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Byzantine Catholic Purgatory?

Posted By: Matheon

Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 04/25/03 01:37 AM

Christos Voskrese!

I've been attending a Ruthenian Rite (Byzantine Catholic) Church since 1994, although I was born and raised in the Latin Rite. I took it upon myself during the time of the last Great Fast, to really study the theology and history of the Eastern Churches in a depth I haven't pursued before.

The more I read the more I admired the Eastern perspective. However, I came upon an issue that is now troubling me. That is the issue of purgatory. Being raised Latin Catholic, I've always took purgatory for granted as an article of faith. I have discovered in my reading that it is the Orthodox view that purgatory does not exist, and that our souls all go to hell (with those whose ultimate fate is paradise given a view of paradise that makes their stay in hell more tolerable) until the final judgment when we will all be reunified with our bodies, judged, and sent to our final destination. I apologize if this short description is inaccurate, and certainly open to the wise opinion of fellow Byzantine Forum members on whether the gist of that description is at least correct.

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?

I've been defending the concept of purgatory against protestants for most of my life, and I now feel quite taken aback.

Any counsel on this issue troubling my sleep would be greatly appreciated.

Matthew, a sinner
Posted By: Theosis

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 04/25/03 01:58 AM

Glory to Jesus Christ!
Glory to Him Forever!

Dear Matheon,

Greetings! smile I'll tell you what I know about this topic (very limited though.) I know that the Orthodox teach that the righteous go to paradise if they are worthy of it at death. Although, this "paradise" isn't heaven proper. True heaven and the completeness of our redemption will only occur when we are reunited to our bodies at the resurrection.

The Orthodox traditionally have a teaching that says that if souls die with more serious sins on their soul (that need to be purified in the afterlife) and haven't brought forth enough fruits of repentance, they are confined in hell for a period of time. (Side note: "Fruits of Repentance" seems akin to the Roman Catholic notion of "temporal punishment." Although, the latter is a much more judgmental view of God. The concept seems the same though.) They are purified by this time in hell and are released by the prayers and liturgies of the Church said on their behalf. St. Mark of Ephesus said this in his First homily on "Refutation of the Latin Chapters Concerning Purgatorial Fire." This is of particular interest to me for it is practically the whole doctrine of purgatory. Roman Catholicism generally teaches that the same fire that torments those in hell purifies those in purgatory. St. Augustine himself was of the persuasion that purgatory was an upper chamber of hell, as was St. Thomas Aquinas I think. Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians seem to be in agreement here on the idea of purification after death being done by fire, the same fire in hell, and the whole issue of a "third state" is easily resolved when purgatory is seen as a chamber of hell.

A sinner,

Adam
Posted By: Administrator

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 04/25/03 02:11 AM

Hi, Matthew!

Welcome to The Byzantine Forum.

I'm sure others will post but our Byzantine Catholic Church does not embrace the theology of purgatory and has no developed official doctrine on the matter. The short of it is that there is a journey of the soul after death which can be likened to a purifying ascent to the Father. Pray by those left behind is good and helpful.

Admin
Posted By: griego catolico

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 04/25/03 02:53 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Administrator:


I'm sure others will post but our Byzantine Catholic Church does not embrace the theology of purgatory and has no developed official doctrine on the matter.
Admin
Dear Administrator,

Christ Is Risen!

Is not purgatory an official doctrine of the Byzantine Catholic Church? While the East and West have different theological views of purgatory, it is a doctrine of the universal Catholic Church, and thus to be believed by all in communion with the Catholic Church.
smile

God bless you,
griego
Posted By: Tony

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 04/25/03 03:07 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Administrator:

I'm sure others will post but our Byzantine Catholic Church does not embrace the theology of purgatory and has no developed official doctrine on the matter.
Dear Administrator,

I was at the last Otpust in Uniontown that Metropolitan JUDSON was at. At the Liturgy and Panachida in the cemetery (I am sure you know which one I mean, Saturday?) the Metropolitan gave a homily and spoke about praying for the dead. He said that as Catholics BCs believe in Purgatory. I was there, I am sure others on this board were there too. He was unequivocal about it.

What is one to make of that?

Tony
Posted By: Father Deacon Ed

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 04/25/03 01:33 PM

To All:

Because of the union of the Eastern Catholic Churches with Rome there have been certain adaptations in our language. While Eastern Christians (both Catholic and Orthodox) never developed a theology about the end-of-life transition we have, in general, picked up the Latin terminology.

The concept of Purgatory that the Latin Church currently uses -- a purgation of our failings during the transition from life to death -- is indeed something that is closely akin to our own unofficial thinking. We look at the entire duration of life as a process of theosis, and that would include the transition from life to death. Consequently, the acceptance of this idea is not inconsistent with our own roots and traditions.

Note, however, that the former Latin understanding of Purgatory as some sort of high-temp waiting room which could be mitigated by prayers and good works is not consistent with our understandings. Fortunately, even that can be described as Rome does today.

So, as with all compromises, it is not the best description -- but at least the current expression is reasonably close to ours.

Edward, deacon and sinner
Posted By: paromer

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 04/25/03 05:12 PM

Dear Friends,

I ran across this passage:

St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote that "after the departure from the body (a soul that is not purified) ...will not be able to participate in divinity, unless the cleansing fire will have purged away all stains on the soul."

My understanding of purgatory is that it is a process, not a place/location.

Comments?

Paul
Posted By: griego catolico

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 04/25/03 09:48 PM

Fellow Forum members,

Bishop John Elya, Eparch for Melkite Catholics of the United States, answered a question on praying for the dead and offering indulgences for them. You may read his answer at: www.melkite.org/Questions/W-4.htm

Another question of interest- with a mention about purgatory- is: www.melkite.org/Questions/R-9.htm

Responses?
Posted By: Danj

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 04/26/03 01:58 AM

Will everyone stop beating around the bush, and please answer Tony's question straight-forward!!

Dan
Posted By: Logos - Alexis

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 04/26/03 03:49 PM

Matheon,

All we as Catholics are bound by Faith to believe is that

1) There is a place in which souls are purified for Heaven
2) Prayers are efficacious for these souls.

That's all! The rest is non-essential, and in these non-essentials Eastern and Western Christian theology differs; but I see that as a good thing.

Logos Teen
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 04/26/03 03:53 PM

Is Purgatory to be considered a NOUN or a VERB?

If a NOUN, then it is a PLACE.

If a VERB, then it is a PROCESS.

Since many Catholics use the CCC as their final say in matters theological, what is its conclusion: noun or verb?

If a process, then when did the term take on a noun-ish derivative? and why?

It was asked: "... what opinion a good Byzantine Catholic might with good conscience hold on the existence of purgatory?"

The term "good" reminds me of those whites who considered a "good" black to be one who didn't challenge the status quo of racism. I hope that our "good"-ness is not determined by how well we define our faith in Western terminology and concepts. If this is not what is considered "good" by the original poster, then I apologize.

I believe that one of the articles of the Union of Brest was not to debate this particular issue - since it was so meaningful and important to Latins. Correct me if I am wrong.

Joe
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 04/26/03 04:03 PM

Quote
Originally posted by griego catolico:
Is not purgatory an official doctrine of the Byzantine Catholic Church? While the East and West have different theological views of purgatory, it is a doctrine of the universal Catholic Church, and thus to be believed by all in communion with the Catholic Church.
Griego catolico,

But didn't you just admit that East and West have different theological views? How can that be so if they all have to express those theological views according to Medieval Latin theology? Why doesn't the Latin Church accept the universal doctrine of Mary's Dormition? or the universal catholic doctrine of St. Anne's conception as celebrated and expressed in her Catholic Eastern theology?

Latin 'doctrine' makes not a litmust test of my Catholicism; communion does.

Our code states in Canon 28.1:

"A rite is the liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony, culture and circumstances of history of a distinct people, by which its own manner of living the faith is manifested in each Church sui juris."

Now why is it that we can have our 'differences' but only if those differences agree lock, stock, and barrel with Latin liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony?

Exactly what Catholic Church are you talking about? Eastern Catholics aren't the ones with the problem here. This is a problem that the majority Latin Catholics have to come to terms with. Can the 'catholic' nature of the Church accept orthodox views not stemming from Latin liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony?

