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#332998 - 09/20/09 01:39 PM Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose [Re: Slavipodvizhnik]  
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Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik


dealing with defrocked Deacon Puhalo's ideas

More over, defrocked Deacon Puhalo's teaching

Ex Deacon Puhalo is far from the true Orthodox teaching on the soul after death.


Dear Alexandr,

Why do you insist so much on "defrocked"? Archbishop Lazar (Lev Puhalo) is a canonical bishop of the Orthodox Church in America and accepted as such by every Orthodox Church in the world, including of course the Patriarch of Moscow (who is my own Patriarch.)


You mentioned that the "leading opponents" of the toll houses teach psychosomnolence. I cannot bring anybody to mind. Where may we find their writings?

Achbishop Lazar Puhalo, *On the Nature of Heaven and Hell According to
the Holy Fathers*, (Dewdney BC : Synaxis Press, 1995), pp. 19-28

"Moreover, as we discussed in our previous book, *The Soul, The Body,
and Death*, (Chapter 6: "Things Done For the Reposed") the souls of the
righteous not only perceive in the realm of grace, but do not cease to
increase both in peace and spiritual advancement, being increased by
the prayers of the Church on their behalf. Indeed, theosis is the
blessed transfiguration and transformation of the whole human person,
within whom the Holy Spirit dwells. This person, so transformed, bears
a truly filial relationship to the Father as an icon of Christ."


Archbp Lazar ***SPECIFICALLY AND CATEGORICALLY*** identifies soul-sleep
as heresy:

"Since many fall into the error of speculation on these matters, two
extremes of opinion have arisen. The first error is that common to many
sectarians, who teach a heresy called 'soul-sleep,' or 'soul-slumber.'
This error is based partly on a misunderstanding of the symbolic use of
the word 'sleep' in Scripture and in certain of the holy fathers. This
teaching holds that at death, the soul is either buried with the body
or that it enters into a total comatose state and ceases not only its
psychophysical functions, but even its spiritual function and growth."


Achbishop Lazar Puhalo, *On the Nature of Heaven and Hell According to
the Holy Fathers*, (Dewdney BC : Synaxis Press, 1995), page 16

Last edited by Hieromonk Ambrose; 09/20/09 01:50 PM.
#333000 - 09/20/09 01:51 PM Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose [Re: Hieromonk Ambrose]  
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Dear Father Ambrose. Lev Puhalo was defrocked by the Synod that we both are subject to, and to my knowledge, this has never been rescinded. His rise to priest, bishop and archbishop was through various vagante and schismatic groups. What the OCA chooses to do is their business, but does not supersede the decision of ROCOR. The "Puhalo Question" is one of the subjects that the ROCOR OCA Commission is dealing with, and until the time that Synod says otherwise, he remains a defrocked deacon.

I was referring to certain internet personages that we both know, including, but not limited to, a certain reader known for his jurisdiction changing and loyalty to the teachings of Lev Puhalo. As none of these people are on this forum, it would not be right to drag their names into this discussion. But this issue has been raised innumerable times before, in other venues, and you know the players as well as I.

Alexandr

#333001 - 09/20/09 02:01 PM Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose [Re: Slavipodvizhnik]  
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Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
Dear Father Ambrose. Lev Puhalo was defrocked by the Synod that we both are subject to, and to my knowledge, this has never been rescinded.


The Act of Canonical Communion abrogates all acts and decisions on both sides which prevent the fulness of communion. It abrogates all the many statements made by ROCA that the Patriarchate of Moscow is uncanonical, that the election of its Patriarchs was false, etc., etc.

The defrocking of the clergy from the OCA who defected to ROCA over the years was specifically and formally annulled by the OCA recently and the decision was delivered to Metropolitan Hilarion by Metropolitan Jonah. To my knowledge there has been no reciprocal gesture by ROCA but it would be churlish to refuse.

