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Posted By: Little Boy Lost Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/15/09 06:25 PM
Does anyone know what the Byzantine Rites of Rome think of Seraphim Rose and his beliefs about aerial toll houses? I've done some research, and it sounds dubious at best. But I've not read the actual patristic documents he cites for support, and the Icon of Divine Ascent does seem interesting in light of the toll house theory. Thanks!
I really enjoyed the works of Fr. Seraphim Rose. His life story is truly remarkable. I'm nost sure the offical Eastern Catholic view on the aerial toll houses are. I think the Orthodox themselves are divided on the issue as well.
It seems hard to find a straight version of the Toll-house doctrine that everyone can accept without altering the original version in some way. Best to just leave it in the realm of theologoumenon and not make a big deal about it either way.
Excuse me, but +Hieromonk Seraphim Rose is being examined for canonization by the Orthodox Church, despite what your "Orthodox" friends think. The "smoking" comment is both inappropriate and offensive to Orthodox Christians. I suppose St John Maximovitch, St. Ephriam the Syrian, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Macarius the Great as well as the services of the Orthodox Church are not worth thinking about as well according to the clergy you have contact with.

I realize that the subject of tollhouses is controversial in Orthodoxy, and is only an allegorical teaching tool, not dogma, but to so rudely dismiss it as not worth thinking about is just rude.

Maybe you need some new Orthodox friends?

Alexandr
Posted By: theophan Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/16/09 12:30 AM
Allen:

Christ is in our midst!!

You owe Alexandr an apology, as well as the other members of the forum for this post. We do not address each other this way here when we disagree. When there are differences, the culture of this forum is one of charity and deference. There are always more than one way to express disagreement, the way you used always brings out enmity and discord. Kindly think before you post in the future.

There is another thing that you should be aware of, too. Your all CAPS is the equivalent of shouting.

Bob
Moderator
Posted By: theophan Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/16/09 12:46 AM
Quote
Byzantine Rites of Rome


LBL:

The Churches you are asking about are no longer referred to as "rites" but they are defined as "sui juris Churches," that is, having their own law defining their spiritual and liturgical lives.

Eastern Catholic Churches within the Catholic family is more accurate.

BOB
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/16/09 12:50 AM
Or even "Eastern Churches in communion with the Church of Rome. But that is neither here nor there. The key point is what lies beyond the grave has not been revealed to us. The primary level of the Tradition, the common patrimony of the undivided Church, is very simple: the souls of the departed require some form of purification after death, and prayers for the dead are efficacious. This is the core of the Church's belief on the matter. Everything else is speculation (or worse, "philosophy".
[quote=theophan] [quote]Byzantine Rites of Rome [/quote]

LBL:

The Churches you are asking about are no longer referred to as "rites" but they are defined as "sui juris Churches," that is, having their own law defining their spiritual and liturgical lives.

Eastern Catholic Churches within the Catholic family is more accurate.

BOB [/quote]

I know that Pope John Paul II would use the designation "autonomous ritual Churches" and I have the feeling this is used in canon law?
The Toll House allegory is not a part of the Tradition.

It was held by opinion by some recent Russian fathers, but is awfully close to gnosticism - too close for Orthodoxy.
Posted By: ALLEN Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/16/09 01:02 AM
THEOPHAN: Whoops, I almost started shouting again. I am very aware of the "culture" of this forum. I am also not the type of person who dances around an issue, and I refuse to do so.
I was not aware that St. Ephriam the Syrian, St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Macarius the Great, amongst numerous others were "recent Russian Fathers". Blessed +Ignaty (Branchiannov) was a leading proponent as well. I was taught the concept of the Tollhouses at the feet of Protopresbyter Mikhail (Pomozhansky) and +Archmandrite Mitrophan of Blessed Memory who acquired it from St John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco. Do you lay the charge of the heresy of gnosticism on St John?

I have no wish to start a big debate oh the Tollhouse concept. Too much internet bandwidth is wasted debating it's pros and cons. Believe it or walk away from it. The Church has no official position. But as I would not lay the charge of Protestantism on you for not utilizing it, please refrain from leveling the charge of gnosticism on those of us who do.

Alexandr
Originally Posted by StuartK
.... the common patrimony of the undivided Church, is very simple: the souls of the departed require some form of purification after death, and prayers for the dead are efficacious. This is the core of the Church's belief on the matter. Everything else is speculation (or worse, "philosophy".

Now, the implications of praying for the dead are not what people may think. The Orthodox have been praying for the dead for all of 2000 years and have not felt the need to adopt any teaching of purification 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."

For at least the first two centuries there was no mention of purgatory in the Church. In all the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, Irenaeus and Justin Martyr, there is not the slightest allusion to the idea of purgatory.

Praying for the dead was becoming a common practice by the beginning of the third century 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. These very early terms are still used in Eastern prayers for the dead.

So 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.

"During the time, moreover, which intervenes between a man's death and the final resurrection, the soul dwells in a hidden retreat, where it enjoys rest or suffers affliction just in proportion to the merit it has earned by the life which it led on earth."
St. Augustine, Enchiridion, 1099 (A.D. 421).


Blagosloviti mene, drag Otac,

Dear Father Ambrose, I just know that you will be posting! LOL!

Sasha
I would wager that the belief in the toll houses among moder toll houses adherents is composed of very idiosyncratic elements and they reject much of what the "toll-house" Saints taught, for example, Saint Ignaty Brianchaninov, or the supposed revelation of Saint Theodora.

In contrast, we have the words of Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky - Russia's leading theologian before the Revolution who became the First Primate of the Russian Church Abroad. His comment when asked about the toll houses: "The toll houses? Something the village people might believe in."

Should we believe St Ignaty that there are 20 actual places in the sky between earth and heaven manned by black demons? Should they should believe Fr Michael Pomazansky that they are simply subtle movements within the individual conscience which accomplishes the Partial Judgement? Should they accept the toller revelation from Saint Theodora, given by the angels, that none but the baptized Orthodox go through the tollhouses? The rest of mankind are taken to hell immediately upon death and do not see the tollhouses.

There really is NO toll house teaching. It varies from one toller to the next, very much as with any Protestant teaching.

There is a line of Russian tradition about the toll houses which is not part of the mainstream of Russian religious thought. St. John of San Francisco (as regards the toll houses) may be considered as being in this peripheral stream. Btw, do you know if he teaches that all non-Orthodox go to Hell? This is a major part of the foundational text of Saint Basil the New-Theodora-Gregory. Does he teach that the toll houses are in the air, as Saint Ignaty Brianchaninov teaches, above our heads but invisible to our physical eyes?

You see, it is almost impossible to tack down with any certainty the features of this amorphous doctrine. No contemporary toll house proponent has ever had the courage to say precisely what they believe. They certainly reject the teaching of the Saints, both Theodora and Ignaty
Brianchaninov... Don't you find that odd?... they decry the teachings of the very people to whom they also appeal for support for their belief. Having said that Saint Theodora and Saint Ignaty are wrong in parts of their teachings,they usually want to advocate a watered down and bowlderised teaching which would be rejected by the "toll house Saints" (if I may call them
that simply for convenience.) It's a bit messy, isn't it. Rejecting the teachings of the very Saints to whom you appeal for support!

Would you yourself be able to give us a definition of what you believe? I would be very interested.

It is noticeable throughout Fr Seraphim's "The Soul After Death" that he seems to have a multiple belief disorder. He wavers between allegorical tollhouses (in this he contradicts the teaching of the recent Russian Saints) and an adherence to the physical reality of the tollhouses.

At times he adopts the demythologized approach and at other times he asserts the "traditional" teaching and especially that of Saint Ignaty Brianchaninov from whom he draws extensively for his own teaching on the tollhouses. For Saint Ignaty there is no allegory, no metaphor, but simply real toll houses in the air starting in the air one foot above our heads. Fr Seraphim also adds his own peculiar details - being able to see the toll houses in the air if a man has sufficient spiritual sight - I don't think this is found in Saint Ignaty?

My oen Bishops have stated: "....To add conjectures to the little the Lord has been revealed to us is not beneficial to our salvation.." For me, that is a clear enough statement from my Bishops. I will not jeopardise my salvation by wondering in the useless realm of conjecture...



On the Question of the "Toll-Houses" Our War is not Against Flesh and Blood

by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky

"We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ." —I Cor. 4:10



Our life is lived among a population which, although it is nominally Christian, in many respects has different conceptions and views than ours in the realm of faith. Sometimes this inspires us to respond to questions of our Faith when they are raised and discussed from a non-Orthodox point of view by persons of other confessions, and sometimes by Orthodox Christians who no longer have a firm Orthodox foundation under their feet.

In the limited conditions of our life we unfortunately are unable fully to react to statements or to reply to the questions that arise. However, we sometimes feel such a need. In particular, we now have occasion to define the Orthodox view of the "toll-houses," which is one of the topics of a book which has appeared in English under the title, Christian Mythology by Canon George Every. The "toll-houses" are the experience of the Christian soul immediately after death, as these experiences are described by the Fathers of the Church and Christian ascetics. In recent years a critical approach to a whole series of our Church beliefs has been observed; these beliefs are viewed as being "primitive," the result of a "naive" world view of piety, and they are characterized by such words as "myths," "magic," and the like. It is our duty to respond.

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. To approach it correctly, it is essential to understand the foundations and the spirit of the Orthodox world-view. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so, the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God (I Cor. 2:11-12). We must ourselves come closer to the Church, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God (I Cor. 2:12). In the present question the foundation is: We believe in the Church. The Church is the heavenly and earthly Body of Christ, pre-designated for the moral perfection of the members of its earthly part and for the blessed, joyful, but always active life of its ranks in its heavenly realm. The Church on earth glorifies God, unites believers, and educates them morally so that by this means it might ennoble and exalt earthly life itself—both the personal life of its own children, and the life of mankind. Its chief aim is to help them in the attainment of eternal life in God, the attainment of sanctity, without which no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14).

Thus, it is essential that there be constant communion between those in the Church on earth and the heavenly Church. In the Body of Christ all its members are interactive. In the Lord, the Shepherd of the Church, there are, as it were, two flocks: the heavenly and the earthly (Epistle of the Eastern Patriarchs, 17th century). Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it (I Cor. 12:26). The heavenly Church rejoices, but at the same time it sympathizes with its fellow members on earth. St. Gregory the Theologian gave to the earthly Church of his time the name of "suffering Orthodoxy"; and thus it has remained until now. This interaction is valuable and indispensable for the common aim that we may grow up into Him in all things...from Whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the building of itself in love (Eph. 4:15-16).

The end of all this is deification in the Lord, that God may be all in all (I Cor. 15:28). The earthly life of the Christian should be a place of spiritual growth, progress, the ascent of the soul towards heaven. We deeply grieve that, with the exception of a few of us, although we know our path, stray far away from it because of our attachment to what is exclusively earthly. And, although we are ready to offer repentance, still we continue to live carelessly. However, there is not in our souls that so-called "peace of soul" which is present in Western Christian psychology, which is based upon some kind of "moral minimum" i.e., having fulfilled my obligation that provides a convenient disposition of soul for occupying oneself with worldly interests.

However, it is precisely there, where "peace of soul" ends, that there is opened the field of perfection for the inward work of the Christians. If we sin wilfully after that we have receive the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but only a certain fearful expectation of judgement and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries... It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:26-27, 31). Passivity and carelessness are unnatural to the soul; by being passive and careless we demean ourselves. However, to rise up requires constant vigilance of the soul and, more than this, warfare. With whom is this warfare? With oneself only? We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against the spirits of wickedness under the heaven (Eph. 6:12).

Here we approach the subject of the toll-houses.

It is not by chance, that the Lord's Prayer ends with the words: Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One. Concerning this Evil One, in another of His discourses the Lord said to His disciples: I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven (Luke 10:18). Cast down from heaven, he became thus a resident of the lower sphere, the prince of the power of the air, the prince of the legion of unclean spirits. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man but does not find rest for himself, he returns to the home from which he departed and, finding it unoccupied, cleaned and put in order, he goeth and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there, and the last state of that man is worse that the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation (Matt. 12:43, 45).

Was it only a generation? Concerning the bent-over woman who was healed on the Sabbath day, did not the Lord reply: Ought not this woman being a daughter whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day? (Luke 13:16).

The Apostles in their instructions do not forget about our spiritual enemies. St. Paul writes to the Ephesians: In past times ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience (Eph. 2:2). Therefore, now put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6:11), for the devil, as a roaring lion, seeketh whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8). Being Christians, shall we call these quotations from the Scripture "mythology"? Those warnings to previous generations found in the written word of God also relate to us. Therefore the hindrances to salvation are the same. Some of them are due to our own carelessness, our own self-confidence, our lack of concern, our egoism, to the passions of the body; others are in the temptations and the tempters who surround us: in people, and in the invisible dark powers which surround us. This is why, in our daily personal prayers, we beg God not to allow any "success of the evil one" (from the Morning Prayers), that is, that we be not allowed any success in our deeds that might occur with the help of dark powers. In general, in our private prayers and also in public Divine Worship, we never lose sight of the idea of being translated into a different life after death.

In the times of the Apostles and the first Christians, when Christians were more inspired, when the difference between the pagan world and the world of Christians was much more distinct, when the suffering of the martyrs was the light of Christianity, there was less concern to support the spirit of Christians by preaching alone. But the Gospel is all encompassing! The demands of the Sermon on the Mount were meant not only for the Apostles! And therefore, in the writings of the Apostles we already read not simple instructions, but also warnings about the future, when we shall have to give an account.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil...that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Eph. 6: 11, 13). For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:26-27, 31). On some have compassion, and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh (Jude, the brother of James, 22-23). It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Sprit, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance, seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame (Heb. 6:4-6).

Thus it was in the Apostolic age. But when the Church, having received freedom, began to be filled with masses of people, when the general inspiration of faith began to weaken, there was a more critical need for powerful words, for denunciations, for calls to spiritual vigilance, to fear of God and fear for one's own fate. In the collection of pastoral instructions of the most zealous archpastors we read stern homilies giving pictures of the future judgement which awaits us after death. These homilies were intended to bring sinners to their senses, and evidently they were given during periods of general Christian repentance before Great Lent. In them was the truth of God's righteousness, the truth that nothing unclean would enter into the kingdom of sanctity; this truth was clothed in vivid, partly figurative, close to earthly images which were known to everyone in daily life. The hierarchs of this period themselves called these images of the judgement which follows immediately after death the "toll-houses." The tables of the publicans, the collectors of taxes and duties, were evidently points for letting one go on the road further into the central part of the city. Of course, the word "toll-house" in itself does not indicate to us any particular religious significance. In patristic language it signifies that short period after death when the Christian soul must account for its moral state.

St. Basil writes, "Let no one deceive himself with empty words, for sudden destruction cometh upon them (I Thess. 5:3) and causes an overturning like a storm. A strict angel will come, he will forcibly lead out your soul, bound by sins. Occupy yourself therefore with reflection on the last day... Imagine to yourself the confusion, the shortness of breath, and the hour of death, the sentence of God drawing near, the angels hastening towards you, the dreadful confusion of the soul tormented by its conscience, with its pitiful gaze upon what is happening, and finally, the unavoidable translation into a distant place" (St. Basil the Great, quoted in "Essay in an Historical Exposition of Orthodox Theology," by Bishop Sylvester, Vol. 5, p.89).

St. Gregory the Theologian, who guided a large flock only for short periods, limits himself to general words, saying that "each one is a sincere judge of himself, because of the judgement-seat awaiting him." There is a more striking picture found in St. John Chrysostom: "If, in setting out for any foreign country or city we are in need of guides, then how much shall we need helpers and guides in order to pass unhindered past the elders, the powers, the governors of the air, the persecutors, the chief collectors! For this reason, the soul, flying away from the body, often ascends and descends, fears and trembles. The awareness of sins always torments us, all the more at that hour when we shall have to be conducted to those trials and that frightful judgement place." Continuing, Chrysostom gives moral instructions for a Christian way of life. As for children who have died, he places in their mouths the following words: "The holy angels peacefully separated us from our bodies, and having good guides, we went without harm past the powers of the air. The evil spirits did not find in us what they were seeking; they did not notice what they wished to put to shame; seeing an immaculate soul, they were ashamed; seeing an undefiled tongue, they were silent. We passed by and put them to shame. The net was rent, and we were delivered. Blessed is God Who did not give us as a prey to them" (St. John Chrysostom, Homily 2, "On Remembering the Dead").