It is a problem of ego and loving others. All the words of Vatican II, papal encyclicals and words of support by individual Latin bishops don't mean diddly squat if we can't get past Canon 28.1

Most "good" Eastern Catholics suffered much to maintain that Catholic communion. Their story is written with the blood of martyrs.

Joe
Posted By: Matheon

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 04/27/03 05:21 AM

Christos Voskrese!
Voistinu Voskrese!

I wish to thank everyone for their enlightening replies. I certainly hope that my first post on these forums doesn't lead to any rancor.

I find a great deal of merit in Logos Teens suggestion that one should focus on the similarities and respect the differences between the Traditions.

As for my wording of "good Byzantine Catholic", I pray that in charity my poor wording can be seen in the best possible light that I originally intended.

I read with great interest the links that Griego catolico posted. What I found most striking was Bishop John's nearly explicit adoption of the "theory of doctrinal development", that is the Roman Catholic concept of a theology that grows in stages, to higher and more clearly defined levels of knowledge. This seems quite different to the theological approach that I understand the Eastern Churches hold. It is my humble interpretation that Eastern Churches believe that Church theology has been "fixed" since the first Church Fathers, and cannot be added to or subtracted from.

It is this philosophic difference, I have been lead to believe, that has allowed the Roman Church to develop the idea of purgatory, indulgences, and other concepts alien to the Eastern Churches.

Again, if my characterizations of these views are mistaken, I apologies, and only ask for clarification.

I am quite interested what other forum members might think of my observations.

Matthew, a sinner.
Posted By: griego catolico

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/01/03 08:41 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Tony:
[QUOTE]
I was at the last Otpust in Uniontown that Metropolitan JUDSON was at. At the Liturgy and Panachida in the cemetery (I am sure you know which one I mean, Saturday?) the Metropolitan gave a homily and spoke about praying for the dead. He said that as Catholics BCs believe in Purgatory. I was there, I am sure others on this board were there too. He was unequivocal about it.

What is one to make of that?


Dear Tony,

As a bishop of the Catholic Church, Metropolitan Judson is upholding Catholic doctrine and teaching the Catholic faith to his flock. The existence of purgatory is a doctrine of the Catholic Church which is to be held by all in communion with the Catholic Church, both East and West.

I have yet to find any official church document which declares that Eastern Catholics are not to believe in so-called "Latin doctrines". In fact, I have found otherwise. A few years ago the Holy Father added new articles to the Code of Canon Law for the Eastern Churches in which it states that Catholics in union with the magisterium of the Church must believe all doctrines that the magisterium teaches.

There are no "Latin doctrines", there are only Catholic doctrines.

griego
Posted By: Brian

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/01/03 09:21 PM

Quote
Originally posted by griego catolico:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Tony:
[b] [QUOTE]





There are no "Latin doctrines", there are only Catholic doctrines.

griego [/b]
That is why I could not go on calling myself "Orthodox in Communion with Rome" when in the Byzantine Catholic Church. For me, it was non-sensical, if one had to accept Papal Infallibility and other non-Eastern Christian beliefs, how could you say you were Orthodox??
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/01/03 10:17 PM

Christ Is Risen!

I come out of voluntary exile for this post and this post only because I feel it is important enough to convey regarding the Orthodox Catholic concept of Purgatory. It is from my files and is an answer to a question I posed in an Orthodox Catholic discussion group -

===========

The following reply is from a convert to Orthodoxy and is probably the most profound and simplest explaination  I have ever read regarding the Orthodox Catholic concept of the soul after death and Purgatory.  I share it with you now -
 
QUESTION:  (Asked by OrthoMan)
 
<<In  'The Complete Book of Orthodoxy' by George W. Grube the following
sentence appears within the explaination of PURGATORY -

"If there is, any suffering in the after life, some Orthodox Catholic
theologians teach, it is of a purifying nature and not punitive."

I find this to be confusing because, isn't this exactly what the Roman
Catholic teaches in regards to Purgatory?  Can someone explain this sentence
and its meaning from an Orthodox Catholic viewpoint?

Bob>>

ANSWER:  (by Reader Tmothy Copple)

Some have already responded to this, and I have not looked at all of today's
post, so if this subject has died out and I am behind the times here, or all
of this has already been said, please excuse me.

Out of the post I have read, it seems there is some confusion about this
issue. So, I will try to give the general differences between RC purgatory
and Orthodox understanding of the soul's purification in the next life.
There are similarities and differences.

First, one must stop and think what the word "punishment" really means. It
is essentially, a corrective measure that is used upon someone for their
ultimate benefit. Originally, the concept of "punishment" had a very
redemptive and healing aspect to it. However, as it tends to be used today
(at least in theological talk), it tends to refer to arbitrary dishing out
of misery, often to "pay back" some wrong or injustice. We see this in our
own laws, one can see a paying back and a hope of it bringing healing when
we send someone to jail. In strict law sense, however, I think the intent is
to ultimate reform the person, or at least keep them out of society so that
they do not harm others. Revenge is more the emotional side of it from the
victim's standpoint.

Due to the above, the concept of punishment has taken on more of a "paying
back" or retribution, and is then a word that people who focus on the
healing aspect like to stay away from. This probably comes from the concept
of satisfaction atonement, where the whole idea of Jesus dying on the cross
was to pay back to the Father a debt of sin that we could not. That is also
why the RC idea sounds so much like they are saying (to a Protestant) that
Christ's forgiveness wasn't good enough, since it didn't entirely pay the
debt, that we by suffering punishment still had something left to pay off
for our sins. Thus, while the RC held to some degree of the satisfaction
theory, and while that did predominate at certain times, they still had the
context of healing, even if it was buried at times and forgotten. The
understanding of "punishment" can be interpreted in either direction.
However, I would tend to stay away from it now if just because its common
connotation does not lend itself to really expressing the reality of what we
believe, and will automatically put forth a picture of God that is
incompatible with Orthodoxy's.

That said, Orthodoxy does understand a purifying to take place in the next
life, which St. Paul also speaks about (and RC uses to support Purgatory as
well), that all our works will be put through the fire, the stone, gold,
etc. will remain while all that is of hay, straw, etc. will be burned away.
Even if it is all burned away, however, if the foundation which has been
laid is Jesus Christ, that person will be saved as through the fire.

Since this is scripture, and the Fathers also speak about the purifying of
the soul in this life and the next, this is something we cannot just toss
aside. However, there are some significant differences between what I have
understood of the RC's concept and Orthodoxy's on this purifying in the next
life.

One of the biggest differences is when this purifying takes place, and the
purpose and reason of the purifying. RC teaches that one must be purified
*before* approaching God. Orthodoxy tends to teach that one is purified
*upon* approaching God.

First, one must understand the need for purification. Keep in mind that this
is a journey. Our movement is towards the likeness of God being instilled in
our life and a growing relationship with Him. The closer we move towards
God-likeness, it basically means the less of this temporal world that we
hold onto and the more of the Spirit that we have. (Read St. Seraphim of
Sarov on acquiring the Holy Spirit as an example of this.) Some folks have
attained to the angelic life in this life. My own patron saint, the Apostle
Timothy, disciple of St. Paul, was said to have been such a person.
Incidentally he was martyred for preaching against the pagan worship in
Ephesus, where he was a bishop of the Church. A mob came and beat him with
stones and clubs. Anyway, most of us will not get there in this life time.
We hold onto too much of this world's treasures. We don't go and "sell all
that we have" to follow Christ. Thus our sins build hay and straw structures
in our lives. We are forgiven for the sins through repentance and
confession, and the relationship to God is kept whole, but we still have
that straw hut over there that we have a hard time tearing down and building
it with something of the virtues. We struggle with that in many areas. We
wish to build things in our lives with our passions instead of the virtues.

Thus, what happens for many is they leave this life with some of our life
built out of gold, silver and other sturdy materials, but we also have some
of our life built out of the straw and hay. What we are doing on this
journey is working on tearing down the straw and hay structures and
replacing them with the stones of virtues.

The need is the same in either communion, that these areas of our life built
by the passions cannot remain in the presence of God. However, the solution
to how those are dealt with varies. RC says that they must be burned away
before entering God's presence. Therefore, there is a place, or time, or
some existence that one has that one goes through this fire and is purified
of these things. Naturally this is not going to be pleasant and does feel
like a "punishment" even though it is for our benefit. When I got punished
as a child for playing in the street, it was to protect my life, not to
cause me pain for the heck of it. Yet, the concept here is that God's
holiness cannot allow any impurity and will automatically be rejected.
Therefore, if one comes into God's presence with some impurity, the idea is
that person will be rejected except that the impurity is cleansed
beforehand.