In any way, my supreme "Great Lord and Father" (as I pray at all services since the 2007 union) is the Patriarch of Moscow and I am in communion with whomsoever he is in communion. The Third Rome has spoken. Dare New York oppose it? :-)

#333002 - 09/20/09 02:04 PM Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose [Re: Slavipodvizhnik]  
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Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
I was referring to certain internet personages that we both know, including, but not limited to, a certain reader known for his jurisdiction changing and loyalty to the teachings of Lev Puhalo.


It will be great to know that the quotes showing that Archbp Lazar does not advocate soul sleep were supplied by just that reader. LOL! He supplied even more but I cut it down so as not to overburden the Forum.

#333003 - 09/20/09 02:12 PM Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose [Re: Hieromonk Ambrose]  
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The Third Rome
Touche'! smile

Moscow has also, wisely, I might add, bestowed autonomy upon ROCOR, thusly we have the OCA commission headed by my bishop +GEORGE of Mayfield, who, as we speak, is reviewing the matter of ROCOR/OCA relationships, and until such matters are resolved, and an ukase issued regarding such, we remain in a state of "status quo". ROCOR recently defrocked former Bishop Agafangel, and Moscow did not intervene, and when the Puhalo case is brought up for decision vis a vis ROCOR, I will be obedient to the decision of my hierarchs.

Alexandr

#333004 - 09/20/09 02:16 PM Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose [Re: Slavipodvizhnik]  
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Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
Touche'! smile

Moscow has also, wisely, I might add, bestowed autonomy upon ROCOR, thusly we have the OCA commission headed by my bishop +GEORGE of Mayfield, who, as we speak, is reviewing the matter of ROCOR/OCA relationships, and until such matters are resolved, and an ukase issued regarding such, we remain in a state of "status quo". ROCOR recently defrocked former Bishop Agafangel, and Moscow did not intervene, and when the Puhalo case is brought up for decision vis a vis ROCOR, I will be obedient to the decision of my hierarchs.

Alexandr


I can only repeat that I am in communion with whomsoever my Patriarch is is communion and I am sure that Metropolitan Hilarion and the Synod of Bishops of ROCA take the same view.

#333005 - 09/20/09 02:17 PM Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose [Re: Slavipodvizhnik]  
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Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
Touche'! smile

Moscow has also, wisely, I might add, bestowed autonomy upon ROCOR,


Quick note. Moscow has not bestowed autonomy upon ROCA but the lesser status of a self-governing Church.


The provisions which govern Self-Governing Churches of the Church of Russia
are given in Chapter VIII of the Ustav. See

http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/133132.html

Paragraph VIII has been amended, 27 June 2008, to include the Russian Church Abroad:

http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/428872.html

#333029 - 09/20/09 07:53 PM Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose [Re: Little Boy Lost]  
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Father Ambrose,

There are a few facts that need to be cleared up. In this thread, you write:

Quote
some Eastern Catholic theologians have stated that theosis is finite and that Purgatory is the final stage of theosis. For example, this is taught by Dr Anthony Dragani, an Eastern Catholic theologian writing on EWTN.


And elsewhere:

Quote
Over the years both Eastern Catholics and a few Orthodox have asked him to correct what he has written and he still insists that Purgatory is the Final Theosis


And again:

Quote
he adheres to his stated belief that Theosis is finite and its end corresponds to what in the West would be seen as an exit from Purgatory. Ot in other words, theosis ceases when a soul reaches Heaven.


Would you agree that you are drawing many conclusions here? I have never stated that "theosis is finite," nor that "theosis ceases when a soul reaches Heaven." Nor do I adhere to these beliefs, which I have never stated.

Quote
Your article says that the Final Theosis takes place during the transition from death to Heaven, during the time which Latin Catholics would call Purgatory.

"In the East, we tend to have a much more positive view of the transition from death to Heaven. Rather than "Purgatory," we prefer to call it "the Final Theosis."


