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The subject of the toll-houses is not specifically a topic of Orthodox Christian theology: it is not a dogma of the Church in the precise sense, but comprises material of a moral and edifying character, one might say pedagogical.

Much the same can, and should, be said of the Latin doctrine of purgatory.

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Agreed. An extended Toll House, if you will.



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Originally Posted by StuartK
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The subject of the toll-houses is not specifically a topic of Orthodox Christian theology: it is not a dogma of the Church in the precise sense, but comprises material of a moral and edifying character, one might say pedagogical.

Much the same can, and should, be said of the Latin doctrine of purgatory.

Canon 30 from the Council of Trent (Sixth Sesssion, 1547)

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

The existence of purgatory is not permitted by Trent as an optional or simply pedagogical belief.

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Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
Agreed. An extended Toll House, if you will.

Purgatory is a doctrine of hope and reassurance because all those pasing through it are assured of their salvation.

The toll houses are a doctrine of despair and damnation because they are places of demonic judgement which lead down to hell if a soul lacks enough good deeds to outweigh the bad deeds (salvation by works). Even those passing through them can be tempted by the demonss to fall into fresh sin and loose their salvation.

---
"Can you offer up enough sins that, by them, you can tilt the balance of justice against the precious blood which I shed on the Cross for this man? Behold, my murder and death, which I endured for the forgiveness of his sins."

The Lord Jesus Christ to Satan, Evergetinos, Book I, Hypothesis I, E.

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Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
The existence of purgatory is not permitted by Trent as an optional or simply pedagogical belief.
True, but don't force it where the Church does not. Catholics must accept the dogmatic elements - that after death there is a purifying journey for souls going to heaven, and that prayer for those on that journey is helpful. The East adds to this the imagery of a purifying journey up towards heaven. The West adds the imagery of the cleansing fires of purgatory. Both are doctrinal ways of explaining something we cannot know exactly.

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Both are doctrinal ways of explaining something we cannot know exactly.

And so it says in the Byzantine Catholic catechism.

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The aerial toll house myth is gnostic and a heresy that moves us away from a Christ centered faith and into an irrational fear of unclean powers. The very idea that out soul can be dragged off into hell before we are judged by the Awesome God and ONLY judge by demons whom we are told are liars and can not see our souls is not Christian. also I would like to add that Hell will not exist until the coming of the Lord and out final judgment. I apologise in advance for any offense caused and do not mean to disrespect to anyone least of all those who have dedicated their lives to the church.

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Originally Posted by Administrator
True, but don't force it where the Church does not. Catholics must accept the dogmatic elements - that after death there is a purifying journey for souls going to heaven, and that prayer for those on that journey is helpful. The East adds to this the imagery of a purifying journey up towards heaven. The West adds the imagery of the cleansing fires of purgatory. Both are doctrinal ways of explaining something we cannot know exactly.

Dear John,

Yes, it is true and others have noticed the similarities between the Eastern and Western metaphorical approaches.


May I offer the opinion of an archpriest at the cathedral in Irkutsk? We had an archpriest from Irkutsk, Fr Rodion Sivtsev, in our Wellington, New Zealand parish. He is back in Irkutsk where he is first priest at the Theophany (Bogoyavlenski) cathedral. We keep in touch via e-mail and I decided to ask him his opinion of the toll-houses. He is a serious man given to conciseness. He sent back a brief answer...

Translation from Russian:

"The opinion about the toll-houses among the people is quite positive (based on popular translations of Seraphim Rose) and they love to talk about them. But among the clergy and theologians there are diverse opinions, and they consider them to be a uniate-catholic influence stemming from purgatory."

So what do we see here? While there us an element among Russian believers which accepts the toll houses there is no consensus in Russia and it would seems impossible to claim that this is a "universal" and "non-debatable" tradition or that the toll houses aree an integral strand of Orthodoxy piety. They are seen as being linked with the Catholic teaching on purgatory and this provides a theological bond between the two Churches, not for all sections but for the sections which accept the teaching.

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Originally Posted by StuartK
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Both are doctrinal ways of explaining something we cannot know exactly.

And so it says in the Byzantine Catholic catechism.

"...........the Byzantine Catholic catechism.........."

Has this been released? I have been eagerly awaiting its publication for a year or two... and it seems I have missed it. Where can copies be obtained?

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Originally Posted by StuartK
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Both are doctrinal ways of explaining something we cannot know exactly.

And so it says in the Byzantine Catholic catechism.

Although I think that catechism is rather weak here, that can be said -- the "Quote" is a fair assessment. That, however, does not mean:
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
The subject of the toll-houses is not specifically a topic of Orthodox Christian theology: it is not a dogma of the Church in the precise sense, but comprises material of a moral and edifying character, one might say pedagogical.