In Orthodoxy, God is understood as an "All Consuming Fire" that we are
either lighted with or heated by. This fiery presence is in Orthodoxy what
purifies us. Upon coming to God, His very presence burns away all
impurities. All that remains will be the gold, silver and other virtues of
our life, and at that point we will be freed from all that once weighted us
down in this life, and freed to ascend in greater ways to God. For those who
have progressed far with eradicating the passions from their lives and have
attained a great God-likeness through the Spirit, there will be little to
burn away, if any, and their transition into God's presence will be fully
like the three holy Children in Daniel, who when the king threw them into
the furnace heated 7 times greater than normal, all experienced it as a
"dewy cool breeze" instead of a burning fire. There will be many, however,
that will experience this entry to God's presence with some pain and
suffering. Not due to God inflicting punishment on them, but due to the
reaction of bringing impurity into God's holiness. The two cannot mix. It is
like mixing two chemicals together that produce an explosion. Neither
chemical "caused" it to happen, it simply happened by bringing them
together. Thus it will be with the consequences of sin in our lives that we
have yet to clean out in this life, it will get cleaned out in the next for
us.

Therefore, there are two different understandings at work here, one which
says that we cannot come into God's presence without being purified first
because God will reject us as a person otherwise, and one which says that in
coming into His presence, He doesn't reject all those in Christ, but He does
"reject" and burns away all that is incompatible with His presence in us.
Yet, if we have Christ, we hold onto that relationship and the burning is
only temporary (whatever temporary means there), whereas those who do not
have Christ, upon coming into God's presence, experience the second death,
total and unending fire of His presence. That is "hell".

The next difference comes in our prayers for these people. Somehow over time
the RC concept mutated from what we understand as Orthodox to this whole
system of merits and the applying them from one to another. Initially, the
understanding of "merits" simply meant that a particular saint who was close
to God due to their humility and love of God in their life, who had
eradicated much of the passions and established the virtues, had by that
reason acquired the life that has faith which can move mountains. This is of
God's doing, not the saints, and the saint continually keeps this in mind if
he/she does not with to fall. However, Christ says we will be able to do
that, and like the demon that the disciples could not cast out because they
had not fasted and prayed as they should have, one's acquiring the Holy
Spirit in humility does have something to do with how well one is able to
help others with a gift God has given them, whether that is healing,
hospitality, etc. Thus, there are some that have more "merit" in their lives
than others. Doesn't mean one has earned salvation, but simply that one has
acquired a certain relationship with God which allows them to transmit to us
more of God's mercy and grace within our lives. That is why we ask people to
pray for us, in hopes that they have a relationship with God that will aid
us. So one sees the Fathers speaking of merits at times, and some current
Orthodoxy material will also speak of them as well.

However, somehow in the RC circles, this grew into some sort of "thing" that
one can almost measure. So if one did such and such a thing, it would give
them X number of merits from a saints abundant storehouse of merits (he/she
had more than they needed for themselves). I think one can find examples
where this has gone to extremes such as the selling of them (as if the
Church owned them), and the more legalistic "pray this prayer and get 2000
merits" which I read something similar to that in some Catholic literature
once.

In Orthodox understanding, such prayers and gifts of the saints cannot be
moved around like that, nor can you store up a saints merits for when you
get to "purgatory" yourself. All that a saint can help you with in that
regard is to pray for you and help guide you to acquiring the "merits" for
yourself so that when you get to God, you will experience the least amount
of burning possible. Nor are they quantified as something measurable. Yet,
we deem the prayers of the saints as powerful and a great help in time of
need, and they work towards our salvation and redemption of our whole life.
Consequently, Orthodoxy has never built us such a system of merits as the RC
has.

Those are the two main differences between our views of this purifying in
the next life as I have understood things. May others correct my mistakes.
Perhaps there are others, but my post has gone on long enough as it is.

======

Back into exile !

OrthoMan
Posted By: Danj

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/01/03 11:22 PM

The aforementioned being said leads me to believe that Eastern Catholics are obligated to accept the Latin interpretation of Purgatory, as the late Metropolitan Judson said several years ago at the Otpust (according to Tony). This, coupled with Bishop John Elya's explanation on Indulgences on the Melkite website: "Ask the Bishop" forum. Bishop John stated that as Eastern Catholics we must accept EVERYTHING the Pope and Rome teaches, including the concept of "Indulgences" as understood in the Catholic Church today (anyone care to elaborate on the official teaching on indulgences today???).

All things considered here, I feel it's a no-win situation. We can tell others we are "Orthodox in communion with Rome" all we want, but there is a great incongruity in this statement when it comes down to the theological issues (ie: I feel we are not being honest with ourselves and others when we label ourselves with this title).

I once told my college professor (a Catholic priest) that I was an Orthodox Christian in Communion with Rome, and he literally laughed me to scorn. He told me that it's a terrible contradiction to call oneself this, as communion between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches is not a reality yet. There are two different theologies here (Orthodox and Catholic respectively), and we are doing a good job in cutting-and-pasteing both together, which, in my humble opinion, is not good (does't the Unitarian-Universalists do something like this in their "theology?"-- a great mix of everything). We are what we are, Eastern Catholics under the rule of the Pope--he has the final say.

This may be harsh, but, I feel, it's the cold reality of our situation.

Christ is Risen!

St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre intercede to God for us!

Dan
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 01:42 AM

Christ is Risen!

Did someone say "Byzantine Catholic Purgatory?"

I would like to quote passages from the Parastas of our Byzantine Burial liturgy that may shed light on the goings-ons of the immediate afterlife and whether there is any mention of a Purgatory:

- - - - - - - - - - -

Litany: &#8220;That he/she/they be numbered with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob &#8230;&#8221;; &#8220;That he/she/they be committed to the region of the living, to the place of light where all the Saints and the Just repose &#8230;&#8221;; That he/she/they inherit the eternal kingdom of heaven &#8230;&#8221;; That he/she/they share the constant joy prepared for the Saints from the beginning of time &#8230;&#8221;

Troparioa: &#8220;&#8230; give rest to the soul(s) &#8230;&#8221;

Hymns for the Deceased: &#8220;Have mercy on Your creature&#8221;; &#8220;&#8230; in Your compassion cleanse me&#8221;; &#8220;Grant rest, O God, to Your servant and place him/her/them in Paradise where the choirs of Saints and Righteous shine like stars&#8221;

Canon:

Ode 1: &#8220;The courageous martyrs, in their heavenly mansions continually implore you, O Lord: Deem the faithful, whom You have taken from the earth, worthy to receive Your eternal blessings&#8221;;

[Side Note: Ode 3 states: &#8220;For You exalted the power of Your faithful, O Gracious One, and confirmed us on the rock, the profession of faith in You.&#8221; (ROCK = profession of faith in Christ). Worthy of another thread?]

Ode 3: &#8220;Grant, O Gracious One, the he/she who comes to You &#8230; may dwell joyously in the eternal mansions&#8221;

Ode 4: &#8220;&#8230; receive him/her/them &#8230; and make him/her/them a child/children of Your light, having dispelled the haze of sin from him/her/them&#8221;

Ode 5: &#8220;&#8230; grant a heavenly dwelling-place and the reception of Your gifts to Your faithful servant(s) who has fallen asleep &#8230; grant him/her/them the remission of sins&#8221;; &#8220;Grant to your departed Your heavenly kingdom&#8221;

Ode 6: &#8220;&#8230; favor Your faithful servant(s) who You have taken from the earth, to meet You in Your splendor&#8221;; &#8220;Place now, in the heavenly delight, Your servant(s) who departed to You in faith&#8221;; &#8220;&#8230; we have ascended from earth to heaven, freed of the corruption of death&#8221;

Kontakion: &#8220;&#8230; give rest to Your servant(s) where there is no pain, sorrow, nor mourning, but life everlasting&#8221;

