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Author Topic: Did the Church Fathers support the doctrine of purgatory?  (Read 2968 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 13, 2013, 01:31:15 PM »

http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-roots-of-purgatory

I stumbled across this, and wasn't sure what to make of it. Obviously, it's not all-conclusive -- and I know enough about a couple of the quotations to know that this is taking them out of context. I don't think all the Fathers believed in purgatory, but it seems like at least a few may have, and I'm wondering how the consensus came to exclude the belief, patristically speaking.
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2013, 02:16:44 PM »

http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-roots-of-purgatory

I stumbled across this, and wasn't sure what to make of it. Obviously, it's not all-conclusive -- and I know enough about a couple of the quotations to know that this is taking them out of context. I don't think all the Fathers believed in purgatory, but it seems like at least a few may have, and I'm wondering how the consensus came to exclude the belief, patristically speaking.

YES... Well at least the Fathers of the West did. A few Eastern Fathers that I'm aware of did too. The eastern understanding of the process of purgation/cleansing after death was quite different but honestly its the same thing just expressed differently due to the theological differences of expression. Hence we have the western tradition and eastern tradition.

Some polemicists are too divisive and ANY minor difference in understanding of the cleansing after death means that the east and west are speaking about two different things. Such people are just being difficult.
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2013, 02:26:51 PM »

The eastern understanding of the process of purgation/cleansing after death was quite different but honestly its the same thing just expressed differently due to the theological differences of expression. Hence we have the western tradition and eastern tradition.

It depends of the definition of purgatory. If we talk about literal fire, literal place, clear-cut distinction of mortal and venil sins and suffering temporal punishment of sins, there is certainly difference between RC and EO/OO approach to purgatory.
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2013, 02:39:36 PM »

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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2013, 03:29:54 PM »

The eastern understanding of the process of purgation/cleansing after death was quite different but honestly its the same thing just expressed differently due to the theological differences of expression. Hence we have the western tradition and eastern tradition.

It depends of the definition of purgatory. If we talk about literal fire, literal place, clear-cut distinction of mortal and venil sins and suffering temporal punishment of sins, there is certainly difference between RC and EO/OO approach to purgatory.

That's an oversimplification of the western approach. The western idea of purgatory can be found in scripture such as :

"For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead... Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin. [2 Macc 12:44-45]

Also the  fire has to be somewhat literal as in the New Testament there is the mention of fire to test our faith. Paul too teaches that :

"He will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire" (1 Cor 3:15).

As far as it bring a "place", that his not part of the official western doctrine but rather a little "t" folk tradition that gained sway. Yet even the possibility of it being a place is not that big of a deal. If its a literal place (Various catholic Saints and visionaries seem to attest to this) then SO WHAT?

With regards to distinction of Mortal and venial sins, this is directly from scripture in that certain sins carry more weight than others e.g. Pauls list of deadly sins. These sins if left unrepented damn the soul without hope of purgation. Certain sins don't damn the soul unless in excess. Hence such sins can be purged.
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 03:33:34 PM »

There were various opinions on this among the Church Fathers (and continues to be). Many spoke of a cleansing, a purgation, a healing, or some other type of activity that happens after death, but questions about how, when, why, where, and who differ from person to person. The general tendency in Orthodoxy, so far as I can tell, has been to leave the question in the realm of discussion and not be overly insistent on any one point of view being correct (though some would seem to be more likely to be correct than others).
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2013, 04:05:22 PM »

Am I wrong in thinking that the Orthodox Church denounces the doctrine of purgatory? Is there some sort of official Church statement on it from any of the Eastern jurisdictions?
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2013, 04:22:53 PM »

I can't speak of denunciations exactly, but fwiw here are a few quotes on the subject in general. First, the The Patriarchal Encyclical of 1895:

Quote
The one holy, catholic and apostolic Church of the seven Ecumenical Councils, walking according to the divinely inspired teaching of the Holy Scripture and the old apostolic tradition, prays and invokes the mercy of God for the forgiveness and rest of those 'which have fallen asleep in the Lord'; but the Papal Church from the twelfth century downwards has invented and heaped together in the person of the Pope, as one singularly privileged, a multitude of innovations concerning purgatorial fire, a superabundance of the virtues of the saints, and the distribution of them to those who need them, and the like, setting forth also a full reward for the just before the universal resurrection and judgment.

-- Source

Second, St. Mark of Ephesus giving the Orthodox position, as he understood it, at the Council of Florence in the 15th century:

Quote
But if souls have departed this life in faith and love, while nevertheless carrying away with themselves certain faults, whether small ones over which they have no repented at all, or great ones for which--even though they have repented over them--they did not undertake to show fruits of repentance: such souls, we believe, must be cleansed from this kind of sins, but not by means of some purgatorial fire or a definite punishment in some place (for this, as we have said, has not at all be handed down to us). But some must be cleansed in the very departure from the body, thanks only to fear, as St. Gregory the Dialogist literally shows; while others must be cleansed after the departure from the body, either while remaining in the same earthly place, before they come to worship God and are honored with the lot of the blessed, or--if their sins were more serious and bind them for a longer duration--they are kept in [hades], but not in order to remain forever in fire and torment, but as it were in prison and confinement under guard.

All such ones, we affirm, are helped by the prayers and Liturgies performed for them, with the cooperation of the Divine goodness and love for mankind. This Divine cooperation immediately disdains and remits some sins, those committed out of human weakness, as Dionysius the Great (the Areopagite) says in 'Reflections on the Mystery of Those Reposed in Faith' (In 'The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, 7, 7); while other sins, after a certain time, by righteous judgments it either likewise releases and forgives--and that completely--or lightens the responsibility for them until that final judgment. And therefore we see no necessity whatever for any other punishment or for a cleansing fire; for some are cleansed by fear, while others are devoured by gnawings of conscience with more torment than any fire, and still others are cleansed only the the very terror before the Divine Glory and the uncertainty as to what the future will be...

And so, we intreat God and believe to deliver the departed from (eternal torment), and not from any other torment or fire apart from those torments and that fire which have been proclaimed to be forever. And that, moreover, the souls of the departed are delivered by prayers from confinement in [hades], as if from a certain prison, is testified, among many others, by Theophanes the Confessor, called the Branded. ...In one of the canons for the reposed he thus prays for them: 'Deliver, O Savior, Thy slaves who are in the [hades] of tears and sighing' (Octoechos, Saturday canon for the deposed, Tone 8, Canticle 6, Glory).

-- St. Mark of Ephesus, First Homily on the Refutation of the Latin Chapters Concerning Purgatorial Fire

Third, Decree 18 of the Confession of Dositheus:

Quote
We believe that the souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each has done; — for when they are separated from their bodies, they depart immediately either to joy, or to sorrow and lamentation; though confessedly neither their enjoyment nor condemnation are complete. For after the common resurrection, when the soul shall be united with the body, with which it had behaved itself well or ill, each shall receive the completion of either enjoyment or of condemnation.

And the souls of those involved in mortal sins, who have not departed in despair but while still living in the body, though without bringing forth any fruits of repentance, have repented — by pouring forth tears, by kneeling while watching in prayers, by afflicting themselves, by relieving the poor, and finally by showing forth by their works their love towards God and their neighbor, and which the Catholic Church has from the beginning rightly called satisfaction — [their souls] depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests, and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed; especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most; which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep, and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment, but when we know not.

-- Source
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2013, 04:58:58 PM »

Am I wrong in thinking that the Orthodox Church denounces the doctrine of purgatory? Is there some sort of official Church statement on it from any of the Eastern jurisdictions?

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes
I think it was at the Jerusalem Council a few hundred years ago.
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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2013, 05:30:07 PM »

Am I wrong in thinking that the Orthodox Church denounces the doctrine of purgatory? Is there some sort of official Church statement on it from any of the Eastern jurisdictions?

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes
I think it was at the Jerusalem Council a few hundred years ago.

You're gonna have to be a bit more specific Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2013, 05:38:48 PM »

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes

Source?
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« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2013, 05:44:49 PM »

http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-roots-of-purgatory

I stumbled across this, and wasn't sure what to make of it. Obviously, it's not all-conclusive -- and I know enough about a couple of the quotations to know that this is taking them out of context. I don't think all the Fathers believed in purgatory, but it seems like at least a few may have, and I'm wondering how the consensus came to exclude the belief, patristically speaking.

YES... Well at least the Fathers of the West did. A few Eastern Fathers that I'm aware of did too. The eastern understanding of the process of purgation/cleansing after death was quite different but honestly its the same thing just expressed differently due to the theological differences of expression. Hence we have the western tradition and eastern tradition.

Some polemicists are too divisive and ANY minor difference in understanding of the cleansing after death means that the east and west are speaking about two different things. Such people are just being difficult.

Am I wrong in thinking that the Orthodox Church denounces the doctrine of purgatory? Is there some sort of official Church statement on it from any of the Eastern jurisdictions?

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes
I think it was at the Jerusalem Council a few hundred years ago.

Bullfeathers.  The Western doctrine of purgatory is a very specifically and juridically defined tenet of Roman Catholic dogma that is not accepted by the Orthodox Church.  In my view it is the Roman Church that is "polemical" in how it officially defines such dogmas.  Don't try to paint Orthodoxy as the "bad guy" by saying how unreasonable we are in not seeing the time after death as including some kind of cleansing.  Of course we see this as something that likely happens in many cases.  We simply don't define it in a juridical way, we don't pretend to understand the depths of the great Mysteries of Salvation in a way that can be defined by the puny human intellect.  You can dress it up all you want in post-Vatican II "fuzzy" talk but the official definition is the official definition, don't try and sugarcoat it with statements about "how reasonable Rome is and how unreasonable some Orthodox polemicists are."  Yes, Patriarch Dositheus of Jerusalem did come very close in the seventeeth century to defining a post-death state very much like the Latin Church does.  You should be aware of a few things.   First of all, this was a very dark period of Orthodox theology, often referred to as its "Western captivity", when because of the oppression of genuine and creative Orthodox thought (by muslims, and for other reasons) a degenerate second-rate kind of post-scholastic/protestant thought held sway amongst the Orthodox.  (Despite this, Patriarch Dositheus' Confession of Faith was an important document for its time: he defended the Orthodox Faith as best as he could using the language and concepts that he knew.)  Secondly, just because one bishop or one council (that is not ecumenical) proclaims something, it does not mean that the whole Orthodox Church subscribes to it.  Do some research before coming on an Orthodox site and rudely (and polemically!) rolling your eyes about how reactionary we are.   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2013, 05:51:07 PM »

Am I wrong in thinking that the Orthodox Church denounces the doctrine of purgatory? Is there some sort of official Church statement on it from any of the Eastern jurisdictions?

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes
I think it was at the Jerusalem Council a few hundred years ago.

You're gonna have to be a bit more specific Smiley

The Synod of Jerusalem was convened by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Dositheos Notaras in March, 1672.
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« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2013, 05:52:03 PM »

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes

Source?

Council of Jerusalem
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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2013, 05:57:32 PM »

One local council? That's all?
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« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2013, 06:01:12 PM »

Am I wrong in thinking that the Orthodox Church denounces the doctrine of purgatory? Is there some sort of official Church statement on it from any of the Eastern jurisdictions?

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes
I think it was at the Jerusalem Council a few hundred years ago.

You're gonna have to be a bit more specific Smiley

The Synod of Jerusalem was convened by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Dositheos Notaras in March, 1672.

I quoted the confession from Dositheus above. Wink That confession was anti-Protestant but quite Catholic-friendly compared to what came earlier. Anyway, before arguing over when you think the change took place, perhaps it'd be best to get some specifics on when the Eastern Christians taught purgatory in the early Church. By this I of course mean something other than stray quotes about purgation or cleansing or something....
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« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2013, 06:03:25 PM »

http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-roots-of-purgatory

I stumbled across this, and wasn't sure what to make of it. Obviously, it's not all-conclusive -- and I know enough about a couple of the quotations to know that this is taking them out of context. I don't think all the Fathers believed in purgatory, but it seems like at least a few may have, and I'm wondering how the consensus came to exclude the belief, patristically speaking.

YES... Well at least the Fathers of the West did. A few Eastern Fathers that I'm aware of did too. The eastern understanding of the process of purgation/cleansing after death was quite different but honestly its the same thing just expressed differently due to the theological differences of expression. Hence we have the western tradition and eastern tradition.

Some polemicists are too divisive and ANY minor difference in understanding of the cleansing after death means that the east and west are speaking about two different things. Such people are just being difficult.

Am I wrong in thinking that the Orthodox Church denounces the doctrine of purgatory? Is there some sort of official Church statement on it from any of the Eastern jurisdictions?

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes
I think it was at the Jerusalem Council a few hundred years ago.

