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Author Topic: Eastern Catholic Theology of the Toll Houses  (Read 3468 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: May 31, 2011, 08:34:53 PM »

Now it is time for Father Ambrose to become the non-legalist.


Far too simplistic.  Far too lacking in appreciation for the depth and complexity of the human soul.  I am really surprised you are taking this oversimplified tack.
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« Reply #46 on: May 31, 2011, 08:38:30 PM »

Hmm, I didn't know about that view.

This is from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:

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

http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7076

Your thoughts?

I suppose the kindest thoughts are to point out that the understanding of the Greeks on this matter is odds with the Russian.  I prefer to stand in the Russian tradition.
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« Reply #47 on: May 31, 2011, 08:38:39 PM »


As I said at one point, it appears that the Catholic Church has made some decisions that Orthodoxy is still reviewing.


I believe the Catholic Church is still in the process of working out its beliefs.

In message 29 we see that Fr Kimel is adamant that there can be no repentance in hell and no rescue from hell.

You seem to disagree with that position.

This brings the conclusion that when two highly educated Catholics disagree your Church has no settled teaching on the subject and is still reviewing its understanding, sifting through contrary beliefs.

No.  I do not disagree with that position.  Nor do I disagree with the Greeks, on that score.

Go back and look at what I said:  I said that once a heart is hardened and is in Hell, it cannot be restored.  What I question is the heart that has many sins but some residue of compunction, and has not totally hardened the heart...Somewhere between death and eternal damnation there may be a moment when the prayers of the saints or the faithful may save that soul from eternal damnation.  I don't think that interim period has been clearly defined on either side fully and in that small gap there is hope to KEEP a soul out of eternal damnation or grasp it from its maw.

But to say that one can move the hardened heart?  No. 

To say God will force the reprobate?  No.

To call for universal salvation?  No.

We can hope but we cannot act against what has been revealed to us and to allow a person to think that they can be prayed out of hell is a VERY irresponsible act.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2011, 08:40:41 PM by elijahmaria » Logged

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« Reply #48 on: May 31, 2011, 08:43:23 PM »

And while you are at it...give them a head's up on that universal priesthood error too!!


The reference rings no bells.  We must had had an earlier discussion?
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« Reply #49 on: May 31, 2011, 08:47:37 PM »

Go back and look at what I said:  I said that once a heart is hardened and is in Hell, it cannot be restored. 

Why?   This topic is about the toll houses and however much I dislike them, one of their good points is that they allow for repentance even after condemnation to hell.  See for example the story of the two abbesses and Saint Seraphim.
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« Reply #50 on: May 31, 2011, 08:50:07 PM »

To call for universal salvation?  No.


One should pray that Apokatastasis is true, but one would be foolish to teach it as doctrine.
~St Maximus the Confessor

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« Reply #51 on: May 31, 2011, 09:13:58 PM »


We can hope but we cannot act against what has been revealed to us and to allow a person to think that they can be prayed out of hell is a VERY irresponsible act.

Then you will have to blame it on the Irish in me and my Irish ancestors in the days when they were Orthodox!   laugh

There is no doubt that my ancestors in the faith, from the Emerald Isle, during the millennium when they were Orthodox believed that souls could be released from hell.   Take Saint Samthann of Clonbroney.  She was well known for the ability to get a soul out of hell.  Saint Aidan of Ferns was also known for this. Praying a soul out of hell was, however, not an uncommon accomplishment for Irish saints; one scholar Lisa Bitel has claimed it to be an "almost exclusively Celtic motif."

So, certainly in the early days when Christianity was fresh and strong they thought that they could pray a man out of hell. Now it may be seen as rather questionable theology in our days, for either Church. Maybe the early Christians were wrong. Who can say? Once again, their old belief places a gentle question mark over some of the things that we have declared certain.

Here is something from the Rule of Saint Maelruain, from the holy monastery of Tallaght. It is 8th century:

"There is nothing which a person does for a soul that has departed that does not help it,
both vigil and abstinence, and singing the intercession and frequent blessings.
Filii pro mortuis parentibus debent poenitere.

"A whole year therefore was Saint Maidoc of Ferns, with all his people,
living on water and biscuit so as to ransom the soul of Brandubh, son of Eochaidh, from hell."