Ode 8: &#8220;&#8230; accept the faithful who piously departed from this life and have come to You&#8221;; &#8220;&#8230; graciously place in the land of the meek all those who have already fallen asleep &#8230;&#8221;; &#8220;&#8230; allow &#8230; the departed, in faith, may enjoy Your bright and divine splendor.&#8221;; Grant him/her/them rest in the bosom of Abraham and impart to him/her/them eternal beatitude &#8230;&#8221;; &#8220;&#8230; since You have taken him/her/them from the place of affliction and shadow of death, now place him/her/them where Your light shines&#8221;

Alternate Canon:

Ode 1: &#8220;Disregard the transgressions of youthful days &#8230; remit the sins of Your servant(s) who has just fallen asleep; and number him/her/them among the Chosen Ones&#8221;; &#8220;&#8230; grant to Your servant(s), whom You received, the abundant glory and gladness enjoyed by those who already attained the blessed life&#8221;; &#8220;&#8230; and called forth those resting in the grave: graciously grant that he/she/they, whom You have accepted, may dwell in the mansions of the Just&#8221;; &#8220;&#8230; You remitted the sins of Your servant(s) &#8230;&#8221;; &#8220;&#8230; that He may rest the soul(s) of His departed servant(s) among the Saints &#8230;&#8221;

Ode 4: &#8220;You have many mansions, O Savior, which is allotted to all according to their merits and the measure of their virtues &#8230;; &#8220;&#8230; You &#8230; have shown the way of life to us. Grant that same life to the departed &#8230;&#8221;; &#8220;&#8230; make him/her a partaker in Your light&#8221;

Ode 5: &#8220;In the mansions of the Saints &#8230; grant to the departed &#8230; Your ineffable glory and Your blessedness &#8230;&#8221;; &#8220;&#8230; place Your servant(s) in the bosom of Abraham where the angelic Hosts and the assembly of the Righteous rejoice&#8221;; &#8220;You proved &#8230; to be our purification, our righteousness and deliverance &#8230; place the departed in the joys of paradise&#8221;

Ode 6: &#8220;&#8230; by Your death You destroyed the stronghold of the enemy and freed all captives held therein, bestowing life to them. Grant the same &#8230; to the departed&#8221;; &#8220;&#8230; deliver Your servants, detained in the abyss, from their tears and sighing &#8230;&#8221;

Ode 7: &#8220;You give glory of Your divine kingdom to those who departed in faith. Grant also the robe of incorruption to those &#8230;&#8221;

Troparion: &#8220;With the souls of the Just brought to perfection, give rest &#8230; to the soul(s) of Your servant(s), keeping him/her/them for the blessed life &#8230;&#8221;

Litany of the Deceased: &#8220;Let us pray for the repose of the soul(s) of the departed servant(s) of God &#8230; and that his/her/their every transgression &#8230; be forgiven him/her/them&#8221;; &#8220;&#8230; that God commit his/her/their soul(s) to the place where the Just repose&#8221;; &#8220;&#8230; for the remission of his/her/their sins&#8221;

Prayer (Collect): &#8220;&#8230; grant rest &#8230; to the soul(s) of the servant(s) &#8230; in a place of light, joy, and peace, where there is no pain, sorrow, nor mourning&#8221;

Dismissal Prayer: &#8220;May Christ &#8230; place the soul of His departed servant(s) &#8230; in the abode of the Saints, grant him/her/them rest in the bosom of Abraham, and number him/her/them among the Just &#8230;&#8221;

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

In reviewing those passages in the Parastas regarding the events/processes of the immediate afterlife, it seems that two things stand out: (1) forgiveness of sins of the departed and (2) granting rest of the departed in the heavenly abode where the Saints are.

Such graphic imagery and color is given to the final destination place: region of the living, place of light-joy-peace, among the chosen ones, blessed life, mansions of the Just, paradise, robe of incorruption, eternal kingdom of heaven, heavenly mansions-kingdom-delight, heaven, land of the meek, bosom of Abraham, place of repose for Saints and the Just, eternal beatitude &#8230;

There seems to be no interest in a halfway "place' or intermediate "process.'

Those who died are considered as only having &#8220;fallen asleep;&#8221; we pray that eternal &#8220;rest&#8221; be granted to them.

This life is considered the stronghold of the enemy, the abyss.

But before we consider the mention of purification as implying a Purgatory, let us note that in the Byzantine theology found in the canons of the burial service are tied into the Descent of Jesus into Hades as well as a few other themes. For instance, the thematic structure of each ode in the Canon sung is thus:

Ode's Structure:
I: [Irmos] Old Testament Canticle / Praise of the Lord
II: Death of Christ / Saints and Martyrs
III: Descent into Hades (Hell) / Heaven
IV: The Departed: Remission of Sins / Partaker of Heaven
V: Theotokos

Any mention of an &#8220;abyss&#8221; or such should be considered in relation to the theme of Christ's descent into Hades.

As for whether Byzantine Catholics should/must/can believe in a Purgatory as defined and understood in the tradition of the Latin patrimony without their &#8220;Catholic&#8221; identity being at stake &#8211; I would suggest that the actual "imbedded' theology be taken into account and not someone's assumptions.

&#8220;For You exalted the power of Your faithful, O Gracious One, and confirmed us on the rock, the profession of faith in You.&#8221;

God bless!
Cantor Joe Thur
Posted By: Hieromonk Elias

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 01:58 AM

Cantor Joe,

A worthy exposition. Thank you for your post, and for the correct answer to "what Byzantine Catholics believe". If we are not our hymns, we are nothing.

Elias
Posted By: elexeie

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 02:16 AM

What about toll houses (though some in Orthodox cicles reject this) compared to purgatory?

ruel
Posted By: elexeie

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 02:26 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Danj:
There are two different theologies here (Orthodox and Catholic respectively), and we are doing a good job in cutting-and-pasteing both together, which, in my humble opinion, is not good (does't the Unitarian-Universalists do something like this in their "theology?"-- a great mix of everything). We are what we are, Eastern Catholics under the rule of the Pope--he has the final say.

This may be harsh, but, I feel, it's the cold reality of our situation.

Dan
Christ is Risen!
(Maligayang Pasko ng Pagkabuhay!)

True, there are two different theologies. But does this two theologies need to clash and compete with one another? My auxiliary bishop once said in his homily in the mass for the graduating class of theology in a seminary that theology is not done by the head but rather theology must be done by the heart, through the heart, and with the heart. He exhort them to do theology with love because if theology is "the science of God" smile it should not be an agent of division. Theology is not a competition.

The two theologies (Orthodox and Catholic) should not compete with each other but if love will be the groundwork the two will complete each each other.

ruel
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 01:00 PM

Dear Orthoman,

You have graced us all at the Byzantine Forum with your presence among us during Bright Week!

Thank you for that truly wonderful exposition on the soul after death from the Orthodox Catholic point of view.

What I found extra special about it is the insight about our purification, in Orthodoxy, "when we approach God."

That is truly a difference between Orthodoxy and Catholicism that exists in other theological areas as well!

The Roman doctrine of Purgatory suggests that we can not enter heaven as sinners but need to be purified in a "state" or whatever beforehand. This is why, at the Council of Florence, the Romans asserted separate "states" for souls in the afterlife - and why the Orthodox at that failed union council were shocked to be hearing it for the first time . . .

The Orthodox view is the "better" of the two because it underscores that our purification, even after death, is dependent on the Grace of God.

We see Christ in all His loving and powerful Glory.

We then realize how we have constantly failed to respond properly to this Divine and loving Being in our lives and that is when, as we approach His embrace, that our imperfections are "burned" so as to be healed.

And the prayers of the Church can always aid us in our purifying approach to Christ.

Anyway, please remember that you are cherished, remembered and loved here - always and forever!

Who da man? YOU da man!

You da ORTHOMAN! smile

Your sinful but loving friend,

Alex
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 01:04 PM

Dear Friends,

The whole issue of whether or not we, as Eastern Catholics "must" accept Purgatory and indulgences is one on which there is no agreement.

I know MANY Eastern Catholic priests and a number of bishops who take our acceptance of these Roman doctrines for granted.

And they would be scandalized to hear our "rejection" of them, or at least the rejection of the terminology.

When a bishop, such as my own, and one of YOUR own too, it seems, tell us that we must accept these doctrines, what are we to do?

I respect Hieromonk Elias and Cantor Joseph very much!

But are we to take their word over that of bishops? wink

So, on a very basic level, how are we to respond to our bishops and priests when they tell us we MUST accept the terminology (even if we can give them a "Byzantine twist")?