The Orthodox Church depicts the Christian martyrs, male and female, as attaining the heavenly bridal chamber just as freely as children and without harm. In the fifth century the depiction of the immediate judgement upon the soul after its departure from the body, called the Particular judgement, was even more closely joined to the depiction of the toll-houses, as we see in St. Cyril of Alexandria's "Homily on the Departure of the Soul," which sums up the images of this kind in the Fathers of the Church which preceded him.

It is perfectly clear to anyone that purely earthly images are applied to a spiritual subject so that the image, being impressed in the memory, might awaken a man's soul. "Behold the Bridegroom cometh at midnight, and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching." At the same time, in these pictures the sinfulness that is present in fallen man is revealed in its various types and forms, and this inspires man to analyze his own state of soul. In the instructions of Orthodox ascetics the types and forms of sinfulness have a special stamp of their own;[1] in the Lives of Saints there is also a characteristic stamp.

Due to the availability of the Lives of Saints, the account of the tollhouses by the righteous Theodora, depicted by her in detail by Saint Basil the New in his dream, has become especially well known. Dreams in general express the state of soul of a given man, and in special cases are also authentic visions of the souls of the departed in their earthly form. The account of Theodora has characteristics both of one and the other. The idea that good spirits, our guardian angels, as well as the spirits of evil under heaven participate in the fate of man (after death) finds confirmation in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus immediately after death was brought by angels to the bosom of Abraham. In another parable the unrighteous man heard these words: Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee (Luke 12:20); evidently, the ones who "require" are none else than the same "spirits of wickedness under the heavens."

In accordance with simple logic and as also confirmed by the Word of God the soul immediately after its separation from the body enters into a sphere where its further fate is defined. It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, we read in the Apostle Paul (Heb. 9:27). This is the Particular Judgement, which is independent of the universal Last Judgement.

The teaching concerning the Particular Judgement of God enters into the sphere of Orthodox dogmatic theology. As for the toll-houses, Russian writers of general systems of theology limit themselves to a rather stereotyped note: "Concerning all the sensual, earthly images by which the Particular Judgement is presented in the form of the toll-houses, although in their fundamental idea they are completely true, still they should be accepted in the way that the angel instructed Saint Macarius of Alexandria, being only the weakest means of depicting heavenly things." (See Macarius, Metropolitan of Moscow, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Saint Petersburg, 1883, vol. 11, p.538; also the book of Bishop Sylvester, Rector of the Kiev Theological Academy. Archbishop Philaret of Chernigov, in his two volume work on dogmatic theology, does not comment on this subject.) [2] If one is to complain of the frightening character of the pictures of the toll-houses—are there not many such pictures in the New Testament scriptures and in the words of the Lord Himself? Are we not frightened by the very simplest question: How camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? (Mat. 22:12).

We respond to the discussion on the toll-houses, a topic which is secondary in the realm of our Orthodox thought, because it gives an occasion to illuminate the essence of our Church life. Our Christian Church life of prayer is uninterrupted mutual communion with the heavenly world. It is not simply an "invocation of the saints," as it is often called; it is an interaction in love. Through it the whole body of the Church, being united and strengthened in its members and bonds, increaseth with the increase of God (Col. 2:19). Through the Church we are come unto the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the solemn assembly and the church of the first- born, which are written in heaven, and the God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect (Heb, 12:22-23). Our prayerful interaction extends in all directions. It has been commanded us: Pray for one another. We live according to the principle of Faith: Whether we live or die, we are the Lord's (Rom. 14:8). Love never faileth (I Cor. 13:8). Love shall cover a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8).

For the soul there is no death. Life in Christ is a world of prayer. It penetrates the whole body of the Church, unites every member of the Church with the Heavenly Father, the members of the earthly Church with themselves, and the members of the earthly Church with the Heavenly Church. Prayers are the threads of the living fabric of the Church body, for the prayer of the righteous man availeth much (James 5:16). The twenty-four elders in heaven at the throne of God fell down before the Lamb, each having harps and vials filled with incense, which are the prayers of saints (Apoc. 5:8); that is, they offered up prayer on earth to the heavenly throne.

Threats are necessary; they can and should warn us, restrain us from evil actions. The same Church instills in us that the Lord is compassionate and merciful, long-suffering and plenteous in mercy, and is grieved over the evil doings of men, taking upon Himself our infirmities. In the Heavenly Church are also our intercessors, our helpers, those who pray for us. The Most Pure Mother of God is our protection. Our very prayers are the prayers of saints, written down by them, which came from their contrite hearts during the days of their earthly life. Those who pray can feel this, and thus the saints themselves become closer to us. Such are our daily prayers; such also is the whole cycle of the Church's Divine services of every day, of every week, and of the Feasts.

All this liturgical literature was not conceived as an academic exercise.

The enemies of the air are powerless against such help. But we must have faith, and our prayers must be fervent and sincere. There is more joy in heaven over one who repents, than over others who need no repentance. How insistently the Church teaches us (in its litanies) to spend "the rest of our life in peace and repentance," and to die thus! It teaches us to call to remembrance our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most Blessed Lady Theotokos and all the saints, and then to commit ourselves and one another unto Christ our God.

At the same time, with all this cloud of heavenly protectors, we are made glad by the special closeness to us of our Guardian Angels. They are meek, they rejoice over us, and they also grieve over our falls. We are filled with hope in them, in the state we will be in when our soul is separated from the body, when we must enter into a new life: will it be light or in darkness, in joy or in sorrow? Therefore, every day we pray to our angels for the present day: "Deliver us from every cunning of the opposing enemy." In special canons of repentance we entreat them not to depart from us now nor after our death: "I see thee with my spiritual gaze, thou who remainest with me, my fellow converser, Holy Angel, watching over, accompanying and remaining with me and ever offering to me what is for salvation." "When my humble soul shall be loosed from my body, may thou cover it, O my instructor, with thy bright and most sacred wings." "When the frightful sound of the trumpet will resurrect me unto judgement, stand near to me then, quiet and joyful, and with the hope of salvation take away my fear." "For thou art beauteous in virtue, and sweet and joyous, a mind bright as the sun; brightly intercede for me with joyful countenance and radiant gaze when I am to be taken from the earth." "May I then behold thee standing at the right hand of my wretched soul, bright and quiet, thou who intercedest and prayest for me, when my spirit shall be taken by force; may I behold thee banishing those who seek me, my bitter enemies." (From the Canon to the Guardian Angel of John the Monk, in the Prayer Book for Priests.)

Thus, the Holy Church through the ranks of its builders: the Apostles, the great hierarchs, the holy ascetics, having as its Chief Shepherd our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ, has created and gives us all means for our spiritual perfection and the attainment of the eternal blessed life in God, overcoming our carelessness and light-mindedness by fear and by stern warnings, at the same time instilling in us a spirit of vigilance and bright hope, surrounding us with holy, heavenly guides and helpers. In the Typicon of the Church's Divine service, we are given a direct path to the attainment of the Kingdom of Glory.

Among the images of the Gospel the Church very often reminds us of the parable of the Prodigal Son, and one week in the yearly cycle of Church services is entirely devoted to this remembrance, so that we might know the limitless love of God and the fact that the sincere, contrite, tearful repentance of a believing man overcomes all the obstacles and all the tollhouses on the path to the Heavenly Father.

Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/16/09 01:31 AM
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.
Agreed. An extended Toll House, if you will.


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.

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.
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.
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.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/16/09 02:07 AM
Quote
Both are doctrinal ways of explaining something we cannot know exactly.

And so it says in the Byzantine Catholic catechism.
Posted By: DewiMelkite Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/16/09 05:31 AM
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.
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.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
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?
Posted By: ajk Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/16/09 12:21 PM
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
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.




Posted By: ajk Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/16/09 01:09 PM
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
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.
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.
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
Posted By: Mike L. Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/16/09 02:41 PM
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."
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.
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
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.

Benedicite!

Father Ambrose,

I would like to ask you what the state of the Saints is after death. Are they already in heaven or are they still waiting to enter therein? Also, how can someone waiting to enter hell still be saved?
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
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.
Hmmmm.... what you describe sounds very much like a journey to me! While "awaiting" would be a concept we use (we don't know anything about time in the next life) it is a journey. I use "journey" in the spiritual sense, as the soul would first undergo parital judgement, then the intermediate state, then final Judgement, and then heaven or hell.

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
I suppose 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.
Again, it depends on how you look at it. In Eastern thought even a pure soul going right to heaven would have a journey, if only an upward one, towards the Light of Heaven.

Quote
Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky:
Through the Church we are come unto the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the solemn assembly and the church of the first- born, which are written in heaven, and the God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect (Heb, 12:22-23). Our prayerful interaction extends in all directions.
The journey of the soul begins at the moment of conception. For Christians, with Baptism and the other Mysteries to cleanse and fortify the journey towards the Heavenly Jerusalem encompasses a lifetime. The journey does not end until the final Judgment, with either heaven or hell.
Originally Posted by Latin Catholic
... how can someone waiting to enter hell still be saved?

I was reading an article recently by Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev called "Orthodox Worship as a School of Theology", and I came across the following:-


"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. This surprised the Metropolitan, and he promised to study this question in more detail."

Here is the original article ...
http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/12/1.aspx
Originally Posted by Administrator
The journey does not end until the final Judgment, with either heaven or hell.

I suppose that when it is seen in that light the journey is never-ending. The progression into theosis is eternal and without limit or end.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/16/09 08:35 PM
Quote
I have to admit that the idea that the soul is on a journey after death is not one I have encountered in Orthodoxy.

Does not theosis continue beyond this life and into the next? How can it not, given that no creature can every fully apprehend the nature of his Creator? Do we not, in the Divine Liturgy, offer up our prayers for "most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary"? If the Mother of God is still undergoing theosis, why should not the rest of us?
Originally Posted by StuartK
Do we not, in the Divine Liturgy, offer up our prayers for "most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary"?

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.
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by StuartK
Do we not, in the Divine Liturgy, offer up our prayers for "most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary"?
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.
Interesting question! Here is one relevant quote from the Divine Liturgy:
Quote
Moreover, we offer to You this rational sacrifice for those who departed in the faith: the forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics and for every just spirit made perfect in faith.

And the priest, taking the censer, intones:

Especially for our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary.
It certainly is an interesting question. We know that even the Mother of God was in need of a Savior. Perhaps an off-shoot discussion?
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/16/09 09:45 PM
Taft has written at length about this, and his conclusion is the prayer--and similar prayers in other Oriental rites--is indeed directed towards God for the Theotokos.

As the prayer of commemoration is presented in the Ruthenian Slavonic recension, no other interpretation is possible.
I think all the translations are similar.

It is certainly interesting. I, a sinner, can ask Father Ambrose (and everyone reading this) to pray for me. He can pray for me and, in turn, ask me (and everyone else) to pray for him. Can those in heaven - including the Mother of God - do the same?

On a humorous note, I can certainly envision the Mother of God speaking to St. John the Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist: "Remember me in your prayers, tonight, John, wait until you hear about the miracle I'm going to ask Him to preform!" biggrin

Yes, this example is silly. But one can think of valid reasons for praying for someone in heaven. Maybe not all of them are silly?
Originally Posted by Administrator
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by StuartK
Do we not, in the Divine Liturgy, offer up our prayers for "most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary"?
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.
Interesting question! Here is one relevant quote from the Divine Liturgy:
Quote
Moreover, we offer to You this rational sacrifice for those who departed in the faith: the forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics and for every just spirit made perfect in faith.

And the priest, taking the censer, intones:

Especially for our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary.
It certainly is an interesting question. We know that even the Mother of God was in need of a Savior. Perhaps an off-shoot discussion?

I think we may need to look at some liturgical commentaries to get the correct meaning of this and other references to Mary in the Liturgy, otherwise we shall have to confess that not only does Mary need prayer but that she is also a woman of sinfulness.

After communion as the priest places the particles from the diskos/paten into the precious Blood he prays:

"Wash away, O lord, the sins of all those commemorated here..." and the first particle which he places into the Blood is the triangular piece which commemorates the Mother of God.

Yikes! so there we have it, a liturgical teaching of the sinfulness of Mary!!
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Yikes! so there we have it, a liturgical teaching of the sinfulness of Mary!!
Not so fast! That one needs prayer is not necessarily a statement that one is sinful. Be Orthodox and hold off on any conclusions until the issue is fully examined. biggrin
Originally Posted by StuartK
Taft has written at length about this, and his conclusion is the prayer--and similar prayers in other Oriental rites--is indeed directed towards God for the Theotokos.

As the prayer of commemoration is presented in the Ruthenian Slavonic recension, no other interpretation is possible.

I would agree with this if it is seen as a prayer, from within eternity, for the salvation of the Mother of God through the death of Christ on the Cross which she needed just as much as any of the other "patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs..." spoken of in the prayer of offering. In other words it is an anamnesis of an event which took place for her 2000 years ago and not an ongoing need for prayer for her.

Is Taft's writing on this available on the Net? It would be interesting to read.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/16/09 10:49 PM
Quote
otherwise we shall have to confess that not only does Mary need prayer but that she is also a woman of sinfulness.

The second does not follow from the first.
The prayer is: "Wash away the sins of all those commemorated here..." and the first particle to go into the Chalice is that commemorating the Mother of God.

I agree that this does NOT mean that Mary is a sinful woman but on the face of it this is what the text is saying. I brought this up to show that we must also be careful not to see the earlier prayer which offers the Sacrifice for the sake of Mary (and the prophets,etc.) as teaching us that she is in need of our prayers today.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/17/09 12:04 AM
Quote
I brought this up to show that we must also be careful not to see the earlier prayer which offers the Sacrifice for the sake of Mary (and the prophets,etc.) as teaching us that she is in need of our prayers today.

As the Liturgy is celebrated in kairos, not chronos, the meaning of the text perdures for eternity. What it must mean, therefore, is our prayers are efficacious for all those who have fallen asleep, because our assimilation into the divine nature can never be fully complete until the Parousia.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
I brought this up to show that we must also be careful not to see the earlier prayer which offers the Sacrifice for the sake of Mary (and the prophets,etc.) as teaching us that she is in need of our prayers today.

As the Liturgy is celebrated in kairos, not chronos, the meaning of the text perdures for eternity. What it must mean, therefore, is our prayers are efficacious for all those who have fallen asleep, because our assimilation into the divine nature can never be fully complete until the Parousia.

Well, it is a new thing for me to learn that Catholics pray FOR the Mother of God but you seem quite insistent on it and so I accept what you are saying although I confess it seems very odd to me. Certainly if parishioners were to say that they prayed FOR Mary I would forbid it, and if they pressed the point I would take the matter to the bishop and seek his ruling on whether it is permissible or not.
Posted By: ajk Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/17/09 12:42 AM
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
After communion as the priest places the particles from the diskos/paten into the precious Blood he prays:

"Wash away, O lord, the sins of all those commemorated here..." and the first particle which he places into the Blood is the triangular piece which commemorates the Mother of God.

Yikes! so there we have it, a liturgical teaching of the sinfulness of Mary!!
This prayer is not in the Ruthenian Recension (and there the commemorative particles are put in the cup by the deacon before the communion of the people). [Card. Tisserant, who oversaw the commission that worked on that recension, had this to say to the Ruthenian bishops:"1. In the first place, the existence of a special Ruthenian Recension has been ascertained older than that which is commonly called the vulgate, because it has not been corrected as this on the Greek Editions printed at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The Ruthenian Recension, then, inasmuch as it is concordant with older texts, deserves to be preferred."]
Posted By: ajk Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/17/09 01:06 AM
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by StuartK
Do we not, in the Divine Liturgy, offer up our prayers for "most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary"?

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.
I may have the wrong context, but "Calling to remembrance our most holy..." is not the wording at the prayer I have in mind, the "preamble" to "Dostojno jest'..." Am I at the wrong place?
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/17/09 01:26 AM
Quote
Well, it is a new thing for me to learn that Catholics pray FOR the Mother of God but you seem quite insistent on it and so I accept what you are saying although I confess it seems very odd to me.