What I was trying to state here was simply this: there is common ground between the Latin view of purgatory and our belief that theosis continues after death. I did not mean to imply that theosis ends after we enter heaven, nor do I believe that today. Now did I word this in the best way possible? Probably not. I am, after all, a human being.

Now... for the truth about all of this. Back when I was answering questions for EWTN, several years ago now, I didn't always approach this task with great precision. As a very busy grad student, I didn't have time to. I made more than a few mistakes. But my heart was really in it, and I would like to believe that in the long run I did far more good than harm.

The first time that this question was asked, I didn't really spend much time pondering my answer. Instead, I rattled off what I had been taught in grad school from a very knowledge professor who possessed an exemplary knowledge of the Church Fathers.

The response of mine from 2004 shows that I hadn't really given the concept of theosis being infinite a whole lot of thought up until that point. Once I heard it, though, it made perfect sense to me, as it fit in with my understanding of Palamas. Up until that point, though, I was neither believing nor arguing that theosis comes to an end when we enter heaven. This was a question that, simply put, didn't occupy much of my thought process.

Years later a good friend of mine who is a proficient webmaster proposed the idea of creating the East2west faq on my website. I said "go for it." He collected some of my answers from over the years, and put them together into a useful FAQ which is geared towards novices. In my opinion, he did a tremendous job. The site has gotten a lot of positive feedback over the years, and I am happy that it has brought some people into a richer appreciation of the faith.

So in the midst of this story, I hope that one thing becomes clear: I did not devise a nefarious belief that theosis is finite, and then obstinately hold to it and propagate it across the internet. Not at all. Rather, I answered some questions to the best of my ability, passed on what I had learned in grad school, and allowed a friend to compile a web page. Make sense?

Years later, a concerned reader directed me to some forums where a "Fr. Ambrose" was saying some harsh things about me. This priest was saying that I was spreading the heresy that theosis is finite. Someone in this discussion even suggested that I should be excommunicated. Were you this very same "Father Ambrose?" He may not have called me a heretic, but he accused me of creating and spreading a heresy. Wouldn't that make me a heretic? (For the record, I'd prefer being called a Heresiarch). wink

To see just one of many examples of this, do a google search for "Dragani's heresy" and see what comes up. I've seen similar posts from a "Fr. Ambrose" in other threads and forums as well.

Much of the confusion as to my position probably comes from the term "final theosis," which, as I have stated, was taught to me in graduate school. But the term itself does not indicate that theosis comes to and end, only that there is a final stage, so to speak. A number of writers over the years have spoken of a "final theosis," without meaning that theosis is finite.

Quote
Any concrete references to writings which use the term "Final Theosis" would be much appreciated. In English, Russian or Serbian.


As you wish:

Hilarion Alfeyev, St. Symeon the New Theologian, 257


According to Alfeyev, the Athanesian emphasis is on “the ontological difference between our adoption by God and deification on the one hand, and Christ’s sonship and divinity on the other: in the final deification ‘we become sons of God, but not in the same manner as He is, not by nature and reality, but by the grace of Him Who called us.’”


Hilarion Alfeyev, St. Symeon the New Theologian, 264

“Elsewhere Symeon refers to the relics of the saints as proof of their final deification. Their bodies, since they were united with deified souls, are kept for many years without decomposition, being preserved for their final restoration and incorruption. In this argument Symeon follows John of Damscus, who also claimed that the saints became gods by adoption and cited as an example the incorruption of their relics.”

Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, p. 244

“In the ceaseless struggle of the way of ascent, the way of cooperation with the divine will, created nature is more and more transformed by grace until the final deification which will be fully revealed in the Kingdom of God.”

Vladimir Losskly, The Vision of God, p. 99:

“The perfect knowledge of God which is attained in the age to come is no longer the ultimate goal, but one aspect of the final deification or of ‘the spiritual world of delights’ (τρυφῆς δὲ τρόπος πνευματικός ), as St Cyril says. We shall know Christ who will shine in us by the Holy Spirit, because we shall have ‘the mind of Christ’ (νοῦς Χριστοῦ) of which St Paul spoke, and this mind of Christ is the Holy Spirit present in us.”