Who wants to have go at our bishops first? wink

Fr. Elias, you've been absent as a poster here for a long time, why don't you go first?

(You've been teaching DavidB about the Eastern Church have you? wink If so, I see you've been doing a great job! smile )

Alex
Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 02:06 PM

This is an interesting thread.

I think an important question to ask from a Catholic perspective is this:

What exactly is required for belief for Catholics regarding the idea of purgatory? Granted, Roman theology has evolved way beyond the Eastern Church on this. But, Roman theology is not required belief for Catholics. What is required is what has been defined. What has been defined so far? Only that there exists for some this purification which is called purgatory.

David Ignatius DTBrown@aol.com
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 02:19 PM

Dear David,

The Roman Church has developed "way beyond" the Eastern Church here?

Is that a good thing necessarily?

Alex
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 03:01 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
I respect Hieromonk Elias and Cantor Joseph very much!

But are we to take their word over that of bishops? wink

So, on a very basic level, how are we to respond to our bishops and priests when they tell us we MUST accept the terminology (even if we can give them a "Byzantine twist")?
Alex,

I don't think the late Archbishop Judson was proclaiming mandatory articulation of Purgatory and/or Indulgences in the way you and other may have thought. Mind you, Pittsburgh was the last to re-institute Infant Communion, the last to drop the Filioque from the Creed, and the last place I know that still talks about Indulgences. It takes time for some areas of the Church to iron out the inconsistencies due to the people he was addressing. Note that the same pilgrim site also has a wide following of Fatima - with the grotto and rosary hour included. But even here we are seeing the reintroduction of the Marian Akathist! It takes time.

Why is it that every time a bishop or the Pope of Rome makes a statement, the Dogma Crowd sends out their police to enforce compulsory belief and install the possibility that some may loose their Catholic identity cards?

Our liturgical calendar used to list the feast of the Immaculate Conception even though we never celebrate the dogma; rather, we HAVE celebrated the feast of St. Anne's Conception to which our Festal Menaion for the day is based. The day has even been moved per the Typicon as it should.

At the pilgrimage site, one can visit the shops and purchase many religious articles rarely promoted in our own churches. The icon shop next door is much smaller in comparison, but is there nonetheless. The gift shop her in Burton did have a box of something Eastern Christian, but it was lying on the floor behind the counter. One would get the impression that the bookstore folks were being permitted to promote another form of religion - just so it wasn't Eastern Christian.

What I am trying to say, Alex, is that some places (and people) have to catch up. There are many pastoral considerations, things you keep reminding us about, that have to be factored in. It is a process; a learning curve.

The treasures have been in a dusty old box in the attic for too long and we forgot what they were for. Even the language is different. Many 'pop' culture religious items and gadgets have replaced those treasures - as well as the thinking that goes with them.

I posted above the many allusions to the goings-ons of the afterlife taken from our Parastas. How can one promote something not celebrated? In turn, we DO remember St. Gregory Palamas and St. Photius the Great, but there is still a hesitancy to come out with it. Some parishes still do not process with icons on the First Sunday of the Great Fast (Triumph of Orthodoxy) because of its connotations. Though a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Grace graces the front lawns of many a church property. My home parish still has Our Lady of Fatima statue with additional statues of the kneeling children before it.

But there ARE those older folks who remember well what we used to do in church before the Era of Deconstruction (call it Latinization, if you will). After this past Sunday's liturgy, one visiting woman (a senior) expressed thanks that I and our schola chanted all the hymns according to the proper tones. To me, this was only sensible because this is how we are supposed to sing, but considering where she was coming from the seriousness of her comment went deep: even in those little things like singing the proper tones have become lost.

How can we make sense of what we believe if we don't even know how to begin to pray and celebrate it? If 'lex orandi, lex credend' means anything, it certainly didn't or doesn't for many even today.

Call my harkening back to our school of worship, the liturgy and the hymns, old fashion or out of touch, but a theology disconnected from its wellspring is a theology from another well. But I remain committed to a 'grass roots' approach to our theology as found in how we worship. The words and rites all have meaning and beauty when done consistently and done well; no abbreviations or short-cuts that disfigure that image.

Many churches do not sing ALL the hymns of the Canon or even consider attempting to do the Hymns of St. John Damascene. This is sad. So much theology and depth, coming from those who seem to know much better than our own 10-second theo-bite understaning will ever attain. People DO listen to the words in our liturgy more than we may think. We do ourselves a dis-service by passing them up to get to "Mass." Usually, by the time I sing the sticheron Tone 5 at the Hymns of St. John Damascene the family of the deceased begins to cry heavily - the words (hopefully not my poor attempt to sing wink ) are affective:

"I recall the Prophet crying out: I am ashes and dust. And again, I looked into the graves and saw bones laid bare and I said: Which is king or soldier, rich or poor, righteous or sinner? Despite all this, O Lord, give rest to Your departed servant with the Just."

What does this mean for the surviving spouse? the children? the rest of the family and friends? the parishioners and pastor?

How can we even begin to consider these questions if the best example of our theology is a closed book, and unsung hymn, and theology never considered or taught? But darn you (fist raised) if you fail to articulate anything and everything according to how the Latins are doing it - for your Catholic nature and communion is at stake! May God have mercy on your soul!!! (wagging head in empathy)

My God, who makes up these rules?

In regards to the Otpust comment about Indulgences and such, consider the audience. Do you think the gravesite liturgy was a time and place to give a dissertation on such things? If so, the people weren't ready for it. Wherever the people were at, they had to connect. The bigger question about this is: Does it make it into our Eastern Christian Formation (ECF) teaching material? The answer is obvious.

Unfortunately, our learned understanding that everything must begin and end with "Mass" tears that theological understanding as lived in our parishes. Our marriage and funeral services have become mere 'frames' around the Mass 'picture.' In this climate we will never allow the theology, as expressed in OUR OWN liturgies, teach us what WE believe and HOW we articulate those beliefs.

Sticky Note theology NOT!

Cantor Joe Thur
Posted By: Hieromonk Elias

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 03:54 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:


And they would be scandalized to hear our "rejection" of them, or at least the rejection of the terminology.

Alex
Dear Alex,

Christ is Risen!

I don't reject anything of this teaching. 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.

I never said any other formulary was wrong, nor do I reject them. I pray to God that I never scandalize anyone. That is probably why I should remain silent, and let the hymns canonized by our Byzantine Church speak!

Christ is Risen!

Elias
Posted By: Father Deacon Ed

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 04:19 PM

Cantor Joe,

Let me tie together two of your posts with a single answer. You ask if "purgatory" is a noun or a verb asserting that if it is a noun it must be a "place" (in philosophy this is known as the fallacy of "false dilemma"). Actually, it could also be a "state of being" which, in fact, is what the Latin Church has always defined it as. This "state of being" is the remittance of sin which, in a sentient being, must also be accompanied with a sense of what should have been. It is a purgation of our faults and failings and, as such, is represented in the hymns you cite.

For example, you cite:
Quote
Ode 4: “… receive him/her/them … and make him/her/them a child/children of Your light, having dispelled the haze of sin from him/her/them”
The term "make him/her/them" shows a change, a transition and this is, in fact, process (even that which is instantaneous involves a previous state and a future state so process is inolved).

Many of the other hymns indicate this process as well (what is, for example, the "corruption of death" that we have escaped?).

Edward, deacon and sinner
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 04:40 PM

Bless me a sinner, Father Elias,

The only possible way that you can be said to "scandalize," Father, is when you don't post here as often as we would all wish you to . . .

You know we all love and cherish you as our great Spiritual Father in Christ!

Alex
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 04:42 PM

Dear Cantor Joseph,

Well, why don't you consider a teaching career in the sociology of religion?

An excellent presentation on purgatory and the Eastern Church, if I may beg your, er, indulgence . . . smile

God bless!

Alex
Posted By: Tony

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 05:25 PM

Quote
Originally posted by J Thur:


I don't think the late Archbishop Judson was proclaiming mandatory articulation of Purgatory and/or Indulgences in the way you and other may have thought. Mind you, Pittsburgh was the last to re-institute Infant Communion, the last to drop the Filioque from the Creed, and the last place I know that still talks about Indulgences. It takes time for some areas of the Church to iron out the inconsistencies due to the people he was addressing.