Bullfeathers.  The Western doctrine of purgatory is a very specifically and juridically defined tenet of Roman Catholic dogma that is not accepted by the Orthodox Church.  In my view it is the Roman Church that is "polemical" in how it officially defines such dogmas.  Don't try to paint Orthodoxy as the "bad guy" by saying how unreasonable we are in not seeing the time after death as including some kind of cleansing.  Of course we see this as something that likely happens in many cases.  We simply don't define it in a juridical way, we don't pretend to understand the depths of the great Mysteries of Salvation in a way that can be defined by the puny human intellect.  You can dress it up all you want in post-Vatican II "fuzzy" talk but the official definition is the official definition, don't try and sugarcoat it with statements about "how reasonable Rome is and how unreasonable some Orthodox polemicists are."  Yes, Dositheus of Jerusalem did come very close in the seventeeth century to defining a post-death state very much like the Latin Church does.  You should be aware of a few things.   First of all, this was a very dark period of Orthodox theology, often referred to as its "Western captivity", when because of the oppression of genuine and creative Orthodox thought (by muslims, and for other reasons) a degenerate second-rate kind of post-scholastic/protestant thought held sway amongst the Orthodox.  Secondly, just because one bishop or one council (that is not ecumenical) proclaims something, it does not mean that the whole Orthodox Church subscribes to it.  Do some research before coming on an Orthodox site and rudely (and polemically!) rolling your eyes about how reactionary we are.   Roll Eyes

Calm down dude Undecided

The whole "post Vatican II" part of your rant concerning how I termed official and unofficial teaching is a bit disturbing. Anyway what I said still stands as the Church DOES NOT officially teach purgatory to be a literal place. This was just a folk tradition. FACT...

The Jerusalem council still to this day has not formally been deemed heretical or as a robber council. It seems to be just "ignored" for lack of a better term and looked down upon. Not to my knowledge. A dark period in orthodox history? From your point of view I guess so... You have to believe that.

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« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2013, 06:04:20 PM »

One local council? That's all?

I was making reference to one point in time. What do you want?
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« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2013, 06:07:00 PM »

One local council? That's all?

I was making reference to one point in time. What do you want?

Well...

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes

A local council may have come close to the Latin definition but that doesn't mean that "at one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory".
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« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2013, 06:09:18 PM »

Am I wrong in thinking that the Orthodox Church denounces the doctrine of purgatory? Is there some sort of official Church statement on it from any of the Eastern jurisdictions?

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes
I think it was at the Jerusalem Council a few hundred years ago.

You're gonna have to be a bit more specific Smiley

The Synod of Jerusalem was convened by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Dositheos Notaras in March, 1672.

I quoted the confession from Dositheus above. Wink That confession was anti-Protestant but quite Catholic-friendly compared to what came earlier. Anyway, before arguing over when you think the change took place, perhaps it'd be best to get some specifics on when the Eastern Christians taught purgatory in the early Church. By this I of course mean something other than stray quotes about purgation or cleansing or something....

Can we at least agree that some fathers especially western ones taught purgatory?

secondly if you want the actual NAME referenced in quotes by eastern fathers...well...we both know that's not gonna happen. That's like asking the for the word TRINITY in the bible. However quotes of the idea can be found which I will try to supply if I can find them again. Is that ok?  Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2013, 06:10:50 PM »

Can we at least agree that some fathers especially western ones taught purgatory?

Not unless you give some good sources.

secondly if you want the actual NAME referenced un quotes by eastern fathers...well...ee both know that's  :)not gonna happen.

A good description of Purgatory would be nice.

However quotes of the idea can be found which I will try to supply if I can find them again. Is that ok?  Smiley

Yes. Thank you  angel
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« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2013, 06:11:11 PM »

One local council? That's all?

I was making reference to one point in time. What do you want?

Well...

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes

A local council may have come close to the Latin definition but that doesn't mean that "at one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory".

So has the council been denounced as heretical or robber officially?
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« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2013, 06:14:05 PM »

One local council? That's all?

I was making reference to one point in time. What do you want?

Well...

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes

A local council may have come close to the Latin definition but that doesn't mean that "at one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory".

So has the council been denounced as heretical or robber officially?

Why? It did some pretty good things as well, like condemning and refuting Calvinism.
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« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2013, 06:27:30 PM »

One local council? That's all?

I was making reference to one point in time. What do you want?

Well...

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes

A local council may have come close to the Latin definition but that doesn't mean that "at one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory".

So has the council been denounced as heretical or robber officially?

Why? It did some pretty good things as well, like condemning and refuting Calvinism.

So its decrees still stand?  Undecided
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« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2013, 06:29:31 PM »

Local councils are not universally binding, nor are they infallible.
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« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2013, 06:40:56 PM »

Calm down dude Undecided

The whole "post Vatican II" part of your rant concerning how I termed official and unofficial teaching is a bit disturbing. Anyway what I said still stands as the Church DOES NOT officially teach purgatory to be a literal place. This was just a folk tradition. FACT...

The Jerusalem council still to this day has not formally been deemed heretical or as a robber council. It seems to be just "ignored" for lack of a better term and looked down upon. Not to my knowledge. A dark period in orthodox history? From your point of view I guess so... You have to believe that.

Calm down yourself, "Dude".  You come on an Orthodox site and roll your eyes about how we believed something until we had a knee-jerk reaction to it being too "Western".  You seriously believe that that will not get a reaction?  I am sometimes amazed at the tolerance and charity shown by some of our posters when statements like yours are posted.  Go and have a good, big, hot slice of humble pie.  (A dish that I have savoured more than I would care to admit. Wink )Do some basic research about Orthodox ecclesiology and doctrine (for example, about how Orthodox view the authority of local vs. ecumenical councils).  You can start by reading books like The Orthodox Church by Timothy(Metropolitan Kallistos) Ware and by really trying to understand that the Orthodox are not being obstinate or intolerant, they just really do think in a different way and sometimes speak a different language.  Then we can talk.  

Oh, and by the way, lest you think that I live in some isolated tiny hamlet of Orthodox triumphalism, I don't: I have to deal with ecumenical issues every day.
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« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2013, 06:44:27 PM »

One local council? That's all?

I was making reference to one point in time. What do you want?

Well...

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes

A local council may have come close to the Latin definition but that doesn't mean that "at one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory".

So has the council been denounced as heretical or robber officially?

No, because the council did not teach purgatory. You simply do not know how to read Dositheus' confession of faith correctly because you are heterodox by confession, and do not know the Orthodox faith or on what points of theology do the Orthodox disagree with the Latins concerning purgatory. The Orthodox disagree with the Latins on three points, 1) that there is a temporal punishment due for sins which differs from the eternal punishment, which is not remitted by repentance and Confession, and which God will exact upon the sinner either in this life or after death should the sinner fail to complete a satisfaction for his sins, 2) that the Pope possesses the power to remit this temporal punishment through granting indulgences from the treasury of merits of the saints, and 3) that the method by which the sins of the faithful are punished after death is by a literal purgatorial fire.

To 1), we respond that sins which have been forgiven by God require no temporal punishment, because the cause of punishment itself has been loosed (the sinner being bound in the sight of God by his sins). To 2) we respond that the the Latins could only create this warped theology by corrupting the reasoning behind and purpose of the epitimia given by the priest after confession and absolution. The epitimia serves as a satisfaction not in the sense that it is meant to satisfy the punishment demanded by God for some sin (which has been remitted by genuine repentance and confession), but in order to amend the life of the penitent and make his way of life satisfactory to God. To argue otherwise would do violence to the patristic concept of oikonomia, as taught in the canons of St. Basil, and canon 102 of Trullo. To 3), we respond that there is only one fire mentioned in the scriptures, and that is the eternal fire of damnation. Some fathers do speak of a cleansing fire, but they do so metaphorically, referring to how God is said to be like a refiner's fire, for even the Body of Christ is said to be a live coal which burns away our sins, even though we know this to be meant only in the metaphorical sense. The suffering experienced by the dead in Hades is, as taught by St. Mark of Ephesus, a result either of fear, of uncertainty or of the terror stemming from beholding the glory of God after death. Besides these, there is no need for any other punishment, much less a punishing fire, for that suffering alone is enough to detach the dead from their sins committed in life, and to cleanse them.

The confession of Dositheus does not teach the Latin innovation of purgatory, but rather teaches the Orthodox faith in accordance with St. Mark of Ephesus, with the Church Fathers in general, and with the numerous synods which came before him which condemned the Latin doctrine of purgatory, such as the Synod of Constantinople of 1583, which added a condemnation of the Latin doctrine of Purgatory to the very Synodicon of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2013, 08:01:30 PM »

Am I wrong in thinking that the Orthodox Church denounces the doctrine of purgatory? Is there some sort of official Church statement on it from any of the Eastern jurisdictions?

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes
I think it was at the Jerusalem Council a few hundred years ago.

Kudos for misrepresenting both Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.
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« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2013, 09:13:16 PM »

The difference I have found is in definition.  Other than that, I can’t really say there is any difference.  A cleansing process is taught by both.  One group defines the how’s, the other not so much.  The point is, the process happens, so I would say both teach it.  Words and definitions may be different, but both teach it.
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« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2013, 01:15:44 AM »

The treasury of merits seems pretty innovative and unpatristic to me, and it goes hand-in-hand with the Latin purgatory.
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« Reply #30 on: August 14, 2013, 01:23:16 AM »

The difference I have found is in definition.  Other than that, I can’t really say there is any difference.  A cleansing process is taught by both.  One group defines the how’s, the other not so much.  The point is, the process happens, so I would say both teach it.  Words and definitions may be different, but both teach it.

THANK YOU! (face palm)
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« Reply #31 on: August 14, 2013, 01:24:38 AM »

Am I wrong in thinking that the Orthodox Church denounces the doctrine of purgatory? Is there some sort of official Church statement on it from any of the Eastern jurisdictions?

At one point Orthodoxy taught purgatory. Until they decided it was too "western". Roll Eyes
I think it was at the Jerusalem Council a few hundred years ago.

Kudos for misrepresenting both Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.

Maybe Orthodoxy but the catholic position I didn't misrepresent at all. Check the catechism
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« Reply #32 on: August 14, 2013, 01:26:16 AM »

Local councils are not universally binding, nor are they infallible.

Not even on the local faithful?
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« Reply #33 on: August 14, 2013, 05:04:46 AM »

The difference I have found is in definition.  Other than that, I can’t really say there is any difference.  A cleansing process is taught by both.  One group defines the how’s, the other not so much.  The point is, the process happens, so I would say both teach it.  Words and definitions may be different, but both teach it.

THANK YOU! (face palm)
Huh
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« Reply #34 on: August 14, 2013, 08:17:19 AM »

The treasury of merits seems pretty innovative and unpatristic to me, and it goes hand-in-hand with the Latin purgatory.

This. And the temporal punishment due to sin, which is expiated in purgatory. This is why there are indulgences for the dead and Masses for the dead.

As far as I know, Orthodoxy doesn't have these teachings.

I don't know why either Orthodox or Catholics are so quick to just assume these things are semantics. As with most things, this difference evidences a number of differences, in the nature of the Fall, original sin, the papacy, the use of philosophy and reason, the nature of sin, and soteriology. This is much more than a mere "basically the same, but we describe it differently."
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« Reply #35 on: August 14, 2013, 09:15:16 AM »

The difference I have found is in definition.  Other than that, I can’t really say there is any difference.  A cleansing process is taught by both.  One group defines the how’s, the other not so much.  The point is, the process happens, so I would say both teach it.  Words and definitions may be different, but both teach it.

THANK YOU! (face palm)
Huh

lol oh that's not directed at you. That's just my reaction to the idea that what we teach is two different things when I believe its two different expressions of the same thing. So those who say purgatory is not taught by the Orthodox normally are just being polemical. Makes me put my hands to my face
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« Reply #36 on: August 14, 2013, 09:18:20 AM »

The treasury of merits seems pretty innovative and unpatristic to me, and it goes hand-in-hand with the Latin purgatory.

This. And the temporal punishment due to sin, which is expiated in purgatory. This is why there are indulgences for the dead and Masses for the dead.

As far as I know, Orthodoxy doesn't have these teachings.

I don't know why either Orthodox or Catholics are so quick to just assume these things are semantics. As with most things, this difference evidences a number of differences, in the nature of the Fall, original sin, the papacy, the use of philosophy and reason, the nature of sin, and soteriology. This is much more than a mere "basically the same, but we describe it differently."


Maybe concerning the nitty-gritty details but what matters is the overall understanding of the intermediate state before heaven. The difference is just a difference of expression honestly.

Secondly to the parts stated by you which you say Orthodoxy does not teach. I say this is due to a more developed understanding of purgatory in the West. Whereas the East didn't expand too much on the doctrine hence they have not reaches these points in their theology of purgatory yet.
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« Reply #37 on: August 14, 2013, 09:20:29 AM »

Why is what matters the general and not the specific?  If it didn't matter, why did the Popes and councils define it?
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« Reply #38 on: August 14, 2013, 09:40:23 AM »

Why is what matters the general and not the specific?  If it didn't matter, why did the Popes and councils define it?