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« Reply #52 on: May 31, 2011, 09:32:51 PM »

Go back and look at what I said:  I said that once a heart is hardened and is in Hell, it cannot be restored. 

Why?   This topic is about the toll houses and however much I dislike them, one of their good points is that they allow for repentance even after condemnation to hell.  See for example the story of the two abbesses and Saint Seraphim.

That is what I am talking about...there's that interim something before we join either the living or the dead...and it is in that moment, however it plays out, where there is still hope.  But once the heart is adjudged to be entirely hardened against all but its own misery, then I do believe as the Church does, that God will not force that soul.  It is not so bad, after all, this lesson that says we must never harden our hearts!!
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« Reply #53 on: May 31, 2011, 09:35:13 PM »

I understand you in this far better than you can know.  I want to believe that all things are possible with God...but I know that they are not always my ways that are His, and so I yield to my Church to the best of my abilities.  You know from those two paragraphs in the CCC that the Church hopes as well, and so I hope with you and with her.   Smiley...truly.



We can hope but we cannot act against what has been revealed to us and to allow a person to think that they can be prayed out of hell is a VERY irresponsible act.

Then you will have to blame it on the Irish in me and my Irish ancestors in the days when they were Orthodox!   laugh

There is no doubt that my ancestors in the faith, from the Emerald Isle, during the millennium when they were Orthodox believed that souls could be released from hell.   Take Saint Samthann of Clonbroney.  She was well known for the ability to get a soul out of hell.  Saint Aidan of Ferns was also known for this. Praying a soul out of hell was, however, not an uncommon accomplishment for Irish saints; one scholar Lisa Bitel has claimed it to be an "almost exclusively Celtic motif."

So, certainly in the early days when Christianity was fresh and strong they thought that they could pray a man out of hell. Now it may be seen as rather questionable theology in our days, for either Church. Maybe the early Christians were wrong. Who can say? Once again, their old belief places a gentle question mark over some of the things that we have declared certain.

Here is something from the Rule of Saint Maelruain, from the holy monastery of Tallaght. It is 8th century:

"There is nothing which a person does for a soul that has departed that does not help it,
both vigil and abstinence, and singing the intercession and frequent blessings.
Filii pro mortuis parentibus debent poenitere.

"A whole year therefore was Saint Maidoc of Ferns, with all his people,
living on water and biscuit so as to ransom the soul of Brandubh, son of Eochaidh, from hell."


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« Reply #54 on: May 31, 2011, 09:41:16 PM »

Now it is time for Father Ambrose to become the non-legalist.


Far too simplistic.  Far too lacking in appreciation for the depth and complexity of the human soul.  I am really surprised you are taking this oversimplified tack.

That's true...and I am very much like you in a way.  Sometimes it is time to hold a hard line and then once the teaching is mapped out, so to speak, then one can move with it...live with it...place that gentle question mark over it, as you say.

But there must be clarity first and acceptance and yielding of the will...then we can talk... Smiley

PS: In the line above I am thinking of myself and how I have come to understand and accept the hard teachings...
« Last Edit: May 31, 2011, 09:43:58 PM by elijahmaria » Logged

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« Reply #55 on: May 31, 2011, 10:06:49 PM »

I understand you in this far better than you can know.  I want to believe that all things are possible with God...but I know that they are not always my ways that are His, and so I yield to my Church to the best of my abilities.  You know from those two paragraphs in the CCC that the Church hopes as well, and so I hope with you and with her.   Smiley...truly.


This is a moment of grace!  Twice agreed in one day!  I am off to the icon corner to light a candle and say thank you!
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« Reply #56 on: May 31, 2011, 10:09:37 PM »

I understand you in this far better than you can know.  I want to believe that all things are possible with God...but I know that they are not always my ways that are His, and so I yield to my Church to the best of my abilities.  You know from those two paragraphs in the CCC that the Church hopes as well, and so I hope with you and with her.   Smiley...truly.


This is a moment of grace!  Twice agreed in one day!  I am off to the icon corner to light a candle and say thank you!


ha!!...I LOVE that heart smilie!!...Makes me think of a whole armload of balloons at the circus...I am such a kid.