Snip

Our liturgical calendar used to list the feast of the Immaculate Conception even though we never celebrate the dogma; rather, we HAVE celebrated the feast of St. Anne's Conception to which our Festal Menaion for the day is based. The day has even been moved per the Typicon as it should.

Snip

How can we make sense of what we believe if we don't even know how to begin to pray and celebrate it? If 'lex orandi, lex credend' means anything, it certainly didn't or doesn't for many even today.

Snip

In regards to the Otpust comment about Indulgences and such, consider the audience. Do you think the gravesite liturgy was a time and place to give a dissertation on such things? If so, the people weren't ready for it. Wherever the people were at, they had to connect. The bigger question about this is: Does it make it into our Eastern Christian Formation (ECF) teaching material? The answer is obvious.

Snip

Cantor Joe Thur
Dear Cantor Joe,

Christ is Risen!

It seems to me that the event in question is not one of the Archeparchy but rather the Metropolia (but it could be a private event of the OSBMs too). I was there for Otspust from the time of Met. Dolinay up to the last one before the current metropolitan. So that was under three "administrations" if you will. The indulgence was granted by all and I understand that is continues to be and is published in the schedule. So it seems this is not a matter of personal opinion. If "the answer is obvious" even given the audience, well what does that say about those addressing the audience? I don't get it.

As for the date of the Feast of the Conception of St. Ann. I think the following needs to be considered. The seminary press wall calendar still lists it as December 8th, Petras' typikon has options for the 8th and 9th. I do not know of any Ruthenian BC parish that takes that feast on the 9th. Do you?

You make an appeal to the liturgical texts. If you examine the Uniontown Festal Menaion texts for Decmeber 8th (titled Conception of St. Anne) you will notice there are litija verses. I cannot find any litija verses in Orthodox texts. Further in the litija verses the phrases "conceived without sin," "conceived...immaculate" and "most pure conception" occur in each of the verses. I cannot find parallel language anywhere else in the texts of the feast. Do you know what my conclusion is?

Perhaps you will say that these texts are not official. Then what are the official texts? Why does the calendar from the seminary press have the Feast listed on the 8th if it is moved as you say? Theologians make a bit out of the fact that when we celebrate the conception and later the birth it is an inexact 9 months except for Our Lord. Well, not so in this case.

Tony
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 05:42 PM

Fr. Ed said: "You ask if "purgatory" is a noun or a verb asserting that if it is a noun it must be a "place" (in philosophy this is known as the fallacy of "false dilemma"). Actually, it could also be a "state of being" which, in fact, is what the Latin Church has always defined it as."

The noun 'purgatorium' did not exist until around the twelfth century when the spacialization of thought made much ado about its notion.

Fr. Ed said: "This "state of being" is the remittance of sin which, in a sentient being, must also be accompanied with a sense of what should have been. It is a purgation of our faults and failings and, as such, is represented in the hymns you cite."

How far does this purgation go, you think? from verb, to noun, and then to an adjective?

I find the words below very fascinating:

"You have many mansions, O Savior, which is allotted to all according to their merits and the measure of their virtues ..."

Many mansions allotted according to merits and virtues? This seems to indicate that Heaven is not one big open communion with God, but rather a communion of degree. What is the purpose of purging faults and failings if a degree-based heaven is so structured?

We pray for immediate 'rest' and 'forgiveness' of sins. But are we divorcing this aspect from the other aspect found in the same odes, namely the death of Jesus on the Cross for the 'forgiveness' of sins? These themes all go together, they cannot be isolated; their structure and order in our hymns reflect a commonality. Our understanding of our death is intimately related and subjected to Christ's death and resurrection.

In lieu of the 'many mansions' imagery is the 'partaking of divine light' theme. Communion (with God, the Saints, Abraham, the Martyrs, etc) is accented, not the scouring purgations of ontological being.

But why ontology?

The "ontologicalization" of all things theological is a trend waiting for a time and place to happen. Christology changed from 'economia' to 'theologia/ontology' in the early centuries of the Church; Mariology opted for a theology of being in her Immaculate Conception and Bodily Assumption; now we ontologize our afterlife partaking of God's divine nature. Have we divorced our understanding of the afterlife from one of 'economia,' especially tied intimately to the triumph of Christ in Hades and His resurrection? (cf. Gospel of Nicodemus and the Resurrection Festive Icon)

It seems that some are too ready to see in our various liturgical hymns the dogma of Purgatory just as much as some are so apt to declare they discovered the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in our feast of St. Anne. Can we draw an analogy with the search for WMDs in Iraq? "Here its not!"

What do you think the authors of our funeral hymns were really trying to say? What was the point they were trying to make? Was is really about ontology? There is room for our understanding of the immediate afterlife as much as there is room for orthodox subordinationism in Christology.

Cantor Joe Thur
Posted By: paromer

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 05:58 PM

Why all the talk. You are making purgatory way too complicated.

It's in the OT. It's in the NT. It's in the writings of the Fathers.

God said it. I believe it. That's all there is to it.

Paul
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 06:02 PM

Dear Paul,

When it comes to purgatory, what in heaven's name are you talking about? smile

Where is it mentioned in the Bible?

Alex
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 06:08 PM

Dear Tony,

Yes, it is true that there are "Byzantine RC" texts for the Immaculate Conception and I find these in my OSBM horologion . . .

And it is true that there are "Odpusts."

I think Cantor Joe's earlier post applies here as well.

There is Latinization, but it takes time to overcome it.

(Just as it takes time for the Ukie Orthodox to overcome Russification, to be fair now.)

The Orthodox texts for the Feast of the Conception of St Anne are more beautiful, to be sure - I don't know why a number of our churches and pastors don't wish to use them.

And it's not as if there haven't been Orthodox saints and teachers who didn't personally believe in the Immaculate Conception from the Western theological vantage point: Peter Mohyla, Dmitri of Rostov - Gregory Palamas seems to hint at this himself in his sermon on the Dormition of the Mother of God. John Meyendorff mentions this as well in his "Ways of Byzantine Theology."

And in Poselianin's monumental, pre-revolution work, "Bogomater," he lists numerous "Odpusts" celebrated by many Orthodox parishes in Volyn and other areas of Eastern Europe.

Perhaps this is a carry-over from a former Uniate life . . .

But, if so, why does Orthodoxy allow them to continue with them, even to this day?

Alex
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 06:09 PM

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
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 06:13 PM

Quote
Originally posted by paromer:
Why all the talk. You are making purgatory way too complicated.

It's in the OT. It's in the NT. It's in the writings of the Fathers.

God said it. I believe it. That's all there is to it.

Paul
Paul,

Please explain and document what you posted. Thank you.

Joe
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 06:20 PM

YOU GO, CANTOR JOE!! smile

Alex
Posted By: paromer

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 08:10 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear Paul,

When it comes to purgatory, what in heaven's name are you talking about? smile

Where is it mentioned in the Bible?

Alex
Dear Alex, Joe,

No word "purgatory" in the Bible. The concept is in the Bible.

OT: "It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins" (II Mach., xii, 43-46).

NT: St. Paul in I Cor., iii, 11-1,5: "For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay stubble: Every man's work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire."

Fathers/Tradition: In a previous post in this thread I cited St. Gregory of Nyssa. There is more from Tradition in the

Catholic Encyclopedia

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm

Paul
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 08:14 PM

Dear Paul,

Actually, the biblical texts can only be related to purgatory by way of a stretch . . .

Gregory of Nyssa took that concept from pagan Greek philosophy for which he was censured by the Church.

Purgatory is a juridical concept that impresses the Latin mind - but it is foreign to the East.

But there are similarities and there is no reason why there can't be more than one tradition on eschatology.

Alex
Posted By: paromer

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/02/03 08:49 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear Paul,

Actually, the biblical texts can only be related to purgatory by way of a stretch . . .

Gregory of Nyssa took that concept from pagan Greek philosophy for which he was censured by the Church.

Alex
Dear Alex,

O ye of little faith. wink

The Biblical passages are standard RCC apologetics. They helped win me back to the Catholic Church from biblical fundamentalism.

As for St. Gregory of Nyssa, I got the quotation from Dr. Alan Schreck of the University of Steubenville Ohio. I won't challenge your challenge. You're the man on the East.