Much the same can, and should, be said of the Latin doctrine of purgatory.
An objective appraisal must see it as Catholic dogma, for instance:
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Canon 30 from the Council of Trent (Sixth Sesssion, 1547)

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

The existence of purgatory is not permitted by Trent as an optional or simply pedagogical belief.

And its teaching should be better appreciated:
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Purgatory is a doctrine of hope and reassurance because all those pasing through it are assured of their salvation.
And contrasted to:
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
The toll houses are a doctrine of despair and damnation because they are places of demonic judgement which lead down to hell if a soul lacks enough good deeds to outweigh the bad deeds (salvation by works)...

For Eastern (and all) Catholics, the dogma of Purgatory can and should be explained, but it cannot be explained away.

Concerning the explaining, consider this assessment:
Quote
A partial judgement is instituted immediately after our physical death, which places us in an intermediate condition of partial blessedness (for the righteous), or partial suffering (for the unrighteous).

Disavowing a belief in the Western "Purgatory," our Church believes that a change is possible during this intermediate state and stage. The Church, militant and triumphant, is still one, which means that we can still influence one another with our prayers and our saintly (or ungodly) life. This is the reason why we pray or our dead. Also, almsgiving on behalf of the dead may be of some help to them, without implying, of course, that those who provide the alms are in some fashion "buying" anybody's salvation.

This was written in a chapter (if I recall it is the lead-off chapter), "Orthodox Soteriology", by Bishop Maximos Aghiorgoussis, and is, significantly considering the other party, in a (ca. 1970's ?) book of papers from an Orthodox-Lutheran dialogue.

I would point out that after '[d]isavowing a belief in the Western "Purgatory,"' he gives a very good description of the Catholic dogma of Purgatory.





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Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by StuartK
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Both are doctrinal ways of explaining something we cannot know exactly.

And so it says in the Byzantine Catholic catechism.

"...........the Byzantine Catholic catechism.........."

Has this been released? I have been eagerly awaiting its publication for a year or two... and it seems I have missed it.
"eagerly awaiting"? The first part came out in 1994. (It must be that calendar thing -- just kidding.) Part 2, 1996; Part 3, 2001. More precisely, it is an Eastern Catholic Catechism.

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Where can copies be obtained?

At TBS:

part 1 [theobooks.org]

part 2 [theobooks.org]

part 3 [theobooks.org]

Also on Amazon, e.g. part 2 [amazon.com] .

The books are physically thin but have some good content. Marketing the books -- informing/advertising, availability and price -- has been inept.

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Originally Posted by ajk
"eagerly awaiting"? The first part came out in 1994. (It must be that calendar thing -- just kidding.) Part 2, 1996; Part 3, 2001.
Oops! I thought what was meant was the Catechism which has been co-ordinated by Bishop Peter Stasiuk of the Greek Ukrainian Church in Australia and which I ubnderstand is slated to become *the* Eastern Catholic Catechism.

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Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
So what do we see here? While there us an element among Russian believers which accepts the toll houses there is no consensus in Russia and it would seems impossible to claim that this is a "universal" and "non-debatable" tradition or that the toll houses aree an integral strand of Orthodoxy piety. They are seen as being linked with the Catholic teaching on purgatory and this provides a theological bond between the two Churches, not for all sections but for the sections which accept the teaching.
Father Ambrose,

Interesting. But it has nothing to do with what I posted. The common dogmatic elements East and West are that there is a journey of the soul upon death and that prayers for those on the journey are helpful.

Fr. Sivtsev's account raises some questions. Is there historical evidence that the theology of toll houses comes from the West? I've never heard such a claim before and find it interesting. I've also never seen anyone link them with the Latin understanding of Purgatory, save for the general teaching that they are both descriptive of the journey of the soul upon death.

John

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I found this to be a very edifying podcast on the subject:

Toll Houses: After Death Reality or Heresy? [audio.ancientfaith.com]

"Fr Thomas Hopko Dean Emeritus of St Vlad's Orthodox seminary addresses the controversial subject of "toll houses" in this highly animated one-half hour discussion with our co-hosts."

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Originally Posted by Administrator
Interesting. But it has nothing to do with what I posted. The common dogmatic elements East and West are that there is a journey of the soul upon death and that prayers for those on the journey are helpful.

I have to admit that the idea that the soul is on a journey after death is not one I have encountered in Orthodoxy. Immediately after death the soul undergoes the Partial Judgement and finds itself in an intermediate state of either rest and repose awaiting heaven or of limited suffering awaiting hell. It is not on a journey. At the end of time this time of repose or suffering will come to an end, the final Judgement will take place and the soul will enter either heaven or hell.

I supopose that there is a kind of journey possible for those waiting to enter hell since there is still the possibility of their salvation until the final Judgement. But for those destined for heaven there is no journey.

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