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Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? #70364 05/03/03 05:21 PM
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Originally posted by Teen Of The Incarnate Logos:
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[b]What exactly is required for belief for Catholics regarding the idea of purgatory? ... What is required is what has been defined.
Paul,

Look at the last two lines of Ghazar's post. This is all that's required. Other than that, the plethora of traditions held by the Church are all equally valid.

To All:

No tradition regarding "Purgatory" is better than the other, and I don't see anyone who claims this. Stop accusing and splitting hairs!

Logos Teen [/b]
Ghazar, Logos,

Agreed brothers! Well said!!

As I follow this discussion it seems that the word "purgatory" is a lightning rod to some people. The two basic beliefs that you two articulated are not disputed. smile

If I haven't made it clear, let me say, I am in no way trying to sell "Latin purgatory" to my Eastern friends.

Paul

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? #70365 05/03/03 08:45 PM
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Logos - Alexis Offline
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If I haven't made it clear, let me say, I am in no way trying to sell "Latin purgatory" to my Eastern friends.
No problem, Paul, I knew you weren't!

I like the Latin understanding best anyway!!

Logos Teen

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? #70366 05/05/03 01:42 PM
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Dear Friends,

Yes, the fact is that the Eastern Church really does make a "business" of praying for the dead!

There are twelve periods in which we pray for the dead throughtout the year and the Office of Saturday is dedicated to prayer for the reposed as well.

I was formerly taught that the reason Protestants don't pray for the dead is that they don't believe in Purgatory. One equalled the other, in other words.

But I would add one more point to show the difference between East and West.

Purgatory in the West is a process or state of purgation that is required for entrance into Heaven (the East would say "Heavenly Forecourt before the Second Coming of Christ").

So, in other words, once a person leaves purgatory and is in Heaven, they no longer require our prayers (but, of course, we can never know WHEN a soul arrives in heaven etc.).

But, for the East, we can and do pray for those who already ARE in heaven.

If you refer to the priestly prayers immediately following Consecration in the Divine Liturgy of Chrysostom, you will see that the priest prays FOR the Mother of God and all the Saints and all the righteous etc.!

Why does he do this, if they are already in Heaven?

We pray FOR them because our prayer can also increase their great union with God.

There is no 'static' relationship between God and Man in the East - our union with God deepens eternally in heaven!

So even if there was no state or procession of purgation, the East would still pray for the dead and we would still build on that kind of relationship within the context of the communion of saints.

For those of you who came out of Protestantism under the influence of Catholic apologetics, remember that the terms of reference for both traditions are similar - and that is owing to the influence of Augustine, FYI.

Alex

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? #70367 05/05/03 07:10 PM
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Interesting comments Alex.

Of course we pray for the forgiveness of sin, but your take on the liturgical commemorations made me very curious. You make the word "for" do a lot of work here, especially when the context is clearly about their praying for us:

"for..., and for all Your saints, through whose prayers, O God, visit us."

What is most intriguing, however, is the fact that the commemorations in the Liturgy of St. Basil are slightly different really contain your idea. Do you know (or anyone) of any commentaries by St. John Chrysostom (or others), that discuss, exactly what he had in mind here?

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? #70368 05/05/03 07:20 PM
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Dear djs,

Ah, you and Lemko Rusyn are the scholarly types here! You want references, foot-notes, bibliographies etc. wink

Good for you!

Fr. Hopko's commentary is excellent and I believe, but don't remember, that he got into that. Fr. Thomas would know.

I'm only now really getting into the Fathers and their writings directly - currently getting through St John Cassian.

I think that the text of Chrysostom's liturgy speaks for itself in that, yes, the Saints pray for us - and we for them.

"For" cannot, of course, mean that we are praying for the forgiveness of their sins etc.

But it is the case that we can offer the Divine Liturgy "for" them or toward their ever-increasing glory - something that Latin theology affirms as well.

So in this sense, our praying "for" the Mother of God and the Saints is not "for" something they lack in terms of holiness or righteousness, but "for" their greater glory in heaven - and there is no limit to that.

For me, the "for" in our Liturgy really "does it" in terms of the Communion of Saints.

Is that word as good for you as it is for me? smile

(I'm still giddy from yesterday's ordination).

Alex

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? #70369 05/06/03 01:37 AM
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The difference between East and West here bothers me.

Firstly, the Western Catholic Church leads us to believe that one can enter Heaven before the Second Coming. The Eastern Churches take a different approach. I guess it doesn't matter if there have been no dogmatic pronouncements on the matter, but it bothers me.

Secondly, if prayers are efficacious for those in Heaven, isn't the West doing a great disservice by not advocating this? Does the Western Church deny that this can happen (prayer for those in Heaven)?

Perhaps the two are interrelated. Since Easterners believe we can't fully enter Heaven until the Second Coming, then quite obviously they would also hold that prayer for those in "the Heavenly Forecourts" are efficacious. While this doesn't exactly qualify as post-Second Coming Heaven, it's close. And perhaps the reason the Western Church doesn't advocate prayer for those in Heaven is because it holds that the faithful CAN enter the "real" Heaven pre-S.C.