Say a prayer for me while yer at it!!   angel



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« Reply #57 on: May 31, 2011, 10:09:41 PM »

I understand you in this far better than you can know.  I want to believe that all things are possible with God...but I know that they are not always my ways that are His, and so I yield to my Church to the best of my abilities.  You know from those two paragraphs in the CCC that the Church hopes as well, and so I hope with you and with her.   Smiley...truly.


This is a moment of grace!  Twice agreed in one day!  I am off to the icon corner to light a candle and say thank you!


LOL
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« Reply #58 on: May 31, 2011, 10:25:45 PM »

Is is the normative Eastern Orthodox position that the damned can be liberated from hell proper? If so, can you provide some sources on this? I was unaware of it and am interested. Statements like Matthew 25:46 ("They will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."), Mark 9:43 ("If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go in to hell, where the fire never goes out."), and John 3:36 (Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.") had always seemed to me to make pretty clear that hell was eternal, and I had never heard anything of the Eastern Orthodox differing on this point.

I can quite relate to what you are saying, Alcuin. Indeed, I would venture to suppose that most Catholics (at least in place like the US) never heard any idea about a soul leaving hell. Why? Simple: it isn't a point of disagreement between Catholics and Protestants.
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« Reply #59 on: May 31, 2011, 10:26:31 PM »

Obviously Metropolitan Hilarion believes that it does (as do the Copts), and so also does Saint John Maximovitch.   The belief which is becoming popular in some quarters that  Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, has not yet been created but it will be created when Christ returns as Judge, that belief may be erroneous?

So if this distinction is in error, then are Hades and Hell synonymous?

Before we can talk "on the same page"  you would have to define Hades and Hell.

I see some Orthodox say that Hades is

1.  the place of waiting for the good souls (those who made it through the toll houses)

but they say also that Hades is

2.  the place of waiting for the evil souls (those who did not make it through the toll houses)

Alveus,

I wasn't trying to knock you out of the discussion, and I'd be intererted in how you understand it. 
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« Reply #60 on: May 31, 2011, 10:29:22 PM »

Getting into Hell requires a hardened heart, and so the Church says that if you get there ultimately then that is that...as with the story of Lazarus and Dives.  There's no doubt that Dives wanted to be released...but the answer was very clear.  You cannot ignore that gospel witness.

Are you talking about Hell proper or rather Hades?

Metropolitan Hilarion speaks of the saving power of prayer for those in Hell, not in Hades but in Hell.

Please see message 43
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,32546.msg514548.html#msg514548

But how can this be, if Hell proper does not yet "exist"?

The Existence of Hell, the Lake of Eternal Fire

The great Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov taught that the eternal hell, the everlasting lake of fire is already in existence (I frankly thought that this was universal teaching and have been surprised to see things  from Americans denying it.)  He teaches that damned souls are taken there at death.

 
    "When the soul of a Christian, leaving its earthly dwelling,  and begins
to strive through the aerial spaces towards the homeland on high, the demons
stop it, strive to find in it a kinship with themselves, their sinfulness,
their fall, and to drag it down to the hell prepared for the devil and his
angels (Matt. 25:41). They act thus by the right which they have acquired.


"Homily on Death"
1863,  (Collected Works (vol.3). St Petersburg):


Matthew 25: 41 ~ "Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
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« Reply #61 on: May 31, 2011, 10:34:21 PM »

Is is the normative Eastern Orthodox position that the damned can be liberated from hell proper? If so, can you provide some sources on this? I was unaware of it and am interested. Statements like Matthew 25:46 ("They will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."), Mark 9:43 ("If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go in to hell, where the fire never goes out."), and John 3:36 (Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.") had always seemed to me to make pretty clear that hell was eternal, and I had never heard anything of the Eastern Orthodox differing on this point.

I can quite relate to what you are saying, Alcuin. Indeed, I would venture to suppose that most Catholics (at least in place like the US) never heard any idea about a soul leaving hell. Why? Simple: it isn't a point of disagreement between Catholics and Protestants.


