The Byzantine Forum
Newest Members
arekeon27, Wenura Ravindu, Leeno, San Nicolas, Skanderbeg
5,845 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
2 members (Wenura Ravindu, 1 invisible), 68 guests, and 34 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Latest Photos
Holy Saturday from Kirkland Lake
Holy Saturday from Kirkland Lake
by Veronica.H, April 24
Byzantine Catholic Outreach of Iowa
Exterior of Holy Angels Byzantine Catholic Parish
Church of St Cyril of Turau & All Patron Saints of Belarus
Byzantine Nebraska
Byzantine Nebraska
by orthodoxsinner2, December 11
Forum Statistics
Forums26
Topics35,167
Posts414,956
Members5,845
Most Online3,380
Dec 29th, 2019
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#401012 11/01/13 11:49 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,125
E
Za myr z'wysot ...
Member
OP Offline
Za myr z'wysot ...
Member
E
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,125
Reading through the recent thread on Purgatory, the thought struck me that the whole concept of "purgatory" is predicated on that of the Particular Judgment.

The notion of a Particular Judgment arose out of a necessity to explain how the saints in heaven are able to intercede for us--here and now--even though the Resurrection and "General" Judgment will not take place until the last day (i.e. "the end of the world"). The solution, then, was to insert *another* judgment that occurs immediately upon death, which allows the saints to be consciously in God's presence--albeit without their bodies--and therefore able to converse with us and intercede for us.

The assumption, of course, is that heaven must be subject to the same rules regarding time as we are here on earth, and as long as we continue to look at things that way, the explanation appears perfectly reasonable. The problem comes in when we realize that heaven is *not* subject to the same rules regarding time as we are here on earth. All of a sudden, the entire theoretical justification for the Particular Judgment goes away completely, and since there is no other basis for it (it is certainly not scriptural), what happens to it?

OK, so let's assume we can eliminate the concept of the Particular Judgment--what then happens to Purgatory? The concept of purgation after death and before the final judgment remains as before, but many of the particulars, such as individuals being sentenced to Purgatory for a specific period of time, are eliminated.

The reason I find this interesting is that--as far as I can see--it maintains the essential elements of the RC teaching, while at the same time bringing the expression of these elements a lot closer to the EO teaching of why we pray for the dead.

Any thoughts?


Peace,
Deacon Richard

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,505
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,505
Originally Posted by Epiphanius
...., while at the same time bringing the expression of these elements a lot closer to the EO teaching of why we pray for the dead.

Any thoughts?

My thoughts.....This question comes up frequently on forums where Catholics and Orthodox interact.

Now, the implications of the Orthodox praying for the dead are not what you may think. The Orthodox think outside the Catholic box. We have been praying for the dead for all of 2000 years and have not felt the need to adopt any Western teaching to explain what and why....


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

In all the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, Irenaeus and Justin Martyr, etc., there is not the slightest allusion to the idea of purgatory.

Praying for the dead was, as far as we know, becoming a common practice around trhe year 200, but it does not, in itself, prove that the early Church believed in the existence of a purgatory.

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

As early as Tertullian, in the late second and beginning of the third century, these prayers often use the Latin term 'refrigerium' as a request of God on behalf of departed Christians, a term which means 'refreshment' or 'to refresh'
and came to embody the concept of heavenly happiness. Orthodox prayers for the dead are framed in those terms, as also with an ongoing humble request to the Almighty to pardon the sins of the dead ~which speaks to the orthodox belief in the possibility of forgiveness of sin after death. I'd like to say something when there's a free moment, about the much quoted Maccabees' verse "It is a good and wholesome thing thing to pray for the dead" since its meaning and intention is actually quite distant from the Roman Catholic interpretation and use of that verse.))

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

"Et omnium pausautium qui nos in dominica pace precesserunt, ab adam usque in hodiernum diem, quorum deus non nominavit et novit, ipsis et omnibus in christo quiescentibus locum refrigerii..."


