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Aerial Toll-Houses within Orthodoxy: Similar to Purgatory and the "debt" of sins?

Xavier

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Dear Friends, what do you think of the similarity between the Orthodox Theologoumenon of Toll-Houses and the Catholic Teaching of Purgatory? Wiki notes this: " The idea of payment of good deeds being offered to the demons shares some aspects with the Roman Catholic teaching on merits, but in the case of the Catholic Church, the merits in question are not primarily individual but those of Christ and the saints administered by the church. Indeed, Gennadios Scholarios, Patriarch of Constantinople from 1454 to 1464, "stated that the trial of the 'tollgates' was, in fact, the Byzantine equivalent of purgatory, minus the fireworks".[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerial_toll_house

One translation of Our Lord's Prayer is "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors". Sin is often referred to in the Sacred Scriptures as a debt. Similarly in the parable of the unforgiving servant, the servant owed a debt to the master which He graciously forgave. We are given to understand that sins represents debts or debits to be paid.

Now, in the Orthodox Tradition of Toll-Houses, it is said that demons will accuse us of about 20 types of sins in different tolls. Like tolls collect taxes here on earth, we will have to pay for our sins by corresponding good works. In some stories of the Saints, it is said the Prayers of the Saints supply the payment necessary like gold coins. Isn't this similar to the Catholic idea that good works done in God's Grace, like the Prayers of the Saints, in union with Christ's Cross, are truly penitential for our sins?

Catholic teaching is that each mortal sin has two aspects (1) Guilt, corresponding to Eternal Punishment. This is always remitted in the Confessional, or in Holy Baptism, or through Perfect Contrition (if a Priest is not available in the Hour of Death, for e.g.) and (2) Temporal Punishment e.g. 10 years of penance for one mortal sin, as was often the case in the early Church. Now, if the sin is repented of, but proper penance for sin has not been done, the eternal penalty is remitted, but the temporal penalty must still be undergone. This temporal penalty can be reduced by good works. Thus, the famous passage in Daniel, "Therefore, O king, let my counsel please thee, and atone for thy sins by alms, and thine iniquities by compassion on the poor: it may be God will be long-suffering to thy trespasses." (4:27) and the admonition of St. John the Baptist: " Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of penance" (Luk 3:8), Our Lord in Revelation, " Be mindful therefore from whence thou art fallen: and do penance, and do the first works." (2:5). Do Orthodox Christians here agree that good works done in Grace, i.e. after confession, can remit the temporal punishments for ourselves and others?

Is it legitimate to think of sin as a debt which must be paid? Christ has paid the Eternal Price for our sins, which is always applied to us in Baptism or in Confession. But, in His Justice, He has left part of the price for sin, to be paid by our own good works. Therefore, we should be more motivated to abound in prayers and good works, so that by these we can minimize the penalty remaining for our sins, and also gain more merits and a higher place in heaven. Is the teaching of Toll-Houses Orthodox?

For more sources on the Aerial Toll-Houses, see also: https://orthodoxwiki.org/Aerial_Toll-Houses God Bless.
 

Zelenikovo

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@Xavier Christ Is Risen ... think that trying to resetle theological differences with nontheologians on general OC eForum is wrong by all means! what is interesting tho is how most of the members are avoiding to fell in the trap of "mnoguglagolie" (talking too much) so Respect to all, thats why for attending this kind of eForum that should be done with blessing by the Spiritual Father and on what topics ... must say this kind of rule would bring more insightful members ...

... decade ago I've made comparison of this apocryphal notion that has unorhodox roots i.e. at least has common denominator in this case with bogomilism and as we can see through purgatory with catholicism, is it exactly like this hm first there is no consensus anyhow by the Church Father in the East about this, I think not even consideration about, above all we know that Faith and Love can erase many sins and after all if there is No Mercy By Our Lord not even one human soul could be Saved thus thinking that per'se purgatory is possible even if it is its not ours to dig in it, if is some thing its temporary place for resting till the Final Judgement because universal salvation is not announced to us altho through Jesus Christ The Door For Salvation Is Open for those that wants by their free will to chose eternal joy and glory ...

bogomilsm fell to spread roots here and flee north just because it was preaching and imposing strict rules for salvation forcing that even without love one could become enlightened which is opposite from the teaching of Christianity and only thing that today still connects them are the apocriphical visions about the Aerial Toll Houses [1][2][3][4][5] but with different concept of passing its gates i.e. levels, actually this is the prejudgment until the judgement day right after the death here on the earth ...

 

Zelenikovo

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is it word for orthodox view by the Early Church Fathers as I can see yes, so I am wrong when saying above unorthodox roots, thus bogomils accepted this teaching from Christianity, still as I am aware as teaching is not standardized anyhow like in chatolicism, even less to be elaborated as purgatory!

here are two useful links of the quoted footnotes

~ https://classicalchristianity.com/category/bysaint/origen-of-alexandria-ca-185-254/

~ http://www.sophiaperennis.com/discussion-forums/traditionalism-and-eschatology/the-legend-of-the-tollhouses/ [1]
 

Luke

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Stinky

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Don't feed the stray cookies as they keep coming back.
 

