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I would second Alexandr's caution about the writings of Lev Puhalo. He has a tendency to fling around words like "Gnostic", "heretical," and "fundamentalist" at anyone who disagrees with him. He does have some odd ideas of his own, which may reflect the influence of Michael Azkoul and HOCNA. Aside from the "soul sleep" doctrine, he also is a vehement defender of the modern (Darwinian) theory of evolution, and dismisses any who disagree with his interpretation of Genesis as pure metaphor as "fundamentalist". The attempt to connect the toll house belief with Gnosticism is based on some weak links to pagan mythology- the same sort of arguments that non-Christians use to paint Christianity as a pagan religion.

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Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Dr Dragani has been asked more than once by both Catholics and Orthodox to change what he has written, that Purgatory is the Final Theosis. He will not change what he has written. The only conclusion is that he adheres to his stated belief that Theosis is finite and its end corresponds to what in the West would be seen as an exit from Purgatory.

This thread was brought to my attention, and I have decided to use it to clear the air on something that has bothered me for a while now.

Over the past several years people have come to me on occasion, telling me that someone has been making some very strong charges about something that I wrote. I have seen the posts from time to time, and they have been harsh. Made by a fellow calling himself "Father Ambrose," these posts have repeatedly called me a heretic - a very serious charge. This same "Father Ambrose," if my memory serves me correctly, has also called for my excommunication.

I have not visited this Byzantine forum in quite some, so I do not know anything about Heiromonk Ambrose. I do not know his jurisdiction, his posting history, nor his reputation on this forum. Frankly, I don't care. All that I will say is this: the manner in which he has behaved towards me over the past several years is not Christian. It is cruel, and very hurtful.

He says above that Orthodox and Catholics have contacted me, asking me to change what I have written. To the best of my knowledge, this has never happened. I do have a webmaster who runs my site for me, but he is typically very good about forwarding emails to me. If somebody wishes to contact me directly, it is not very hard to find my email address. Father Ambrose, nor anyone else for that matter, has never taken the time to contact me about this. Instead, persons have railed against me in the harshest terms in forums.

I do not wish to engage in a theological debate here. I will only say this in my defense: I do not advocate the position that theosis is finite. To do so would be to go against the patristic tradition that I have been trained in, and deeply cherish.

Please read the article that started this brouhaha all these years ago:

http://east2west.org/doctrine.htm#Purgatory

Other than this piece, which originated as an answer to a question on EWTN, I have been rather silent on this topic. I did, however, run across something that I had written back in 2004 in which I supported the Eastern view of theosis not ending (versus the latin view) by saying that "a case could be made for this on the grounds that we are called to become like God, but never overcome the infinite gulf between Him and us."

Nor did I originate the term "final theosis." I learned it during my graduate studies from an esteemed professor in a course focusing on the common ground between Orthodox and Catholic theology (I will not name the professor, btw, because I don't want to drag him into this). I have also seen the term "final theosis" used by Orthodox theologians from time to time over the years. When this controversy was brought to my attention a few years back, I asked a trusted colleague about this. This friend has devoted much time to studying the topic of theosis, and he informed me that he had occasionally ran across this term or its equivalent in various European writings, although usually not in the English language. It was meant to indicate the last stage in the ongoing process of theosis, that stage which takes place after death. It is not intended to indicate that theosis somehow comes to an end, as the transformation that takes place in God's loving presence will last throughout eternity.

These points aside, I want to focus on the real problem here, as it is indicative of a wider malady. I have devoted much time and energy in my life towards building understanding between Eastern and Western Christians. I have not always been perfect in doing so, and have sometimes made mistakes. Nonetheless, I have always made a sincere effort. Understanding, and eventual unity, between East and West has been a passion for me, and is held very deeply in my heart. Yet someone - a monastic nonetheless - has disregarded all of my efforts, and instead has focused on two words written in an answer to a question regarding purgatory. Rather than discussing his concerns with me, as I would hope that a brother in Christ would, he jumped to the wrong conclusions as to what my meaning was, and then publicly denounced me as a heretic. Again and again. This goes against the monastic tradition of humility and patience, as well as basic Christian decency. And frankly, it hurts.

You may have noticed that I have not posted in any Eastern Christian forums in the past several years. In fact, I have generally kept my distance from any religion or theology oriented forum. Why? Because some of the harshest, unchristian behavior that I have witnessed has been in Christian forums. People are often more focused on "being right" than in sharing Christ's love. I am tired of dealing with this. If this is the attitude the prevails throughout Christendom, no wonder there have been so many schisms, with no end in sight.