You have a point.

With that being said I still think its down to a more developed theology in the west on this particular subject as the east seemed and still seems to be satisfied with just having a more general and less detailed expression of the doctrine. Hence the "differences"
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« Reply #39 on: August 14, 2013, 09:43:45 AM »

So, the "difference" with the papacy is likewise only semantic because it is just a more developed way of speaking about ecclesiology and episcopacy...?

I appreciate that you're trying to bridge the gaps, but I think you're glossing over important differences.
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« Reply #40 on: August 14, 2013, 09:49:39 AM »

As far as it bring a "place", that his not part of the official western doctrine but rather a little "t" folk tradition that gained sway. Yet even the possibility of it being a place is not that big of a deal. If its a literal place (Various catholic Saints and visionaries seem to attest to this) then SO WHAT?

I don't exactly buy that distinction between ts and Ts. Dogmatics are not based on pompous declarations of popes and councils but generally on the life of the Church. If little ts are openly taught in parishes by theologians and catechisms then they are big Ts irregardless of whether popes or councils have said anything about them. That applies to Purgatory too.
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« Reply #41 on: August 14, 2013, 09:54:34 AM »

Can we at least agree that some fathers especially western ones taught purgatory?

Not unless you give some good sources.

secondly if you want the actual NAME referenced un quotes by eastern fathers...well...ee both know that's  :)not gonna happen.

A good description of Purgatory would be nice.

However quotes of the idea can be found which I will try to supply if I can find them again. Is that ok?  Smiley

Yes. Thank you  angel

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« Reply #42 on: August 14, 2013, 09:58:36 AM »

Can we at least agree that some fathers especially western ones taught purgatory?

Not unless you give some good sources.

secondly if you want the actual NAME referenced un quotes by eastern fathers...well...ee both know that's  :)not gonna happen.

A good description of Purgatory would be nice.

However quotes of the idea can be found which I will try to supply if I can find them again. Is that ok?  Smiley

Yes. Thank you  angel

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Clement of Alexandria

The believer through discipline divests himself of his passions and passes to the mansion which is better than the former one, passes to the greatest torment, taking with him the characteristic of repentance for the faults he may have committed after baptism. He is tortured then still more, not yet attaining what he sees others have acquired. The greatest torments are assigned to the believer, for God's righteousness is good, and His goodness righteous, and though these punishments cease in the course of the expiation and purification of each one, "yet" etc. (Patres Groeci. IX, col. 332 [A.D. 150-215]).

Origen

If a man departs this life with lighter faults, he is condemned to fire which burns away the lighter materials, and prepares the soul for the kingdom of God, where nothing defiled may enter. For if on the foundation of Christ you have built not only gold and silver and precious stones (I Cor., 3); but also wood and hay and stubble, what do you expect when the soul shall be separated from the body? Would you enter into heaven with your wood and hay and stubble and thus defile the kingdom of God; or on account of these hindrances would you remain without and receive no reward for your gold and silver and precious stones? Neither is this just. It remains then that you be committed to the fire which will burn the light materials; for our God to those who can comprehend heavenly things is called a cleansing fire. But this fire consumes not the creature, but what the creature has himself built, wood, and hay and stubble. It is manifest that the fire destroys the wood of our transgressions and then returns to us the reward of our great works. (Patres Groeci. XIII, col. 445, 448 [A.D. 185-232]).

Cyprian

It is one thing to stand for pardon, another thing to attain to glory; it is one thing, when cast into prison, not to go out thence until one has paid the uttermost farthing; another thing at once to receive the wages of faith and courage. It is one thing, tortured by long suffering for sins, to be cleansed and long purged by fire; another to have purged all sins by suffering. It is one thing, in fine, to be in suspense till the sentence of God at the Day of Judgment; another to be at once crowned by the Lord (Letters 51[55]:20 [A.D. 253]).

Ambrose of Milan

Give perfect rest to thy servant Theodosius, that rest which thou hast prepared for thy saints… I have loved him, and therefore will I follow him into the land of the living; nor will I leave him until by tears and prayers I shall lead him wither his merits summon him, unto the holy mountain of the Lord (Funeral Sermon of Theodosius 36-37 [A.D. 395]).

Augustine

There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for other dead who are remembered. It is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended (Sermons 159:1 [A.D. 411]).

Temporal punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by some after death, by some both here and hereafter, but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But not all who suffer temporal punishments after death will come to eternal punishments, which are to follow after that judgment (The City of God 21:13 [A.D. 419]).

That there should be some fire even after this life is not incredible, and it can be inquired into and either be discovered or left hidden whether some of the faithful may be saved, some more slowly and some more quickly in the greater or lesser degree in which they loved the good things that perish, through a certain purgatorial fire (Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Charity l8:69 [A.D. 421]).

Tertullian

That allegory of the Lord [Matt. 5:25-26] . . . is extremely clear and simple in its meaning . . . [beware lest as] a transgressor of your agreement, before God the judge . . . and lest this judge deliver you over to the angel who is to execute the sentence, and he commit you to the prison of hell, out of which there will be no dismissal until the smallest even of your delinquencies be paid off in the period before the resurrection. What can be a more fitting sense than this? What a truer interpretation? (The Soul 35 [A.D. 210]).
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« Reply #43 on: August 14, 2013, 10:10:34 AM »

So, the "difference" with the papacy is likewise only semantic because it is just a more developed way of speaking about ecclesiology and episcopacy...?

No ways  Undecided The understanding of the papacy in the east and the west are not only different but contradictory. That is more than a difference due to superior theological development. These are ourtright rejections of each others understanding.

Whereas purgatory in the east is not contradictory but rather a different expression. So in the west. Problem lies in sometimes deliberate or unintended misunderstanding/ignorance of each other's teaching. The western understanding is MUCH more detailed than that of the east

I appreciate that you're trying to bridge the gaps, but I think you're glossing over important differences.

Nope just being realistic
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« Reply #44 on: August 14, 2013, 10:22:31 AM »

St. Mark of Ephesus seems to have rejected outright the Catholic dogma on purgatory.

:-)

I think the broader point is the basic disagreement about doctrine itself. Catholics believe it can develop in such a way that the original question about the Church Fathers is moot: whether there were Fathers who taught purgatory doesn't matter because it has developed through councils and popes to its current state.  This is something the Orthodox roundly reject both on the papal ground and the development grounds.

That's why I think the reductionist idea that we basically believe the same thing because we both believe in an after death cleansing is missing the mark.  The method and purpose of that cleansing is completely different, and in many ways, the views are contradictory (punishment for temporal sin and idea that the pope has the authority to release souls from purgatory are a couple that come to mind immediately).
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« Reply #45 on: August 14, 2013, 10:35:32 AM »

St. Mark of Ephesus seems to have rejected outright the Catholic dogma on purgatory

:-)

Yes he did ( he was the only one who did). So too did Arius reject the Trinitarian formula of Nicaea. What does this prove Huh

I think the broader point is the basic disagreement about doctrine itself. Catholics believe it can develop in such a way that the original question about the Church Fathers is moot: whether there were Fathers who taught purgatory doesn't matter because it has developed through councils and popes to its current state.  This is something the Orthodox roundly reject both on the papal ground and the development grounds.

That's why I think the reductionist idea that we basically believe the same thing because we both believe in an after death cleansing is missing the mark.  The method and purpose of that cleansing is completely different, and in many ways, the views are contradictory (punishment for temporal sin and idea that the pope has the authority to release souls from purgatory are a couple that come to mind immediately).
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« Reply #46 on: August 14, 2013, 10:44:15 AM »

Rather than proof texting the Fathers or referring to a local, unusual Synod, which you fail to even exegete, you might just ask (humbly) the Orthodox posters here if they believe in the Latin view of purgatory. Cavaradossi explains well the Orthodox distinctions. Or better yet, ask an Orthodox priest.

You seem to want to show us Orthodox that we are really Roman Catholic on this issue. That suggests a misunderstanding of Orthodox epistemology. Orthodoxy is that which is believed by the whole Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I don't doubt that certain Orthodox embrace something close to the Latin innovation of purgatory. Yet certain Orthodox embrace a lot of different views.
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« Reply #47 on: August 14, 2013, 10:47:41 AM »

St. Mark of Ephesus seems to have rejected outright the Catholic dogma on purgatory

:-)

Yes he did. So too did Arius reject the Trinitarian formula of Nicaea. What does this prove Huh

It proves your theory that the Orthodox haven't rejected the Western dogma on purgatory is incorrect.

My point is this: it is not "being realistic" to act like there are not differences when there are, in fact, differences. This isn't helpful to either side.

I think more knowledgeable posters than I would be able to show that this "inclusive" act has been a method employed by the Roman Church for a very, very long time. Maybe someone can take up that point... I'm not qualified to do so, but I have noticed it in my study of these things.

ETA: By "inclusive act" I mean to suggest that Rome will say, "We are saying the same thing, just differently.  Come into communion with the Pope and it doesn't matter the specifics."
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« Reply #48 on: August 14, 2013, 10:51:55 AM »

Rather than proof texting the Fathers or referring to a local, unusual Synod, which you fail to even exegete, you might just ask (humbly) the Orthodox posters here if they believe in the Latin view of purgatory. Cavaradossi explains well the Orthodox distinctions. Or better yet, ask an Orthodox priest.

The quotes were provided for someone else. Secondly They speak for themselves and don't need a rocket scientist or super theologian to understands the words written. They are very straight forward.

You seem to want to show us Orthodox that we are really Roman Catholic on this issue. That suggests a misunderstanding of Orthodox epistemology. Orthodoxy is that which is believed by the whole Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church .


No, what I'm really here for is to show the fathers taught purgatory. That is in keeping with the OPs question. I just touched on Orthodoxy and the Council of Jerusalem as more of a fun bit of history. Not intended to be polemical although that's what it ended up being


I don't doubt that certain Orthodox embrace something close to the Latin innovation of purgatory. Yet certain Orthodox embrace a lot of different views.

True
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« Reply #49 on: August 14, 2013, 10:58:15 AM »

St. Mark of Ephesus seems to have rejected outright the Catholic dogma on purgatory

:-)

Yes he did. So too did Arius reject the Trinitarian formula of Nicaea. What does this prove Huh

It proves your theory that the Orthodox haven't rejected the Western dogma on purgatory is incorrect.


So now one man speaks for all of Orthodoxy? An Orthodox man rejected purgatory, yes. The Orthodox Church however has not since it is said the Orthodox Church speaks through councils. Wasn't the argument put forward that the very few eastern bishops at the Council of Florence don't represent the whole of Orthodoxy? This is blatant contradiction.

My point is this: it is not "being realistic" to act like there are not differences when there are, in fact, differences. This isn't helpful to either side.

I think more knowledgeable posters than I would be able to show that this "inclusive" act has been a method employed by the Roman Church for a very, very long time. Maybe someone can take up that point... I'm not qualified to do so, but I have noticed it in my study of these things.

ETA: By "inclusive act" I mean to suggest that Rome will say, "We are saying the same thing, just differently.  Come into communion with the Pope and it doesn't matter the specifics."
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« Reply #50 on: August 14, 2013, 11:05:04 AM »

I think in this regard Mark of Ephesus is important because he actually engaged in debates with the "Latins" and ultimately was vindicated by the Orthodox Church. To harken back to your Arius statement, in a way, Mark's statements and argument in this matter carries the weight of Athanasius's statements and arguments contra Arius.

Also, in this case, the Orthodox Church spoke through a rejection of councils - rejecting the formulations of purgatory at Florence. Silence here is a very strong statement in itself. This is much more than one man.
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« Reply #51 on: August 14, 2013, 11:18:44 AM »

Rather than proof texting the Fathers or referring to a local, unusual Synod, which you fail to even exegete, you might just ask (humbly) the Orthodox posters here if they believe in the Latin view of purgatory. Cavaradossi explains well the Orthodox distinctions. Or better yet, ask an Orthodox priest.

The quotes were provided for someone else. Secondly They speak for themselves and don't need a rocket scientist or super theologian to understands the words written. They are very straight forward.

You seem to want to show us Orthodox that we are really Roman Catholic on this issue. That suggests a misunderstanding of Orthodox epistemology. Orthodoxy is that which is believed by the whole Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church .


No, what I'm really here for is to show the fathers taught purgatory. That is in keeping with the OPs question. I just touched on Orthodoxy and the Council of Jerusalem as more of a fun bit of history. Not intended to be polemical although that's what it ended up being


I don't doubt that certain Orthodox embrace something close to the Latin innovation of purgatory. Yet certain Orthodox embrace a lot of different views.

True

So, if, as you claim, you are really here to show that the Fathers taught the Latin understanding of purgatory, why don't you do just that. Citing a long string of quotes from the Fathers, out of context, as you have done, is not showing anything. That is just proof-texting. "They speak for themselves" is not an Orthodox approach to understanding either Scripture or the Fathers.