St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality, by John Meyendorff, p. 103.

“Hence Palamas refused to give credence to what the ancient philosophers said of the knowledge of God. He developed a realistic doctrine of supernatural knowledge, independent of any sense experience but granted in Jesus Christ to man as a whole – body and soul – admitting him here below to the first fruits of final deification and the vision of God, not by his own powers but by the grace of God.”

The Hope of the Early Church: A Handbook of Patristic Eschatology, by Brian Daley, p. 202.

“Maximus makes it clear in a number of passages that the final divinization of rational creatures will only be realized in those who have shown themselves worthy of God's gift.”

Transcendent Mystery in Man, by Andrew N. Woznicki, p. 10.

“Kerygmatic proclamation of the possibility of the final divinization of each and every individual man is possible only by a metanoic and charismatic transformation by God.”

Saintly and Ascetic Life in the Church of Alexandria, by Metropolitan Makarios (Tillyrides) of Kenya and Irinoupolis.

“There were also champions and witnesses of the faith, who far from worldly comforts, tried to stress the importance of the spiritual battle for perfection of the individual and his final theosis.”

As these quotes hopefully demonstrate, using the term "final theosis" (or one of its equivalents) does not imply a belief that theosis is finite.

Now, as I stated before, I do not wish to be drawn into a debate with you. I don't have time, as a lot is happening in my life right now. I would, however, like to put this to rest between us. I have no quarrel with you, and hopefully we can recognize each other as brothers, not as adversaries.

Quote
If you have come to a realisation since then that theosis *is* an infinite process, may I sincerely entreat you to alter your article on Purgatory


All that you ever had to do was ask nicely. I will instruct my webmaster to add a note to that article, making it abundantly clear that Eastern theology teaches that theosis is an infinite process, and does not cease when a person enters into heaven.

Are we good?

Tony

#333037 - 09/20/09 09:40 PM Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose [Re: Slavipodvizhnik]  
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Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
Dear Father Ambrose. Lev Puhalo was defrocked by the Synod that we both are subject to, and to my knowledge, this has never been rescinded. His rise to priest, bishop and archbishop was through various vagante and schismatic groups. What the OCA chooses to do is their business, but does not supersede the decision of ROCOR. The "Puhalo Question" is one of the subjects that the ROCOR OCA Commission is dealing with, and until the time that Synod says otherwise, he remains a defrocked deacon.

I was referring to certain internet personages that we both know, including, but not limited to, a certain reader known for his jurisdiction changing and loyalty to the teachings of Lev Puhalo. As none of these people are on this forum, it would not be right to drag their names into this discussion. But this issue has been raised innumerable times before, in other venues, and you know the players as well as I.

Alexandr


Alexandr,

You will refer to the man as Archbishop Lazar as he is a bishop in good standing of the OCA, your personal feelings not withstanding It is the policy of this forum to refer to clergy in good standing by the name and title they use and you will adhere to it.

Fr. Deacon Lance


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
#333040 - 09/20/09 10:51 PM Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose [Re: Hieromonk Ambrose]  
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AFAIK there's no problem with the toll-houses in Catholic doctrine, which AFAIK teaches the particular judgement. The toll-houses are a Russian folkloric explanation of that: perfectly good opinion.

The particular judgement is not the same as the intermediate state (commonly called purgatory in the West), which both sides believe in and without which prayer for the dead would make no sense. All Catholic doctrine requires is belief it exists and somehow those in it are helped by prayer.

#333042 - 09/21/09 12:03 AM Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose [Re: The young fogey]  
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Originally Posted by The young fogey
AFAIK there's no problem with the toll-houses in Catholic doctrine, which AFAIK teaches the particular judgement. The toll-houses are a Russian folkloric explanation of that: perfectly good opinion.


Your words chime with those of Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky. He was Russia's leading theologian before the Revolution and he became the First Primate of the Russian Church Abroad. His comment when asked about the toll houses: "The toll houses? Something the village people might believe in."