??????

Logos Teen

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? #70370 05/06/03 04:27 AM
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Alex,

My question is this:

If we are to interpret "for" as "for their greater glory", something not explcit in the text, then something interesting happened in the writing of this liturgy: while the text here remains in length and overall content very similar to that of St. Basil's liturgy, there is a very dramtic shift in meaning.

I would guess, then, that the writer of the St. John Chrysostom liturgy would either have had in mind the meaning of the Basilian (so-to-speak) text, or, if he had intended such a dramtic shift, that there would have been some commentary on it. Looking around on-line I don't see much detailed discussion of these commemorations. I wouldn't be surprised if there is some dissertation on this topic collecting dust somewhere.

(PS I am intrigued by this partly because, in the old days when "silent" prayers were silent (and as our cantor rarely took the long settings of the anaphora responses in Bokshaj), the first indication that I remember of a (Sunday) liturgy of St. Basil was the shift of the usual "Izradjdni o presvjati'ij, ... Marii" to "Izradneju o presvjateju ... Marijeju").

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? #70371 05/06/03 04:53 AM
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Originally posted by J Thur:
Dear Tony,

Did you read my post where I mentioned a lot of "ironing out" that needs to be done? What are you trying to get at?

Can you imagine what it was like twenty or thirty years ago? Can you not appreciate the progress being made so far? To date, I have never heard any sermon on indulgences in church.

As for 'official texts', the answer is NO. Most of our liturgical texts that we cantors use are not official, but private publications from "approved sources" and by "liturgical commissions." No sense of authorship, editorship or ownership, but the name of the monastic institution. I can't think of ONE liturgical publication that I use in cantoring that IS official except for the Typicon we follow faithfully. Period. So I guess this DOES say something about our 100+ year history in this country. Hopefully, things will change.

In all translations and textual reconstructions, critical studies do have to be made. At one time we never had anything on St. Gregory Palamas or Photius. Now we do. We used to celebrate other feast days NOT in any festal menaion (Catholic or Orthodox). Now we don't.

This is akin to biblical studies, no? All the pieces and parts must be studied and re-studied. Even non-catholic/orthodox church traditions are gradually adopting the LXX and "Apocrypha." Can you imagine editions of the KJV including the Apocrypha? These books haven't been included since the first several editions of the KJV!!! These things take time once de-railment is fixed.

Would you like to cooperate in making this happen?

How's Crestwood these days?

Joe
Joe,

Christ is Risen!

The initial question was
Quote
My question to anyone who might care to help me is what opinion a good Byzantine Catholic might with good conscience hold on the existence of purgatory? Are we expected to be more "Roman" or "Orthodox" in this regard?
The responses, especially yours, have tended toward an idealized, educated position. I do not believe that the average BC faithful in the pews has read/heard what would be necessary to arrive at the same conclusions you have. My point is simple: The average BC who grew up in a more-or-less Latinized parish, who likely attended RC school, who today when he/she reads theological literature will likely read RC stuff, who likely heard sermons on the subject of purgatory growing up in his/her parish, who might have even heard a BC bishop talk about purgatory, what is that person in good conscience to believe? I honestly believe that if you took a poll you would find that most BCs believe in purgatory as defined by the Latins. To do otherwise requires a greater effort which may or may not even be available to the faithful. My opinion is the same regarding the Immaculate Conception.

I am well aware that there is no native Byzantine language to discuss "purgatory" and if it has been done by Orthodox in a positive way it is surely by way of borrowing language and represents the private opinion of those individuals.

I have, however, yet to be convinced that such matters as these are negotiable within the (Roman) Catholic Communion.

Again, to arrive at the conclusions you have does not seem to me what the average BC in the USA without considerable effort, perhaps including specialized higher education, could do. I am not saying what BCs should or should not believe, but I do think that what is likely that they will believe is very evident.

Tony

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? #70372 05/06/03 05:00 AM
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Originally posted by Hieromonk Elias:

I merely answer the question "What must a Byzantine Catholic believe?", by quoting our hymns. That is how I express my faith, ...and I find in these inspired texts the best formulation of our heritage. Our Liturgy, is how I profess my faith.

Snip

That is probably why I should remain silent, and let the hymns canonized by our Byzantine Church speak!
Dear Fr. Elias,

Christ is Risen!

According to Cantor Joe Thur there are no official translations in the Ruthenian BC Church. I cited texts relating to the "Conception of St. Anne" that use Immaculate Conception language, I am told these are not official. I know that they are not official, but it seems that they are hallowed by use. If they are erroneous, more than just on the point of translation, but truly textually, isn't that a big problem for BCs?

Tony confused

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? #70373 05/06/03 02:56 PM
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Dear Tony,

Under the influence of the Kyivan Baroque in the time of St Peter Mohyla, purgatory became accepted even among Slavic Orthodox.

Mohyla refused to adhere to the judgement of the Orthodox Patriarchs who expunged this from his catechism and continued to have it taught in his Metropolia.