Show us through your careful understanding of the Fathers that they argued in favour of the Latin concept of Purgatory, with her concomitant Papal Indulgences and Treasury of Merit.

Unless you can back up your heterodox assertions, only you are to blame for this thread's polemic tone.
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« Reply #52 on: August 14, 2013, 11:21:18 AM »

Fwiw, Fr. Georges Florovsky had some interesting things to say about beliefs and official teachings and Councils and Fathers and such:

Quote
Catholic experience can be expressed even by the few, even by single confessors of faith; and this is quite sufficient. Strictly speaking, to be able to recognize and express catholic truth we need no ecumenical, universal assembly and vote; we even need no "Ecumenical Council." The sacred dignity of the Council lies not in the number of members representing their Churches. A  large "general" council may prove itself to be a "council of robbers" (latrocinium), or even of apostates. And the ecclesia s par s a often convicts it of its nullity by silent opposition. Numerus episcoporum does not solve the question. The historical and practical methods of recognizing sacred and catholic tradition can be many; that of assembling Ecumenical Councils is but one of them, and not the only one. This does not mean that it is unnecessary to convoke councils and conferences. But it may so happen that during the council the truth will be expressed by the minority.

And what is still more important, the truth may be revealed even without a council. The opinions of the Fathers and of the ecumenical Doctors of the Church frequently have greater spiritual value and finality than the definitions of certain councils. And these opinions do not need to be verified and accepted by "universal consent." On the contrary, it is they themselves who are the criterion and they who can prove. It is of this that the Church testifies in silent receptio. Decisive value resides in inner catholicity, not in empirical universality. The opinions of the Fathers are accepted, not as a formal subjection to outward authority, but because of the inner evidence of their catholic truth. The whole body of the Church has the right of verifying, or, to be more exact, the right, and not only the right but the duty, of certifying.

-- Fr. Georges Florovsky, The Collected Works of Georges Florovsky, Volume One: Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View, pp. 52-53
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« Reply #53 on: August 14, 2013, 12:02:27 PM »

Wandile, none of the Fathers you quoted mention a treasury of merits from the good works of the saints which the Roman pope has the exclusive right to apply via indulgences. They don't say anything along the lines of Trent, which said:

If anyone says that after the grace of justification has been received the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out for any repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be paid, either in this world or in the other, in purgatory, before access can be opened to the kingdom of heaven, anathema sit.

They mention praying for the dead, like the scriptures. They don't delve into fantastical innovations like the Latin church.
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« Reply #54 on: August 14, 2013, 12:46:49 PM »

Rather than proof texting the Fathers or referring to a local, unusual Synod, which you fail to even exegete, you might just ask (humbly) the Orthodox posters here if they believe in the Latin view of purgatory. Cavaradossi explains well the Orthodox distinctions. Or better yet, ask an Orthodox priest.

The quotes were provided for someone else. Secondly They speak for themselves and don't need a rocket scientist or super theologian to understands the words written. They are very straight forward.

Hi Wandile,

The quotes may have been provided for someone else, but if you only wanted him to respond to them, you should've sent them to him privately.  If you're going to post them here, however, don't be surprised if others respond as well.  

Actually, these quotes are not as straightforward as you want to make them out to be.  I don't have the time to search out their context, but as you've presented them, most of them agree with the Orthodox position, and could be made to agree with the Latin position if you read that into the quotes and assume that "both are saying the same thing".  But since the Latin teaching on "Purgatory" involves a bit more than just a post-death pre-resurrection cleansing, you really do have to read it into the texts or stretch the meanings of terms to make it fit.    


I apologize, I nearly forgot about this. Forgive me

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Clement of Alexandria

The believer through discipline divests himself of his passions and passes to the mansion which is better than the former one, passes to the greatest torment, taking with him the characteristic of repentance for the faults he may have committed after baptism. He is tortured then still more, not yet attaining what he sees others have acquired. The greatest torments are assigned to the believer, for God's righteousness is good, and His goodness righteous, and though these punishments cease in the course of the expiation and purification of each one, "yet" etc. (Patres Groeci. IX, col. 332 [A.D. 150-215]).

Are we even sure that this is talking about what happens to the soul after death?  ISTM it could also be some sort of allegory on ascetic struggle (it says "the believer through discipline", not "through death").  Even if it is talking about death, I don't think we can understand this without context.  What does discipline have to do with it?  What mansion is better than the former mansion which also includes the "greatest torment"?  Who/what is doing the torturing?  And what is the rest of the sentence that gets cut off by "etc."?      

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Origen

If a man departs this life with lighter faults, he is condemned to fire which burns away the lighter materials, and prepares the soul for the kingdom of God, where nothing defiled may enter. For if on the foundation of Christ you have built not only gold and silver and precious stones (I Cor., 3); but also wood and hay and stubble, what do you expect when the soul shall be separated from the body? Would you enter into heaven with your wood and hay and stubble and thus defile the kingdom of God; or on account of these hindrances would you remain without and receive no reward for your gold and silver and precious stones? Neither is this just. It remains then that you be committed to the fire which will burn the light materials; for our God to those who can comprehend heavenly things is called a cleansing fire. But this fire consumes not the creature, but what the creature has himself built, wood, and hay and stubble. It is manifest that the fire destroys the wood of our transgressions and then returns to us the reward of our great works. (Patres Groeci. XIII, col. 445, 448 [A.D. 185-232]).

This need not be the Latin "Purgatory".  If the "fire" talked about is just a metaphor for a cleansing, the mechanism of which we don't really understand, then fine--that would be an acceptable way of trying to explain it.  But there's a reason why Latin apologists look specifically for "fire" references and not merely for "cleansing".  And it seems from my reading of this quote that the "fire" is being used metaphorically, unless we are also to take literally that the soul after death takes with him wood and hay and stubble that needs to be dumped before entering heaven or that God is literally a fire.  

Quote
Cyprian

It is one thing to stand for pardon, another thing to attain to glory; it is one thing, when cast into prison, not to go out thence until one has paid the uttermost farthing; another thing at once to receive the wages of faith and courage. It is one thing, tortured by long suffering for sins, to be cleansed and long purged by fire; another to have purged all sins by suffering. It is one thing, in fine, to be in suspense till the sentence of God at the Day of Judgment; another to be at once crowned by the Lord (Letters 51[55]:20 [A.D. 253]).

Again, what's the context?  Without knowing that, it's impossible to say it definitely means what you think it means.  

Quote
Ambrose of Milan

Give perfect rest to thy servant Theodosius, that rest which thou hast prepared for thy saints… I have loved him, and therefore will I follow him into the land of the living; nor will I leave him until by tears and prayers I shall lead him wither his merits summon him, unto the holy mountain of the Lord (Funeral Sermon of Theodosius 36-37 [A.D. 395]).

What about this suggests Latin "Purgatory" as opposed to the value of prayer for the departed in a general sense?  

Quote
Augustine

There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for other dead who are remembered. It is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended (Sermons 159:1 [A.D. 411]).

First of all, as above, this doesn't seem to argue "Purgatory" as much as it does "prayer for the departed".  That said, it's just not correct that we don't pray for the martyrs.  We certainly pray "to" them, but we also pray "for" them and "with" them.  That much is clear from our liturgical texts and rites.  Perhaps in the Western tradition you make or have come to make Augustine's distinction, but it is certainly not universal.  

Quote
Temporal punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by some after death, by some both here and hereafter, but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But not all who suffer temporal punishments after death will come to eternal punishments, which are to follow after that judgment (The City of God 21:13 [A.D. 419]).

So far, this is the first quote you've presented that, to me, argues for the Latin view.  

Quote
That there should be some fire even after this life is not incredible, and it can be inquired into and either be discovered or left hidden whether some of the faithful may be saved, some more slowly and some more quickly in the greater or lesser degree in which they loved the good things that perish, through a certain purgatorial fire (Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Charity l8:69 [A.D. 421]).

Is this arguing that Latin "Purgatory" definitely exists, or that it is an acceptable and reasonable proposition explaining post-death purification?  It's "not incredible", "can be inquired into and either be discovered or left hidden", etc.  I can see the appeal, but it need not mean what you want it to mean.  

Quote
Tertullian

That allegory of the Lord [Matt. 5:25-26] . . . is extremely clear and simple in its meaning . . . [beware lest as] a transgressor of your agreement, before God the judge . . . and lest this judge deliver you over to the angel who is to execute the sentence, and he commit you to the prison of hell, out of which there will be no dismissal until the smallest even of your delinquencies be paid off in the period before the resurrection. What can be a more fitting sense than this? What a truer interpretation? (The Soul 35 [A.D. 210]).

You want this to mean Latin "Purgatory", and it could mean that.  But besides wanting to know the context or what's missing where all the . . . 's are, I'm curious about what I bolded above.  What does it mean that people can be confined to hell "until the smallest even of your delinquencies be paid off"?  Is Tertullian teaching something along the lines of universal salvation?  It wouldn't make sense to be there until you pay your debts, but then stay there forever because there's no escaping hell, right?  Or is it common for Latins to refer to "Purgatory" as "hell"?  In my experience, it is never the case, but maybe you'll surprise me.  Smiley

Anyway, out of everything you provided, the quotes which most supported your position are from early Church fathers who either went wrong themselves or whose writings were used to support wrong notions as if they held them.  Everything else is less straightforward than you think.  It could mean what you want it to mean, but that post alone doesn't demonstrate it.    
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« Reply #55 on: August 14, 2013, 02:35:09 PM »

The difference I have found is in definition.  Other than that, I can’t really say there is any difference.  A cleansing process is taught by both.  One group defines the how’s, the other not so much.  The point is, the process happens, so I would say both teach it.  Words and definitions may be different, but both teach it.

I agree.  The differences are minor and probably no greater than the differences between EO's and OO's on Christology, i.e., semantics.
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« Reply #56 on: August 14, 2013, 05:10:16 PM »

The difference I have found is in definition.  Other than that, I can’t really say there is any difference.  A cleansing process is taught by both.  One group defines the how’s, the other not so much.  The point is, the process happens, so I would say both teach it.  Words and definitions may be different, but both teach it.

I agree.  The differences are minor and probably no greater than the differences between EO's and OO's on Christology, i.e., semantics.

Amen
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« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2013, 05:14:34 PM »

I would have never thought so many Orthodox would agree to the idea that the Pope can release people from the pains of the post death temporal punishment undergone due to sin that wasn't expiated in the flesh...
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« Reply #58 on: August 14, 2013, 05:20:53 PM »

I would have never thought so many Orthodox would agree to the idea that the Pope can release people from the pains of the post death temporal punishment undergone due to sin that wasn't expiated in the flesh...

The Pope doesn't release people from post death temporal punishment. God does though...
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« Reply #59 on: August 14, 2013, 05:31:21 PM »

I would have never thought so many Orthodox would agree to the idea that the Pope can release people from the pains of the post death temporal punishment undergone due to sin that wasn't expiated in the flesh...

The Pope doesn't release people from post death temporal punishment. God does though...

Well count me out, because I do understand the issue of Plenary vs Partial indulgences while someone is still alive not post death. But it still alludes me as to how a person can remove the temporal punishment due to confessed mortal sins by some physical act of mercy or whatever.  When sins are forgiven they are forgiven.  Hmm, seems I've heard that somewhere.  Anyway, what is the priest forgiving if not the sin in it's totality?
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« Reply #60 on: August 14, 2013, 05:33:05 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.
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« Reply #61 on: August 14, 2013, 05:44:14 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

Please explain the "Treasury of Merits".....Thanks
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« Reply #62 on: August 14, 2013, 05:44:54 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

Can Bishops also grant indulgences?  And if not, why not?
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« Reply #63 on: August 14, 2013, 05:46:17 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

Does not the Catholic priest have the Apostolic right to forgive sins totally?
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« Reply #64 on: August 14, 2013, 05:49:42 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

Please explain the "Treasury of Merits".....Thanks

The treasury of merits are those merits won by the saints, most especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, by their holy lives and good works beyond that necessary for their salvation. These merits are "stored" to be applied to others via indulgences.

All merits won by the saints have their ultimate cause in the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and are a participation in that Sacrifice.
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« Reply #65 on: August 14, 2013, 05:53:16 PM »

Who can grant indulgences?  See here: http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/indulge/norms.htm

Who can forgive? Priests forgive the eternal punishment due to sin in confession. The temporal punishment must still be expiated on earth through penance or in purgatory as discussed above. This is to balance God's mercy and His justice.
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« Reply #66 on: August 14, 2013, 06:04:15 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

He is not the one who frees the souls though. He might be an "agent" but is not the one who does it. Just as the Church does not save, Christ does, yet the Church is so synchronized in the salvation process that one could ignorantly say the church saves.
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« Reply #67 on: August 14, 2013, 06:06:14 PM »

Who can grant indulgences?  See here: http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/indulge/norms.htm

Who can forgive? Priests forgive the eternal punishment due to sin in confession. The temporal punishment must still be expiated on earth through penance or in purgatory as discussed above. This is to balance God's mercy and His justice.

