Purgatory - Orthodox?

I've been looking at some old Church Fathers and it seems that the doctrine of Purgatory in a more primitive form of purification is found in the earliest Church Fathers, like St. Irenaeus, St. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Tertullian, St. Cyprian, St. John Chrysostom and St. Augustine among others. This is to exclude some of the medieval extratraditional imagery developed in the Catholic Church. 

It seems that this is all based on 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.

Would love to hear some of your guy's take on this.


  • Hi Katanikhoros,

    This is really interesting. What did St. John Chrysostom say about Purgatory? 

    Well, concerning Vassula (arrghh) she said that in her visions and conversations with Christ that purgatory is confirmed. 

    All I can say is that from speaking with Coptic Priests, the idea of purgatory belittle's Christ's Grace in completely forgiving us our sins. Our sins are forgiven, but our "sorry" is never good enough and we have to spend time being purified. 
  • Interesting, I thought about that objection but why doesn't it hold before death when we are being purified and disciplined as well?

    Also it is the grace of Christ that it is argued that purifies us. The cleansing fire being from God Himself who takes away every last bit of sin that we were holding on to even after death. This is why we pray for the dead apparently according to many of these Church Fathers.
  • edited July 2015
    It makes no sense that God needs to purify us afterwards. We are already purified in baptism and renewed in confession and repentance. 

    Does that mean that although my sins are forgiven, they are not completely forgiven? I still have a lot to pay off?? I thought that being forgiven either by baptism or repentance really means that I go straight to heaven.

    Let's look at this way:

    Christ told the thief on the right hand: "Today you will be with Me in Paradise". If Purgatory existed, it would not have been "today"; it would have been, at the very least, "tomorrow" given the thief's criminal past.

  • Years ago, I started independently researching purgatory but I did not finish. Suffice it to say that the Orthodox concept of what they think Purgatory is and what they think the Roman Catholic Church think it is is really NOT what the Roman Catholic Church actually says.

    However, the Roman Catholics take it a step farther in their attempt to dogmatize every small detail of their faith. With all this dogmatizing, they have defined purgatory into something else than what the Orthodox can accept. 

    If time permits, I will dig through some of my old notes and go into some detail. 
  • edited July 2015
    You're thinking of "purgatory" as a specific place of torture. That is why I said leave aside the extra traditional imagery introduced in medieval times. I am speaking about a state based on 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (Read it).

    The Church Fathers speak about a state of purification that continues after death. I do not see how this is somehow against the grace and forgiveness of Christ. Christ already forgave us, yet He continues to discipline us through suffering in this life and there are many examples from the Scriptures on this. This is part of the process of deification, of freeing ourselves from sin. "Every branch in Me that bears fruit He prunes that it may bear more fruit."

    The process of Theosis continues after death and this purification from our attachments to this world and its passions is what the Fathers refer to as that purging.

    The fire that Paul refers to as burning away the impurities but saving the righteous is believed to come from God as a consuming fire. It is this purging fire that the early Fathers saw as part of the process of purification (and many indeed saw that it would be painful).
  • hi Kata,

    No. Not at all my good friend. I'm thinking of purgatory as a place of purification and solitude from God.

    Well, this is the spiritual logic of catholics concerning purgatory:

    Let's say you repent for a sin against someone. God forgives you. What if that person hasn't forgiven you? What if what you've done is so bad that there needs to be some justice for your actions. God will forgive, sure, but not until God has had His pound of flesh and justice is done by ensuring you've spent sufficient time in purgatory.

    That's not medieval - its contemporary (I'm sorry to say!).

    You see how they think? 

    I understand that the Orthodox fathers contemplated on Toll Houses, etc, but it is unfair to call these Toll Houses a form of Purgatory. Using the term purgatory simply associates us with this dogma.
  • I'm not talking about the Catholic concept. I'm talking about how I described it and how the fathers did.
  • Katanikhoros,


    Fresh start: how did the Fathers describe it? Can you give us a small summary? 

    a) Did they use the term "purgatory" - or was this the closest term they could find to describe what happens when we die?

    b) Are Toll Houses involved in their description?

  • Didn't Abba Seraphim (Rose) of Platina talk about Toll Houses? I still have no idea what that is. Can someone explain further?
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