Not Roman Catholics, but certainly Eastern Catholics, not to mention the Eastern Orthodox and the Armenian Apostolic Churches. Take, for instance, this passage from Fr. Robert Taft's essay, "Eastern Presuppositions" and Western Liturgical Renewal:

Quote
It is enough to read the extraordinary incomprehension and arrogance with which the Latins treated the Armenians of Cilicia during the Crusades. The Armenians, always more open and lacking the chauvinism and bigotry of the Byzantines after Trullo (692 A.D.) and of the medieval Latins, were quite prepared to accept communion with the Latins provided their integrity was not violated.

Anyone who reads that history with openness and objectivity can only conclude that the Armenian Apostolic Church, when confronted with the obtuseness of the Latins, was fully justified in rejecting a communion which threatened not only their integrity, but the very survival of their age-old tradition. (50) The contentions in large part concerned the liturgy and its theology. One problem for the Latins were the liturgical intercessions for the Mother of God and the saints in the Armenian anaphora, where, as in the Byzantine Chrysostom anaphora, one continued to pray "for" Mary and the saints indifferently, along with the rest of the departed. Here as elsewhere, modern studies have shown that the Armenians had preserved the ancient tradition, (51) and that the Latins were simply wrong.

50- See Claudio Gugerotti, I riti di ordinazione e la Cilicia armena. Orientalia Christiana Analecta (Rome: Edizioni Orientalia Christiana, forthcoming).
51- Robert F. Taft, "Praying to or for the Saints? A Note on the Sanctoral Intercessions Commemorations in the Anaphora: History and Theology," in Michael Schneider, Walter Berschin, eds., Ab Oriente et Occidente (Mt 8, I 1). Kirche aus Ost und West. Gedenkschrift fur Wilhelm N yssen (St. Ottilien: EOS-Verlag, 1996), 439-455.

This creates something of a paradox, Father: it seems that you would side with the Latin Scholastics against the authentic Tradition of the Byzantine and Armenian Churches both. Unless, of course, for some reason Father Taft has made an horrific error which somehow escaped the notice of his many academic and theological peers?
Originally Posted by StuartK
[This creates something of a paradox, Father: it seems that you would side with the Latin Scholastics against the authentic Tradition of the Byzantine and Armenian Churches both. Unless, of course, for some reason Father Taft has made an horrific error which somehow escaped the notice of his many academic and theological peers?

Could you give examples, maybe from Prayerbooks, of prayers FOR the Virgin Mary? Which prayers for her do you use personally?

I have to confess that I have never, not even once in my life, prayed FOR her and I have never seen such a prayer in any Prayerbooks.

Perhaps Fr Serge can come in and help us out, he may have seen such prayers in Old Believer material?
Originally Posted by StuartK
One problem for the Latins were the liturgical intercessions for the Mother of God and the saints in the Armenian anaphora, where, as in the Byzantine Chrysostom anaphora, one continued to pray "for" Mary and the saints indifferently, along with the rest of the departed. Here as elsewhere, modern studies have shown that the Armenians had preserved the ancient tradition, (51) and that the Latins were simply wrong.[/color]

Quote
Unless, of course, for some reason Father Taft has made an horrific error which somehow escaped the notice of his many academic and theological peers?

Yes, he has. frown

One needs of course to remember, (as I just did :-) TWO important things as concerns Saint John Chrysostom and his Liturgy and the sinfulnes of the Mother of God.

1....... Chrysostom believed that Mary sinned. He believed she was capable of sinning and that in fact she did so. This belief was eventually rejected by the Church. So for Taft to say that the Byzantine Anaphora of Chrysostom had it right and the Latins were simply wrong is simply an anachronism by the good Archimandrite. It was, as the Church professes, Chrysostom who had it wrong.

2....... Chrysostom did not believe in the assumption of Mary. In his times (the 4th century) the belief was unknown. It was not known until the late 5th century when the Emperor and Empress of Constantinople demanded that Juvenal the Patriarch of Jerusalem send her body to Constantinople. At that time Juvenal had to reveal that the body did not exist on earth and that the Jerusalem clergy believed her body had been taken to heaven.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/17/09 09:55 AM
Quote
Yes, he has.

Brave man!

Quote
1....... Chrysostom believed that Mary sinned. He believed she was capable of sinning and that in fact she did so. This belief was eventually rejected by the Church. So for Taft to say that the Byzantine Anaphora of Chrysostom had it right and the Latins were simply wrong is simply an anachronism by the good Archimandrite. It was, as the Church professes, Chrysostom who had it wrong
.

Chrysostom believed Mary was vain for attempting to speak with Jesus at Capernaum, but it is clear that he does not consider this in the way you are ascribing to him. If Orthodox moral theology were applied, we would say that Mary's attempt was due to human frailty (i.e., inability to perceive what Jesus intended. If ignorance is to be considered a sin, then, of course, Mary is a sinner (and was from the beginning, since at the Annunciation she expressed surprise and doubt). But ignorance is an inherent part of human nature, since we are not omnicient as is God. This merely reinforces my statement that prayers for Mary--and all the saints--are justified because the process of perfection continues beyond the tomb for all mankind.

Quote
2....... Chrysostom did not believe in the assumption of Mary. In his times (the 4th century) the belief was unknown. It was not known until the late 5th century when the Emperor and Empress of Constantinople demanded that Juvenal the Patriarch of Jerusalem send her body to Constantinople. At that time Juvenal had to reveal that the body did not exist on earth and that the Jerusalem clergy believed her body had been taken to heaven.

Not true. It was already being celebrated in Jerusalem in the late 4th century. It is only our earliest manuscripts that can be dated to around the time of Ephesus, but as always, things get put into writing long after they have become common currency.
If we consult genuine writings in the East, it is mentioned in the sermons of

1. St. Andrew of Crete,
died 726

2. St. John Damascene,
died 749

3. St. Modestus of Jerusalem
died 634

In the West, St. Gregory of Tours (De gloria mart., I, iv) mentions it first.
died 594

The sermons of St. Jerome and St. Augustine for this feast, however, are spurious. St. John of Damascus (P.G., I, 96) thus formulates the tradition of the Church of Jerusalem:

St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.

Source :: Catholic Encyclopedia
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02006b.htm

-----------------
However we are diverging, again!

What I am interested in is having a look at prayers FOR the Virgin Mary, either from Latin or Eastern Catholic prayerbooks, akathists, etc. I am keen to see what is being prayed for on her behalf.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
1....... Chrysostom believed that Mary sinned. He believed she was capable of sinning and that in fact she did so. This belief was eventually rejected by the Church. So for Taft to say that the Byzantine Anaphora of Chrysostom had it right and the Latins were simply wrong is simply an anachronism by the good Archimandrite. It was, as the Church professes, Chrysostom who had it wrong
.

Chrysostom believed Mary was vain for attempting to speak with Jesus at Capernaum, but it is clear that he does not consider this in the way you are ascribing to him.

Saint John Chrysostom's comment on Matthew 12:46-50:

"For in fact that which she had essayed to do, was of superfluous vanity; in that she wanted to show the people that she hath power and authority over her Son, imagining not as yet anything great concerning Him; whence also her unseasonable approach."

John Chrysostom, Homily 44 on Matthew
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/17/09 11:23 AM
Quote
"For in fact that which she had essayed to do, was of superfluous vanity; in that she wanted to show the people that she hath power and authority over her Son, imagining not as yet anything great concerning Him; whence also her unseasonable approach."
Sounds like he said what I said.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
"For in fact that which she had essayed to do, was of superfluous vanity; in that she wanted to show the people that she hath power and authority over her Son, imagining not as yet anything great concerning Him; whence also her unseasonable approach."
Sounds like he said what I said.

I am unsure where you are going with this discussion? Are you saying that you pray FOR Mary because she was guilty of personal sin in her life?

It would be an enormous help if you could present us with some examples of prayers FOR Mary from Prayebooks and such like so that we can see why you pray FOR her and in what manner.
Posted By: aramis Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/17/09 11:43 AM
Current edition of the celebrant's book, p.77, the introduction to the It is truly proper:

Quote
Cel: Moreover, we offer you this spiritual sacrifice for those departed in faith: the foregathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascentics, and for every just spirit brought to perfection in faith.

Especially for out most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.
Bolding original.

We offer the sacrifice for all the departed in faith... especially Mary, the Theotokos. For, remember, the DL is "outside of time"...
Posted By: ByzKat Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/17/09 11:53 AM
On this topic, it might be worth looking into Nicholas Cabasilas' Commentary on the Divine Liturgy, especially section 33, "The prayers after the sacrifice. Why the priest commemorates the saints and especially the all-holy Virgin Mary", and section 49, "Against those who maintain that the commemoration of the saints in the liturgy is a prayer to God on their behalf."

Cabasilas states that of the two purposes of the liturgical sacrifice, supplication and thanksgiving, only the second applies to the saints. From the first section:

[quote]That is why the priest asks for nothing on behalf of the saints; rather, he asks that he may be assisted by them in his prayers; because, as we have said, for them the gifts are offered not in supplication and thanksgiving.[quote]

This seems to have been a matter of comment even in the 14th century, since he begins section 49 as follows:

[quote]In this manner, many have been led into error: they regard the commemoration of the saints not as a thanksgiving, but as a prayer to God on their behalf. I do not know where they got such an idea, for neither the facts nor the words of the liturgy support such an assertion.[/quote]

(both quotes are from the translation published by SVS Press)

Now, Cabasilas does mention that our prayers assist those who have died to reach perfection; but he does not seem to consider perfection in the kingdom of heaven as something that can be attained, rather than as the goal of an eternal striving, as in, say, Saint Gregory of Nyssa. In the latter context, we COULD justifiably pray for the saints. But as far as the liturgy goes, this author acknowledges some controversy over the commemoration of the saints in the Divine Liturgy, and explains it in a way that does NOT involve praying FOR the saints.

In Christ,
Jeff
Originally Posted by aramis
Current edition of the celebrant's book, p.77, the introduction to the It is truly proper:

Quote
Cel: Moreover, we offer you this spiritual sacrifice for those departed in faith: the foregathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascentics, and for every just spirit brought to perfection in faith.

Especially for out most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.
Bolding original.

We offer the sacrifice for all the departed in faith... especially Mary, the Theotokos. For, remember, the DL is "outside of time"...

Do you also agree then that we ought to pray FOR Mary? Do you believe that Mary is in need of prayer from us?

Certainly, the Divine Liturgy is outside of time but that doesn't mean that Mary exists simultaneously in both her heavenly glory and also in the time and state prior to the Crucifixion and Resurrection when she needed salvation from her Son. She is not simultaneously in the womb of her mother, in the Temple with Symeon, on the donkey with Joseph, and on the right side of her Son in Heaven.

I am hoping that Stuart can show us prayers from Catholic Prayerbooks where prayers for Mary are given.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/17/09 01:20 PM
No personal or paraliturgical prayer supersedes the liturgy of the Church, which is the fullest and most perfect expression of the Church's beliefs and rule of prayer.
Posted By: ajk Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/17/09 01:27 PM
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by aramis
Current edition of the celebrant's book, p.77, the introduction to the It is truly proper:

Quote
Cel: Moreover, we offer you this spiritual sacrifice for those departed in faith: the foregathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascentics, and for every just spirit brought to perfection in faith.

Especially for out most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.
Bolding original.

We offer the sacrifice for all the departed in faith... especially Mary, the Theotokos. For, remember, the DL is "outside of time"...

Do you also agree then that we ought to pray FOR Mary? Do you believe that Mary is in need of prayer from us? ...
This is confusing. My request for clarification has had no reply:
Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by StuartK
Do we not, in the Divine Liturgy, offer up our prayers for "most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary"?

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.
I may have the wrong context, but "Calling to remembrance our most holy..." is not the wording at the prayer I have in mind, the "preamble" to "Dostojno jest'..." Am I at the wrong place?

The "introduction to the It is truly proper" is of course 'the "preamble" to "Dostojno jest'..."'. So those two are on the same page. But what about "Calling to remembrance our most holy..." ? An answer would help in addressing the comment:

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Well, it is a new thing for me to learn that Catholics pray FOR the Mother of God but you seem quite insistent on it and so I accept what you are saying although I confess it seems very odd to me...
rather than going around in circles.


Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
I am hoping that Stuart can show us prayers from Catholic Prayerbooks where prayers for Mary are given.

Sorry to intrude. The liturgicon is a Prayerbook -- even THE Prayerbook.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/17/09 01:45 PM
So here is another version of the prayer, from the OCF website:

Quote
Priest (in a low voice): So that they may be to those who partake of them for vigilance of soul, forgiveness of sins, communion of Your Holy Spirit, fulfillment of the kingdom of heaven, confidence before You, and not in judgment or condemnation. Again, we offer this spiritual worship for those who repose in the faith, forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics, and for every righteous spirit made perfect in faith.

Priest: Especially for our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever virgin Mary.

And here is the text used by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese:

Quote
Priest: So that they may be to those who partake of them for vigilance of soul, forgiveness of sins, communion of Your Holy Spirit, fulfillment of the kingdom of heaven, confidence before You, and not in judgment or condemnation. Again, we offer this spiritual worship for those who repose in the faith, forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics, and for every righteous spirit made perfect in faith.

Priest: Especially for our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever virgin Mary.

And this rather archaic translation from St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church:

Quote
Priest: That to them that shall partake thereof, they may be unto sobriety of soul, unto the remission of sins, and unto the communion of Thy Holy Spirit, unto the fullness of the kingdom of heaven, unto boldness toward Thee; not unto judgment or condemnation.

Again we offer unto Thee this rational service for them that in faith have gone to their rest before us: the forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics, and for every righteous spirit in faith made perfect.

And taking the censer, the priest exclaimeth:

Priest: Especially for our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary:

And he censeth thrice before the Holy Table.

The Hymn to the Theotokos

People: It is truly meet to bless thee, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most blameless, and mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who without corruption gavest birth to God the Word, the Very Theotokos: thee do we magnify.

All of these say the same thing. And as I noted, the Slavonic and Greek originals admit of no other understanding or translation. Note that we also pray for those "made perfect in faith", who, by Father Ambrose's reasoning, would also find such intercessions redundant.

The text is what it is, and it seems to me that Father Ambrose is uncomfortable with the apparent contradictions or the dynamic tensions that are an inherent aspect of the Orthodox faith and its manner in dealing with divine mysteries.

By that token, does he also have problems with the Paschal hymn, "Having Beheld the Resurrection", which refers to Christ as "the only sinless one", or "who alone is without sin", in light of the Tradition that Mary was preserved from sin throughout her life?

When faced with such apparent contradictions, it is not given to us to say that the liturgical texts are either wrong or anachronistic, but to admit that we are confronted with a mystery that defies our comprehension, to accept the mystery, and to prayerfully contemplate it in hope of enlightenment.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/17/09 01:47 PM
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The liturgicon is a Prayerbook -- even THE Prayerbook.

Quite so--as I said. Liturgy takes priority over all paraliturgical and private devotions.
Originally Posted by StuartK
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The liturgicon is a Prayerbook -- even THE Prayerbook.

Quite so--as I said. Liturgy takes priority over all paraliturgical and private devotions.

Gentlemen,

I concede your point. Eastern Catholics pray FOR the Mother of God and for all the departed "indifferently" (to use Archimandrite Taft's term.)

I am surprised that you cannot offer us examples of prayers which demonstrate this in the life of the Eastern Catholic faithful but you would not insist on it so strongly if the faithful were not so praying and if they were not so taught by their bishops and spiritual fathers.

It is an interesting departure from Latin and Eastern Orthodox tradition where prayer is offered TO the Mother of God but not FOR her.

Thank you for this illuminating discussion. I am sorry that I have been so doubting of the concept of prayers for Mary but the concept was just so novel to me. It would be great to throw the discussion open now to other Eastern Catholic clergy and laity on the Forum, and ask them how they pray for Mary -and also for the Saints I presume. I am still keen to see any actual prayers. I am still keen to learn what is being prayed for on behalf of the Virgin Mary.
Quote
And this rather archaic translation from St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church:

smile You made me laugh. Thanks! This "archaic" form is what I have used for 30 years whenever I have served Liturgy in English! LOL!

Quote
Priest: That to them that shall partake thereof, they may be unto sobriety of soul, unto the remission of sins, and unto the communion of Thy Holy Spirit, unto the fullness of the kingdom of heaven, unto boldness toward Thee; not unto judgment or condemnation.