When we confess our sins, these sins are forgiven period.  This Temporal punishment is foreign stuff to us.
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« Reply #68 on: August 14, 2013, 06:07:27 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

Please explain the "Treasury of Merits".....Thanks

The treasury of merits are those merits won by the saints, most especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, by their holy lives and good works beyond that necessary for their salvation. These merits are "stored" to be applied to others via indulgences.

All merits won by the saints have their ultimate cause in the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and are a participation in that Sacrifice.

You mean like a "merit" bank?  I guess this is the 'storing treasures thing' right?  But all of us can store stuff not just the saints.
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« Reply #69 on: August 14, 2013, 06:09:23 PM »

Quote
The treasury of merits are those merits won by the saints, most especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, by their holy lives and good works beyond that necessary for their salvation. These merits are "stored" to be applied to others via indulgences.

All merits won by the saints have their ultimate cause in the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and are a participation in that Sacrifice.

So can 5 merit bucks get me a Dyson vacuum? Also do the taxes come off the back end or...??
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« Reply #70 on: August 14, 2013, 06:12:12 PM »

I think the "merit bank," as you hilariously call it, is based on the scriptural passage about making up in ourselves what is lacking in the Sacrifice of Christ.  It is also related to the idea that there is a Church Militant, Suffering, and Triumphant and that we are all inter-related.

I should note that most Catholics have no idea this is what the Church teaches. I've taught this in RCIA and gotten into arguments with people who say, "I've been Catholic all my life!  I've never heard this nonsense!". I think the joint declarations with the Lutherans on salvation by grace alone really hurt the idea of merits in Catholic popular opinion since it gets to sounding like the dreaded idea that works can save.

Everyone can merit, so long as they are in the state of grace. So, yes, we can all contribute to the treasury of merits in a sense. It is proper to attribute the superabundance of merits to the saints, though, because most of us are not meriting beyond what is necessary for our own salvation.
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« Reply #71 on: August 14, 2013, 06:18:46 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

He is not the one who frees the souls though. He might be an "agent" but is not the one who does it. Just as the Church does not save, Christ does, yet the Church is so synchronized in the salvation process that one could ignorantly say the church saves.

Well, if the pope binds, the sin is bound. If the pope looses, that is grants the indulgence, then the soul is released from purgatory.

Of course, Christ obtains the salvation for the soul. That is quite clearly not what is being discussed here.
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« Reply #72 on: August 14, 2013, 06:30:11 PM »

I think the "merit bank," as you hilariously call it, is based on the scriptural passage about making up in ourselves what is lacking in the Sacrifice of Christ.  It is also related to the idea that there is a Church Militant, Suffering, and Triumphant and that we are all inter-related.

I should note that most Catholics have no idea this is what the Church teaches. I've taught this in RCIA and gotten into arguments with people who say, "I've been Catholic all my life!  I've never heard this nonsense!". I think the joint declarations with the Lutherans on salvation by grace alone really hurt the idea of merits in Catholic popular opinion since it gets to sounding like the dreaded idea that works can save.

Everyone can merit, so long as they are in the state of grace. So, yes, we can all contribute to the treasury of merits in a sense. It is proper to attribute the superabundance of merits to the saints, though, because most of us are not meriting beyond what is necessary for our own salvation.

I believe scripturally, you are correct on the merits but we would refer to them as "Storing up treasures".  I could be wrong but......they are not necessarily exclusive to saints, but then we look at sainthood a little different maybe??
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« Reply #73 on: August 14, 2013, 06:33:07 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

He is not the one who frees the souls though. He might be an "agent" but is not the one who does it. Just as the Church does not save, Christ does, yet the Church is so synchronized in the salvation process that one could ignorantly say the church saves.

Well, if the pope binds, the sin is bound. If the pope looses, that is grants the indulgence, then the soul is released from purgatory.

Of course, Christ obtains the salvation for the soul. That is quite clearly not what is being discussed here.

Why cant Bishops do this?  Or, why only the Pope grant indulgences?  Although we don't believe this way it would be interesting to hear an answer.
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« Reply #74 on: August 14, 2013, 06:36:20 PM »

I don't know the answer to your last question because, honestly, I hadn't really thought of it until you asked. I think it's a good question, though.

My guess is that it has something to do with the Pope's power of the "keys".  There are some sins even that only the Pope can forgive. He can reserve this power to himself or delegate it to other bishops. And so there are some sins only a bishop can forgive as well.
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« Reply #75 on: August 14, 2013, 06:37:54 PM »

The idea that sins incur a debt of temporal punishment which must be paid is precisely the premise behind purgatory which the Orthodox reject. When sins are forgiven, the punishment assigned to them is also undone by the dissolution of their cause, so there is no need for God to punish those temporally who have died having repented but having not yet produced the fruits of repentance. Instead, those who have died repentant without producing any fruits of repentance may undergo some degree of suffering after death which in combination with the prayers of the faithful and the grace of God is able to heal their souls, just as the epitimia assigned after confession is designed to do. The problem with the medieval system of purgatory is that instead of this suffering after death being therapeutic, intended for healing the sinner, it instead is for satisfying the holiness and justice of God, which demands that sinners receive temporal punishments for their sins.
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« Reply #76 on: August 14, 2013, 06:48:03 PM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

He is not the one who frees the souls though. He might be an "agent" but is not the one who does it. Just as the Church does not save, Christ does, yet the Church is so synchronized in the salvation process that one could ignorantly say the church saves.

Well, if the pope binds, the sin is bound. If the pope looses, that is grants the indulgence, then the soul is released from purgatory.

Of course, Christ obtains the salvation for the soul. That is quite clearly not what is being discussed here.

Why cant Bishops do this?  Or, why only the Pope grant indulgences?  Although we don't believe this way it would be interesting to hear an answer.

If I recall, it is because the pope as the unique temporal head of the Church is uniquely privileged to be able dispense indulgences from the treasury of merits, a privilege which he shares with (or perhaps the better term is delegates to) the other bishops up to a certain limit.

Thomas Aquinas, for example, writes in the Summa, "The Pope has the plenitude of pontifical power, being like a king in his kingdom: whereas the bishops are appointed to a share in his solicitude, like judges over each city. Hence them alone the Pope, in his letters, addresses as "brethren," whereas he calls all others his "sons." Therefore the plenitude of the power of granting indulgences resides in the Pope, because he can grant them, as he lists, provided the cause be a lawful one: while, in bishops, this power resides subject to the Pope's ordination, so that they can grant them within fixed limits and not beyond. "

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/5026.htm
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« Reply #77 on: August 14, 2013, 08:48:12 PM »

^ This would be a good additional point in the "The Pope" thread.

Anyway, the whole purgatory/indulgence thing is very complex. That's what we have proved in this thread!
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« Reply #78 on: August 14, 2013, 10:04:55 PM »

^ This would be a good additional point in the "The Pope" thread.

Anyway, the whole purgatory/indulgence thing is very complex. That's what we have proved in this thread!

Quiet with your nuances. If you really studied the issue you'd see that purgatory is just prayers for the dead being effective in some mysterious way and Orthodoxy and Catholicism teach EXACTLY the same thing. Anyone who says otherwise is just being a difficult, polemical meanie-face.
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« Reply #79 on: August 14, 2013, 10:24:07 PM »

^ This would be a good additional point in the "The Pope" thread.

Anyway, the whole purgatory/indulgence thing is very complex. That's what we have proved in this thread!

Quiet with your nuances. If you really studied the issue you'd see that purgatory is just prayers for the dead being effective in some mysterious way and Orthodoxy and Catholicism teach EXACTLY the same thing. Anyone who says otherwise is just being a difficult, polemical meanie-face.
Grin I ain't sayin nothing.  Grin
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« Reply #80 on: August 14, 2013, 10:26:31 PM »

^ This would be a good additional point in the "The Pope" thread.

Anyway, the whole purgatory/indulgence thing is very complex. That's what we have proved in this thread!

Quiet with your nuances. If you really studied the issue you'd see that purgatory is just prayers for the dead being effective in some mysterious way and Orthodoxy and Catholicism teach EXACTLY the same thing. Anyone who says otherwise is just being a difficult, polemical meanie-face.

 Smiley
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« Reply #81 on: August 14, 2013, 11:58:25 PM »

I would have never thought so many Orthodox would agree to the idea that the Pope can release people from the pains of the post death temporal punishment undergone due to sin that wasn't expiated in the flesh...

LOL.
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« Reply #82 on: August 15, 2013, 12:00:00 AM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

The pope's treasury consists only of corruptible wealth, nor can he loose people while he himself is bound.
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« Reply #83 on: August 15, 2013, 12:01:59 AM »

^ This would be a good additional point in the "The Pope" thread.

Anyway, the whole purgatory/indulgence thing is very complex. That's what we have proved in this thread!

Quiet with your nuances. If you really studied the issue you'd see that purgatory is just prayers for the dead being effective in some mysterious way and Orthodoxy and Catholicism teach EXACTLY the same thing. Anyone who says otherwise is just being a difficult, polemical meanie-face.

I'm afraid your sarcasm will be lost on many. More's the pity.
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« Reply #84 on: August 15, 2013, 01:27:10 AM »

All I know is that our Purgatory (EO) is better than their Purgatory (RC). Grin
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« Reply #85 on: August 15, 2013, 01:36:22 AM »

The Pope grants indulgences because the power to bind and loose is the Pope's even for the souls in Purgatory. In so doing, the Pope is assigning the treasury of merits in a particular way.

He is not the one who frees the souls though. He might be an "agent" but is not the one who does it. Just as the Church does not save, Christ does, yet the Church is so synchronized in the salvation process that one could ignorantly say the church saves.

Well, if the pope binds, the sin is bound. If the pope looses, that is grants the indulgence, then the soul is released from purgatory.

Of course, Christ obtains the salvation for the soul. That is quite clearly not what is being discussed here.

Yeah but onlookers to the thread might get confused so it had to be clarified
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« Reply #86 on: August 15, 2013, 01:39:41 AM »

All I know is that our Purgatory (EO) is better than their Purgatory (RC). Grin

How can you have a purgatory if you guys claim you don't believe in it? Tongue
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« Reply #87 on: August 15, 2013, 09:37:46 AM »

Maybe we have approached this from the wrong angle.  It may be better, at least for my understanding, to clearly stated and provide supporting references for what the Orthodox Church does teach rather than what it does not.  It certainly would aid in my understanding.
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« Reply #88 on: August 15, 2013, 05:44:14 PM »

I think the "merit bank," as you hilariously call it, is based on the scriptural passage about making up in ourselves what is lacking in the Sacrifice of Christ. 

What does the RCC teach is "lacking" in the Sacrifice of Christ?

Also, what does my credit score need to be to access the merit treasury?
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« Reply #89 on: August 16, 2013, 12:06:03 AM »

Maybe we have approached this from the wrong angle.  It may be better, at least for my understanding, to clearly stated and provide supporting references for what the Orthodox Church does teach rather than what it does not.  It certainly would aid in my understanding.

That approach was already tried at the beginning of the thread, when Asteriktos posted quotes from St. Mark of Ephesus and the Confession of Dositheus. However, some controversialists forced us to differentiate between what we believe, and particular Latin beliefs about purgatory, which we hold to be false.
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« Reply #90 on: August 16, 2013, 01:21:56 AM »

Maybe we have approached this from the wrong angle.  It may be better, at least for my understanding, to clearly stated and provide supporting references for what the Orthodox Church does teach rather than what it does not.  It certainly would aid in my understanding.

That approach was already tried at the beginning of the thread, when Asteriktos posted quotes from St. Mark of Ephesus and the Confession of Dositheus. However, some controversialists forced us to differentiate between what we believe, and particular Latin beliefs about purgatory, which we hold to be false.

Can we ignore the controversialists and get back to that? 

I don't know about others, but I frequent this forum in the hope I can learn more about Orthodoxy.  It is understandably difficult to do this with the constant onslaught of rabbit holes.  What I have learned of late is, there is very little clearly defined and a lot of people ignore the whole of what is clarified and its implications and believe what they want. 

Somehow, I don't think this is Orthodoxy so I decline at this time to blame it on the Church.
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« Reply #91 on: August 16, 2013, 07:52:04 AM »

Here are a couple more texts on the topic:

Quote
372. In what state are the souls of the dead till the general resurrection?

The souls of the righteous are in light and rest, with a foretaste of eternal happiness; but the souls of the wicked are in a state the reverse of this.

373. Why may we not ascribe to the souls of the righteous perfect happiness immediately after death?

Because it is ordained that the perfect retribution according to works shall be received by the perfect man after the resurrection of the body and God's last judgment.

The Apostle Paul says: 'Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.' (2 Tim. 4:8). And again: 'We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.' (2 Cor. 5:10(.

