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Toll houses


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#101 Andrew D. Morrell

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 06:17 PM

Father bless!

Would you mind sharing which Father expressed that lovely and encouraging thought?

In Christ,
Andrew

Kseniya M. wrote:
Somewhat along these lines, recently I was reading in one of the Fathers where he describes our burial in the earth as being covered with a beautiful blanket. Such a benign view of what we commonly see with so much dread & finality. But really- his description is the more authentic and real view.

In the Risen Christ- Fr Raphael



#102 Andrew D. Morrell

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 06:28 PM

Father bless!

Your comment is so on point. When, coming into the Church, I was eventually introduced to the concept of "toll houses", getting my head wrapped around it was hindered both by my feelings and by the many overly descriptive and poetic explanations given. A succinct description/explanation would have been welcome.

<SMILE> But is there anything in Orthodoxy that is described or discussed in just a few words?

In Christ,
Andrew

Dear friends,

There is so much written amiss about this whole concept. But those who have expounded the patristic writings that discuss this, have always taken pains to point out that the terms and visions do not describe a scientific 'plan' for the experience of the soul after death; rather, they describe the true reality of a soul tempted by the demons and guarded by the angels. This is not radically different from what the soul (and body) undergoes in this lifetime: it is the extension of this time of trial, temptation, strengthening, purification, etc. That the demons try the soul on its departure from the body is common teaching in the patristic tradition.

It is likely the vocbaulary of 'toll houses' that causes such difficulty. A shame we have not a better, more adequate term, which does not connote the ideas of 'paying a fare', and 'getting by the guard' that this term does (particularly in English). But the wholesale rejection against what is a basic patristic vision of the soul after death, on grounds of discomfort over the term, is a real problem.

INXC, Fr Dcn Matthew



#103 Paul Cowan

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 06:41 PM

<SMILE> But is there anything in Orthodoxy that is described or discussed in just a few words?

In Christ,
Andrew


No.

#104 Nina

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 07:15 PM

Why, yes!

Christ is Risen!

#105 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 08:27 PM

Father bless!

Would you mind sharing which Father expressed that lovely and encouraging thought?

In Christ,
Andrew


I think it may have been in one of St John Chrysostom's Homilies on the Gospel of St John. But which one I can't remember.

In the Risen Christ- Fr Raphael

#106 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 09:23 PM

I had written on my late first wife's headstone, 'Earth hath not covered our beloved, but heaven hath received her'. It is adapted from a letter of condolence of St Basil the Great.

#107 Sean

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 03:52 AM

Sorry to interject here, but I was wondering if someone could explain to me where this "third" class or group of souls dwells, if not in heaven with the saints, or in hell with the sinners. Are they "eternally" stuck in the Toll-Houses? If they are not in the Toll-Houses, then where are they? Will they, or can they ever achieve perfection in holiness, like the saints, and ascend fully into heaven? Do our prayers on earth work toward their release from the Toll-Houses and final ascent into heaven? And if our prayers are effectual with God, on their behalf, then how about our penances? Will God receive penances performed by us and offered to Him for their sakes? Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks!


I'm sorry about bringing up an old thread but I read this thread and am still stuck at what Ken said. I read a version of St. Theodora's journey and the way the account was worded, it made it seem like if a soul can't "pay up" at the toll house, the demons would take him and punish him as much as they could and through intercession prayers, repentance, etc., the soul would eventually be saved. And after reading different versions of St. Theodora, I'm not quite sure what the people that subscribe to the toll house concept believe. The three different versions I have been led to believe is that (a): if an Orthodox Christian can't pay up at a toll house, demons will take him into hell where he has no chance of being saved. Or (b): If an Orthodox Christian can't pay up, demons take him somewhere and punish him but he will eventually be saved. Or ©: If an Orthodox Christian can't pay up, demons will take and punish him and he may or may not be saved, depending on the sins he committed, intercession prayers, repentance, etc. Am I correct in thinking that for those Orthodox who believe in the toll house concept, that some believe in (a), others believe in (b), and others believe in ©?

#108 Father David Moser

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 01:23 PM

I'm sorry about bringing up an old thread but I read this thread and am still stuck at what Ken said. I read a version of St. Theodora's journey and the way the account was worded, it made it seem like if a soul can't "pay up" at the toll house, the demons would take him and punish him as much as they could and through intercession prayers, repentance, etc., the soul would eventually be saved....