Well, since Metropolitan Hilarion asserts that it is our teaching and he offers liturgical material, etc. to back it up..... and seeing that he is our Nunber One man in every international dialogue with the Roman Catholics, it may well become a point of disagreement when they get around to looking at it.   Cheesy  He was prepared  to tell the Copts they were wrong about it and he'll be telling you too.
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« Reply #62 on: June 01, 2011, 10:45:34 AM »

It's always seemed to me that if a soul goes to hell, it is because it isn't leaving - i.e you wouldn't end up in hell unless you had a hard heart. But I've also always thought it is deeply imprudent to engage in too much speculation on the plans of God for the dead, whether ourselves or others, so I think I'll largely withhold judgment on it.
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« Reply #63 on: September 13, 2011, 07:52:45 AM »


B-U-M-P

What is the Eastern Catholic Theology of the toll houses? 
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« Reply #64 on: September 13, 2011, 11:34:47 AM »

 I have to say I kinda like the way the Orthodox don't officially dogmatize on all aspects of the afterlife.  Frankly I don't see how anyone can really know for sure what happens after we die, and I'd like to think God has some surprises waiting for us! Cheesy
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« Reply #65 on: September 13, 2011, 11:37:18 AM »

I have to say I kinda like the way the Orthodox don't officially dogmatize on all aspects of the afterlife.  Frankly I don't see how anyone can really know for sure what happens after we die, and I'd like to think God has some surprises waiting for us! Cheesy

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« Reply #66 on: September 13, 2011, 03:42:32 PM »

Quote from: Saint Seraphim of Sarov

"Two Nuns, who had both been Abbesses, died. The Lord revealed to me how their souls had been subjected to the aerial tests, how they had been tried and then condemned. For three days and nights I prayed, wretched as I am, entreating the Mother of God for them, and the Lord in His goodness pardoned them through the prayers of the Mother of God; they passed all the aerial tests and received forgiveness through God's mercy."  

St. Seraphim of Sarov: A Spiritual Biography, Archimandrite Lazarus Moore,
New Sarov Press, 1994

This is one of the more frightening aspects of the toll house theory and highlights its danger to sober orthodox soteriology.  Without the prayers of a highly advanced Elder or Saint people don't make it through but are taken to hell.

These two abbesses had already been condemned to hell and were rescued by the prayers of Saint Seraphim.  How many ordinary Christians will have a Saint of that calibre to stop them going to hell?

But two important theological points emerge from this event in the toll houses...

1.  souls condemned to hell may be rescued
2.  God forgives sins after death.

Would this be acceptable teaching to Eastern Catholics?

If the description of toll houses provided above is wrong (which I believe it is), then why is such a great Saint describing it in these terms? Was St. Seraphim of Serov fooled?
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« Reply #67 on: September 13, 2011, 07:26:56 PM »

Quote from: Saint Seraphim of Sarov

"Two Nuns, who had both been Abbesses, died. The Lord revealed to me how their souls had been subjected to the aerial tests, how they had been tried and then condemned. For three days and nights I prayed, wretched as I am, entreating the Mother of God for them, and the Lord in His goodness pardoned them through the prayers of the Mother of God; they passed all the aerial tests and received forgiveness through God's mercy." 

St. Seraphim of Sarov: A Spiritual Biography, Archimandrite Lazarus Moore,
New Sarov Press, 1994

This is one of the more frightening aspects of the toll house theory and highlights its danger to sober orthodox soteriology.  Without the prayers of a highly advanced Elder or Saint people don't make it through but are taken to hell.

These two abbesses had already been condemned to hell and were rescued by the prayers of Saint Seraphim.  How many ordinary Christians will have a Saint of that calibre to stop them going to hell?

But two important theological points emerge from this event in the toll houses...

1.  souls condemned to hell may be rescued
2.  God forgives sins after death.


Would this be acceptable teaching to Eastern Catholics?

If the description of toll houses provided above is wrong (which I believe it is), then why is such a great Saint describing it in these terms? Was St. Seraphim of Serov fooled?

One good thing that comes out of it - souls condemned to hell after death may be saved
 Smiley
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« Reply #68 on: September 14, 2011, 06:37:08 PM »

Quote from: Azurestone link=topic=36571.msg637560#msg637560
Mustache March
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That'll be kinda hard on the women (though perhaps not those of us over 50).  Cool
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