Quote
The particular judgement is not the same as the intermediate state (commonly called purgatory in the West), which both sides believe in and without which prayer for the dead would make no sense.


The implications of praying for the dead are not what people may think. The Orthodox have been praying for the dead for all of 2000 years and have not felt the need to adopt any teaching of purification to explain what and why. It makes sense without purgatory.


The Catholic Encyclopedia admits: "In the final analysis the Catholic doctrine of purgatory is based on tradition not Sacred Scripture."

For at least the first two centuries there was no mention of purgatory in the Church. In all the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, Irenaeus and Justin Martyr, there is not the slightest allusion to the idea of purgatory.

Praying for the dead was becoming a common practice by the beginning of the third century but it does not, in itself, prove that the early Church believed in the existence of a purgatory.

The written prayers which have survived, and the evidence from the catacombs and burial inscriptions indicate that the early Church viewed deceased Christians as residing in peace and happiness and the prayers offered were for them to have a greater experience of these.

As early as Tertullian, in the late second and beginning of the third century, these prayers often use the Latin term refrigerium as a request of God on behalf of departed Christians, a term which means 'refreshment' or 'to refresh' and came to embody the concept of heavenly happiness. These very early terms are still used in Eastern prayers for the dead.

So the fact that the early Church prayed for the dead does not support the teaching of purgatory for the nature of the prayers themselves indicate the Church did not view the dead as residing in a place of suffering.

#333043 - 09/21/09 12:06 AM Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose [Re: Dragani]  
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Originally Posted by Dragani
Father Ambrose,
All that you ever had to do was ask nicely. I will instruct my webmaster to add a note to that article, making it abundantly clear that Eastern theology teaches that theosis is an infinite process, and does not cease when a person enters into heaven.

Are we good?


Thank you very much indeed and yes, we are good. It will be wonderful to see the statement clarified.

#333052 - 09/21/09 02:41 AM Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose [Re: Hieromonk Ambrose]  
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Dear brother and sister forum members,

It has been rather wonderful these last few days with the depth of interaction with people, especially with Stuart and ajk. I have thoroughly enjoyed the discussions. However, I now need to cut back my internet time and to cut back participation in the Forum. I'll still enjoy reading and participating but at a much lower level. Much love to everybody.

Fr Ambrose

#333056 - 09/21/09 07:12 AM Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose [Re: Hieromonk Ambrose]  
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Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
The Catholic Encyclopedia admits: "In the final analysis the Catholic doctrine of purgatory is based on tradition not Sacred Scripture."

Perhaps this is from the New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967). The Catholic Encyclopedia (1913) says:
Quote
The Catholic doctrine of purgatory supposes the fact that some die with smaller faults for which there was no true repentance, and also the fact that the temporal penalty due to sin is it times not wholly paid in this life. The proofs for the Catholic position, both in Scripture and in Tradition, are bound up also with the practice of praying for the dead.


It also quotes Trent:
Quote
Whereas the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has from the Sacred Scriptures and the ancient tradition of the Fathers taught in Councils and very recently in this Ecumenical synod (Sess. VI, cap. XXX; Sess. XXII cap.ii, iii) that there is a purgatory,...


The recent and authoritative Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
Quote
1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:...

#333066 - 09/21/09 09:45 AM Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose [Re: Hieromonk Ambrose]  
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Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
The Orthodox have been praying for the dead for all of 2000 years....


but

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
For at least the first two centuries there was no mention of purgatory in the Church... Praying for the dead was becoming a common practice by the beginning of the third century...


So... development of doctrine?

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
The Catholic Encyclopedia admits: "In the final analysis the Catholic doctrine of purgatory is based on tradition not Sacred Scripture."


That line of argument sounds Protestant: if it's not named in scripture (as interpreted by Luther, Calvin, my pastor, me) it's out.

It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins (2 Mac. 12:46).

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