Tony

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Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
Originally Posted by Latin Catholic
Originally Posted by StuartK
In short, I have no problem with the Latin Church not praying for Mary. I have a lot of problems with Latins telling me that we shouldn't or can't.
It is not Latins telling you this. Frankly, most Latins couldn't care less, because they have no comprehension of Eastern Christianity. It is Fr. Ambrose and ROCOR telling you this. However, I do happen to agree with Fr. Ambrose on this matter.

Stuart and I happen to agree with Archimandrite Robert on this matter. The words of the Liturgy are plain. Why someone or indeed an entire Church would try to deny they mean what they say is beyond comprehension.

Fr. Deacon Lance

Dear Father Deacon,

Appearances suggest that it is only Ukrainian Greek Catholics who pray for Mary (although nobody has provided an example of any such prayers from their Prayerbooks but are simply spinning a questionable argument from one phrase in the Liturgy -a phrase which always provokes questions in seminary and is always explained as NOT being a prayer FOR Mary -see my earlier message on this.) We have seen that Malankarese, Melkites and and Latins do not pray for Mary.

Maybe we need to appeal to someone such as Fr Serge, himself a Ukrainian priest, for his opinion. How has he been taught to understand the phrase when he serves Liturgy.

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Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
Patristic Evidence:

St. Mark of Ephesus:

"But if souls have departed this life in faith and love, while nevertheless carrying away with themselves certain faults, whether small ones over which they have not repented at all, or great ones for which – even thought they have repented over them – they did not undertake to show fruits of repentance: such souls, we believe, must be cleansed from this kind of sin, but not by means of some purgatorial fire or a definite punishment in some place (for this, as we have said, has not been handed down to us). But some must be cleansed in they very departure from the body, thanks only to fear, as St. Gregory the Dialogist literally shows; while others must be cleansed after the departure from the body, either while remaining 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 [i.e., Hades], but not in order to remain forever in fire and torment, but as it were in prison and confinement under guard" (First Homily: Refutation of the Latin Chapters concerning Purgatorial Fire, by St. Mark of Ephesus.)

The quote from Saint Mark has nothing to do with the toll houses. Saint Mark is talking about purification through suffering. The toll houses have nothing to do with a process of purification but only of judgement. In a very short space of time the toll houses and the black demons are said to decide a man's fate for the rest of time until the day of final judgement when Christ the Lord returns..


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Originally Posted by Dragani
This same "Father Ambrose," if my memory serves me correctly, has also called for my excommunication.

Just a quick response to reassure you on this point. I have NEVER in my life called for anybody's excommunication.


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Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
We are judged on the Last Day, the Final Judgment. If we die cleansed by the Life Giving Sacraments, we await that Day of Days with the righteous. If not, we await our doom with the Godless ones. Many of the leading opponents of the Toll House teaching teach the anathematized very real heresy of Soul Sleep, i.e., defrocked deacon Lev Puhalo.

Archbishop Lazar (Lev Puhalo) has explained several times that he does not teach the heresy of soul sleep. His articles on this matter are somewhere on the web.

Who are the "leading opponents" who teach souls sleep? I cannot bring anybody to mind. Where may we find their writings?

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Originally Posted by Dragani
He says above that Orthodox and Catholics have contacted me, asking me to change what I have written. To the best of my knowledge, this has never happened.

Your statement that Purgatory is the Final Theosis used to be frequently brought up in the many purgatory discussions when I was a contributing member of CAF. From time to time Catholics there, spurred by the Orthodox rejection of the statement, would say they had written to you on the matter but that they did not receive replies.

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Originally Posted by Dragani
Rather than discussing his concerns with me, as I would hope that a brother in Christ would, he jumped to the wrong conclusions as to what my meaning was, and then publicly denounced me as a heretic. Again and again. This goes against the monastic tradition of humility and patience, as well as basic Christian decency.

I have to say that I would be almost certain that I have not "denounced you as a heretic." It is not my style to write in such a way. While there are many charges of heresy which the Orthodox bring against some teachings of Rome I would never myself express them in a personally offensive way. In other words, while I would say, and even then only in a serious conversation, that papal infallibility is a heresy I would never say that Pope Benedict is a heretic for holding it nor the local bishop nor any of my Catholic friends.