374. Why do we ascribe to the souls of the righteous a foretaste of bliss before the last judgment?

On the testimony of Jesus Christ himself, who says in the parable that the righteous Lazarus was immediately after death carried into Abraham's bosom. (Luke 16:22).

375. Is this foretaste of bliss joined with a sight of Christ's own countenance?

It is so more especially with the saints, as we are given to understand by the Apostle Paul, who had a desire to depart, and to be with Christ. (Phil. 1:23).

376. What is to be remarked of such souls as have departed with faith, but without having had time to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance?

This: that they may be aided towards the attainment of a blessed resurrection by prayers offered in their behalf, especially such as are offered in union with the oblation of the bloodless sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ, and by works of mercy done in faith for their memory.

377. On what is this doctrine grounded?

On the constant tradition of the Catholic Church; the sources of which may be seen even in the Church of the Old Testament. Judas Maccabæus offered sacrifice for his men that had fallen (2 Macc. 12:43). Prayer for the departed has ever formed a fixed part of the divine Liturgy, from the first Liturgy of the Apostle James. St. Cyril of Jerusalem says: Very great will be the benefit to those souls for which prayer is offered at the moment when the holy and tremendous Sacrifice is lying in view. (Catechetical Lectures, 5.9)

St. Basil the Great, in his prayers for Pentecost, says that the Lord vouchsafes to receive from us propitiatory prayers and sacrifices for those that are kept in Hades, and allows us the hope of obtaining for them peace, relief, and freedom.

-- St. Philaret of Moscow, The Longer Catechism of the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church

Quote
Q. 57. Which is the seventh article of faith?

R. "Who will come again with glory in order to judge the living and the dead, of whose kingdom there will be no end."

Q. 58. What does this article of faith teach?

R. It teaches three things. First, that Christ will return in order to judge the living and the dead, as he describes himself: "And when the Son of man shall come in his Majesty, and all the angels with him . . . And he will come as swiftly as "lightning comes out of the east and appears even in the west." "But of that day and hour nobody knows, not even the Angels." Nevertheless, these things should precede that day: the gospel is to be preached to all nations; the Anti-Christ will come; great wars will occur along with famines, plagues and other kindred things. One might express this succinctly in accord with Christ's words: "For there shall be then great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be." The Apostle speaks expressly of this judgment with these words: "I charge you before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and dead, by his coming, and his kingdom."

Q. 59. Secondly, what does this article teach?

R. It teaches of the last judgment, when men will give an account of their thoughts, words and deeds, according to Scripture: "But I say to you that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it on the day of judgment." And the Apostle says: "Therefore, judge not before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then every men shall have praise from God.

Q. 60. Thirdly, what does this article teach?

R. It teaches that on that day everyone will receive eternal and perfect payment for their deeds. Some will hear the verdict "Come, you blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." But others will hear this verdict: "Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels." "Where their worm does not die and the fire is not extinguished."

Q. 61. Will all men then give an account of their works, each one individually giving an account, and will there be a particular judgment?

R. Although there will not be rendered an account of one's life on that day of last judgment, since God knows all things, yet anyone knowing his sins at the time of death will recognize even more so after his death what he has merited. For if indeed one's works will be known to a man, even also will he be aware of the verdict of God, as St. Gregory of Nazianzus says: "I am persuaded by the words of the wise to believe that every fair and God-beloved soul, when freed from the chains of the body, departs hence and immediately rejoices in the total perception and contemplation of the good which awaits it (in as much as that which covered the mind with darkness has been wiped away or cast aside of whatever other word this reality should be called I don't know) and experiences a wonderful pleasure and happily flies to the Lord, this life having been fled, as from a grave prison, and having shaken off the fetters by which the wings of the mind were accustomed to be held down, and enters into the happiness concealed in the image which it now perceives; and later when it receives its recognized flesh from the earth, which both gave it and accepted it in faith (how this happens is known to him who joined them together and dissolved them) and then it also will be allowed to enter the inheritance of the heavenly glory." So also in regard to the souls of the sinners, it is to be thought that certainly they themselves are aware of the damnation that they are to receive. Although both good and evil do not have perfect payment for their deeds before the last judgment, nevertheless, because they are not in the same state, they are not sent to the same place. But, it is clear that this would be impossible before the last judgment without a particular judgment. Therefore, there is a particular judgment. And when we say that God does not demand from us an account of our life, it must be understood that an account of our life will not be given according to our manner.

Q. 62. Are the souls of the blessed in equal rank after death?

R. Just as the souls depart from the world in unequal grace, so too they are not found to be in the same rank after their departure from the world, in accord with the teaching of Christ: "In my Father's house there are many mansions.'' And elsewhere: "Many Sins are forgiven her because she has loved much. But to whom less is forgiven, he loves ." And the Apostle says: "Who will render to every man according to his works.''

Q. 63. How must one consider those who die in the wrath of God?

R. One must consider them in the same fashion, that some will suffer less punishment and some greater after the last judgment, as it is said: "And that servant who knew the will of his lord, and prepared not himself, and did not according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes; but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes."

Q. 64. Are there intermediate souls, between the blessed and the damned?

R. No men of this type are found; nevertheless, many sinners are freed from the prisons of hell, but not though their own penitence or confession, just as Scripture says: "Who shall confess to you in hell?" And elsewhere: "The dead shall not praise you, O Lord, nor any of them that go down to hell." But they are freed through the good works of the living and the Church's prayers for them, most of all through the unbloody sacrifice, which is offered on certain days for all the living and the dead, even as Christ the Lord died for the very same. That such souls are not freed by their own power, St. Theophylactus, in explaining those words of Christ, speaks thus: "'But that you may know that the Son has power on earth to forgive sin.' But see," he says, "that on this earth sins are forgiven. For as long as we are on earth, we will be able to blot out our sins: after we shall have traveled from this earth, we shall no longer be able to wipe away our sins through confession, for the gate is closed." And elsewhere before those words: "Our hands and feet have been tied; that is, his powers alone", he says, "are in operation. For in the present age we can function, but in the future age all the operative powers of the soul are bound, and nothing good can come about through the forgiveness of sinners." And elsewhere: "After this very life there is no time for penance and works." It is evident from these words that the soul after death can neither free itself, nor do penance, nor do any good, by means of which it might be delivered from the prisons of hell, but only through the unbloody sacrifice, the prayers of the Church and almsgiving, which the living are accustomed to perform for them. It is by means of these that the souls receive the greatest aid and are freed from the prisons of hell.

Q. 65. If, indeed, prayers and pious works are customarily performed for the dead, how is one to regard them?

R. The same Theophylactus speaks about this in explaining the words of Christ the Lord: "'Fear him who has power to cast into hell.' Be mindful", he say, "that he did not say: 'Fear him, whom after he has killed, I will send into hell,' but that he has the power to send. For the sinners who die are not cast into hell; but it rests in the power of God such that he may even pardon them. But I say this because of the sacrifices and almsgivings made for the sake of the dead, which works are of no small benefit even for those who have died in grave sins. It is not so certain, therefore, that God sends to hell one who has killed, but rather that he does have the power to send him. And so let us not cease working hard through almsgiving and prayers to win over him, who has indeed the power of sending, so that he may not use this power fully but be able to pardon." And so, it is deduced from the teaching of Sacred Scripture and this Father that we are obliged to pray to God certainly for such deceased, to offer the unbloody sacrifices and give alms, since they cannot do the same for themselves.

Q. 66. How must one consider the purgatorial fire?

R. No Scripture makes mention of the fact that after death there is a temporal punishment that cleanses souls; what is more, the opinion of Origen was condemned by the Church at the second Council of Constantinople because of this. Also, the soul can receive no sacraments after death; and if it were then to make satisfaction for its sins, it would have to perform a part of the sacrament of holy Penance, which would be contrary to the orthodox teaching. Therefore, the Church rightly performs for them the unbloody sacrifice and prayers, but they do not cleanse themselves by suffering something. But, the Church never maintained that which pertains to the fanciful stories of some concerning the souls of their dead, who have not done penance and are punished, as it were, in streams, springs and swamps.

Q. 67. Which particular place is intended for the souls of those who die in the grace of God?

R. The Hand of God is the place of those souls that depart from this life in the grace of God after having done penance for their sins. For so says Sacred Scripture: "But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment (of death) shall not touch them." Their place is also called "Paradise", as Christ himself the Lord says to the thief on the cross: "Amen I say to you, this day you shall be with me in paradise." Their place is also called the "Bosom of Abraham". Finally, it is known as the "Kingdom of heaven", even as Christ the Lord taught: "And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." And so, one will not err if he calls this place by any of the above names, as long as he knows that the souls are in the grace of God and the kingdom of heaven, and just as the church hymns repeatedly sing "and in heaven".

Q. 68. But where is the place of those souls that leave the body in the wrath of God?

R. There place is called various names. First, it is called "hell", to which the devil was chased from heaven, as the Prophet says: "I will be like the most High," the devil said; "but yet you shall be brought down to hell, into the depth of the pit." It is called "eternal fire", for Scripture says: "Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels." It is called "darkness", for the Lord said in the same place: "And cast out the unprofitable servant into the exterior darkness; there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth." It is also called other names, all of which indicate that it is a place of God's wrath and condemnation, where all those souls go that leave this life in the wrath of God without hope of salvation. Nevertheless, it might well be declared that the souls of the just, granted that they are in heaven, have not received the perfect crown before the last judgment, just as the souls of the condemned do not suffer perfect punishment; but, after the last judgment, these souls together with their bodies will have received the crown of glory and perfect punishment.

-- St. Peter Mogila, Orthodox Confession of Faith: Part 1, Questions 57-68
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« Reply #92 on: August 16, 2013, 08:08:03 AM »

The Orthodox Church has a Catechism with all of this information contained within it?  I knew the Catholic Church did, but was unaware we did as well.  This should be part of the Catechumen process.  I never even thought to look.  Are there hard copies available?
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« Reply #93 on: August 16, 2013, 08:13:08 AM »

The Orthodox Church has a Catechism with all of this information contained within it?  I knew the Catholic Church did, but was unaware we did as well.  This should be part of the Catechumen process.  I never even thought to look.  Are there hard copies available?

I have this one:

http://www.stspress.com/products-page/books/catechism-of-the-orthodox-church/

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« Reply #94 on: August 16, 2013, 08:22:00 AM »

Here are some texts that come to mind and which Amazon currently sells:

The Law of God: For Study at Home and School, by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoi
Orthodox Church: 455 Questions and Answers, by Fr. Stanley S. Harakas
These Truths We Hold, by St. Tikhon's Monastery
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« Reply #95 on: August 16, 2013, 08:24:38 AM »

Here are some texts that come to mind and which Amazon currently sells:

The Law of God: For Study at Home and School, by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoi
Orthodox Church: 455 Questions and Answers, by Fr. Stanley S. Harakas
These Truths We Hold, by St. Tikhon's Monastery


I cannot recommend The Law of God highly enough. Fantastic book. That along with the red catechism is what I am teaching my children from.
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« Reply #96 on: August 16, 2013, 08:27:18 AM »

Orthodox Church: 455 Questions and Answers, by Fr. Stanley S. Harakas

I wouldn't recommend this one. Let's just say it hasn't aged well.
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« Reply #97 on: August 16, 2013, 08:53:56 AM »

Here are some texts that come to mind and which Amazon currently sells:

The Law of God: For Study at Home and School, by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoi
Orthodox Church: 455 Questions and Answers, by Fr. Stanley S. Harakas
These Truths We Hold, by St. Tikhon's Monastery


I cannot recommend The Law of God highly enough. Fantastic book. That along with the red catechism is what I am teaching my children from.
The Red Catechism?  I didn't find that on a Google search.

Edit:  the one you already posted, right?
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« Reply #98 on: August 16, 2013, 08:58:20 AM »

Asteriktos, have these all been vetted thoroughly and pretty much universally accepted?
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« Reply #99 on: August 16, 2013, 09:00:53 AM »

Here are a couple more texts on the topic:

Quote
372. In what state are the souls of the dead till the general resurrection?

The souls of the righteous are in light and rest, with a foretaste of eternal happiness; but the souls of the wicked are in a state the reverse of this.

373. Why may we not ascribe to the souls of the righteous perfect happiness immediately after death?

Because it is ordained that the perfect retribution according to works shall be received by the perfect man after the resurrection of the body and God's last judgment.

The Apostle Paul says: 'Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.' (2 Tim. 4:Cool. And again: 'We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.' (2 Cor. 5:10(.

374. Why do we ascribe to the souls of the righteous a foretaste of bliss before the last judgment?

On the testimony of Jesus Christ himself, who says in the parable that the righteous Lazarus was immediately after death carried into Abraham's bosom. (Luke 16:22).

375. Is this foretaste of bliss joined with a sight of Christ's own countenance?

It is so more especially with the saints, as we are given to understand by the Apostle Paul, who had a desire to depart, and to be with Christ. (Phil. 1:23).