Again we offer unto Thee this rational service for them that in faith have gone to their rest before us: the forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics, and for every righteous spirit in faith made perfect.

And taking the censer, the priest exclaimeth:

Priest: Especially for our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary:

And he censeth thrice before the Holy Table.

The Hymn to the Theotokos

People: It is truly meet to bless thee, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most blameless, and mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who without corruption gavest birth to God the Word, the Very Theotokos: thee do we magnify.

I don't know if I have misunderstood, but I thought what some members were trying to point out is that there are prayers "for" Our Blessed Lady in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. If so, then all who use this Liturgy (and not just Eastern Catholics) are praying "for" Our Blessed Lady, aren't they?
Originally Posted by Latin Catholic
I don't know if I have misunderstood, but I thought what some members were trying to point out is that there are prayers "for" Our Blessed Lady in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. If so, then all who use this Liturgy (and not just Eastern Catholics) are praying "for" Our Blessed Lady, aren't they?

Yes, I have conceded that Eastern Catholics, to my great surprise, pray FOR the blessed Virgin. In an earlier message I gave an interpretation of that particular prayer. But, as I pointed out earlier, if my parishioners were praying FOR her I would forbid it and if they persisted I would lay the matter before the bishop.

The later prayer in the Chrysostom Liturgy "Wash away O Lord the sins of all those commemorated here..." raises an interesting question about the sinfulness of Mary for those using this prayer.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/17/09 07:31 PM
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Yes, I have conceded that Eastern Catholics, to my great surprise, pray FOR the blessed Virgin.

So do the Orthodox, unless, of course, they have unilaterally amended the Divine Liturgy. I suppose Father Ambrose is slightly scandalized that he has been praying for the Theotokos for all these years, and never realized it.

Quote
The later prayer in the Chrysostom Liturgy "Wash away O Lord the sins of all those commemorated here..." raises an interesting question about the sinfulness of Mary for those using this prayer.

Not necessarily. If one of the persons commemorated has no sins to wash away--and we really have no way of knowing that--then it's all moot, a matter of inclusivity and nothing more. Again, I think it is a great mystery, and we should leave it at that.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
Yes, I have conceded that Eastern Catholics, to my great surprise, pray FOR the blessed Virgin.

So do the Orthodox, unless, of course, they have unilaterally amended the Divine Liturgy. I suppose Father Ambrose is slightly scandalized that he has been praying for the Theotokos for all these years, and never realized it.

This phrase is well known and often comes up in seminary and also on clergy lists which have convert clergy who have not been through seminary. It is taught that we are not praying for the Mother of God. Please refer to my earlier message as to how we understand it - namely, that the Mother of God needed redemption from sin as did any of the "patriarchs, prophets...." Her redemption was wrought by the death and resurrection of her Son. Without these holy events she, like the rest of us, would not be redeemed. But she does not need ongoing prayer as if she has to be redeemed constantly.

I think that trying to force the issue of the timelessness of the Liturgy to "prove" that we must pray FOR her until the end of time is untenable.
Thank you, Father Ambrose,

your remarks clarify the issue. One cannot take a few words or phrases from the Liturgy and interpret them without reference to the rest of the teaching and liturgical tradition of the Church.

As I understand you, then, we agree that Our Blessed Lady needed redemption from sin through the death and resurrection of Christ. (In her case, we Latins believe that the fruits of Christ's redemption were applied to his Mother immediately at her conception.) And, since the Holy Eucharist solemnly commemorates His death and resurrection, making these events, as it were, present here and now, it is only fitting that Our Blessed Lady should also be mentioned among those for whom Christ died and rose again.
Originally Posted by Latin Catholic
Thank you, Father Ambrose,

your remarks clarify the issue. One cannot take a few words or phrases from the Liturgy and interpret them without reference to the rest of the teaching and liturgical tradition of the Church.

As I understand you, then, we agree that Our Blessed Lady needed redemption from sin through the death and resurrection of Christ. (In her case, we Latins believe that the fruits of Christ's redemption were applied to his Mother immediately at her conception.) And, since the Holy Eucharist solemnly commemorates His death and resurrection, making these events, as it were, present here and now, it is only fitting that Our Blessed Lady should also be mentioned among those for whom Christ died and rose again.

Your words are balm to my soul. Yes, that is what is believed among the Orthodox.
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
But she does not need ongoing prayer as if she has to be redeemed constantly.

I think that trying to force the issue of the timelessness of the Liturgy to "prove" that we must pray FOR her until the end of time is untenable.

But the Litrugy is Kairos, and God is Infinite. To say that: "We offer to You this spiritual sacrifice for those departed in the faith:... Especially for our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary." Is at once an acknowledgement that indeed our spotless Lady does not need our prayers from a redemption standpoint but benefits from them anyways from a Theosis standpoint because the sacrifice offered is infintely effacious and Theosis is eternal.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/18/09 01:24 AM
Deacon Lance says well what I have insisted from the beginning. Theosis is infinite, a journey that is never completed.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Deacon Lance says well what I have insisted from the beginning. Theosis is infinite, a journey that is never completed.

Nobody disputes that among the Orthodox, but some Eastern Catholic theologians have stated that theosis is finite and that Purgatory is the final stage of theosis. For example, this is taught by Dr Anthony Dragani, an Eastern Catholic theologian writing on EWTN.

http://tinyurl.com/kwpr8v
Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
But she does not need ongoing prayer as if she has to be redeemed constantly.

I think that trying to force the issue of the timelessness of the Liturgy to "prove" that we must pray FOR her until the end of time is untenable.

But the Litrugy is Kairos, and God is Infinite. To say that: "We offer to You this spiritual sacrifice for those departed in the faith:... Especially for our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary." Is at once an acknowledgement that indeed our spotless Lady does not need our prayers from a redemption standpoint but benefits from them anyways from a Theosis standpoint because the sacrifice offered is infintely effacious and Theosis is eternal.

The offering of the Liturgy has the aim, in this particular prayer, of asking that Mary the Mother of God may attain a greater share in theosis? Are there other prayers, either Latin or Eastern, which pray for Mary to increase in deification?

I have not encountered this teaching or this way of praying among the theologians or liturgical commentators of my own Church. Just a thought - has anybody had a look to see what Kucharek says in his opus "The Byzantine-Slav Liturgy"? Father, from what source did you learn this understanding?
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/18/09 02:06 AM
Quote
The offering of the Liturgy has the aim, in this particular prayer, of asking that Mary the Mother of God may attain a greater share in theosis? Are there other prayers, either Latin or Eastern, which pray for Mary to increase in deification?

Do we need one? You seem to imply that the meaning of the Liturgy is validated by things extrinsic to the Liturgy, when the reverse is true--it is the Liturgy that validates all other prayers.

Also, are you implying that it is possible for a creature, even a creature as exalted as the Theotokos, actually to obtain perfect knowledge of its Creator? That would imply that the finite and circumscribed can fully grasp the infinite and transcendent.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/18/09 02:08 AM
Quote
Nobody disputes that among the Orthodox, but some Eastern Catholic theologians have stated that theosis is finite and that Purgatory is the final stage of theosis. For example, this is taught by Dr Anthony Dragani, an Eastern Catholic theologian writing on EWTN.

Go back and read again. That is not at all what Anthony says.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
Nobody disputes that among the Orthodox, but some Eastern Catholic theologians have stated that theosis is finite and that Purgatory is the final stage of theosis. For example, this is taught by Dr Anthony Dragani, an Eastern Catholic theologian writing on EWTN.

Go back and read again. That is not at all what Anthony says.

I have read it several dozen times over the years. It is constantly quoted wherever Catholics and Orthodox interact.

This is exactly what Dr Dragani says. Over the years both Eastern Catholics and a few Orthodox have asked him to correct what he has written and he still insists that Purgatory is the Final Theosis.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Do we need one? You seem to imply that the meaning of the Liturgy is validated by things extrinsic to the Liturgy,

That would indeed be back to front.

Quote
when the reverse is true--it is the Liturgy that validates all other prayers.


Precisely, and that it why it is legitimate to expect that the prayers used in the Liturgy have a counterpart in the very extensive prayers of such as the texts of the All-Night Vigils for the numerous feastdays of the Mother of God, in the many Akathists and Canons to her, and of course in the prayers of the faithful. If she is in need of prayers for her increase in theosis, it would be very dishonourable of the faithful not to be praying for their heavenly Mother. Yet I know of not one Orthodox soul who prays for her theosis.
Fr. Ambrose,

By stating that prayers for the all holy Theotokos are unnecessary, are you not - by indirect reference - conceding that there is some state as "final theosis"?

(I realize Dr. Dragani uses precise wording in his statement on "final theosis")
Fr. Ambrose,

Dr. Anthony is a good friend of mine. I am quite sure that he would agree with me in saying Theosis is infinite. I believe if asked he would affirm the point he was trying to make was: that which Latins call Puragtory is what Byzantines would name the first stage of Final Theosis, which he clearly states is a journey. Since God is Infinite it must follow that Theosis continues infinitely, love following upon love.

Fr. Deacon Lance
Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
Fr. Ambrose,

Dr. Anthony is a good friend of mine. I am quite sure that he would agree with me in saying Theosis is infinite. I believe if asked he would affirm the point he was trying to make was: that which Latins call Puragtory is what Byzantines would name the first stage of Final Theosis, which he clearly states is a journey. Since God is Infinite it must follow that Theosis continues infinitely, love following upon love.

Fr. Deacon Lance

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. Ot in other words, theosis ceases when a soul reaches Heaven. Perhaps you could ask him to correct what he says in his EWTN article? We know from how often it is quoted on Forums that it misleads many Catholics.
Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
By stating that prayers for the all holy Theotokos are unnecessary, are you not - by indirect reference - conceding that there is some state as "final theosis"?

I don't believe so. As Saint Gregory Palamas says in one of his many beautiful sermons about the Mother of God, she exists on the border of created and uncreated, the border of human nature and divinity.

"She is the only boundary between created and uncreated nature; and no one can come to God unless they are illumined through Her, the Lamp truly radiant with divinity. As the Prophet-King says, "God is in the midst of Her, she shall not be moved" (Ps. 45/46:5-6).

---

Are you an Oriental Christian? May I ask what prayers you use to pray for the Mother of God and what exactly are you asking for her?
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
[quote=Michael_Thoma]By stating that prayers for the all holy Theotokos are unnecessary, are you not - by indirect reference - conceding that there is some state as "final theosis"?

Quote
I don't believe so. As Saint Gregory Palamas says in one of his many beautiful sermons about the Mother of God, she exists on the border of created and uncreated, the border of human nature and divinity.

"She is the only boundary between created and uncreated nature; and no one can come to God unless they are illumined through Her, the Lamp truly radiant with divinity. As the Prophet-King says, "God is in the midst of Her, she shall not be moved" (Ps. 45/46:5-6).

---

Does this mean the Mother of God has attained theosis to the extent that is humanly possible, with no further divinization attainable?

Quote
Are you an Oriental Christian? May I ask what prayers you use to pray for the Mother of God and what exactly are you asking for her?


http://www.bvppune.org/pdf/mary-in-the-malankara-tradition.pdf
Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
I don't believe so. As Saint Gregory Palamas says in one of his many beautiful sermons about the Mother of God, she exists on the border of created and uncreated, the border of human nature and divinity.

"She is the only boundary between created and uncreated nature; and no one can come to God unless they are illumined through Her, the Lamp truly radiant with divinity. As the Prophet-King says, "God is in the midst of Her, she shall not be moved" (Ps. 45/46:5-6).

---

Does this mean the Mother of God has attained theosis to the extent that is humanly possible, with no further divinization attainable?

I don't know.

But what I do know is that the Orthodox do NOT pray for the Mother of God or for the Saints. We do not pray that God will forgive their sins, nor that He will give them an increase in virtue or deification.

You will not find prayers: "Lord, we venerate Thy Mother, the consolation of Christians. Give her the grace to be able to console Christians more effectively."

"Lord, we bow down before the ascetic labours of Saint Seraphim. Give him the grace to love Thee more fully."

Actually there is a rather dramatic moment when a Saint ceases to be prayed FOR and becomes someone who is only prayed TO.

Before the ceremony of canonisation/glorification the last Pannikhida/Requiem Service is served for the person about to be canonised. This is the LAST time the Church will pray FOR that person. After the Requiem Service, the canonisation commences and henceforth the Church will only pray TO the Saint.
Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Are you an Oriental Christian? May I ask what prayers you use to pray for the Mother of God and what exactly are you asking for her?


http://www.bvppune.org/pdf/mary-in-the-malankara-tradition.pdf

A beautiful piece of writing, both heartfelt and theological, and without any hint that anybody prays FOR Mary but only that she is our intercessor and prays for us. Thank you for providing the link.
Posted By: aramis Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 10:47 AM
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by aramis
Current edition of the celebrant's book, p.77, the introduction to the It is truly proper:

Quote
Cel: Moreover, we offer you this spiritual sacrifice for those departed in faith: the foregathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascentics, and for every just spirit brought to perfection in faith.

Especially for out most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.
Bolding original.

We offer the sacrifice for all the departed in faith... especially Mary, the Theotokos. For, remember, the DL is "outside of time"...

Do you also agree then that we ought to pray FOR Mary? Do you believe that Mary is in need of prayer from us?

Certainly, the Divine Liturgy is outside of time but that doesn't mean that Mary exists simultaneously in both her heavenly glory and also in the time and state prior to the Crucifixion and Resurrection when she needed salvation from her Son. She is not simultaneously in the womb of her mother, in the Temple with Symeon, on the donkey with Joseph, and on the right side of her Son in Heaven.

I am hoping that Stuart can show us prayers from Catholic Prayerbooks where prayers for Mary are given.


We are instructed to pray for all the faithful departed. Only one human has no need of our prayers on his own behalf, Jesus.

That our prayers are of some benefit to Mary is understood. Is she in Heaven? In some sense, yes. Is she complete in her theosis? Doubtful, for as it is taught, it is a process without end. We are taught that theosis is ongoing after death, and that prayers of the living benefit the dead in their purification and continuation of theosis after death.

Therefore, the prayers are of some benefit. How much? We can't know until we meet her.
Originally Posted by aramis
We are instructed to pray for all the faithful departed.
Would you show us these instructions as they pertain to Mary and those who are canonised as Saints? Is this in the Catechism?


Quote
That our prayers are of some benefit to Mary is understood. Is she in Heaven? In some sense, yes. Is she complete in her theosis? Doubtful, for as it is taught, it is a process without end. We are taught that theosis is ongoing after death, and that prayers of the living benefit the dead in their purification and continuation of theosis after death.

Therefore, the prayers are of some benefit. How much? We can't know until we meet her.

I would say that not a single Orthodox person prays either for the Mother of God or for the Saints.

But I can see from the messages here that it forms, to my great surprise, a part of Eastern Catholic popular piety. But not for all Eastern Catholics - what Michael Thoma linked to shows that the Malankarese Catholics do not pray for Mary.

Do you know where this custom comes from?

Can you give us examples of how you and other Eastern Catholics pray for Mary and the Saints? From the Morning Prayers or Evening Prayers? For example, how will you pray for Mary and the Saints and your Patron Saint, in your Morning Prayers today?

I wish very much that Fr Serge would come in on this topic since I am still rather dubious that Eastern Catholics pray *for* Mary. I really cannot imagine what it is you are asking God to do for her. Do you have examples of prayers which pray for the deification of Mary and the Saints? As I mentioned earlier, the Orthodox cease praying FOR a canonised person from the time of the last formal Pannikhida which precedes the moment of his or her canonisation.

The only kind of toll house I believe in is a type of chocolate-chip cookie. I believe they're great with milk or coffee. LOL

But seriously, folks: when I was a child my grandmother taught me that the red glow seen in the sky at dawn or dusk is a manifestation of the fires of purgatory; and when we see it, we ought to pray for the souls detained and being purified there.
Posted By: aramis Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 02:57 PM
The Liturgy! That's Where! And in the pasage quoth earlier. Apparently, thus, it is from Sts Basil and John Chrysostum.

The prologue to the Theotokion.
The commemorations for the deceased.
The litany for the deceased notes that there is no one who is without sin (except Jesus, to whom the prayer is addressed).