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Originally Posted by Dragani
[quote=
Please read the article that started this brouhaha all these years ago:

http://east2west.org/doctrine.htm#Purgatory


Nor did I originate the term "final theosis." I learned it during my graduate studies from an esteemed professor in a course focusing on the common ground between Orthodox and Catholic theology (I will not name the professor, btw, because I don't want to drag him into this). I have also seen the term "final theosis" used by Orthodox theologians from time to time over the years. When this controversy was brought to my attention a few years back, I asked a trusted colleague about this. This friend has devoted much time to studying the topic of theosis, and he informed me that he had occasionally ran across this term or its equivalent in various European writings, although usually not in the English language. It was meant to indicate the last stage in the ongoing process of theosis, that stage which takes place after death. It is not intended to indicate that theosis somehow comes to an end, as the transformation that takes place in God's loving presence will last throughout eternity.

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

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

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

http://east2west.org/doctrine.htm#Purgatory




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Quote
These points aside, I want to focus on the real problem here, as it is indicative of a wider malady. I have devoted much time and energy in my life towards building understanding between Eastern and Western Christians. I have not always been perfect in doing so, and have sometimes made mistakes. Nonetheless, I have always made a sincere effort. Understanding, and eventual unity, between East and West has been a passion for me, and is held very deeply in my heart. Yet someone - a monastic nonetheless - has disregarded all of my efforts, and instead has focused on two words written in an answer to a question regarding purgatory. Rather than discussing his concerns with me, as I would hope that a brother in Christ would, he jumped to the wrong conclusions as to what my meaning was, and then publicly denounced me as a heretic. Again and again. This goes against the monastic tradition of humility and patience, as well as basic Christian decency. And frankly, it hurts.

You may have noticed that I have not posted in any Eastern Christian forums in the past several years. In fact, I have generally kept my distance from any religion or theology oriented forum. Why? Because some of the harshest, unchristian behavior that I have witnessed has been in Christian forums. People are often more focused on "being right" than in sharing Christ's love. I am tired of dealing with this. If this is the attitude the prevails throughout Christendom, no wonder there have been so many schisms, with no end in sight.

Tony


Dear Anthony,

Well said...

For what it is worth, because of your conciliatory tone and down to earth style, I learned and understood more about the Eastern faith I was born into, and become infinitely closer to it, from reading articles you had written on the internet, than I had from any other source up until that time. So, I thank you for that. Though, after a while, I agree that writing on the internet loses its luster for many reasons, you should feel happy because who knows how many other souls, Orthodox, Catholic and/or other, that you inspired towards following Christ through the Church-East or West!

As for the 'nit picking' that many people like to do--well, I don't know that such a pass time is one that will help anybody get into Heaven. What you write is constructive and has a Christ centered purpose. What they do, by nit picking, (in my humble opinion) is not constructive, and seems to only serve the intellectual ego.

As for all the different approaches and understandings to the afterlife which are being discussed on this thread, it may be simplistic, but since no one has come back to actually tell us about the specifics of it, I prefer to ignore it, and to just keep on praying for the dead, and trying to work on my salvation, and hoping in God's mercy for myself and others...and I believe that is truly the essence of Eastern belief.

May the Lord have mercy on us all--

'for no man lives and sinneth not, for you alone, God, are without sin'....

In Christ,
Alice

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Originally Posted by Administrator
Originally Posted by DewiMelkite
do you believe when you die demons will judge you?
Read by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky on the first page of this thread. If you are a Melkite this is your theology, too! It is a theology that needs to be looked at with care, as it is allegorical.


If people were content to leave it as Fr Michael Pomazansky describes it, simply as subtle movements in the soul by which the Partial Judgement takes place at death, then it may be more acceptable. But I suppose that if we reduce it to Fr Michael's view there is really nothing left of the toll houses and we may as well discard the term.

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Originally Posted by Administrator
Read by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky on the first page of this thread. If you are a Melkite this is your theology, too! It is a theology that needs to be looked at with care, as it is allegorical.


Dear John.

This may be useful, from Fr Michael Pomazansky...

"Let us take this earthly side of the symbolism [of the toll houses] into the spiritual understanding. Theodora is the soul of man; the angels - its virtues; the demons - its sins. Both are in the soul of a man and perhaps after death are found, as it were, on the scales of a balance. Is this image inconsistent with our religious concepts? Talking about the "balance" we imitate the symbolism contained in our hymns: "Thy Cross is found as the measure between the two thieves; for the one was brought down to hades by the weight of his blasphemy, but the other was lightened of his sins unto the knowledge of theology: O Christ God, glory to Thee" (Troparion of the 9th Hour)."

