Orthodox Toll-Houses

Does the Coptic Orthodox Church hold to the teaching of the aerial toll-houses: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Aerial_Toll-Houses?

"The theory of Aerial Toll-Houses regards the soul's journey after its departure from the body.

Dn. Andrew Werbiansky summarizes the theory (described in Fr. Seraphim Rose's book The Soul After Death) as follows: "following a person's death the soul leaves the body and is escorted to God by angels. During this journey the soul passes through an aerial realm which is ruled by demons. The soul encounters these demons at various points referred to as "toll-houses" where the demons then attempt to accuse it of sin and, if possible, drag the soul into hell."

This belief came up during a conversation with an Eastern Orthodox Christian.  Seems very odd to me and mimics the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory.


  • The toll-houses isn't anything like purgatory. Purgatory is a place you go after death to be cleansed of your sins. The toll-houses are something one encounters after death when demons will accuse you of various sins that you have commited and they will in a sense try to steal your soul. There are many mixed reactions about them within Eastern Orthodoxy and it is highly debated with one side saying there real the other something that is symbolic or metaphorical and one side saying that it is heresy and gnostic. The EO Church has no official stance on them. I think it was more of a symbol to illustrate what type of sins we will have to answer for and so we repent of them here but I think some people took them as a literal reality where we will be judged by demons and what not and it was taken out of context and caused all sorts of problems.

    I can probably guess though that the majority of Eastern Orthodox Christians don't even know about the toll houses since it's not a teaching of the Church but the opinion and theory of some.
  • I think some Oriental Orthodox accept it though looking at one prayer from the Syriac Church's funeral rites:

    O Lord God, by Whose Godhead's command and Lordship's authority this Your servant N. has departed from this temporal life, send unto him from above the succor of Your angelic hosts, and by means of this oil which is to be poured on his body, grant that he may become slippery and unrestrainable by the adverse powers and the hosts of the enemies who lie in wait in the air to wage war against the souls of men.  Bring him safe to the heavenly abodes of light and exultation among the saints, so that, rejoicing and exceedingly glad, he may offer glory and give thanks to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever. 

    For the most part of what I heard from other Oriental Christians is that they don't try to speculate about (which the majority of EO's don't either). I'm sure there are some who accept it though and some who don't since there is no official teaching on it.
  • i didn't hear about it, except on these forums.
    i think it's one of those things which is not main-stream OO tradition, but not specifically considered heretical.
    our priest (coptic) has talked a lot about heaven and hell and salvation and didn't mention it once.
  • Hello my brothers and sisters in Christ,

    Please have a look at the following topic, which was started recently concerning the same issue:


    Pray for my weakness,
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