With all due respect, Rev. Fr. Ambrose, you're the one ignoring the literal text of the liturgy. For we pray, as do the OCA, for the saints and even the apostles During the liturgy of St. John. That they may stand aright before the awesome Judgment Seat of Christ.

Mary is spared from Original Sin... due to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception... but that does not mean she is without sin, merely free of the automatic death-eternal sentence of the unbaptised.
Posted By: DewiMelkite Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 03:16 PM
I have never in my life prayed for the Mother Of God, nor the saints and to be honest I seriously doubt that Latin rite Catholics do. As a boy I was given a piece of sacred art depicting the crowning of the blessed Virgin as queen of heaven. Why would a western christian pray for her then? I am shocked to learn that some eastern Catholics pray for her, surely commemoration during the liturgy is not the same as praying for her.
Roman Catholics do not pray for Our Lady or the Saints. We venerate them and ask for their intercession.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 03:45 PM
Quote
I am shocked to learn that some eastern Catholics pray for her, surely commemoration during the liturgy is not the same as praying for her.

What, then, would you call it? I suggest going to the liturgical texts and reading them closely.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
I am shocked to learn that some eastern Catholics pray for her, surely commemoration during the liturgy is not the same as praying for her.

What, then, would you call it? I suggest going to the liturgical texts and reading them closely.

A quick summary so far...

On the Nay side:

Roman Catholics do not pray FOR Mary

Malankarese Catholics do not pray FOR Mary

Melkite Catholics do not pray FOR Mary

Eastern Orthodox do not pray FOR Mary.


On the Yea side:

Ukrainian Greek Catholics DO pray FOR Mary.


Posted By: aramis Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 10:12 PM
THe Latins most certainly do make a general prayer for all the dead...

Originally Posted by "EP I"
Remember, Lord, those who have died and have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, especially those for whom we now pray, (names deceased loved ones whom the celebrant or parishioner wishes to offer before God). May these, and all who sleep in Christ, find in your presence light, happiness, and peace. (Through Christ our Lord. Amen.)

EP II, however, is different at that spot, and makes it clear that Mary, the Apostles, and Saints have already obtained eternal life... But did not the Apostles go to their rest in hope of rising again?
Originally Posted by "EP II"
Remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again; bring them and all the departed into the light of your presence. Have mercy on us all; make us worthy to share eternal life with Mary, the virgin Mother of God, with the apostles, and with all the saints who have done your will throughout the ages. May we praise you in union with them, and give you glory through your Son, Jesus Christ.
There is a clear distinction between the Saints, whom we Latins celebrate on 1 November, and the faithful departed, whom we, following St. Odilo of Cluny, commemorate on 2 November

Also, on 15 August, we do not celebrate a Requiem Mass for Our Lady, but we celebrate her Dormition and Assumption into heaven.

The Saints do not need our prayers, but we do need theirs.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 10:30 PM
Quote
There is a clear distinction between the Saints, whom we Latins celebrate on 1 November, and the faithful departed, whom we, following St. Odilo of Cluny, commemorate on 2 November.

We do not make that distinction, because we are the saints.
First, who are "we"?

Secondly, there is a distinction, otherwise the Catholic Church would not make the distinction between "All Saints" and "All Souls."

Your argument is fatuous at best.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 10:35 PM
Just a note to all who seem to have missed the point: when someone is commemorated--or as some would put it, "recalled to mind"--in the Liturgy, it is not we who are doing the remembering. Rather, we are calling upon God to keep those faithful in his mind, and that he keep their memory eternal so that they will not be snuffed out of existence.

Of course, God does not need us to remind him not to forget us, so our supplication is one way of confessing to God our own powerlessness and total reliance upon his grace and mercy; it is also a way in which we praise God for that mercy and offer thanksgiving to him that He continues to remember us. Because, of course, He doesn't have to do so.
This is all very true, but is not very relevant to our discussion.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 10:46 PM
Your argument is fatuous at best.

Not at all. The Churches of the East simply do not make the distinction that the Latin Churches does, and commemorates the souls of the departed through a different liturgical cycle. The Eastern Churches have always taught that the Laos tou Theo are indeed the saints (2 Peter 1:3-4), as the Apostles addressed all those who followed Christ. This is the Apostolic teaching, that we are a priestly people, a chosen nation set aside for God. And what is that which is set aside for God? "Sanctified"--holy. And what are the saints? Those who have been sanctified, those who are holy. Through our baptism, we have become that which is set aside for God, so we are, as the Apostles addressed us, the saints. And as such, we are surrounded by clouds of witnesses, which is the communion of saints, of which we are a part.

Or do you think the communion of saints concerns only those whose names are found on some liturgical calendar, to the exclusion of grubby worms like you and me?
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 10:48 PM
Quote
This is all very true, but is not very relevant to our discussion.

No, it is essential to our discussion. When we commemorate Mary and the saints in the Divine Liturgy, explicitly praying for, rather than to them, we are doing for them what we do for all the other departed--praying that God constantly keep them in his mind, so that their memory, hence existence, will be eternal. And we do it for the reasons I outlined above.
Obivously not. That is why we celebrate All Saints on 1 November, not just the ones mentioned in the Calendar or the Martyrology, but All Saints.

In a certain sence, I too, despite all my faults, am one of the Saints of Jesus Christ. But the normal and ordinary meaning of "saint" is something different, isn't it?
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
This is all very true, but is not very relevant to our discussion.

No, it is essential to our discussion. When we commemorate Mary and the saints in the Divine Liturgy, explicitly praying for, rather than to them, we are doing for them what we do for all the other departed--praying that God constantly keep them in his mind, so that their memory, hence existence, will be eternal. And we do it for the reasons I outlined above.

I don't think there is any danger of God forgetting about Our Lady. Don't be silly!
The prayer "Communicantes" [en.wikipedia.org] of the Roman Canon could not be more clear.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
This is all very true, but is not very relevant to our discussion.

No, it is essential to our discussion. When we commemorate Mary and the saints in the Divine Liturgy, explicitly praying for, rather than to them, we are doing for them what we do for all the other departed--praying that God constantly keep them in his mind, so that their memory, hence existence, will be eternal. And we do it for the reasons I outlined above.

Truly, Stuart, is there any realistic anxiety that God will forget Mary and the Saints and they will fall out of existence. Do we really have to pray to Him and beg Him not to forget? LOL!
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 10:53 PM
Quote
I don't think there is any danger of God forgetting about Our Lady. Don't be silly!

There is no danger of God forgetting anybody. He is omniscient, after all. But see what I wrote above:

Quote
God does not need us to remind him not to forget us, so our supplication is one way of confessing to God our own powerlessness and total reliance upon his grace and mercy; it is also a way in which we praise God for that mercy and offer thanksgiving to him that He continues to remember us.

So, it is not because of God's needs that we ask him to remember us eternally, but for our own.
So, what exactly is your point? What is wrong, what is it you want to change?

We pray for the intercession of Our Lady and the Saints. We pray for the salvation of all the faithful departed who may be in need of our prayers.

Where is the axe you have to grind? What is the problem?
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 11:20 PM
It is clear that we are talking past one another. There is nothing wrong with praying for the intercession of the Virgin and the saints. But there is nothing wrong with praying for them, as well. In fact, that is what the Eastern Churches do and have always done, Father Ambrose and others not withstanding. That they have lost the original and thus authentic meaning of the these liturgical petitions does not alter anything--it merely indicates that they need to recover this patristic understanding. That the Western Church does not have this practice is neither here nor there; that it once tried to suppress the authentic Tradition of the Eastern Churches and replace it with its own does (though I am sure Father Taft is even now reconsidering his position in light of Father Ambrose's condemnation).

Father Ambrose continually asks why we should pray for Mary, as though there is nothing of ours that she needs. But it is clear that when we commemorate Mary and the saints in the Liturgy, we are doing so for the same reason we commemorate anybody in the Liturgy--to ensure that God keeps them in his mind.

You, Father Ambrose, and I am sure others as well laugh at the idea that God needs to be reminded of the Theotokos and the saints, but by the same token, God does not need to be reminded of Joe Blow, who reposed in the Lord last Thursday, and who we commemorate in the Liturgy next Sunday or whenever. If God knows the name and needs of each, even from his mother's womb, then He certainly doesn't need us to tell him, "Don't forget Joe Blow, please!"

As I said, we do it for our need, not God's. And we pray that God may remember Mary and all the saints for our need, not his.

I am still appalled, though, that there are people who do not understand that when we commemorate someone in the Liturgy, regardless of who it is, we are indeed praying for him.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 11:22 PM
The prayer "Communicantes" of the Roman Canon could not be more clear.

The emphasis is similar, but different, as one would expect. The Latin Church is not the Byzantine or Armenian Church. It has its own Tradition, and we have ours.
I agree that when we pray for all the faithful departed, we do indeed pray for them all. Theoretically, this may even include Our Lady and the canonized Saints. However, there are no specific prayers in the Roman liturgy for Our Lady or any one of the Saints, only prayers that they may intercede for us.

Again, what is the problem? What is it you would want to change, in practice?
The Latin, Armenian and Greek churches do have their own traditions. But are there really any insuperable differences? I think not.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 11:31 PM
None, except that some people seem to be saying that it is not only wrong, but impossible, to pray for the Virgin Mary; and since the Byzantine and Armenian Churches do just that (no matter what people might say), it is proper to respect that Tradition, even if it does not agree with one's own.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 11:32 PM
Quote
Again, what is the problem? What is it you would want to change, in practice?

Did I say I wanted to change anything? I just want those of us who follow the Byzantine Tradition to understand just what it is we do.
As a Latin Catholic, I concede the possibility that prayers for all the faithful departed might inculde our Blessed Lady and the Saints.

However, as a practical matter, I have never prayed for our Blessed Lady and the Saints, but rather for their intercession. Our Lady and the Saints do not need our prayers, but we do need theirs.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 11:42 PM
Quote
However, as a practical matter, I have never prayed for Our Lady and the Saints, but rather for their intercession. Our Lady and the Saints do not need our prayers, but we do need theirs.

Well, at least you concede the possibility. For my part, I believe that the Liturgy is the most perfect and complete expression of a particular Church's rule of faith, and since the Liturgy says we pray for Mary and the saints, I have to assume that the Fathers had their reasons for doing so.

Furthermore, that we pray for Mary in no way keeps us from asking for her intercession before her Son. In fact, we do so in the Divine Liturgy many times, including within seconds of praying for her. One would have to assume that just as I can pray for someone and he can pray for me, we can pray for Mary and she can pray for us--though, admittedly, she is much better connected than I am.
When I try to explain the communion of saints to protestants, I emphasize the fact that we all pray for each other. In other words I pray for you, you pray for me, and Mary prays for us all.

Father Ambrose has just explained how the Orthodox understand the relevant part of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. I assume he knows what he is talking about.

Personally, I would never presume to pray for Our Lady. That would be blasphemous, wouldn't it? I need her prayers, but she hardly needs mine, unworthy as I am?
Posted By: aramis Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/19/09 11:49 PM
In Byzantine praxis, the Liturgy is the foremost of Catechisms. When coupled with the menaion, it is the principle core of teaching.

It's clear we pray for Mary.
It's also clear we ask Mary to be our go-between as byzantine Christians.
It's clear only Jesus is without sin.
It's clear that Mary was special from birth.
It's clear that Mary has a special role in salvation, but is still dependent upon Jesus as well, just like the rest of us.

Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/20/09 12:01 AM
Quote
When I try to explain the communion of saints to protestants, I emphasize the fact that we all pray for each other. In other words I pray for you, you pray for me, and Mary prays for us all.

I pray for you, you pray for me, I pray for my deceased grandmother, she prays for me, I ask St. George to pray for my soldier friends in battle, I ask Mary to protect us all, and I also pray that God will remember her, and St. George, and all the saints, including you and me. We are surrounded by clouds of witnesses, and we all bear witness for one another.

Quote
Father Ambrose has just explained how the Orthodox understand the relevant part of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. I assume he knows what he is talking about
.

His is certainly one view.

Quote
Personally, I would never presume to pray for Our Lady. That would be blasphemous, wouldn't it?

So, the Fathers blasphemed when they composed the Byzantine and Armenian Divine Liturgies? Certainly, exactly the attitude Father Taft was describing when he wrote (as I quoted so long ago):

Quote
Anyone who reads that history with openness and objectivity can only conclude that the Armenian Apostolic Church, when confronted with the obtuseness of the Latins, was fully justified in rejecting a communion which threatened not only their integrity, but the very survival of their age-old tradition. (50) The contentions in large part concerned the liturgy and its theology. One problem for the Latins were the liturgical intercessions for the Mother of God and the saints in the Armenian anaphora, where, as in the Byzantine Chrysostom anaphora, one continued to pray "for" Mary and the saints indifferently, along with the rest of the departed. Here as elsewhere, modern studies have shown that the Armenians had preserved the ancient tradition, (51) and that the Latins were simply wrong.

It may certainly seem blasphemous to you, but then, consider how blasphemous the Michaelangelo's Creation in the Sistine Chapel must seem to us, or all those Renaissance depictions of Mary as the artist's wife or mistress, holding some fat, pudgy baby who is supposed to be the omnipotent Word of God. And while you may think it is silly for us to pray for Mary, imagine how we must feel when, for instance, we look at a painting of Mary praying the Rosary (one is inside the Crypt Church of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception). Ponder that, for a second.

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.
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.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/20/09 12:40 AM
I also have problems with Eastern Christians who blithely dismiss liturgical scholarship because "Tradition is what we were doing the day I was baptized".
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
Posted By: DewiMelkite Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/20/09 01:34 AM
I would love to hear Fr Serge's point of view.
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Truly, Stuart, is there any realistic anxiety that God will forget Mary and the Saints and they will fall out of existence. Do we really have to pray to Him and beg Him not to forget? LOL!
In the Liturgy we pray for the Mother of God and all the saints. Not for forgiveness of sins (in their case), but because we pray for the whole Church and they are “among the first”. And among the reasons we pray for them and all the “cloud of saints” is because they await the final resurrection (and the resurrection of the body), which has not yet occurred (except for Mary, the Mother of God). It is not wrong to pray for the continued growth of any Saint into the Presence and Holiness of the Trinity - including that of Mary, the Mother of God. We are one with the cloud of witnesses, after all.

From the Liturgy: Moreover, we offer to You this rational sacrifice for those who departed in the faith: the forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics and for every just spirit made perfect in faith […] especially for our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary […] For the holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John, for the holy glorious and all-praised apostles, for Saint N., whose memory we celebrate, and for all Your saints, through whose prayers, O God, visit us.

The scriptural reference for the above is Hebrews 12:23: [T]he assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. The above is a listing

Think in terms of Hebrews 12:1 – the cloud of “witnesses”.
Originally Posted by DewiMelkite
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.


Heresy now is it? I guess the Church Fathers and the standard Church services are heretical as well. Be cautious throwing the H word around, as the canonical penalty for false claims of heresy is excommunication.

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.)



St. Boniface (8th Century Anglo-Saxon) records the following account of a monk who died and came back to tell of his experiences:



"Angels of such pure splendor bore him up as he came forth from the body that he could not bear to gaze upon them… "They carried me up," he said, "high into the air…" He reported further that in the space of time while he was out of the body, a greater multitude of souls left their bodies and gathered to the place where he was than he thought to form the whole race of mankind on earth. He said also that there was a crowd of evil spirits and a glorious choir of higher angels. And he said that the wretched spirits and the holy angels had a violent dispute concerning the souls that had come forth from their bodies, the demons bringing charges against them and aggravating the burden of their sins, the angels lightening the burden and making excuses for them. He heard all his own sins, which he had committed from his youth on and had failed to confess or had forgotten or had not recognized as sins, crying out against him, each in its own voice, and accusing his grievously… Everything he had done in all the days of his life and had neglected to confess and many which he had not known to be sinful, all these were now shouted at him in terrifying words. In the same way the evil spirits, chiming in with the vices, accusing and bearing witness, naming the very times and places, brought proofs of his evil deeds… and so, with his sins all piled up and reckoned out, those ancient enemies declared him guilty and unquestionably subject to their jurisdiction. "On the other hand," he said, "the poor little virtues which I had displayed unworthily and imperfectly spoke out in my defense… And those angelic spirits in their boundless love defended and supported me, while the virtues, greatly magnified as they were, seemed to me far greater and more excellent than could have ever been practiced in my own strength."" (The Letters of Saint Boniface, tr. Ephraim Emerton, Octagon Books (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux) New York, 1973, pp 25-27.