-oOo-

The Apostle Paul, teaching his disciple the Apostle Timothy, "how one ought to conduct himself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God" (1Tim 3:15), writes to him in the second epistle: "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some do honour, and some do dishonour (or base usage)" (2Tim 2:20). The Apostle has in mind the people in the Church when he speaks of vessels, but we have the right of employing his thought in a simpler and more literal, yet still a broader, sense.

The history of the Orthodox Christian Church, continuing from the Apostles, has now come to the end of its second millennium of existence. Throughout the process of her broad and many-sided growth, the Church has diligently preserved only the truths of the faith, the dogma of faith. Upon their foundation the tree of the Church developed in all directions, nourished by the grace of the Spirit of God. The wealth of its spiritual contents on its own increased, and at the same time its material contents also grew, and often the one would give place to the other. Much was acquired simply for preservation; other things have been carried away by the river of time into the realm of the forgotten, and now on certain rare occasions, something may float to the surface, thanks to the efforts and searches of special investigators and researchers. The Church herself regards everything conservatively and patiently (indulgently), and it has no persons who are assigned to the task of separating the valuable from that which is not so valuable. It has been forced only at certain times to uproot the tares from the field of wheat, both in the spiritual and in the material sense. From such a conservative attitude, the Church does not suffer any harm. It happens sometimes that something which seemed of little value later turns out to be both beneficial and important. The Church, as it were, says, those losses suffered as a result of the persecutions of the Church and of Christianity, wars and the destructive elements of nature are sufficient. If we are to speak of literature (written works), the Church rejects only that which is an evilly-intended forgery or a heretical concoction.

Let us speak a bit concerning genuine Church literature. Of course, all the various forms of literature are not of the same value; among them there is a gradation of value passing from sanctity all the way to simple usefulness.

Here, approximately, are these gradations:

1. The Four Gospels. They are kept in the altar of the Temple on the Holy Table. Before readings from them we hear: "Wisdom, Aright!"

2. The Epistles and Paremia (primarily from the Old Testament). The exclamation: "Wisdom!", but one may sit while listening.

3. The various service books.

These forms of literature are the legacy of the Temple.

4. Patristic literature.

5. Lives of saints.

These, while they are used for reading in the church services, are primarily for private reading (in monasteries - in the refectory).

6. Theological science, academic theology and various theological literature.

7. Ecclesiastical and historical sciences, practical textbooks and reference manuals.

8. Pious accounts, edifying parables. This is simply morally edifying reading in an easy form that is accessible to all.

We ask to be excused for such a lengthy introduction. Let us now pass on to the questions concerning prayer for the dead in the article in question.

One must agree with the author of the letter, The article has essential weaknesses.

We are talking about the Church's commemoration of the dead. Part of the material in the article is concerned with the teaching of the Church, dogmatic theology; but another part with pious accounts and, finally, with Church and popular customs. In the article there is no distinction made concerning the dignity of the material presented, and thus matters which do not concern the dogma of the Church are dogmatized. Let us point out what we have in view:

We find an appropriate example of this in the footnotes of the author. There is no need to discuss the prayerful or liturgical meaning of "kolyva", as an offering for the dead. For it is simply an expression of the desire to treat those who participated in the prayers for the dead, thank them for their love, as the Apostle says: "all is good and there is nothing worthy of condemnation that is done with the word of God and prayer". Even more so, there is no use in explaining the "meaning" of wheat in the kolyva or what the honey and sugar in it "mean" or "symbolize" But of course, these thoughts were all placed in a footnote.

In accordance with ancient views, it is accepted to offer special prayers on the third and fortieth days; these days, these very numbers in the Scriptures, in general, represent something sacred. But the Church does not teach that commemoration on these days, as on the ninth day, is "indispensable". "Man was not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath for man." The days are not the important point.

In such points of the article as the quantity of commemorations, of their ritual forms (candles, prosphora), the skeptical reader could even read in the material interests of the clergy or the parish church; people are given to such criticism.

"The Church established" we read here. But in fact only one thing is necessary and required from the believer. Other things are offered and regulated by the Church for good order and benefit. A third category is permitted as a good intention or custom which has arises among the people of the Church, and these are given their proper forms for the Church.

In connection with this, there arises a question which the author of the letter himself does not pose, but which is essential.

Do the dead need prayers from us? Can the sins of a man be removed by the prayers of other men? The answer is simple. We know that the Church is, in all its depth "a bond of love", where there is One for all - Christ. Therefore in His Body, the Church, one must pray for all and all for each one. This idea is expressed in our services, especially in the prayers of the priest. We pray for those close to us as a duty of love regardless of whether our brother or sister needs our prayers or even wants them.