Zelenikovo

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@Stinky its not wrong to evade tempting discussion but when the cookie is thrown many will choke to it so it should be placed in the right track, maybe I was wrong to reply still see the subject strangely important from soteriological point i.e. even if this proposition was just allegorical motivation it is beneficial for keeping the focus on Salvation 24/7 with every breath we take, what about if this is true as afterlife customs!? altho as I am aware only with calmness and understanding for all that its not their fault why they mistake and sin one can achieve easily Salvation even he was not worthy as without any feat [1] so dont judge ...

think on this topic it would be interesting to be pointed to The Ladder ...


 

Stinky

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I really don't know anything about this so I should keep out of this discussion. Its way over my head. I judge nobody.

I'm still tripped up on, " love thy neighbor."
 

Zelenikovo

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I'm still tripped up on, " love thy neighbor."
what about your oppressor :) just see the Martyrs they indeed defy authorities altho not with hate in their hearths, and the Love is expressed when You are Praying for all even those that hate You or torment You, now even I am not still on that level to pray for the secrete services and their masters freemasons, but hope I will be one day ... maybe from help will be notion that such custom exists i.e. the sin of despising others because their fallen nature or deeds, they are like sick people so one not need to add further to their sickness, still its feat to endure their sick side effects and stay calm eg. not seeing politicians as guilty for something inbetween their policies what usually I am succeeding hen remind myself that those that are high are fighting with all kind of spiritual temptations thus its not helpful to stumble them with anger further but if You can help them anyhow at least small traditional prayers ...
 

Serge

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They're not the same. The toll-houses are a folkloric description of the particular judgment shortly after death, legend has it during the 40 days after death. I think Christianity says your destination is sealed based on your disposition at death. The toll-houses dramatize, in the form of a scary trial, how you got to that disposition and thus to your destination, explaining it to you. Did you choose God and love or not? The intermediate state after that judgment, which Catholics call purgatory, is not a second chance at salvation, after death - there's no such thing - but pays back the temporal guilt/damage for sins already forgiven.
 

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Our faith at hour of death. . Lord, have mercy on all of us. All Holy Angels and Saints, pray for us. Virgin Mary, our Mother, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
 

Zelenikovo

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@Serge I agree that purgatory and toll houses are completely different thing, but think Your opinion is little off regarding Salvation after Passover of the Souls i.e. as said recently in other thread if there are not mortal sins in question every Soul can be delivered additionally by the Church and Saint Intercession eventually alleviated the state further even when some soul is Saved per'se (what could be seen from the next orthodoxinfo text) [1] so I would conclude second chance would be additional praying for the deceased!

about whether toll houses in Orthodox Christianity are considered folklore or not we can argue, but when many canonical Saints are pointing to the same notion even when the same is not standardized as doctrine because its not anyhow for our benefit to ask how and why we will be judged but how to reach state of Salvation through the feat of Love Forgiveness and Understanding for all people ... now in vatican this got probably opposite momentum if we know that all kind of heresies and neopaganism popped up there through centuries thus probably somehow from "sorrow" some got to the point to propose purgatory as official doctrine, altho I am not at all familiar how the same was shaped and standardized when by who in the western christian realm, just know that the same is big gap for further reconciliation except the existence of filioque popes'infability and unum'sanctum etc. alike bulls that are not in Christian Spirit ~ at least as ecumenical council agreements, altho as such think they would not pass at all earlier on the East! in the next link form orthodoxinfo here is nice explanation how different were the stances between east and west ...

http://orthodoxinfo.com/death/stmark_purg.aspx

yet we can say in Orthodoxy this concept should be finally addressed on Council again where it would be resolved as doctrine by modern theologians too, eventually so we wouldnt be accused for extrapolation of manichean traditions that is referred in the next footnoted link [1] still we cant say Saints are wrong when pointed to the process but the emphasis should not be on fear of punishment but deliverance through Christ by following His Virtues above all Love that covers many sins as could be seen in the next footnote about the lazy Monk celebrated by the Vhurch with own day in the Church Calendar [1] so in my opinion there should be explained how the existence of the astral realm (through which the souls pass after leaving earth and where demons-anathema-to-them rule) is arranged as such where the souls of apostates heretics and enemies of Our Lord Jesus Christ are taken away form the angels, simply as passed knowledge this is warning that we must have clear works except claims as Christians so we will pass the "astral realm" ...


fr. Thomas Hopko, Dean Emeritus of St. Vladimir's Orthodox seminary, addresses the controversial subject of "toll houses" ~ https://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/illuminedheart/toll_houses_after_death_reality_or_heresy



 
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