St. Athanasius the Great, in the Life of St. Anthony the Great:



"For once, when about to eat, having risen up to pray about the ninth hour, he perceived that he was caught up in the spirit, and, wonderful to tell, he stood and saw himself, as it were, from outside himself, and that he was led in the air by certain ones. Next certain bitter and terrible beings stood in the air and wished to hinder him from passing through. But when his conductors opposed them, they demanded whether he was not accountable to them. And when they wished to sum up the account from his birth, Antony's conductors stopped them, saying, 'The Lord hath wiped out the sins from his birth, but from the time he became a monk, and devoted himself to God, it is permitted you to make a reckoning.' Then when they accused him and could not convict him, his way was free and unhindered. And immediately he saw himself, as it were, coming and standing by himself, and again he was Antony as before. Then forgetful of eating, he remained the rest of the day and through the whole of the night groaning and praying. For he was astonished when he saw against what mighty opponents our wrestling is, and by what labours we have to pass through the air. And he remembered that this is what the Apostle said, 'according to the prince of the power of the air [10].' For in it the enemy hath power to fight and to attempt to hinder those who pass through. Wherefore most earnestly he exhorted, 'Take up the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day [11],' that the enemy, 'having no evil thing to say against us, may be ashamed [12].' And we who have learned this, let us be mindful of the Apostle when he says, 'whether in the body I know not, or whether out of the body I know not; God knoweth [13].' But Paul was caught up unto the third heaven, and having heard things unspeakable he came down; while Antony saw that he had come to the air, and contended until he was free. . And he had also this favour granted him. For as he was sitting alone on the mountain, if ever he was in perplexity in his meditations, this was revealed to him by Providence in prayer. And the happy man, as it is written, was taught of God [14]. After this, when he once had a discussion with certain men who had come to him concerning the state of the soul and of what nature its place will be after this life, the following night one from above called him, saying, 'Antony, rise, go out and look.' Having gone out therefore (for he knew whom he ought to obey) looking up, he beheld one standing and reaching to the clouds, tall, hideous, and fearful, and others ascending as though they were winged. And the figure stretched forth his hands, and some of those who were ascending were stayed by him, while others flew above, and having escaped heavenward, were borne aloft free from care. At such, therefore, the giant gnashed his teeth, but rejoiced over those who fell back. And forthwith a voice came to Antony, 'Understandest thou what thou seest?' And his understanding was opened, and he understood that it was the passing of souls, and that the tall being who stood was the enemy who envies the faithful. And those whom he caught and stopped from passing through are accountable to him, while those whom he was unable to hold as they passed upwards had not been subservient to him. So having seen this, and as it were being reminded, he struggled the more daily to advance towards those things which were before. And these visions he was unwilling to tell, but as he spent much time in prayer, and was amazed, when those who were with him pressed him with questions and forced him, he was compelled to speak, as a father who cannot withhold ought from his children. And he thought that as his conscience was clear, the account would be beneficial for them, that they might learn that discipline bore good fruit, and that visions were oftentimes the solace of their labours" (Chapters 65-66).




St Adamnan (Eunan) who recorded the life of St. Columba:


"AT another time while the holy man was tarrying in the Iouan island (Hy, now Iona), one of his monks called Brito, a person given to all good works, being seized with bodily illness, was reduced to the last extremity. When the venerable man went to visit him at the hour of his departure, he stood for a few moments at his bedside, and after giving him his blessing, retired quickly from the house, not wishing to see him die, and the very moment after the holy man left the house the monk closed this present life. Then the eminent man walking in the little court of his monastery, with his eyes upraised to heaven, was for a long time lost in wonder and admiration. But a certain brother named Aidan, the son of Libir, a truly virtuous and religious man, who was the only one of the brethren present at the time, fell upon his knees and asked the saint to tell him the reason of so great astonishment. The saint said to him in reply: "I have this moment seen the holy angels contending in the air against the hostile powers; and I return thanks to Christ, the Judge, because the victorious angels have carried off to the joys of our heavenly country the soul of this stranger, who is the first person that hath died among us in this island. But I beseech thee not to reveal this secret to any one during my life."



St. Diadochos of Photiki (ca 400 – 486 a.d.) from the Philokalia:



"If we do not confess our involuntary sins as we should, we shall discover and ill-defined fear in ourselves at the hour of our death. We who love the Lord should pray that we may be without fear at that time; for if we are afraid then, we will not be able freely to pass by the rulers of the nether world. They will have as their advocate to plead against us the fear which our soul experiences because of its own wickedness. But the soul which rejoices in the love of God, at the hour of its departure, is lifted with the angels of peace above all the hosts of darkness. For it is given wings by spiritual love, since it ceaselessly carries within itself the love which 'is the fulfilling of the law' (Rom. 13:10)" (Philokalia, Volume I, p. 295).



Theophilus of Antioch (reposed 412 a.d.) recorded in the Alphabetical Sayings of the Desert Fathers:



“The same Abba Theophilus said, “What fear, what trembling, what uneasiness will there be for us when our soul is separated from the body. Then indeed the force and strength of the adverse powers come against us, the rulers of darkness, those who command the world of evil, the principalities, the powers, the spirits of evil. They accuse our souls as in a lawsuit, bringing before it all the sins it has committed, whether deliberately or through ignorance, from its youth until the time when it has been taken away. So they stand accusing it of all it has done. Furthermore, what anxiety do you suppose the soul will have at that hour, until sentence is pronounced and it gains its liberty. That is its hour of affliction, until it sees what will happen to it. On the other hand, the divine powers stand on the opposite side, and they present the good deeds of the soul. Consider the fear and trembling of the soul standing between them until in judgment it receives the sentence of the righteous judge. If it is judged worthy, the demons will receive their punishment, and it will be carried away by the angels. Then thereafter you will be without disquiet, or rather you will live according to that which is written: “Even as the habitation of those who rejoice is in you.” (Ps. 87.7) Then will the Scripture be fulfilled: “Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35.10).

“Then your liberated soul will go on to that joy and ineffable glory in which it will be established. But if it is found to have lived carelessly, it will hear that terrible voice: “Take away the ungodly, that he may not see the glory of the Lord.” (cf. Isaiah 26.10) Then the day of anger, the day of affliction, the day of darkness and shadow seizes upon it. Abandoned to outer darkness and condemned to everlasting fire it will be punished through the ages without end. Where then is the vanity of the world? Where is the vain-glory? Where is carnal life? Where is enjoyment? Where is imagination? Where is ease? Where is boasting? Riches? Nobility? Father, mother, brother? Who could take the soul out of its pains when it is burning in the fire, and remove it from bitter torments? (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection, translated by Benedicta Ward, p. 81-82).



St. John Climacus:



In Step 7, section 50 of the Ladder of Divine Ascent, St. John gives the account of a

monastic who was dying, and who had begun to pass from this life to the next, and to experience the accusations of the demons. The account ends with statement:



"And while, thus being called to account he was parted from his body, leaving us in uncertainty as to his judgment, or end, or sentence, or how the trial ended."







Liturgical Evidence



In both the Greek and Slavonic Euchologion, in the canon for the departure of the soul by St. Andrew , we find in Ode 7:



"All holy angels of the Almighty God, have mercy upon me and save me from all the evil toll-houses [telonion poneron]."



For an English translation of this canon, see page 90, vol 3, of "The Book of Needs" published by St. Tikhon Seminary.



Also in the Greek Euchologion, in the same canon, we find in the first Ode:



"Behold a crowd of evil spirits has gathered bearing the record of my sins, and they are shouting aloud and demanding shamelessly my humble soul" (Quoted in the Mystery of Death, p. 391, by Nikolaos P. Vassiliadis).



Also in the Slavonic Euchologion:



"O thou that gavest birth to the Lord Almighty, when I come to die, do thou banish from me the commander of the bitter toll-gatherers and ruler of the earth, that I may glorify thee unto the ages, O holy Theotokos."



From Ode 8, of The Canon of Supplication to our lord Jesus Christ and the Most Holy Theotokos, the Mother of the Lord, at the Parting of the Soul from the body of any Orthodox, page 81, vol 3, Book of Needs, Published by St. Tikhon’s Monastery.



The prayer to the Theotokos at small compline:



".at the time of my departure taking care of my miserable soul, and driving far away from it the dark countenances of the evil demons."



The Octoechos:



"When my soul is about to be forcibly parted from my body's limbs, then stand by my side and scatter the counsels of my bodiless foes and smash the teeth of those who implacably seek to swallow me down, so that I may pass unhindered through the rulers of darkness who wait in the air, O Bride of God." Octoechos, Tone Two, Friday Vespers




"Pilot my wretched soul, pure Virgin, and have compassion on it, as it slides under a multitude of offences into the deep of destruction; and at the fearful hour of death snatch me from the accusing demons and from every punishment." Ode 6, Tone 1 Midnight Office for Sunday




The prayer of St. Eustratius, which is said in the Midnight Office for Saturdays:



"And now, O Master, let Thy hand shelter me and let Thy mercy descend upon me, for my soul is distracted and pained at its departure from this my wretched and filthy body, lest the evil design of the adversary overtake it and make it stumble into the darkness for the unknown and known sins amassed by me in this life. Be merciful unto me, O Master, and let not my soul see the dark countenances of the evil spirits, but let it be received by Thine Angels bright and shining. Glorify Thy holy name and by Thy might set me before Thy divine judgment seat. When I am being judged, suffer not that the hand of the prince of this world should take hold of me to throw me, a sinner, into the depths of hades, but stand by me and be unto me a savior and mediator…"



From the Pre-Nikonian Slavonic Texts



In the second Canon to the Guardian Angel, found in the "Old Orthodox Prayer book", one finds the following:.



In Ode 5: "Foreseeing all the tortures and torments that await me, and my blindness, distance and the darkness of my passions, thou groanest with pity; thou art mournful and downcast, O my deliverer",



In Ode 6: "Let shame and disgrace cover the dark, foul and fetid faces of the enemy when my poor soul is separated from the body. Let thy most sacred wings then protect my soul, O my guide."



In Ode 7 verse: "O my helper, with thy fiery lance cease not from dispelling the myriads of invisible robbers who attack me round about, seeking to seize and steal my soul."



"As a mind beautiful in goodness, sweet and happy, and bright like the sun, stand before me with smiling face and merry glance, when I shall be taken form the earth, O my guide."



"In thy mercy, loving-kindness and the exceeding copiousness of thy love toward man, O my guardian, protect me under the shelter of thy wings when I depart from the body, that I may not see the hideous faces of the demons."



In Ode 9 verse: "When my spirit is forcibly parted from me, may I see thee, my defender and guardian, calm and radiant, standing at the right of my passionate soul and driving away the bitter demons who seek to seize me."



"My whole life have I spent in great vanity, and my end draweth nigh. I beseech thee, my guardian: be my merciful champion and defender when I pass through the toll houses of the evil world ruler."


Alexandr
Food for thought:

Stuart wrote in an earlier post: I pray for you, you pray for me, I pray for my deceased grandmother, she prays for me, I ask St. George to pray for my soldier friends in battle, I ask Mary to protect us all, and I also pray that God will remember her, and St. George, and all the saints, including you and me. We are surrounded by clouds of witnesses, and we all bear witness for one another.

From the Liturgy: Remembering our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another, and our whole life, to Christ, our God.

What do we pray in this petition at every Divine Service?

We call to mind the entire cloud of witnesses – all the Saints – from the Mother of God, Mary, to Joe Blowski who died last Thursday to Cousin Angie’s first granddaughter born last night. We commit ourselves – yes – but also all of those we pray for (yes, the entire cloud of witnesses) to Christ God, to his memory.
Posted By: DewiMelkite Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/20/09 01:56 AM
do you believe when you die demons will judge you?
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.
The demons judge us now. Pray that you never have experience with the Left hand path. I have, and bear the scars to the grave. Sin is their own, and they are jealous of it. During exorcism, it is not unusual for the fallen ones to shout out the sins of those present. Interestingly enough, they have no knowledge of sins confessed. If we die bearing the fallen ones property, sin, then yes, they come to claim that which is their own. Spend time with the dying, and you will sense what the Fathers have already warned us about.

Alexandr
Posted By: DewiMelkite Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/20/09 02:18 AM
St mark of ephasis, refutations of purgatory.

we affirm that neither the righteous have yet received the fullness of their lot and the blessed condition which they have prepared themselves here through works nor have sinners after death been lead away to any eternal punishment in which they will be tormented. rather both the one and the other must necessarily take place after the day of resurrection.

st athanasios the great homily on incarnation of god


whence It is fitting that the lord suffered this death for thus being lifted up he cleared the air of the malignancy both of the devil and of the demons of all time

St john chrysostom

a soul which departs the body does not fall under the tyranny of the devil for if while the soul dwells in the body the devil cannot bring violence upon it it is obvious when it departs it likewise cannot

St Isaac syrian

the demons though they are extremely polluted are not concealed from one another in their order how be it they cannot see the two orders human souls and angels that are above them

st john the solitary

the devil cannot even see the soul cannot touch it and is unable to harm it.
Please, quote sources so that the text can be reviewed in context. As it is, it seems like selective Lev Puhalo zingers.

Alexandr
Posted By: DewiMelkite Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/20/09 02:28 AM
The main thing that i just don't understand about the toll houses is simply this. How can our soul be judged without the body? and by demons and not Christ.
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.

I sense that you are reading too heavily into this. Try this. This is an allegorical tool for answering the age old question "What happens when we die". Some state that the Tollhouses are a physical reality, others that they are symbolic. The Church has stated that, bluntly, "we really don't know", and that it is not healthy to dwell on such. It is a pious custom that helps people review their lives and strive to die in a state of grace. It is neither Dogma, nor is it fiction. It is a human attempt to visualize that which our Lord has not deigned to reveal to us. But rest assured that it is not heresy.

Alexandr

Posted By: DewiMelkite Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/20/09 02:42 AM
Thank you alexandr I think i understand it a little better now
Actually I cringe when the subject of tollhouses comes up as a subject of discussion, as it seems that very few take a middle path, and I have yet to run across a discussion that has not, at the very least, turned, shall we say, "heated"? LOL!
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.
Posted By: Dragani Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/20/09 04:27 AM
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
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.
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..

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.

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?
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.
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.
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



Posted By: Alice Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/20/09 09:14 AM
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
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.
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

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.
Posted By: ajk Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/20/09 05:38 PM
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?

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
Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
dealing with defrocked Deacon Puhalo's ideas

More over, defrocked Deacon Puhalo's teaching

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

Dear Alexandr,

Why do you insist so much on "defrocked"? Archbishop Lazar (Lev Puhalo) is a canonical bishop of the Orthodox Church in America and accepted as such by every Orthodox Church in the world, including of course the Patriarch of Moscow (who is my own Patriarch.)


You mentioned that the "leading opponents" of the toll houses teach psychosomnolence. I cannot bring anybody to mind. Where may we find their writings?

Achbishop Lazar Puhalo, *On the Nature of Heaven and Hell According to
the Holy Fathers*, (Dewdney BC : Synaxis Press, 1995), pp. 19-28

"Moreover, as we discussed in our previous book, *The Soul, The Body,
and Death*, (Chapter 6: "Things Done For the Reposed") the souls of the
righteous not only perceive in the realm of grace, but do not cease to
increase both in peace and spiritual advancement, being increased by
the prayers of the Church on their behalf. Indeed, theosis is the
blessed transfiguration and transformation of the whole human person,
within whom the Holy Spirit dwells. This person, so transformed, bears
a truly filial relationship to the Father as an icon of Christ."


Archbp Lazar ***SPECIFICALLY AND CATEGORICALLY*** identifies soul-sleep
as heresy:

"Since many fall into the error of speculation on these matters, two
extremes of opinion have arisen. The first error is that common to many
sectarians, who teach a heresy called 'soul-sleep,' or 'soul-slumber.'
This error is based partly on a misunderstanding of the symbolic use of
the word 'sleep' in Scripture and in certain of the holy fathers. This
teaching holds that at death, the soul is either buried with the body
or that it enters into a total comatose state and ceases not only its
psychophysical functions, but even its spiritual function and growth."