376. What is to be remarked of such souls as have departed with faith, but without having had time to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance?

This: that they may be aided towards the attainment of a blessed resurrection by prayers offered in their behalf, especially such as are offered in union with the oblation of the bloodless sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ, and by works of mercy done in faith for their memory.

377. On what is this doctrine grounded?

On the constant tradition of the Catholic Church; the sources of which may be seen even in the Church of the Old Testament. Judas Maccabæus offered sacrifice for his men that had fallen (2 Macc. 12:43). Prayer for the departed has ever formed a fixed part of the divine Liturgy, from the first Liturgy of the Apostle James. St. Cyril of Jerusalem says: Very great will be the benefit to those souls for which prayer is offered at the moment when the holy and tremendous Sacrifice is lying in view. (Catechetical Lectures, 5.9)

St. Basil the Great, in his prayers for Pentecost, says that the Lord vouchsafes to receive from us propitiatory prayers and sacrifices for those that are kept in Hades, and allows us the hope of obtaining for them peace, relief, and freedom.

-- St. Philaret of Moscow, The Longer Catechism of the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church

Quote
Q. 57. Which is the seventh article of faith?

R. "Who will come again with glory in order to judge the living and the dead, of whose kingdom there will be no end."

Q. 58. What does this article of faith teach?

R. It teaches three things. First, that Christ will return in order to judge the living and the dead, as he describes himself: "And when the Son of man shall come in his Majesty, and all the angels with him . . . And he will come as swiftly as "lightning comes out of the east and appears even in the west." "But of that day and hour nobody knows, not even the Angels." Nevertheless, these things should precede that day: the gospel is to be preached to all nations; the Anti-Christ will come; great wars will occur along with famines, plagues and other kindred things. One might express this succinctly in accord with Christ's words: "For there shall be then great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be." The Apostle speaks expressly of this judgment with these words: "I charge you before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and dead, by his coming, and his kingdom."

Q. 59. Secondly, what does this article teach?

R. It teaches of the last judgment, when men will give an account of their thoughts, words and deeds, according to Scripture: "But I say to you that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it on the day of judgment." And the Apostle says: "Therefore, judge not before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then every men shall have praise from God.

Q. 60. Thirdly, what does this article teach?

R. It teaches that on that day everyone will receive eternal and perfect payment for their deeds. Some will hear the verdict "Come, you blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." But others will hear this verdict: "Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels." "Where their worm does not die and the fire is not extinguished."

Q. 61. Will all men then give an account of their works, each one individually giving an account, and will there be a particular judgment?

R. Although there will not be rendered an account of one's life on that day of last judgment, since God knows all things, yet anyone knowing his sins at the time of death will recognize even more so after his death what he has merited. For if indeed one's works will be known to a man, even also will he be aware of the verdict of God, as St. Gregory of Nazianzus says: "I am persuaded by the words of the wise to believe that every fair and God-beloved soul, when freed from the chains of the body, departs hence and immediately rejoices in the total perception and contemplation of the good which awaits it (in as much as that which covered the mind with darkness has been wiped away or cast aside of whatever other word this reality should be called I don't know) and experiences a wonderful pleasure and happily flies to the Lord, this life having been fled, as from a grave prison, and having shaken off the fetters by which the wings of the mind were accustomed to be held down, and enters into the happiness concealed in the image which it now perceives; and later when it receives its recognized flesh from the earth, which both gave it and accepted it in faith (how this happens is known to him who joined them together and dissolved them) and then it also will be allowed to enter the inheritance of the heavenly glory." So also in regard to the souls of the sinners, it is to be thought that certainly they themselves are aware of the damnation that they are to receive. Although both good and evil do not have perfect payment for their deeds before the last judgment, nevertheless, because they are not in the same state, they are not sent to the same place. But, it is clear that this would be impossible before the last judgment without a particular judgment. Therefore, there is a particular judgment. And when we say that God does not demand from us an account of our life, it must be understood that an account of our life will not be given according to our manner.

Q. 62. Are the souls of the blessed in equal rank after death?

R. Just as the souls depart from the world in unequal grace, so too they are not found to be in the same rank after their departure from the world, in accord with the teaching of Christ: "In my Father's house there are many mansions.'' And elsewhere: "Many Sins are forgiven her because she has loved much. But to whom less is forgiven, he loves ." And the Apostle says: "Who will render to every man according to his works.''

Q. 63. How must one consider those who die in the wrath of God?

R. One must consider them in the same fashion, that some will suffer less punishment and some greater after the last judgment, as it is said: "And that servant who knew the will of his lord, and prepared not himself, and did not according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes; but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes."

Q. 64. Are there intermediate souls, between the blessed and the damned?

R. No men of this type are found; nevertheless, many sinners are freed from the prisons of hell, but not though their own penitence or confession, just as Scripture says: "Who shall confess to you in hell?" And elsewhere: "The dead shall not praise you, O Lord, nor any of them that go down to hell." But they are freed through the good works of the living and the Church's prayers for them, most of all through the unbloody sacrifice, which is offered on certain days for all the living and the dead, even as Christ the Lord died for the very same. That such souls are not freed by their own power, St. Theophylactus, in explaining those words of Christ, speaks thus: "'But that you may know that the Son has power on earth to forgive sin.' But see," he says, "that on this earth sins are forgiven. For as long as we are on earth, we will be able to blot out our sins: after we shall have traveled from this earth, we shall no longer be able to wipe away our sins through confession, for the gate is closed." And elsewhere before those words: "Our hands and feet have been tied; that is, his powers alone", he says, "are in operation. For in the present age we can function, but in the future age all the operative powers of the soul are bound, and nothing good can come about through the forgiveness of sinners." And elsewhere: "After this very life there is no time for penance and works." It is evident from these words that the soul after death can neither free itself, nor do penance, nor do any good, by means of which it might be delivered from the prisons of hell, but only through the unbloody sacrifice, the prayers of the Church and almsgiving, which the living are accustomed to perform for them. It is by means of these that the souls receive the greatest aid and are freed from the prisons of hell.

Q. 65. If, indeed, prayers and pious works are customarily performed for the dead, how is one to regard them?

R. The same Theophylactus speaks about this in explaining the words of Christ the Lord: "'Fear him who has power to cast into hell.' Be mindful", he say, "that he did not say: 'Fear him, whom after he has killed, I will send into hell,' but that he has the power to send. For the sinners who die are not cast into hell; but it rests in the power of God such that he may even pardon them. But I say this because of the sacrifices and almsgivings made for the sake of the dead, which works are of no small benefit even for those who have died in grave sins. It is not so certain, therefore, that God sends to hell one who has killed, but rather that he does have the power to send him. And so let us not cease working hard through almsgiving and prayers to win over him, who has indeed the power of sending, so that he may not use this power fully but be able to pardon." And so, it is deduced from the teaching of Sacred Scripture and this Father that we are obliged to pray to God certainly for such deceased, to offer the unbloody sacrifices and give alms, since they cannot do the same for themselves.

Q. 66. How must one consider the purgatorial fire?

R. No Scripture makes mention of the fact that after death there is a temporal punishment that cleanses souls; what is more, the opinion of Origen was condemned by the Church at the second Council of Constantinople because of this. Also, the soul can receive no sacraments after death; and if it were then to make satisfaction for its sins, it would have to perform a part of the sacrament of holy Penance, which would be contrary to the orthodox teaching. Therefore, the Church rightly performs for them the unbloody sacrifice and prayers, but they do not cleanse themselves by suffering something. But, the Church never maintained that which pertains to the fanciful stories of some concerning the souls of their dead, who have not done penance and are punished, as it were, in streams, springs and swamps.

Q. 67. Which particular place is intended for the souls of those who die in the grace of God?

R. The Hand of God is the place of those souls that depart from this life in the grace of God after having done penance for their sins. For so says Sacred Scripture: "But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment (of death) shall not touch them." Their place is also called "Paradise", as Christ himself the Lord says to the thief on the cross: "Amen I say to you, this day you shall be with me in paradise." Their place is also called the "Bosom of Abraham". Finally, it is known as the "Kingdom of heaven", even as Christ the Lord taught: "And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." And so, one will not err if he calls this place by any of the above names, as long as he knows that the souls are in the grace of God and the kingdom of heaven, and just as the church hymns repeatedly sing "and in heaven".

Q. 68. But where is the place of those souls that leave the body in the wrath of God?

R. There place is called various names. First, it is called "hell", to which the devil was chased from heaven, as the Prophet says: "I will be like the most High," the devil said; "but yet you shall be brought down to hell, into the depth of the pit." It is called "eternal fire", for Scripture says: "Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels." It is called "darkness", for the Lord said in the same place: "And cast out the unprofitable servant into the exterior darkness; there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth." It is also called other names, all of which indicate that it is a place of God's wrath and condemnation, where all those souls go that leave this life in the wrath of God without hope of salvation. Nevertheless, it might well be declared that the souls of the just, granted that they are in heaven, have not received the perfect crown before the last judgment, just as the souls of the condemned do not suffer perfect punishment; but, after the last judgment, these souls together with their bodies will have received the crown of glory and perfect punishment.

-- St. Peter Mogila, Orthodox Confession of Faith: Part 1, Questions 57-68

Thank you!
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« Reply #100 on: August 16, 2013, 09:02:05 AM »

There's another book called Entering the Orthodox Church that my priest gave me.

http://www.amazon.com/Entering-The-Orthodox-Church-Catechism/dp/9607070526/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376658816&sr=8-1&keywords=Entering+the+Orthodox+Church
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« Reply #101 on: August 16, 2013, 09:41:59 AM »

Asteriktos, have these all been vetted thoroughly and pretty much universally accepted?

Not that I am aware of. Don't get me wrong, whether you're dealing with a modern Orthodox catechism or an ancient text like the Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith of St. John of Damascus, there is going to be complete agreement in all dogmatic points, and even most doctrinal points. But since, on various subjects, there are a range of acceptable positions, there isn't really any one universally recognized and authoritative text.
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« Reply #102 on: August 16, 2013, 11:07:18 AM »

Asteriktos, have these all been vetted thoroughly and pretty much universally accepted?

As far as I know, the only catechism to gain universal or near universal acceptance in the Orthodox Church is St. Peter Mogila's catechism. It appears that this catechism is not used much nowadays. St. Philaret's catechism supplanted it in Russia and possibly other places as well.

I heard a couple of years ago that the Patriarchate of Moscow was working on a new catechism but I haven't heard anything since then about it.
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« Reply #103 on: August 16, 2013, 09:00:54 PM »

Asteriktos, have these all been vetted thoroughly and pretty much universally accepted?

As far as I know, the only catechism to gain universal or near universal acceptance in the Orthodox Church is St. Peter Mogila's catechism. It appears that this catechism is not used much nowadays. St. Philaret's catechism supplanted it in Russia and possibly other places as well.

I heard a couple of years ago that the Patriarchate of Moscow was working on a new catechism but I haven't heard anything since then about it.

We Orthodox can't even systematize the Faith and its two centuries of tradition into a single volume that we all agree on? What sort of "apostolic" religion are we!? Better get a supreme bishop to turn our disjointed confederacy of ethnic cabals into a finely tuned, well-greased evangelical machine.
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« Reply #104 on: August 16, 2013, 09:50:55 PM »

Asteriktos, have these all been vetted thoroughly and pretty much universally accepted?

As far as I know, the only catechism to gain universal or near universal acceptance in the Orthodox Church is St. Peter Mogila's catechism. It appears that this catechism is not used much nowadays. St. Philaret's catechism supplanted it in Russia and possibly other places as well.

I heard a couple of years ago that the Patriarchate of Moscow was working on a new catechism but I haven't heard anything since then about it.

We Orthodox can't even systematize the Faith and its two centuries of tradition into a single volume that we all agree on? What sort of "apostolic" religion are we!? Better get a supreme bishop to turn our disjointed confederacy of ethnic cabals into a finely tuned, well-greased evangelical machine.
Thank you, SarcasmSupreme.  This has been most helpful to those of us attempting to increase our understanding of Orthodoxy.  Accidentally, I am sure, you do bring up an interesting point, but one for later discussion.  As of right now, I'd prefer not to derail the thread again.
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« Reply #105 on: August 16, 2013, 09:51:24 PM »

Asteriktos, have these all been vetted thoroughly and pretty much universally accepted?

As far as I know, the only catechism to gain universal or near universal acceptance in the Orthodox Church is St. Peter Mogila's catechism. It appears that this catechism is not used much nowadays. St. Philaret's catechism supplanted it in Russia and possibly other places as well.

I heard a couple of years ago that the Patriarchate of Moscow was working on a new catechism but I haven't heard anything since then about it.
Any idea why if felt out of use?
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« Reply #106 on: August 16, 2013, 09:52:18 PM »

Asteriktos, have these all been vetted thoroughly and pretty much universally accepted?