The problem with this is that the tollhouses are not and were never meant to be a description of reality. The vision of the tollhouses is a vision which is, in a sense, a verbal icon of the particular judgment that we all will experience when we die. It is not meant to be taken literally. If you try to interpret it literally you will end up somewhere far away from Orthodoxy (probably in Roman Catholic purgatory).

The reality is that when we die we will each face a particular (not final) judgment - the judge is God, not the demons. The demons do however attempt to accuse us before God. The subject of the judgment is our earthly life and the object of the judgment is where and how we will await the resurrection. The tollhouses are one of many attempts (however a popular and useful attempt) to explain the particulars of that reality. However, the particulars of the life beyond the grave are completely uncomprehendable to our fallen intellect and so only vague and imperfect images that we can comprehend are possible.

Of the three scenarios that you posit above, none are correct because all assume that the person is being punished. In fact it is not punishment that we talk about here, but rather the natural consequence of our own actions. If you are diabetic, is your blood sugar issue a "punishment"? If you are born blind and because of your blindness you walk into a wall and are injured - are your injuries a punishment? We are "born sinful" and thus the consequences of our sins are not punishments, but rather the natural outcome of our sins - and we experience these somehow (with some intensity not experienced in this life it would seem) in the life after death. In this life we have the chance to be cured of our infirmity - and to the extent that we are cured we escape the consequences of our illness, but not everyone is cured all the same and so some suffer more than others. This is not punishment - it is however an occasion for compassion and prayer.

Fr David Moser

#109 Sean

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 06:50 PM

The problem with this is that the tollhouses are not and were never meant to be a description of reality. The vision of the tollhouses is a vision which is, in a sense, a verbal icon of the particular judgment that we all will experience when we die. It is not meant to be taken literally. If you try to interpret it literally you will end up somewhere far away from Orthodoxy (probably in Roman Catholic purgatory).

The reality is that when we die we will each face a particular (not final) judgment - the judge is God, not the demons. The demons do however attempt to accuse us before God. The subject of the judgment is our earthly life and the object of the judgment is where and how we will await the resurrection. The tollhouses are one of many attempts (however a popular and useful attempt) to explain the particulars of that reality. However, the particulars of the life beyond the grave are completely uncomprehendable to our fallen intellect and so only vague and imperfect images that we can comprehend are possible.

Of the three scenarios that you posit above, none are correct because all assume that the person is being punished. In fact it is not punishment that we talk about here, but rather the natural consequence of our own actions. If you are diabetic, is your blood sugar issue a "punishment"? If you are born blind and because of your blindness you walk into a wall and are injured - are your injuries a punishment? We are "born sinful" and thus the consequences of our sins are not punishments, but rather the natural outcome of our sins - and we experience these somehow (with some intensity not experienced in this life it would seem) in the life after death. In this life we have the chance to be cured of our infirmity - and to the extent that we are cured we escape the consequences of our illness, but not everyone is cured all the same and so some suffer more than others. This is not punishment - it is however an occasion for compassion and prayer.

Fr David Moser

Okay it makes more sense now. Thank you

#110 Kosta

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:14 AM

wrong thread

#111 Angie

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 11:42 AM

HI

 

Would anyone know what is the symobolic meaning of when St Teodora says "death stepped up and with a small axe cut my arms, etc??



#112 Angie

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 01:18 AM

Anyone?



#113 Kosta

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 09:32 AM

Most likely ts just a literary technique to describe the effects of old age on a dying feeble body. According to the hagiography St. Theodora lived to a great age, and death would have come upon her (more) fiercely if it were not for the prayers of st Basil the new. Before her soul's departure from the body she suffered physical and right before death spiritual tribulation as well.

#114 Angie

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 02:54 AM

Hi

 

Would anyone know was it St Basil that helped St Theodora with his prayers or perhaps another St Basil?


Edited by Angie, 15 March 2016 - 02:55 AM.


#115 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 01:23 PM

Hi

 

Would anyone know was it St Basil that helped St Theodora with his prayers or perhaps another St Basil?

Since there is no mention of a St Basil the New in the Greek Menaion or in ancient editions of the Lives of the Saints and that the original Greek text of the Life of St Basil the New was censored due to its boundless heresies who knows?  






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