It's getting hot in here. wink

Paul
Posted By: Sub-Deacon Ghazaros

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/03/03 12:25 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear Paul,

Purgatory is a juridical concept that impresses the Latin mind - but it is foreign to the East.

But there are similarities and there is no reason why there can't be more than one tradition on eschatology.

Alex
Dear Brothers and Sister

First off, Eastern Catholics have been directed by Rome to recover their lost Tradition. I wish people would stop pretending like they don't know this by insisting we have to believe the Latin Tradition. If certain Eastern Catholics (including Bishops) are inclined to believe the Latin Tradition, that's fine. They are free in their conscience to do so. But as JThur, Orthodox Catholic and many others have indicated, there is an authentic Eastern Tradition(s) that we are actually called to recover. This process of recovery and restoration is already well under way, whether some may be aware of this or not.

Some Eastern Catholics (including Bishops and Priests) will fight this nail and tooth to the end, being convinced the Latin way is the only true way. Like all great endeavors, this process will take time and patience and will be met with some resistance.

Now, I believe the quesiton was "do Byzantine Catholics believe in Purgatory." Somebody said, "just answer the question." Well then, the answer is, "NO." They believe in what many of them refer to as "Final Theosis." Between these two concepts of purification, there are many similarities as well as some differences as you all have been discussing very well.

I, like others on this thread, once left Biblical Fundamentalism, being pursuaded by Roman Catholic Apologetists. But I came to a point in my life that I realized that I could not look to these same Latin Apologists for the authentic Tradition of the Eastern Churches. It is only by looking at these Traditions (and the teachers of these Traditions) with OPENESS can one begin to learn the authentic Tradition of an Eastern Church.

The more I do this, the more I realize that, as Alex has indicated, there is a multitude of views regarding what happens to us after death coming from the authentic Traditions of the ancient Churches.

examples:

1. The Latins believe in Purgatory or (as the new Roman Catechism refers to it) "The Final Purification." (CCC #1030-1032)

2. Latins also have their own Tradition of the Particular Judgment. It teaches, "Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven -through a purifciation or immediately, or -immediate and ever-lasting damnation." (CCC 1022).

3. Many Eastern Roman Churches (whom the French gave the name: "Byzantines") believe in Toll Booths and a very explicit process of Tests in the first forty days after death.

4. This same Eastern Roman Tradition teaches that in the Particular Judgment, we only receive a foretaste of our eternal reward or punishment. It is only in the Final Judgment, upon Christ's return, that we recieve the full reward for our life on earth.

5. Then you have the Oriental Orthodox view which is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Many in the Armenian Church Tradition, teach that we "sleep" until the Final Judgment. We read in the official Memorial Service for the Reposed,

"According to the teachings of the Armenian Church, those who have died enter into a period of rest while awaiting our Lord's glorious second coming at the end of time. But while separated from the Christian community, the souls that are at rest continue to be counted among the faithful, who "rest in the shadow of the Church." We therefore pray for them, as we pray for all of our earthly cares. Essentially, our prayer for the dead is that they rest in peace, that the Lord forgive them all of their sins and find them worthy of eternal life in the Father's kingdom when Christ comes again."

Based on this variety of views coming from the ancient Apostolic, Catholic and Orthodox Churches I have come to a conclusion. It is that there are many different ways of understanding this subject -all with validity. I suggest what we all hold in common is what should be viewed as the Dogma of the universal Church. These are, what Teen of the Incarnate Logos mentioned. Reformulated they are:

1) There is a purification after death, in which the faithful are cleansed, forgiven and healed.

2) Prayers are efficacious for those who sleep in Christ.

Trusting In Christ's Light,
Wm. DerGhazarian
Armenian Catholic Christian
www.geocities.com/derghazar
Posted By: Logos - Alexis

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/03/03 02:04 PM

Quote
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
Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/03/03 02:34 PM

Logos Teen,

Amen! There certainly is a plethora of views on the concept of purification after death held in the Church. From a Catholic perspective what is required belief is:

1)Such a purification exists.

2)The prayers of the living are of aid to those undergoing that purification.

It is not required belief in the Catholic Church to believe what we call "purgatory" is a place. It can be viewed as a process. Even modern Roman Catholic apologetics acknowledges this. See, for example the article by James Akin where he says:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/HOW2PURG.HTM

Quote
There is no place or region in the afterlife for the saved except heaven. Well, this may be true. The Church teaches that purgatory is the final purification, but not that it occurs in any special region in the afterlife. Just as we do not know how time works in the afterlife—meaning that purgatory may take no time—we also do not know how space works in the afterlife, especially for unembodied souls—meaning purgatory may not take place in any special location.

The final purification may take place in the immediate presence of God (to the extent that God's presence may be described in spatial terms). In fact, in his book on eschatology, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger describes purgatory as a fiery, transforming encounter with Christ and his love:

"Purgatory is not, as Tertullian thought, some kind of supra-worldly concentration camp where one is forced to undergo punishments in a more or less arbitrary fashion. Rather it is the inwardly necessary process of transformation in which a person becomes capable of Christ, capable of God [i.e., capable of full unity with Christ and God] and thus capable of unity with the whole communion of saints. Simply to look at people with any degree of realism at all is to grasp the necessity of such a process. It does not replace grace by works, but allows the former to achieve its full victory precisely as grace. What actually saves is the full assent of faith. But in most of us, that basic option is buried under a great deal of wood, hay and straw. Only with difficulty can it peer out from behind the latticework of an egoism we are powerless to pull down with our own hands. Man is the recipient of the divine mercy, yet this does not exonerate him from the need to be transformed. Encounter with the Lord <is >this transformation. It is the fire that burns away our dross and re-forms us to be vessels of eternal joy."

Thus according to Ratzinger's way of explaining the doctrine, as we are drawn out of this life and into direct union with Jesus, his fiery love and holiness burns away all the dross and impurities in our souls and makes us fit for life in the glorious, overwhelming light of God's presence and holiness.
Even the "pain" or "discomfort" associated with this purification can be viewed in different ways--some including joy in that process.

The positive presentation posted by OrthoMan is a position that a Catholic can hold. In fact, it seems rather near to Cardinal Ratzinger's views noted above.

I came across this interesting article on this subject at:

http://cte.rockhurst.edu/stramarad/th1course/th1reading/readings/purg.html

I would probably re-word some of it if it were my presentation but there is much food for thought in it.

For Danj--St Alexis' icon still hangs in my icon corner. smile (I accept all saints who have been canonized by the Church--both Eastern and Western.)

Christ is Risen!

David Ignatius DTBrown@aol.com
Posted By: DTBrown

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/03/03 03:08 PM

Alex wrote:

Quote
The Roman Church has developed "way beyond" the Eastern Church here?

Is that a good thing necessarily?
What I had in mind was the Scholastic understanding of Purgatory. Cardinal Ratzinger's views are, I think, more representative of the modern Roman approach to this subject. I think there definitely have been too many attempts to understand this subject in the past...just as, I think, those Orthodox who hold to the "toll house" views are trying too hard to understand this subject.

Now, I do not hold to the "toll house" view myself. I do like toll house cookies, however. wink

David Ignatius DTBrown@aol.com
Posted By: paromer

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/03/03 05:21 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Teen Of The Incarnate Logos:
Quote
[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
Posted By: Logos - Alexis

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/03/03 08:45 PM

Quote
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
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/05/03 01:42 PM

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
Posted By: djs

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/05/03 07:10 PM

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?
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/05/03 07:20 PM

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
Posted By: Logos - Alexis

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/06/03 01:37 AM

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
Posted By: djs

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/06/03 04:27 AM

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").
Posted By: Tony

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/06/03 04:53 AM

Quote
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
Posted By: Tony

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/06/03 05:00 AM

Quote
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
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/06/03 02:56 PM

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
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/06/03 03:05 PM

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
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/06/03 03:12 PM

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
Posted By: Danj

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/06/03 03:25 PM

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
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/06/03 04:08 PM

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
Posted By: djs

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/06/03 05:00 PM

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
Posted By: Danj

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/06/03 08:52 PM

Thus, both churches affirm that the soul undergoes continued purification after death, but the Orthodox deny (or, at least, refuse to affirm) that a [B]purgatorial fire is the means of such purification.