Achbishop Lazar Puhalo, *On the Nature of Heaven and Hell According to
the Holy Fathers*, (Dewdney BC : Synaxis Press, 1995), page 16
Dear Father Ambrose. Lev Puhalo was defrocked by the Synod that we both are subject to, and to my knowledge, this has never been rescinded. His rise to priest, bishop and archbishop was through various vagante and schismatic groups. What the OCA chooses to do is their business, but does not supersede the decision of ROCOR. The "Puhalo Question" is one of the subjects that the ROCOR OCA Commission is dealing with, and until the time that Synod says otherwise, he remains a defrocked deacon.

I was referring to certain internet personages that we both know, including, but not limited to, a certain reader known for his jurisdiction changing and loyalty to the teachings of Lev Puhalo. As none of these people are on this forum, it would not be right to drag their names into this discussion. But this issue has been raised innumerable times before, in other venues, and you know the players as well as I.

Alexandr
Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
Dear Father Ambrose. Lev Puhalo was defrocked by the Synod that we both are subject to, and to my knowledge, this has never been rescinded.

The Act of Canonical Communion abrogates all acts and decisions on both sides which prevent the fulness of communion. It abrogates all the many statements made by ROCA that the Patriarchate of Moscow is uncanonical, that the election of its Patriarchs was false, etc., etc.

The defrocking of the clergy from the OCA who defected to ROCA over the years was specifically and formally annulled by the OCA recently and the decision was delivered to Metropolitan Hilarion by Metropolitan Jonah. To my knowledge there has been no reciprocal gesture by ROCA but it would be churlish to refuse.

In any way, my supreme "Great Lord and Father" (as I pray at all services since the 2007 union) is the Patriarch of Moscow and I am in communion with whomsoever he is in communion. The Third Rome has spoken. Dare New York oppose it? :-)
Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
I was referring to certain internet personages that we both know, including, but not limited to, a certain reader known for his jurisdiction changing and loyalty to the teachings of Lev Puhalo.

It will be great to know that the quotes showing that Archbp Lazar does not advocate soul sleep were supplied by just that reader. LOL! He supplied even more but I cut it down so as not to overburden the Forum.
Touche'! smile

Moscow has also, wisely, I might add, bestowed autonomy upon ROCOR, thusly we have the OCA commission headed by my bishop +GEORGE of Mayfield, who, as we speak, is reviewing the matter of ROCOR/OCA relationships, and until such matters are resolved, and an ukase issued regarding such, we remain in a state of "status quo". ROCOR recently defrocked former Bishop Agafangel, and Moscow did not intervene, and when the Puhalo case is brought up for decision vis a vis ROCOR, I will be obedient to the decision of my hierarchs.

Alexandr
Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
Touche'! smile

Moscow has also, wisely, I might add, bestowed autonomy upon ROCOR, thusly we have the OCA commission headed by my bishop +GEORGE of Mayfield, who, as we speak, is reviewing the matter of ROCOR/OCA relationships, and until such matters are resolved, and an ukase issued regarding such, we remain in a state of "status quo". ROCOR recently defrocked former Bishop Agafangel, and Moscow did not intervene, and when the Puhalo case is brought up for decision vis a vis ROCOR, I will be obedient to the decision of my hierarchs.

Alexandr

I can only repeat that I am in communion with whomsoever my Patriarch is is communion and I am sure that Metropolitan Hilarion and the Synod of Bishops of ROCA take the same view.
Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
Touche'! smile

Moscow has also, wisely, I might add, bestowed autonomy upon ROCOR,

Quick note. Moscow has not bestowed autonomy upon ROCA but the lesser status of a self-governing Church.


The provisions which govern Self-Governing Churches of the Church of Russia
are given in Chapter VIII of the Ustav. See

http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/133132.html

Paragraph VIII has been amended, 27 June 2008, to include the Russian Church Abroad:

http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/428872.html
Posted By: Dragani Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/21/09 12:53 AM
Father Ambrose,

There are a few facts that need to be cleared up. In this thread, you write:

Quote
some Eastern Catholic theologians have stated that theosis is finite and that Purgatory is the final stage of theosis. For example, this is taught by Dr Anthony Dragani, an Eastern Catholic theologian writing on EWTN.

And elsewhere:

Quote
Over the years both Eastern Catholics and a few Orthodox have asked him to correct what he has written and he still insists that Purgatory is the Final Theosis

And again:

Quote
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. Ot in other words, theosis ceases when a soul reaches Heaven.

Would you agree that you are drawing many conclusions here? I have never stated that "theosis is finite," nor that "theosis ceases when a soul reaches Heaven." Nor do I adhere to these beliefs, which I have never stated.

Quote
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."

What I was trying to state here was simply this: there is common ground between the Latin view of purgatory and our belief that theosis continues after death. I did not mean to imply that theosis ends after we enter heaven, nor do I believe that today. Now did I word this in the best way possible? Probably not. I am, after all, a human being.

Now... for the truth about all of this. Back when I was answering questions for EWTN, several years ago now, I didn't always approach this task with great precision. As a very busy grad student, I didn't have time to. I made more than a few mistakes. But my heart was really in it, and I would like to believe that in the long run I did far more good than harm.

The first time that this question was asked, I didn't really spend much time pondering my answer. Instead, I rattled off what I had been taught in grad school from a very knowledge professor who possessed an exemplary knowledge of the Church Fathers.

The response of mine from 2004 shows that I hadn't really given the concept of theosis being infinite a whole lot of thought up until that point. Once I heard it, though, it made perfect sense to me, as it fit in with my understanding of Palamas. Up until that point, though, I was neither believing nor arguing that theosis comes to an end when we enter heaven. This was a question that, simply put, didn't occupy much of my thought process.

Years later a good friend of mine who is a proficient webmaster proposed the idea of creating the East2west faq on my website. I said "go for it." He collected some of my answers from over the years, and put them together into a useful FAQ which is geared towards novices. In my opinion, he did a tremendous job. The site has gotten a lot of positive feedback over the years, and I am happy that it has brought some people into a richer appreciation of the faith.

So in the midst of this story, I hope that one thing becomes clear: I did not devise a nefarious belief that theosis is finite, and then obstinately hold to it and propagate it across the internet. Not at all. Rather, I answered some questions to the best of my ability, passed on what I had learned in grad school, and allowed a friend to compile a web page. Make sense?

Years later, a concerned reader directed me to some forums where a "Fr. Ambrose" was saying some harsh things about me. This priest was saying that I was spreading the heresy that theosis is finite. Someone in this discussion even suggested that I should be excommunicated. Were you this very same "Father Ambrose?" He may not have called me a heretic, but he accused me of creating and spreading a heresy. Wouldn't that make me a heretic? (For the record, I'd prefer being called a Heresiarch). wink

To see just one of many examples of this, do a google search for "Dragani's heresy" and see what comes up. I've seen similar posts from a "Fr. Ambrose" in other threads and forums as well.

Much of the confusion as to my position probably comes from the term "final theosis," which, as I have stated, was taught to me in graduate school. But the term itself does not indicate that theosis comes to and end, only that there is a final stage, so to speak. A number of writers over the years have spoken of a "final theosis," without meaning that theosis is finite.

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

As you wish:

Hilarion Alfeyev, St. Symeon the New Theologian, 257


According to Alfeyev, the Athanesian emphasis is on “the ontological difference between our adoption by God and deification on the one hand, and Christ’s sonship and divinity on the other: in the final deification ‘we become sons of God, but not in the same manner as He is, not by nature and reality, but by the grace of Him Who called us.’”


Hilarion Alfeyev, St. Symeon the New Theologian, 264

“Elsewhere Symeon refers to the relics of the saints as proof of their final deification. Their bodies, since they were united with deified souls, are kept for many years without decomposition, being preserved for their final restoration and incorruption. In this argument Symeon follows John of Damscus, who also claimed that the saints became gods by adoption and cited as an example the incorruption of their relics.”

Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, p. 244

“In the ceaseless struggle of the way of ascent, the way of cooperation with the divine will, created nature is more and more transformed by grace until the final deification which will be fully revealed in the Kingdom of God.”

Vladimir Losskly, The Vision of God, p. 99:

“The perfect knowledge of God which is attained in the age to come is no longer the ultimate goal, but one aspect of the final deification or of ‘the spiritual world of delights’ (τρυφῆς δὲ τρόπος πνευματικός ), as St Cyril says. We shall know Christ who will shine in us by the Holy Spirit, because we shall have ‘the mind of Christ’ (νοῦς Χριστοῦ) of which St Paul spoke, and this mind of Christ is the Holy Spirit present in us.”

St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality, by John Meyendorff, p. 103.

“Hence Palamas refused to give credence to what the ancient philosophers said of the knowledge of God. He developed a realistic doctrine of supernatural knowledge, independent of any sense experience but granted in Jesus Christ to man as a whole – body and soul – admitting him here below to the first fruits of final deification and the vision of God, not by his own powers but by the grace of God.”

The Hope of the Early Church: A Handbook of Patristic Eschatology, by Brian Daley, p. 202.

“Maximus makes it clear in a number of passages that the final divinization of rational creatures will only be realized in those who have shown themselves worthy of God's gift.”

Transcendent Mystery in Man, by Andrew N. Woznicki, p. 10.

“Kerygmatic proclamation of the possibility of the final divinization of each and every individual man is possible only by a metanoic and charismatic transformation by God.”

Saintly and Ascetic Life in the Church of Alexandria, by Metropolitan Makarios (Tillyrides) of Kenya and Irinoupolis.

“There were also champions and witnesses of the faith, who far from worldly comforts, tried to stress the importance of the spiritual battle for perfection of the individual and his final theosis.”

As these quotes hopefully demonstrate, using the term "final theosis" (or one of its equivalents) does not imply a belief that theosis is finite.

Now, as I stated before, I do not wish to be drawn into a debate with you. I don't have time, as a lot is happening in my life right now. I would, however, like to put this to rest between us. I have no quarrel with you, and hopefully we can recognize each other as brothers, not as adversaries.

Quote
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

All that you ever had to do was ask nicely. I will instruct my webmaster to add a note to that article, making it abundantly clear that Eastern theology teaches that theosis is an infinite process, and does not cease when a person enters into heaven.

Are we good?

Tony
Originally Posted by Slavipodvizhnik
Dear Father Ambrose. Lev Puhalo was defrocked by the Synod that we both are subject to, and to my knowledge, this has never been rescinded. His rise to priest, bishop and archbishop was through various vagante and schismatic groups. What the OCA chooses to do is their business, but does not supersede the decision of ROCOR. The "Puhalo Question" is one of the subjects that the ROCOR OCA Commission is dealing with, and until the time that Synod says otherwise, he remains a defrocked deacon.

I was referring to certain internet personages that we both know, including, but not limited to, a certain reader known for his jurisdiction changing and loyalty to the teachings of Lev Puhalo. As none of these people are on this forum, it would not be right to drag their names into this discussion. But this issue has been raised innumerable times before, in other venues, and you know the players as well as I.

Alexandr

Alexandr,

You will refer to the man as Archbishop Lazar as he is a bishop in good standing of the OCA, your personal feelings not withstanding It is the policy of this forum to refer to clergy in good standing by the name and title they use and you will adhere to it.

Fr. Deacon Lance
AFAIK there's no problem with the toll-houses in Catholic doctrine, which AFAIK teaches the particular judgement. The toll-houses are a Russian folkloric explanation of that: perfectly good opinion.

The particular judgement is not the same as the intermediate state (commonly called purgatory in the West), which both sides believe in and without which prayer for the dead would make no sense. All Catholic doctrine requires is belief it exists and somehow those in it are helped by prayer.
Originally Posted by The young fogey
AFAIK there's no problem with the toll-houses in Catholic doctrine, which AFAIK teaches the particular judgement. The toll-houses are a Russian folkloric explanation of that: perfectly good opinion.

Your words chime with those of Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky. He was Russia's leading theologian before the Revolution and he became the First Primate of the Russian Church Abroad. His comment when asked about the toll houses: "The toll houses? Something the village people might believe in."

Quote
The particular judgement is not the same as the intermediate state (commonly called purgatory in the West), which both sides believe in and without which prayer for the dead would make no sense.

The implications of praying for the dead are not what people may think. The Orthodox have been praying for the dead for all of 2000 years and have not felt the need to adopt any teaching of purification to explain what and why. It makes sense without purgatory.


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

For at least the first two centuries there was no mention of purgatory in the Church. In all the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, Irenaeus and Justin Martyr, there is not the slightest allusion to the idea of purgatory.

Praying for the dead was becoming a common practice by the beginning of the third century 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. These very early terms are still used in Eastern prayers for the dead.

So 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.
Originally Posted by Dragani
Father Ambrose,
All that you ever had to do was ask nicely. I will instruct my webmaster to add a note to that article, making it abundantly clear that Eastern theology teaches that theosis is an infinite process, and does not cease when a person enters into heaven.

Are we good?

Thank you very much indeed and yes, we are good. It will be wonderful to see the statement clarified.
Dear brother and sister forum members,

It has been rather wonderful these last few days with the depth of interaction with people, especially with Stuart and ajk. I have thoroughly enjoyed the discussions. However, I now need to cut back my internet time and to cut back participation in the Forum. I'll still enjoy reading and participating but at a much lower level. Much love to everybody.

Fr Ambrose
Posted By: ajk Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/21/09 12:12 PM
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
The Catholic Encyclopedia admits: "In the final analysis the Catholic doctrine of purgatory is based on tradition not Sacred Scripture."

Perhaps this is from the New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967). The Catholic Encyclopedia (1913) says:
Quote
The Catholic doctrine of purgatory supposes the fact that some die with smaller faults for which there was no true repentance, and also the fact that the temporal penalty due to sin is it times not wholly paid in this life. The proofs for the Catholic position, both in Scripture and in Tradition, are bound up also with the practice of praying for the dead.

It also quotes Trent:
Quote
Whereas the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has from the Sacred Scriptures and the ancient tradition of the Fathers taught in Councils and very recently in this Ecumenical synod (Sess. VI, cap. XXX; Sess. XXII cap.ii, iii) that there is a purgatory,...

The recent and authoritative Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
Quote
1031 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:...
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
The Orthodox have been praying for the dead for all of 2000 years....

but

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
For at least the first two centuries there was no mention of purgatory in the Church... Praying for the dead was becoming a common practice by the beginning of the third century...

So... development of doctrine?

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

That line of argument sounds Protestant: if it's not named in scripture (as interpreted by Luther, Calvin, my pastor, me) it's out.

It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins (2 Mac. 12:46).
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 09/21/09 03:00 PM
Quote
It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins (2 Mac. 12:46).

It's a long way from there to a full-blown medieval doctrine of purgatory. 2 Macc 12:46 can be taken, together with its rule of prayer, as the Church's theologia. Everything else, whether purgatory or toll houses, or whatever, is an elaboration on theologia, and so constitutes theoria.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins (2 Mac. 12:46).

It's a long way from there to a full-blown medieval doctrine of purgatory. 2 Macc 12:46 can be taken, together with its rule of prayer, as the Church's theologia. Everything else, whether purgatory or toll houses, or whatever, is an elaboration on theologia, and so constitutes theoria.

I'd lile to comment if I may, for those who are not familiar with the context.

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 would be forgiven and Judas Maccabeus decided to send a large quanity of silver to the Jerusalem temple for prayers for the forgivness of these Jewish soldier idolators.

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.

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.
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by Dragani
Father Ambrose,
All that you ever had to do was ask nicely. I will instruct my webmaster to add a note to that article, making it abundantly clear that Eastern theology teaches that theosis is an infinite process, and does not cease when a person enters into heaven.

Are we good?

Thank you very much indeed and yes, we are good. It will be wonderful to see the statement clarified.
Thank you, Anthony. It is good to see the text amended.

http://www.east2west.org/doctrine.htm#Purgatory
3.XI.2013. News was received today (Infernal.news.org) that a monk from the Mount Shasta region failed to pass through the toll houses. The demonic judges prevailed upon the angels that it was in the nature of sin that a monk should have such an addiction to the music of Mozart and to soprillos and tubaxes.

The monk’s guardian angel is preparing an appeal to the Demonic Council asking them to suspend the torments of the monk while he seeks heavenly advice whether an excessive love of music is an infringement of the monastic vows.
Originally Posted by The young fogey
AFAIK there's no problem with the toll-houses in Catholic doctrine,
There may be some conflict...