Much regarding prayers for the dead can appear illogical. We note that the more devoted a person was, the more prayers are offered for his repose. The Church is, as it were, indifferent to great sinners and apostates. Why is this? And in general, do the dead need our prayers? God Himself is merciful and loves mankind, and would He not forgive the dead person without our praying for him? The answer is given in the Gospel and the Epistles of the Apostles. In them there are given three axioms of Christianity. Death does not exist. Pray for one another. Love never ceases. (Rom. 14; James 5; 1Cor 13). "Acquire friends," the Saviour commanded, "so that when you are in poverty, they might receive you into eternal dwelling places." In the parable of our Lord concerning the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man had no one to pray for him when he died and to care for his brothers on the earth. Why? He had not acquired love toward himself on earth.

To forgive sins - this is only within God's will and God's power. "Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow" (Ps 50). And yet we pray for them, for their repose. Why? First of all, we ask for mercy from God, and secondly, for the sake of that grace-filled fire which burned and warmed, to a greater or lesser degree, the reposed, that this fire be maintained, sustained through the change into another form of being; that the fear of God and contrition not be overcome by the fear of one's own unworthiness, of one's own sins. In the prayers of one's own brothers on earth and even more so in the prayers of the saints of the heavenly Church, love is at work, it is the necessary sustenance for the dead person, and therefore the Church not only prays for him itself but constantly calls upon the saints in heaven entreating prayers for all the reposed members of the Church.

Let us now go on to the material in the article which specifically called forth the concern of the author of the letter. We think it possible that this concern expresses also the concern of others. We allow the thought that our Eastern, traditional Church in the sphere of religious psychology is not so strict in the demand for being logical as the Western, which is brought up in a more rationalistic direction. However, allow us to state our understanding of the matter.

We mentioned at the beginning "pious accounts" which are in the article. Our Eastern, pious readers from ancient times have loved to read anthologies of brief, easy stories from the lives of the ascetics, the desert fathers, concerning their journeys, their struggles, their meetings with one another, their conversations, their relation to the desert around them, and to the humble and at the same time miraculous revelations in their lives and acts. Up to the most recent times, such anthologies have been popular, such as "The Spiritual Meadow", the "Lasiac History". These little stories often contain in their naive simplicity much that is allegorical and moral instruction. They are not historical material, and therefore it is not so important as to who is named in the account or whom specifically it concerned. And there is no insult to a person if he is named by mistake.

For example, the account of the conversation of St. Macarius with the skull he found. This conversation attracts attention because of its originality. The skull says that is was formerly that of a pagan priest. But what is its meaning? In the way of life of the person whose brain once worked in the skull? Hardly. "Macarius listened and placed the skull on the earth and buried it." Did Macarius not think to pray for that man? To make the sign of the cross over him? Or to sympathize with him? Why? Because this is hopeless. And this would have been sinful even. But he does not throw his discovery on the ground, but buries it; in this way he expressed his respect for the man. And this is edifying. But what about the conversation? It is an allegory, a parable. But it also might be the spiritual insight of a holy person. Do the Holy Scriptures not offer us examples of such spiritual insight?

A separate question and perhaps even a protest was evoked from the author of the letter by the account of the dream of Blessed Theodora concerning the toll houses, in the life of St. Basil the New. What is this dream needed for, when it introduces into the heavenly sphere concepts and actions which are purely earthly - the image of toll houses or custom stations in heaven, images of arguments for the soul between angels and demons? Let us reply that all this is expressed as a dream, the dream of the disciple of Basil the New, and it is given as an account of what the disciple saw in this dream. Our dreams are also in the form of real and earthly images. And at the same time our dreams can be allegorical. They can express our emotional state, our imagination, and often our illness both of body and soul, dressing them in the form of living beings.

In this instance the dream is recounted just as it was. We might allow that the narrator of the life of St. Basil the New put it into a certain order, put the sins of people into a certain scheme, as this is generally accepted among ascetic writers. But regardless, it is thanks to this full scheme of the falls and weaknesses of men that the account attracted such attention and became so popular among persons seeking moral perfection. But of course this dream is allegorical and is made up of a series of symbols. We are earthly, and we cannot speak of heavenly things with any other language than our earthly tongue; we do not know the tongues of angels. In the Psalms we address the Ruler of All: "Incline Thine ear' stretch forth Thy right hand; draw out Thy sword; chastise and defend with Thy high arm." The Metropolitan of Moscow, Makary, reminds us that we should understand such accounts in as lofty (spiritual) a manner as possible. We can only accept his advice.