Ultimately, the "attraction" with purgatory, if I may say it this way, is that it is conceptually much easier to understand as an explanation for why we pray for the dead.

Alex

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? #70374 05/06/03 03:05 PM
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Dear Teen Logo,

Again, the differences between East and West should remain as such - there is no need for the two to try and resemble one another.

The Orthodox view of the "forecourt" of heaven suggests that our union with Christ won't be complete until the Second Judgement, when we will return to our composite "being-hood" as bodies and souls united.

The souls in the forecourt of Heaven are with Christ and experience heavenly bliss and can intercede for us.

The Latin Church already does what the Eastern Church does with respect for prayer in honour of the Saints.

Roman Catholics may offer Mass in honour of any Saint and, as Latin theology teaches, this Mass does bring greater joy and bliss to the Saint etc.

In addition, whether we are RC or Orthodox we pray continually for the dead since this prayer brings them closer to God.

We do not know the judgement of God in these matters and therefore there is no time at which we can stop praying for the departed because "they no longer need our prayers, they're in heaven etc."

Our struggle for union with Christ in God by the Spirit begins right now and we rely on each other's prayers in that struggle. We continue to do so in the next life and until the consummation of the ages.

Alex

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? #70375 05/06/03 03:12 PM
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Dear djs,

Certainly, it is a topic worthy of lengthy discussion as part of Eastern eschatology.

Ultimately, however, I think that Eastern thought here tends to be much less defined than Western thought.

Liturgical phrases in the East can be variously interpreted without declaring one to be the right one and the others less so.

Far from being a weakness in Eastern theology as compared with Western, I think that the East takes the aspect of mystery here and elsewhere very seriously.

To offer the Divine Liturgy "for" the Saints is like a "Zen" statement - how can one "pray for" someone who the Church affirms is already in Heaven?

The same idea is also contained in the opening verses of the Lord's Prayer itself - how can God's Name be sanctified more than it already is?

It can be if we pray for His Name to be sanctified in our own lives as we move from sinfulness and darkness to light in the process of Theosis.

In the same way, offering the Divine Liturgy for the Saints is to invoke the Source of their holiness, God the Word Incarnate, to increase their glory even more.

Alex

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? #70376 05/06/03 03:25 PM
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Christ is Risen!

This is from the First Homily of St. Mark of Ephesus:

"Some souls, departed this life in faith and love, must be cleansed in the very departure from the body, thanks only to fear; while others must be cleansed after the departure from the body, either while they remain 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 HELL, but not in order to remain forever in fire and torment, but as it were in prison and confinement under guard.

From the above Homily of St. Mark of Ephesus, we get the idea that Heaven and Hell are incomplete at this time (those in heaven are not experiencing the complete joy; and those in hell are not experiencing the complete sorrows due them), this is the Orthodox understanding of heaven and hell until the Final Judgment, after the Final Judgment, both heaven and hell will become "complete." Hence, there is no mention of Purgatory, only Hell, where some sinners go to be cleansed before approaching God in heaven.

It seems the Catholic Church looks for precision in doctrine (everything spelled out neatly in black-and-white) while Orthodoxy feels that there are some things, especially those dealing with the age to come, that have not been revealed to us by God in their every detail. It would seem that if Eastern Catholic's are Eastern in Theology and Doctrine, they would, or should, accept the same notion as the Orthodox in their view of the afterlife (not everyting is spelled out), hence, they would believe that, as the Orthodox do, that heaven and hell are incomplete and won't be complete until the Final Judgement.

Any thoughts on this?
Dan

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? #70377 05/06/03 04:08 PM
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Dear Dan,

The Orthodox view, in essence, gives everyone a CHANCE to be finally saved, at the Last Judgement of Christ.

St Peter Mohyla said that even if we see someone die in grievous sin, our responsbility is to pray for that person to ask God not to punish him or her according to their sin, but to look kindly upon them in accordance with His mercy.

Works for me . . .

Alex

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? #70378 05/06/03 05:00 PM
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danj:

Interesting quote from St. Mark. But I think that your interpretation is not quite right.
Did he really say "hell"? Is the emphasis on [not] "forever" or [not] "in fire and torment"

Here's a passage that includes a summary of Orthodox discussion at Florence.

Quote
Purgatory

The recently published "Catechism of the Catholic Church" defines the Roman
Church's doctrine of purgatory as follows: "All who die in God's grace and
friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their
eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to
achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. 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..."[8]

The Orthodox objection to the doctrine of purgatory, expounded at the council
by Metropolitan Bessarion of Nicaea and by Mark of Ephesus, is that the Latin
doctrine rests on a distinction between a temporal and an eternal fire, a
distinction which the Orthodox reject. "Bessarion continued by explaining
that there is one eternal fire only. The temporal punishment of sinful souls
consists in that they, for a time, depart into a place of darkness and sorrow
where they are punished by being deprived of the Divine Light. However, they
can be delivered from this place of darkness and sorrow through the prayers
of the Church, the Holy Eucharist and deeds of charity done in their name --
but not by fire."
http://www.ephesus.com/Orthodox/St.Mark-of-Ephesus.txt

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