Last edited by Hieromonk Ambrose; 11/01/13 05:34 PM.
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,505
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,505
The "Particular Judgement" is loaded with implications. It teaches that the final judgement of a soul occurs immediately at death and that this judgement is immutable. One’s immortal state is fixed for ever.

The Orthodox employ another term --- the "Partial Judgement."

It is quite different to the RCs' Particular Judgement. The Partial Judgement is just that - a "partial" judgement and the soul knows where it will be residing in the intermediate state until the Last Judgement. During that period the state of the soul may change, for its betterment and not for its harm. So
the judgement at death is not unchangeable,

Particular Judgement - Roman Catholic. No further possibility of change.

Partial Judgement - Orthodox. Possibility of change.

(And yes, you will find English speaking Orthodox using “Particular” without realising its Latin undergirding.)

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,505
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,505
I'd like to comment if I may and because I promised, using the famous incident of 2 Maccabees. We probably all know its famous phrase: "It is a good and wholesome thing to pray for the dead" but while we assume we understand it how many realise that it is talking about praying for the forgiveness of serious sins committed by those who are now dead. It is a message of great hope and consolation about God's mysterious compassion and willingness to forgive after death.

What had happened was that many of the dead Jewish soldiers were found to have small idols in their clothing. They had been worshipping idols and the text says that this idolatry is the reason God allowed them to be slain in battle.

So the surviving soldiers began to offer profound prayers that this dreadful sin of their dead comrades would be forgiven and Judas Maccabeus decided to send a large quantity of silver to the Jerusalem temple for prayers for the forgiveness of these Jewish soldier idolaters.

The whole incident substantiates not just prayers for the dead but the hope and belief that sin, even very grave and unconfessed sin, may be forgiven by God even after death. Such is the Orthodox belief today.

2 Macc 12: 39-46

http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/2maccabees/2maccabees12.htm

On the following day, since the task had now become urgent, Judas and his men went to gather up the bodies of the slain and bury them with their kinsmen in their ancestral tombs.

But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. So it was clear to all that this was why these men had been slain.

They all therefore praised the ways of the Lord, the just judge who brings to light the things that are hidden.

Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen.

He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view;

for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.

But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought.

Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.

-oOo-

While all of us are aware of that little phrase of "It is a good and wholesome thought to pray for the dead" how many have actually read it in context and seen the reason it is a good and wholesome thing... because it will move the compassionate God to forgive grave and unrepented sin after death.... and it is not the overly lenient Ambrose who is in a mood to let the consequences go! It is the Lord Almighty Himself - unfathomable, inscrutable, but always merciful.

Last edited by Hieromonk Ambrose; 11/01/13 07:31 PM.
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,505
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,505
Dear Father, I am lucky that I could simply copy these posts from Mary Lanser's e-group Irenikon. We were having a discussion many years ago.

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 26,272
Likes: 20
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 26,272
Likes: 20
Dear Father,

So the Partial Judgement may consign someone to a place/state that is very much like Purgatory, no?

You mean to say that if I died with quite serious sin I would nonetheless be consigned to a place from which I could leave at the Last Judgement?

And if not, then what is the real difference between this and the Catholic teaching?

Alex

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 26,272
Likes: 20
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 26,272
Likes: 20
Dear Father,

Actually, not being "Heterodox in union with Rome" like me :), you have failed to appreciate that at the Particular Judgement, it is possible to be consigned to Purgatory and therefore one's state can definitely change.

If you want to engage in fruitful discussion with EC's and RC's here, you are going to have to start thinking from a Heterodox perspective!

Alex

Last edited by Orthodox Catholic; 11/04/13 10:59 PM.
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,505
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,505
Orthodox Catholic wrote: "it is possible to be consigned to Purgatory and therefore one's state can definitely change."

My understanding is that a soul in Purgatory is in a state of salvation and that state cannot change.

