against the good.  So theirs is another story.

People in purgation need only to endure the purgation in life after death, a purgation they refused to endure, or had not the opportunity to endure in this life.

We baptize babies who cannot fully accept grace on the promise of adults to assist the child later in the full acceptance of their baptismal grace.  So why could then that not work the same way for a soul in purgation?

We don't presume that would indeed happen for a soul in hell...but we can hope.

When I listen to you in this particular discussion, I wonder at your peerless Catholic education.  Somewhere you missed something...that other Orthodox confessions not one received but initiated in terms of their theology, and we continued in that tradition in terms of understanding life after death in those terms.

M.
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« Reply #131 on: February 04, 2012, 01:46:43 PM »

ooooooooooops

Being on moderation keeps one from being able to edit.

I butchered Father Giryus's name and hit send before I corrected it.

Most apologetic member,

M.
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