The above is quoted from the website djs listed in the above post. We agree that both traditions affirm a cleansing of the soul after death. The idea of a specific, separate place such as purgatory is a uniquely Latin doctrine. What I'm driving at is that Orthodox theology would say that there is only heaven and hell, which are incomplete until the final judgement. Catholicism holds that heaven and hell are complete now, and a third place exists, Purgatory, which will cease to exist after the final judgment.

By the above post, I was merely showing the distinction between black-and-white Latin theology, and Eastern theology which doesn't see things always in black-and-white--there are some things God doesn't reveal to us on earth, they are mysteries. The emphasis on HELL in the above quote was mine-- it's written in small letters, not cap's in the excerpt of the book I have.

Now, back to the question, Which understanding of purgatory (eastern or western) are we as Eastern Catholic's obliged to accept?

I keep asking this question because last year I asked a Byzantine Catholic priest this same question, and he replied we accept the Catholic notion ie: heaven, purgatory (till final judgment as separate from heaven and hell)and hell.

Alex, I agree, the important thing is we pray for the dead... but I think this is an important theological question and a very good debate biggrin

I'm ready to grab the phone book and call every Eastern Catholic priest in the area and ask him this question.... can you imagine my long-distance bill, I live in the middle of no-where, so everything is a toll call.

Christ is Risen!
Dan
Posted By: djs

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/07/03 04:22 AM

Catholicism does not dogmatically declare Purgatory as a place. Orthodoxy, AFAIK from Bessarion, does not consider that souls under going purification are in hell ("one eternal fire"), but "depart into a place of darkness and sorrow where they are punished by being deprived of the Divine Light". Bessarion according to this translation uses "place" and that place is not hell.

As I've mentioned before, our modern minds don't seem to accept the idea of physical punishment as curative but see it as strictly abusive (for all the good this enlightenment has brought us). So the Catholic "tradition" of using the metaphor of a cleasing fire for this purification is probably not an informative teaching vehicle to us moderns. I rather like Bessarion's description.

I was chanting the Christmas compline with an Orthodox priest last year. As we were nearly ready to start S'nami Boh, his daughter got a little unruly at the tetrapod. He called her name and gave her that stern look of fatherly disapproval. She looked back, totally crestfallen, instantly aware of her missing the mark of her father's approval, and began to sob. I blurted out to him, in a whisper: that is purgatory.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/07/03 02:01 PM

Dear Dan,

Another point here is Meyendorff's comment on the reaction of the Greeks during the Council of Florence.

Meyendorff (+memory eternal!) states that the Greeks were surprised that the Latins "divided" the immediate afterlife into "places."

I think that there should be no question that Latin theology has, for long, seen the afterlife prior to Christ's Second Coming, in terms of "places" rather than the more modern "states."

In any event, Latin theology continues to divide it into definable "whatever" - something Orthodoxy will not do.

Another crucial distinction here is that Orthodoxy sees even the person dying in a state of being cutoff from God as having the possibility open to him or her of breaching that chasm in the next life.

RC theology nowadays is looking at this and related questions and are coming up with new conclusions that are quite similar to those of Orthodoxy.

Alex
Posted By: Mark Alan

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/11/03 11:33 PM

The discussion about Purgatory reminds me of a passage in Boswell's Life of Johnson.

Boswell asked his friend "What do you think, Sir, of Purgatory, as believed by the Roman Catholicks?" JOHNSON. "Why, Sir, it is a very harmless doctrine. They are of the opinion that the generality of mankind are neither so obstinately wicked as to deserve everlasting punishment, nor so good as to merit being admitted into the society of blessed spirits; and therefore God is graciously pleased to allow of a middle state, where they may be purified by certain degrees of suffering. You see, Sir, there is nothing unreasonable in this."

Johnson's words point out the fact that the doctrine of Purgatory reflects both God's mercy and man's need to improve himself. One indeed finds "nothing unreasonable."
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/12/03 01:12 PM

Forget the "purgatorial fire" stuff. Why doesn't anyone talk about the Baptism with water and fire? Why all this postmortem talk? Has anyone ever been to the other side of life to know if it reflects Dante's vision? How can we know so much about the afterlife? Is this critical? How are we to act now? Is this just another neat way to circumvent Theosis here and now? Is it in the Creed? Is this doctrine a necessary litmus test of one's Catholicism? Another proof of fidelity? Did those who sign the Unia agreement mention that the doctrine of Purgatory was absolutely necessary to debate? Why is this an issue?

Joe
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/12/03 03:14 PM

Dear Cantor Joseph,

I suppose that next you are going to say that we should give up all speculation on how many angels would fit on the head of a pin? smile

I personally see this issue, as it developed at Florence, not so much in terms of purgatory per se, but a battle to see which theological prism, Latin or Greek, should gain ascendancy.

The same is true of the Filioque et al.

As you know (better than me) that Meyendorff said that if unity really WAS the issue at Florence, unity could have been easily achieved with e.g. the removal of the Filioque and unilateral acceptance of "Through the Son."

Prayer for the dead is part of the theology of the Communion of Saints and I agree that it is more important that we practice it than that we concoct unknowable formulas about how it works.

Alex
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/12/03 05:42 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear Cantor Joseph,

I suppose that next you are going to say that we should give up all speculation on how many angels would fit on the head of a pin? smile

I personally see this issue, as it developed at Florence, not so much in terms of purgatory per se, but a battle to see which theological prism, Latin or Greek, should gain ascendancy.
Alex,

Actually, 546,987,341 angels are able to fit on a head of a pin. I know. A few of them told me.

I will believe in the primacy of one of the Catholic traditions when we go to one and only one Gospel tradition. Remember Marcion?

Joe
Posted By: Brian

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/12/03 05:49 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Mark Alan:
The discussion about Purgatory reminds me of a passage in Boswell's Life of Johnson.

Purgatory, nonewithstanding, it is wonderful to hear from the good Dr Johnson always!!!!
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/12/03 06:06 PM

Dear Cantor Joseph,

Well, since that's not going to happen soon . . . smile

BC bishops will exclusively ordain married candidates for the priesthood before that happens!

Or hell will freeze over, whichever comes first.

Could I ask you a question about Tertullian?

To what extent was his involvement with Montanism an impediment to him receiving the honours of the altar by the Church? What's the story with that?

Also, Fr. McNichol, SJ has recently written a beautiful icon of Origen of Alexandria . . .

Alex
Posted By: Joe T

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/12/03 07:08 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Could I ask you a question about Tertullian?

To what extent was his involvement with Montanism an impediment to him receiving the honours of the altar by the Church? What's the story with that?

Also, Fr. McNichol, SJ has recently written a beautiful icon of Origen of Alexandria . . .

Alex
Tertullian? I will have to think about that. Was he married?

Icon of Origen? How interesting.

Joe
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 05/12/03 07:23 PM

Daer Cantor Joseph,

Tertullian was married, as you well know, and he even wrote a famous letter to his wife advising her not to remarry upon his death smile

Alex
Posted By: Deeboy

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 06/09/15 10:49 AM

Purgatory is a Jewish concept...It is interesting to note ... Jesus Christ and the Nazarenes who were the 12 Apostles did not believe in Hell they believed in Purgatory ..... Purgatory is only a Temporary atonement or hell not a permanant Hell ....
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 06/09/15 03:00 PM

OK, I'll bite.

How do you know that?

Alex
Posted By: Ambrosian

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 06/10/15 08:04 AM

He could be alluding to the Apocalypse of Peter.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 06/10/15 02:02 PM

If so, an interesting read.

But hardly the stuff of doctrine based on the Scriptures and Church teaching . . .

Alex
Posted By: SearchingPilgrim

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 06/15/15 10:47 PM

This is a question about purgatory to Priests and theologians.

Would it be wrong to want to go to/experience purgatory?

Like the idea to be consumed by a purifying fire that will be burn away my defilement, vice, past, mind, and bring spiritual healing to myself and those whom my sins impacted(church militant) deeply appealed to me. Not so much anymore since my resolve and will are very weak now! Though still an all consuming fire that brings healing is rather alluring.

Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Byzantine Catholic Purgatory? - 06/16/15 08:45 AM

This is, in fact, how the theologian Ladislas Boros described Purgatory.

He said that right after our repose we will see Christ as He truly is, in all His power, glory and loving mercy. This will cause within us a fire of purification at the thought of how we didn't live up to our Christian calling during our life on earth. And it will purify us.

Alex
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