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,505
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,505
Orthodox Catholic wrote:: "You mean to say that if I died with quite serious sin I would nonetheless be consigned to a place from which I could leave at the Last Judgement?”
------

Yes, the majority belief among the Orthodox is that repentance and salvation remain possible until the Last Judgement.

Do you remember how, a few years ago, the Coptic Church removed some prayers from their liturgical books?

Why? Because they are prayers for those in HELL and the Coptic bishops see prayer for those in Hell as meaningless.

Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev): "Several years ago I came across a short article in a journal of the Coptic Church where it stated that this Church had decided to remove prayers for those held in hell from its service books, since these prayers “contradict Orthodox teaching”. Puzzled by this article, I decided to ask a representative of the Coptic Church about the reasons for this move. Recently I had the possibility to do so, and a Coptic Metropolitan replied that the decision was made by his Synod because, according their official doctrine, no prayers can help those in hell. I told the metropolitan that in the liturgical practice of the Russian Orthodox Church and other local Orthodox Churches there are prayers for those held in hell, and that we believe in their saving power."

http://orthodoxeurope.org/print/12/1.aspx


Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,125
E
Za myr z'wysot ...
Member
OP Offline
Za myr z'wysot ...
Member
E
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,125
Fr. Ambrose,

Thanks for your replies, I'm sorry that I had missed them till now.

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
As early as Tertullian, in the late second and beginning of the third century, these prayers often use the Latin term 'refrigerium' as a request of God on behalf of departed Christians, a term which means 'refreshment' or 'to refresh'
and came to embody the concept of heavenly happiness.
I had often wondered about the use of that term, which is familiar from its use in the Roman Canon, since it seems to fall far short of concepts like "glory" and "magnificent joy" that one might expect to hear in reference to heaven, but certainly doesn't fit in with any concept of purgatory.

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
... the orthodox belief in the possibility of forgiveness of sin after death.
This is very important, since one of the main reasons why Protestants reject the whole concept of prayers for the dead is that the RCs will say something like, "it's for sins that have been forgiven, but still have to be expiated," while the Protestants will answer, "how is God's forgiveness less than perfect? and if it's perfect, how is 'expiation' still needed--especially since Christ's expiation on the cross is sufficient for all of us?"

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
"Et omnium pausautium qui nos in dominica pace precesserunt, ab adam usque in hodiernum diem, quorum deus non nominavit et novit, ipsis et omnibus in christo quiescentibus locum refrigerii..."
I must confess my limited knowledge of Latin here, but I find the phrase I bolded here interesting, as it appears to translate as "whom God did not call by name, and [yet?] knew ..." Does this really mean that prayers offered even for those who were "not called by name" were considered to be efficacious?


Peace,
Deacon Richard

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,505
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,505
Epiphanius wrote::
"]I had often wondered about the use of that term, which is familiar from its use in the Roman Canon, since it seems to fall far short of concepts like "glory" and "magnificent joy" that one might expect to hear in reference to heaven, but certainly doesn't fit in with any concept of purgatory."
----------

The Orthodox do not have a developed cosmology of the afterlife but a look at this message gives a few official Orthodox statements which chime with the use of "refrigerium" in reference to the intermediate state.

Message 400714

https://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/400714/Searchpage/2/Main/7347/Words/constantinople/Search/true/Re_Indulgences_and_Eastern_Cat#Post400714


Moderated by  Alice, Father Deacon Ed, theophan 

Link Copied to Clipboard
The Byzantine Forum provides message boards for discussions focusing on Eastern Christianity (though discussions of other topics are welcome). The views expressed herein are those of the participants and may or may not reflect the teachings of the Byzantine Catholic or any other Church. The Byzantine Forum and the www.byzcath.org site exist to help build up the Church but are unofficial, have no connection with any Church entity, and should not be looked to as a source for official information for any Church. All posts become property of byzcath.org. Contents copyright - 1996-2022 (Forum 1998-2022). All rights reserved.
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5