Not that I am aware of. Don't get me wrong, whether you're dealing with a modern Orthodox catechism or an ancient text like the Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith of St. John of Damascus, there is going to be complete agreement in all dogmatic points, and even most doctrinal points. But since, on various subjects, there are a range of acceptable positions, there isn't really any one universally recognized and authoritative text.
Thanks!  It seems my library needs to increase.
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« Reply #107 on: August 16, 2013, 10:04:00 PM »

Asteriktos, have these all been vetted thoroughly and pretty much universally accepted?

As far as I know, the only catechism to gain universal or near universal acceptance in the Orthodox Church is St. Peter Mogila's catechism. It appears that this catechism is not used much nowadays. St. Philaret's catechism supplanted it in Russia and possibly other places as well.

I heard a couple of years ago that the Patriarchate of Moscow was working on a new catechism but I haven't heard anything since then about it.

We Orthodox can't even systematize the Faith and its two centuries of tradition into a single volume that we all agree on? What sort of "apostolic" religion are we!? Better get a supreme bishop to turn our disjointed confederacy of ethnic cabals into a finely tuned, well-greased evangelical machine.
Thank you, SarcasmSupreme.  This has been most helpful to those of us attempting to increase our understanding of Orthodoxy.  Accidentally, I am sure, you do bring up an interesting point, but one for later discussion.  As of right now, I'd prefer not to derail the thread again.

SarcasmSupreme. That's a new, and accurate, one! Anyway, sorry for the derail, although I usually expect my comments to be given the white noise treatment and for the conversation to go on.
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« Reply #108 on: August 17, 2013, 07:39:12 AM »

All I know is that our Purgatory (EO) is better than their Purgatory (RC). Grin

How can you have a purgatory if you guys claim you don't believe in it? Tongue

You did see the grinning face, right? (Which means I was being tongue-in-cheek).

Ok, ok, I should've put the first "Purgatory" in quotation marks; since we just call it "the intermediate state".

Both names, "Purgatory" and "Intermediate state", come from the early Church Fathers. They taught that:

-There is an INTERMEDIATE STATE between heaven and hell.
 
-Those people who die without bearing the fruits of repentance for mortal sins, or who have small sins unconfessed, are confined in hell temporarily (not to be tormented but as if in jail) to be PURGED (cleansed) of their passions. After a time, and through the prayers of the Church, and good deeds done on earth in their name, they enter heaven.

-The Old Testament Patriarchs and prophets were confined in a similar way, and were released by Christ after the Crucifixion.

-At the last judgement, the INTERMEDIATE STATE will be abolished, and those in it will go to heaven.

-This doesn't help the unrepentant sinners, of course. They stay in hell.

BTW, unbaptised babies who die go to heaven. Those who are unbaptised and old enough to know good from evil (starting around age 6-7) when they die, their fate is in God's hands. But we Orthodox trust in God's love. Surely He can find some room in the intermediate state for the good ones.

Where our beliefs differ from those of the RCC are the following:

1- There is no fire in purga - sorry, the intermediate state. There is only the near-absence of divine light.
        Heaven-------------> Divine Light
        Intermediate State -> Very little Divine Light. Mostly Darkness.
        Hell-----------------> No light, but burning Fire

2- The Divine Light and the fire of hell are not temporal, created things. They are both the uncreated grace/energy/will/activity of God.

3- There is no punishment in purga - sorry, the intermediate state. The people confined there have already been essentially forgiven. God does not forgive and punish at the same time. Its illogical. Also, God does not NEED to be satisfied in any way. He does not NEED anything. He is the only truly FREE Being. In His freedom, He can choose to forgive. Once He forgives, He does not need to punish afterwards. The purpose of purga - sorry, the intermediate state, is not to punish, but to give one some time to distance oneself from the passions which attach us to this life, so he could enter heaven. Its a second chance, not an obstacle.

4- Concerning indulgences, I will quote Fr. John Romanides:

Quote from: Fr. John Romanides
the Orthodox Church vigorously condemned all magical understandings of salvation which might conceive of the saving grace or energy of God as something created, stored quantitatively within a so-called bank of grace, and distributed quantitatively through sacramental acts and indulgences, by proclaiming the biblical and patristic teaching that God Himself saves men directly by His own uncreated energy. The very basis of all Orthodox doctrine concerning Trinity, Christology, Ecclesiology, and Soteriology is the fact that God creates, sustains, and saves creation not by created means, but by His Own life-giving energy. Only God can be the source and subject of His uncreated energies.

The divine energies are neither the essence of God (God is not actus purus), for this would mean that God acts by essence and not by will (pantheism), nor hypostatic (individual entities), for this would either reduce God to a mere platonic conglomeration of ideas, or to a neo-platonic source of emanating creatures, thereby confusing the Son and the Spirit with such creatures. (A good example of such views concerning divine energies may be found in the teachings of the heretics attacked by St. Irenaeus.)

The divine energies are not creatures, but precisely the creating, life-giving, justifying, uncreated energy of God. [ 19 ]

Therefore grace cannot be manipulated and distributed by man who can only partake of this uncreated light of God in the corporate life of selfless love in the flesh of Christ locally manifested and formed by God Himself in real people epi to auto (in the same place).

-The Ecclesiology of St. Ignatios of Antioch (paragraph divisions and emphases are mine)
(http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.11.en.the_ecclesiology_of_st._ignatius_of_antioch.01.htm)

In the RCC, salvation is a reward for faith and good works, or "merits".
In most Protestant Churches - except Calvinists - salvation is a reward for faith.
In Calvinism, salvation comes by winning a Divine lottery.

In Orthodoxy, God does not save or condemn on a whim, and neither does He work from a reward-and-punishment system. Rather, salvation or damnation are a kind of "tendency" which depends on how we use our free will. If I let go of an object, it will tend to move towards the earth's center faster and faster. The earth is not rewarding it or punishing it. That's simply the nature of gravity. If my free will is always cooperating with God's grace/uncreated light, I will develop a tendency towards heaven. If my free will usually does not cooperate with God's grace, I will develop a tendency towards hell. There is no reward-and-punishment.

Therefore, God does not need to dip into a bank-account of superabundant merits, to withdraw created grace, and give it to us in indulgences. He has an endless supply of uncreated grace from Himself. The way we "complete" the work of Christ is, simply by cooperating with that grace. Nor does He need to remit punishment that would be given after forgiveness, since, as I mentioned above, such punishment does not exist. The penances after confession, and acts of charity or piety (fasting, prayers, etc.) that we do, are not meant to satisfy God's justice or grant us rewards. They simply train us to control our passions by cooperating with God's grace, in order to develop selfless love and acquire a tendency towards heaven.

5- This isn't specific to purgatory, but its still important. The saints in heaven experience plenty of joy and light. But after the resurrection, they will experience still more, once they are reunited with their bodies. Heaven is not static, but dynamic. Saints always move "from Glory to Glory" (St. Gregory of Nyssa). Only hell is static.

(And, yes our purgatory is better than your purgatory. Cheesy)
« Last Edit: August 17, 2013, 07:56:17 AM by Romanicus » Logged

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« Reply #109 on: August 17, 2013, 09:39:51 AM »

All I know is that our Purgatory (EO) is better than their Purgatory (RC). Grin

How can you have a purgatory if you guys claim you don't believe in it? Tongue

You did see the grinning face, right? (Which means I was being tongue-in-cheek).

Ok, ok, I should've put the first "Purgatory" in quotation marks; since we just call it "the intermediate state".

Both names, "Purgatory" and "Intermediate state", come from the early Church Fathers. They taught that:

-There is an INTERMEDIATE STATE between heaven and hell.
 
-Those people who die without bearing the fruits of repentance for mortal sins, or who have small sins unconfessed, are confined in hell temporarily (not to be tormented but as if in jail) to be PURGED (cleansed) of their passions. After a time, and through the prayers of the Church, and good deeds done on earth in their name, they enter heaven.

-The Old Testament Patriarchs and prophets were confined in a similar way, and were released by Christ after the Crucifixion.

-At the last judgement, the INTERMEDIATE STATE will be abolished, and those in it will go to heaven.

-This doesn't help the unrepentant sinners, of course. They stay in hell.

BTW, unbaptised babies who die go to heaven. Those who are unbaptised and old enough to know good from evil (starting around age 6-7) when they die, their fate is in God's hands. But we Orthodox trust in God's love. Surely He can find some room in the intermediate state for the good ones.

Where our beliefs differ from those of the RCC are the following:

1- There is no fire in purga - sorry, the intermediate state. There is only the near-absence of divine light.
        Heaven-------------> Divine Light
        Intermediate State -> Very little Divine Light. Mostly Darkness.
        Hell-----------------> No light, but burning Fire

2- The Divine Light and the fire of hell are not temporal, created things. They are both the uncreated grace/energy/will/activity of God.

3- There is no punishment in purga - sorry, the intermediate state. The people confined there have already been essentially forgiven. God does not forgive and punish at the same time. Its illogical. Also, God does not NEED to be satisfied in any way. He does not NEED anything. He is the only truly FREE Being. In His freedom, He can choose to forgive. Once He forgives, He does not need to punish afterwards. The purpose of purga - sorry, the intermediate state, is not to punish, but to give one some time to distance oneself from the passions which attach us to this life, so he could enter heaven. Its a second chance, not an obstacle.

4- Concerning indulgences, I will quote Fr. John Romanides:

Quote from: Fr. John Romanides
the Orthodox Church vigorously condemned all magical understandings of salvation which might conceive of the saving grace or energy of God as something created, stored quantitatively within a so-called bank of grace, and distributed quantitatively through sacramental acts and indulgences, by proclaiming the biblical and patristic teaching that God Himself saves men directly by His own uncreated energy. The very basis of all Orthodox doctrine concerning Trinity, Christology, Ecclesiology, and Soteriology is the fact that God creates, sustains, and saves creation not by created means, but by His Own life-giving energy. Only God can be the source and subject of His uncreated energies.

The divine energies are neither the essence of God (God is not actus purus), for this would mean that God acts by essence and not by will (pantheism), nor hypostatic (individual entities), for this would either reduce God to a mere platonic conglomeration of ideas, or to a neo-platonic source of emanating creatures, thereby confusing the Son and the Spirit with such creatures. (A good example of such views concerning divine energies may be found in the teachings of the heretics attacked by St. Irenaeus.)

The divine energies are not creatures, but precisely the creating, life-giving, justifying, uncreated energy of God. [ 19 ]

Therefore grace cannot be manipulated and distributed by man who can only partake of this uncreated light of God in the corporate life of selfless love in the flesh of Christ locally manifested and formed by God Himself in real people epi to auto (in the same place).

-The Ecclesiology of St. Ignatios of Antioch (paragraph divisions and emphases are mine)
(http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.11.en.the_ecclesiology_of_st._ignatius_of_antioch.01.htm)

In the RCC, salvation is a reward for faith and good works, or "merits".
In most Protestant Churches - except Calvinists - salvation is a reward for faith.
In Calvinism, salvation comes by winning a Divine lottery.

In Orthodoxy, God does not save or condemn on a whim, and neither does He work from a reward-and-punishment system. Rather, salvation or damnation are a kind of "tendency" which depends on how we use our free will. If I let go of an object, it will tend to move towards the earth's center faster and faster. The earth is not rewarding it or punishing it. That's simply the nature of gravity. If my free will is always cooperating with God's grace/uncreated light, I will develop a tendency towards heaven. If my free will usually does not cooperate with God's grace, I will develop a tendency towards hell. There is no reward-and-punishment.

Therefore, God does not need to dip into a bank-account of superabundant merits, to withdraw created grace, and give it to us in indulgences. He has an endless supply of uncreated grace from Himself. The way we "complete" the work of Christ is, simply by cooperating with that grace. Nor does He need to remit punishment that would be given after forgiveness, since, as I mentioned above, such punishment does not exist. The penances after confession, and acts of charity or piety (fasting, prayers, etc.) that we do, are not meant to satisfy God's justice or grant us rewards. They simply train us to control our passions by cooperating with God's grace, in order to develop selfless love and acquire a tendency towards heaven.

5- This isn't specific to purgatory, but its still important. The saints in heaven experience plenty of joy and light. But after the resurrection, they will experience still more, once they are reunited with their bodies. Heaven is not static, but dynamic. Saints always move "from Glory to Glory" (St. Gregory of Nyssa). Only hell is static.

(And, yes our purgatory is better than your purgatory. Cheesy)

I was also joking with my comment (The tongue sticking out Tongue)

I've tried to distance myself from this thread and the other I'm involved in as I'm spending a bit too much time here.

Anyway thanks for the info on the Orthodox perspective on purgatory/intermediate state. I'll stick with Catholic theology on this one though Grin
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« Reply #110 on: August 17, 2013, 10:09:13 AM »

I think that the most that can be said positively on this topic - from a patristic perspective - is that the Church prays for the dead, and that those prayers are held to be efficacious. Everything else is just speculation.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2013, 10:10:00 AM by Apotheoun » Logged

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