Let us take this earthly side of the symbolism into the spiritual understanding. Theodora is the soul of man; the angels - its virtues; the demons - its sins. Both are in the soul of a man and perhaps after death are found, as it were, on the scales of a balance. Is this image inconsistent with our religious concepts? Talking about the "balance" we imitate the symbolism contained in our hymns: "Thy Cross is found as the measure between the two thieves; for the one was brought down to hades by the weight of his blasphemy, but the other was lightened of his sins unto the knowledge of theology: O Christ God, glory to Thee" (Troparion of the 9th Hour).

http://www.new-ostrog.org/pomazansky.html


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Originally Posted by Dragani
I do not wish to engage in a theological debate here. I will only say this in my defense: I do not advocate the position that theosis is finite. To do so would be to go against the patristic tradition that I have been trained in, and deeply cherish.

Dear Doctor Dragani,

When a Catholic lady asked you this question:

"I have an Eastern Orthodox friend who claims that the term "Final Theosis" in regards to "Purgatory" isn't correct because she believes that Theosis never ends. What's the deal with this?"

You answered:

"As for Theosis never ending, I suppose that a case could be made for this on the grounds that we are called to become like God, but never overcome the infinite gulf between Him and us."

What I am hearing is not a definite belief nor a definite assertion that the patristic tradition teaches the never-ending nature of theosis but only a tentative statement that supposedly a case could be made for it. The idea of infinite theosis appears to be something not contemplated previously.

http://www.eternalworldtelevision.net/vexperts/showmessage_print.asp?number=409589&language=en

If you have come to a realisation since then that theosis *is* an infinite process, may I sincerely entreat you to alter your article on Purgatory so that it removes the notion that final theosis is a purgative process which occurs between death and Heaven.

-oOo-

Also, while theosis may well have a purgative element, primarily in the early period of spiritual ascesis, it is primarily an illuminative and unitive way.

-oOo-

Alice, apologies and a deep prostration if I am nitpicking but I believe these things have an importance in our spiritual life.

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Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
The words of the Liturgy are plain. Why someone or indeed an entire Church would try to deny they mean what they say is beyond comprehension.

Appearances suggest that it is only Ukrainian Greek Catholics who pray for Mary (although nobody has provided an example of any such prayers from their Prayerbooks but are simply spinning a questionable argument from one phrase in the Liturgy -a phrase which always provokes questions in seminary and is always explained as NOT being a prayer FOR Mary -see my earlier message on this.) ...

1. Please read again the words of Fr. Deacon Lance. What's in your liturgicon?

2. What do you think ὑπερ and ῶ mean?

3. The liturgy is THE standard, not prayer books. Your sense of justification is reversed.

4. Your narrow understanding of "for" is just that, narrow and yours.

5. You are reading that narrow understanding into the words of the liturgy. Don't do that; let the words of the liturgy inform us.

6. See the Administrator's post (#332935) for the full context; it is quite informative and the proper way to understand the prayer.

7. Perhaps you are still influenced by your own dubious recollection of the prayer:
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
"Yikes, no! The phrase you have quoted is not a prayer for her. It commences "Calling to remembrance our most holy..." There are NO prayers FOR the Mother of God but only prayers TO her."
Where is that "Calling to remembrance our most holy..." found?


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Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Archbishop Lazar (Lev Puhalo) has explained several times that he does not teach the heresy of soul sleep. His articles on this matter are somewhere on the web.

Who are the "leading opponents" who teach souls sleep? I cannot bring anybody to mind. Where may we find their writings?


In the Minutes of the Session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia dealing with defrocked Deacon Puhalo's ideas on the soul after death say-
"The state of the soul after death Deacon Lev (Lazar) Puhalo represents as its utter inability to function in any way whatsoever other than with the assistance of the body. As he understands the matter, after its departure from the body, the soul finds itself in a state of mute and blind repose... Puhalo has gone to the opposite extreme and contradicts a number of teachings which have long been accepted in Orthodox Dogmatic Theology...Such a concept of the soul separated from the body does not correspond in the least to the Orthodox concept."

Put it in whatever fancy words you like, what he espouses is soul sleep.

More over, defrocked Deacon Puhalo's teaching goes against the teaching of such great Orthodox Saints as St. John Maximovich, as put forth in his homily "Life after death"

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

Alexandr

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