1. The teaching that only the Orthodox are saved. All non-Orthodox do not pass through the toll houses but are taken to hell immediately at death.

2. The teaching that the demons can tempt us into fresh sins at the toll houses and cause us to lose salvation.

3. The teaching that not only unconfessed sin will cause our damnation but also even the smallest attachment to any passion.

I find these teachings very uncongenial to my faith.
Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
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
Father, I've skimmed the thread but cannot find a reason why Ukrainian Greek Catholics pray for Mary. Since she is sinless it cannot be for forgiveness of her sins. Since she is "full of grace" it cannot be for an increase in grace.

Were the reasons for praying for Mary explained?
Neither do the Orthodox pray for Saints.

In the evening of a Saint's canonisation a final memorial service (Pannikhida) is served for him. This is the last time the faithful of the Church will ever pray for him.

Then the All Night Vigil commences and during Matins the proclamation of his canonisation is read, his newly painted icon is unveiled on the central analogion and his newly composed Megalynarion is sung three times. From this moment we will never again pray for him but only to him.
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
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
Father, I've skimmed the thread but cannot find a reason why Ukrainian Greek Catholics pray for Mary. Since she is sinless it cannot be for forgiveness of her sins. Since she is "full of grace" it cannot be for an increase in grace.

Were the reasons for praying for Mary explained?
1. The Nikonian Slavonic texts regarding references to Mary, the Mother of God, are identical for both Orthodox and Greek Catholics. The Greek originals are, of course, in Greek but say the same thing.

2. This thread seems to be speaking mostly of the remembrances in the dyptichs. For example:
Quote
Moreover, we offer to You this spiritual sacrifice for those who departed in the faith: the forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics and for every just spirit made perfect in faith.

And the priest, taking the censer, intones:

Especially for our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary.

For the holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John,
for the holy glorious and all-praised Apostles,
for Saint N. [the saint of the day] whose memory we celebrate,
and for all Your Saints,
through whose prayers, O God, visit us.
The OCA, ROCOR and other translations are similar but use a different style.

Taft states (Volume IV) that these are a remembrance of the dead. He does not develop it, but the texts are pretty clear that they are not a pray for the salvation of Mary, John the Baptist, and the others mentioned but a remembrance that is part of the Byzantine liturgical tradition. As the text shows, we remember those departed in the faith who are Saints and ask God to visit us through their prayers (because they have been made perfect in faith).

Then we turn to other remembrances of the dead, with a specific request:
Quote
Remember, O God,
Your servant(s), N.N. and all those who have fallen asleep
in the hope of resurrection to eternal life.
Grant them rest where the light of Your face shines.
So we can see that in the first part of the dyptichs we remember Mary, the Mother of God, John the Baptist, the Apostles and all the Saints and ask the Lord to visit us through their prayers.

Then the prayer shifts to a new remembrance of the dead - this one with the addition of a petition that the Lord grant them rest where the light of His face shines.

Fr. Ambrose, if this is not the specific text you were referring to, can you please post the specific texts you are concerned with, from both the Greek Catholic translation you have an issue with and from the translation you use (ROCOR, OCA, etc.)? I'm just not seeing where how you are concluding that the Greek Catholics are praying for Mary. I've even looked at all references to Mary and see only remembrances of her. Thanks.
The Divine Liturgy has what seems to be a prayer for Mary.

It also proclaims the sinfulness of Mary!

After communion as the priest places the particles from the diskos/paten into the precious Blood he prays:

"Wash away, O lord, the sins of all those commemorated here..." and the first particle which he places into the Blood is the triangular piece which commemorates the Mother of God.

Yikes! so there we have it, a liturgical teaching of the sinfulness of Mary!!

This is not surprising, to find it in Chrysostom’s Liturgy, because as late as the fifth century (until the Council of Ephesus) a belief in the sinfulness of Mary was permissible and held by such great theologians as Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Basil the Great. Their beliefs are incorporated in the Liturgies they wrote. Given their belief that Mary was a sinner is it a surprise to find a prayer for her?

But since Chalcedon, and certainly these days, the Orthodox would see this belief as sinful (and heretical.)

It surprises and astounds me that it is permitted to Catholics and that the Vatican allows it. One day the bilateral dialogue will have to address it.
Quote
ROCOR Translation [orthodox.net] He wipeth the holy diskos with the holy sponge exceedingly well, with attentiveness and reverence, saying these words:

Deacon: By thy precious Blood, O Lord, wash away the sins of those here commemorated, through the intercessions of Thy saints.
Ummmm.... I'm not sure how you missed the ending of that prayer, Father.

If you read the whole prayer it asks the Lord to wash away the sins of those commemorated through the prayers of the Saints. It seems to me that in both Orthodox and Catholic theology Mary, John the Baptist, the Apostles and the other recognized Saints are the ones whose intersessions are being referred to.

I do not see how this statement can be in any way a defacto Orthodox teaching of Mary's sinfulness. Can you please provide some references to your favorite liturgical theologians regarding the Orthodox liturgical teaching on this specific text?

Many thanks!

PS: I'm purposely not getting into the variances in texts between Greeks, Slavs and Ruthenians since there is a much important issue that needs clarification.
Originally Posted by Administrator
Can you please provide some references to your favorite liturgical theologians regarding the Orthodox liturgical teaching on this specific text?

I cannot provide any Orthodox commentary on either

1. the sinfulness of Mary

2. prayer for Mary.

Both teachings have no relevance for us.

I really am flabbergasted that the Vatican allows and engages in prayer for Mary. Do you have references?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church knows nothing of prayer for Mary
Quote
2679 Mary is the perfect Orans (pray-er), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus' mother into our homes, for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope.
Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
I really am flabbergasted that the Vatican allows and engages in prayer for Mary. Do you have references?
Father Ambrose,

I've never seen a prayer for Mary. Can you please offer an example (and cite where it comes from)?

In your most recent posts you stated that the the post-communion prayer (quoted above in #401089 and #401092) was an example of "a liturgical teaching of the sinfulness of Mary". I refuted that. It is not such a prayer. And the text cannot be twisted to conclude that, from either a Catholic or Orthodox perspective. I was just chatting with a friend who is an Orthodox liturgical theologian and not only did he never hear of your claim, but he also says the text cannot be twisted to mean what you claim it means.

We certainly remember Mary and the Saints in the Liturgy, typically with the appeal "through their intercessions". But is not the same thing as praying for them. As I noted above, the diptychs (and other liturgical texts) differentiate between remembering the Saints and asking God to visit us through their prayers, and praying for specific individuals (that they may find rest, etc.).

So, please start again. You state that the Vatican allows prayers for Mary. Please cite clear examples of this (and include chapter and verse). Otherwise you need to withdraw your claim, but it is not supported by evidence.

John
Originally Posted by Administrator
I've never seen a prayer for Mary. Can you please offer an example (and cite where it comes from)?
Yesterday I read all of this thread with great interest. The Ukrainian Greek Catholics are insistent on prayer for Mary. On the other hand, Melkite and Malankarese and maybe members of some other autonomous ritual Churches, as well as Latin Catholic contributors, deny it very strongly. I'm sure you'd be as fascinated as I was if you read the thread.

Quote
So, please start again. You state that the Vatican allows prayers for Mary. Please cite clear examples of this (and include chapter and verse). Otherwise you need to withdraw your claim, but it is not supported by evidence.
If you look at this thread you will see the insistence of Greek Ukrainian contributors that the Liturgy contains prayer for Mary. Now I had, quite by chance, the opportunity to be present at a Byzantine Liturgy celebrated by Pope John Paul II in Saint Peter's. So we see prayers for Mary offered in the Vatican and by no less than His Holiness.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 11/03/13 10:26 PM
Quote
I've never seen a prayer for Mary. Can you please offer an example (and cite where it comes from)?

Prayers for Mary are present in all the ancient Eastern liturgies, not just the Byzantine rite. It was an issue at Florence for the Armenians, when the Latins insisted on removing prayers for Mary from their liturgy (and the Armenians had, up to that point, very good relations with the Latins.

In the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, the most obvious prayer to Mary is found just before "It is truly proper. . . ":

Quote
Priest: Moreover, we offer to You this spiritual sacrifice for those who have fallen asleep in faith: the Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics and for every righteous spirit made perfect in faith.

We offer to You this spiritual sacrifice especially for our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary.

People: It is truly proper to glorify you. . .

Taft writes, in "Eastern Presuppositions and Western Liturgical Renewal":

Quote
Anyone who reads that history with openness and objectivity can only conclude that the Armenian Apostolic Church, when confronted with the obtuseness of the Latins, was fully justified in rejecting a communion which threatened not only their integrity, but the very survival of their age-old tradition. The contentions in large part concerned the liturgy and its theology. One problem for the Latins were the liturgical intercessions for the Mother of God and the saints in the Armenian anaphora, where, as in the Byzantine Chrysostom anaphora, one continued to pray "for" Mary and the saints indifferently, along with the rest of the departed. Here as elsewhere, modern studies have shown that the Armenians had preserved the ancient tradition, and that the Latins were simply wrong.
Posted By: StuartK Re: Aerial Toll Houses and Seraphim Rose - 11/03/13 10:27 PM
Quote
On the other hand, Melkite and Malankarese and maybe members of some other autonomous ritual Churches, as well as Latin Catholic contributors, deny it very strongly.

Once again, I wonder about your sources.
John, as a guest on this forum I probably should not be involved in interfamilial disagreements over whether Catholics do or don't pray for Mary. About all I can do is provide an Orthodox comment, that such prayer is unknown among Orthodox Christians.
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
On the other hand, Melkite and Malankarese and maybe members of some other autonomous ritual Churches, as well as Latin Catholic contributors, deny it very strongly.

Once again, I wonder about your sources.
Read through this thread. See who is insisting on prayer for Mary and who denies it. Ask them for their sources.
Father Ambrose,

I just finished re-reading much of this thread, and paid particular attention to references regarding Mary (I specifically searched the term).

I can easily find your posts claiming that Ukrainian Catholics pray for Mary, but other than your claims I see no evidence that such occurs (either from posts in this thread or from my collection of liturgical texts).

I can find where you have previously offered the partial quote from the post-communion prayer (which we discussed earlier today), but I can also see where several posters corrected your erroneous conclusion that the Byzantine liturgical texts include prayers for Mary. [You should know better than to misquote the Liturgy!]

I find no evidence from Ukrainian Catholic posters which claim they pray for Mary. The only discussion regarding Ukrainian Catholics appears to be (again) from posters correcting your erroneous understanding of the Byzantine liturgical texts (which clearly do not pray for Mary). [There is one poster who speculates that theosis continues for the Saints, but this can't be used as evidence of anything taught or done by the Ukrainian Catholics in Liturgy. I could believe that an individual Christian might believe such a thing, but that is not the same as stating that a whole Church believes such a thing. But, again, there is no evidence of that in this thread.]

I'm glad you were able to be in attendance at the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Pope John Paul II, but I know that you did not witness prayers for Mary. The liturgical texts used by Ukrainian Catholics are from the Ruthenian recension and do not contain any such prayers. I expect you remember incorrectly.

Again, please post the specific examples of prayers for Mary. If using examples from this thread post the post# and quote the text.

And please do not claim again that Ukrainian Greek Catholics are insistent on prayer for Mary without quotes backed up by properly referenced documentation.

John
Dear John, this ought to be an inter-Catholic discussion. If you have determined that no Catholics in this thread were speaking of prayer for Mary, I am delighted.
Some posts speaking about prayer for Mary

332561
332575
332601
332671
332681
332800
332836
332904

I haven’t searched past 332904
Father Ambrose,

I see nuance possibly where you don't. Again:

Quote
Moreover, we offer to You this spiritual sacrifice for those who departed in the faith: the forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics and for every just spirit made perfect in faith.

And the priest, taking the censer, intones:

Especially for our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary.

For the holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John,
for the holy glorious and all-praised Apostles,
for Saint N. [the saint of the day] whose memory we celebrate,
and for all Your Saints,
through whose prayers, O God, visit us.

Remember, O God,
Your servant(s), N.N. and all those who have fallen asleep
in the hope of resurrection to eternal life.
Grant them rest where the light of Your face shines.
Mary, the Mother of God, John the Baptist, the Apostles, the Saints, and us were/are all in need of the saving events - all that was done in our behalf; the Cross, the Tomb, the Resurrection on the Third Day, the Ascension into heaven, the Sitting at the Right Hand, the Second and Glorious Coming Again. In this way one could say that the Eucharistic Offering is for Mary, the Saints and us, and that our continued celebration of the Divine Liturgy is one together with the Lord and His Apostles on that Saving Night.

This is all perfectly Orthodox and Catholic.

Perhaps I see more nuance in the text.

'We offer... this spiritual sacrifice... for... Mary (and all the Saints)... [in thanksgiving for Your having saved them] (and we ask) through (their) prayers, O God, visit us.'

[And then we continue, qualifying differently:]

'Your servants... who have fallen asleep... grant them rest where the light of Your face shines.'

In this prayer I can see how the Mystical Supper was for Mary (and all the Saints), how in that sense it continues to be for them (the Liturgy is outside of time, and a participation in the same Eucharist the Lord celebrated with his Apostles), and how we in the Eucharist ask the Saints to pray for us (that God visit us), and that we ask the Lord to remember kindly those who have fallen asleep. But you insist that there are differences in Orthodox and Catholic understanding, and I just don't see them.

I've read the posts you listed. Some of the material we've covered today. I see good posts, posts with a lack of nuance, and some that could be made better, but I don't see posts where the same texts used by Catholics and Orthodox mean different things to the people praying them.

That's all for tonight.

John
Originally Posted by Administrator
...but I don't see posts where the same texts used by Catholics and Orthodox mean different things to the people praying them
John, I concede. smile If we all agree that we do NOT pray for Mary, we are all on the same page.
The Anaphora of St. Basil does, in fact, have us pray FOR the All-holy Theotokos!
Originally Posted by Ot'ets Nastoiatel'
The Anaphora of St. Basil does, in fact, have us pray FOR the All-holy Theotokos!
Father Ambrose has stated that Catholics (especially Ukrainian Catholics) celebrating the Divine Liturgy pray for Mary in a way that Orthodox do not (using the same texts), with the further question as to why. My understanding is provided in post #401111 above. In short, I don't see different Catholic and Orthodox theologies regarding the Mother of God in the Divine Liturgy.
Originally Posted by Ot'ets Nastoiatel'
The Anaphora of St. Basil does, in fact, have us pray FOR the All-holy Theotokos!
Like Saint John Chrysostom Saint Basil believed in Mary's sinfulness. This belief was permissible in the Church up to the Council of Chalcedon in 451. So, again... not surprising to find their beliefs reflected in their Liturgies.
Originally Posted by Administrator
Originally Posted by Ot'ets Nastoiatel'
The Anaphora of St. Basil does, in fact, have us pray FOR the All-holy Theotokos!
Father Ambrose has stated that Catholics (especially Ukrainian Catholics) celebrating the Divine Liturgy pray for Mary in a way that Orthodox do not
Not really. I am repeating what has been written here by Catholic posters, Stuart among them.

It would be reassuring for me to receive answers to the questions:---

1. Do Catholics pray for Mary?

2. Do Catholics not pray for Mary?

Originally Posted by Hieromonk Ambrose
in the Church up to the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

Correction! Ephesus in 431.
Dear Father Ambrose,

It depends what you mean by "sinfulness."

Chrysostom and Basil the Great may have seen the Most Holy Theotokos commit "venial sins" but hardly charged the Mother of our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ with "sinfulness."

Chrysostom and Basil may have erred here. The Church was under no obligation to accept their opinions on such matters.

From the Orthodox point of view, I may be "Heterodox in communion with Rome," but I would run like the devil from anyone who advanced such views.

Alex
Father Ambrose,

The Administrator here gave what I believe to have been a very thorough and theologically subtle and complete answer to this question.

We use the same Divine Liturgy as does your Church (although we don't commemorate the Patriarch of Moscow).

Do the prayers of the Priest not say that the Divine Liturgy is offered "for the Most Holy Theotokos?"

What could that mean?

Otherwise, I stick to praying for you.

Alex
This thread is so far departed from its original topic that I think the time has come for it to close. Thanks to all who contributed to it.

Many years,

Neil
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