Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

life_after_death

18 Entries

As many therefore as are children of the light also become sons of the Day which is to come, and are enabled to walk decently as in the day. The Day of the Lord will never come upon them, because they are already in it forever and continually. The Day of the Lord, in effect, is not going to be revealed suddenly to those who are ever illumined by the divine light, but for those who are in the darkness of the passions and spend their lives in the world hungering for the things of the world, for them it will be fearful and they will experience it as unbearable fire. However, this fire which is God will not appear in an entirely spiritual manner but, one might say, as bodilessly embodied, in the same way as, according to the Evangelist, Christ of old was seen by the Apostles after having risen from the dead. St. Symeon the New Theologian, On the Mystical Life



Beloved Christians! We are created not for temporal but for eternal life. We are renewed unto eternal life through holy Baptism. We are called to eternal life by the word of God. Christ the Son of God came into the world, suffered and died for the sake of our eternal life. Do you see how dear God held our eternal salvation? He created everything for the sake of it, and for the sake of it He Himself came into the world. Our foremost care and labor, then, should be for this. St. Tikhon of Zadonsk: Journey to Heaven

By many mansions (John 14:2) the Saviour meant the different degrees of existence in the other world. The kingdom is one, but within it there are many divisions, according to the difference in knowledge and virtue of those who enter therein, and to their degree of deification. For 'there is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the ; for one star differs from another star in glory', as says the divine Apostle, though all shine alike in the firmament. (1Cor 15:41) St. Gregory of Sinai (On Commandments and Dogmas no. 44)

Fire, darkness, worm, hell correspond to passions - lusts of all kinds, the all-embracing darkness of ignorance, the unquenchable thirst for sensual pleasures, the stench of evil-smelling sin, which, like precursors and foretastes of the torment of hell, even now begin to torture sinners in whose souls they take root through long-established habit. St. Gregory of Sinai (Texts on Commandments and Dogmas no. 34)

For those who believe in Him, Christ will become all this and even more, beyond enumeration, not only in the age to come but first in this life, and then in the world to come. Though in an obscure way here below and in a perfect manner in the Kingdom, those who believe see clearly nonetheless and receive as of now the first-fruits of everything they will have in the future life. Indeed, if they do not receive on earth everything that was promised to them, they do not have any part of foretaste of the blessings to come, their higher hope being set on the hereafter. However, it is through death and the resurrection that God in His foresight has given us the Kingdom, incorruptibility, the totality of life eternal. Given these conditions, we unquestionably become partakers of the good things to come, that is, incorruptible, immortal, sons of God, sons of the light and of the day, inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven, since we carry the Kingdom within. Elder Ieronymos of Aegina

Happy is the Christian who studies and follows the teaching of Christ. He is happy in this temporary life and in the life after death. Yes, he will be happy after death, because the soul does not vanish after death, is not perishable like the body, but continues to live, to exist. Through death, it is simply separated from the perishable body. Modern Orthodox Saints Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesvos., by Constantine Cavarnos., INSTITUTE FOR BYZANTINE AND MODERN STUDIES., Belmont, Massachusetts., 1990., pp. 145-155

He will share in Christ's glory who, through being formed in Christ, has received renewal by the Spirit and has preserved it, and so has attained to ineffable deification. No one, there, will be one with Christ or be a member of Christ, if he has not become even here a receiver of grace and has not, thereby, become 'transformed by the renewal of' his 'mind' (Rom. 12:2). St. Gregory of Sinai (Texts on Commandments and Dogmas no. 42)

How blessed and wonderful, beloved, are the gifts of God! Life in immortality, splendor in righteousness, truth in perfect confidence,(10) faith in assurance, self-control in holiness! And all these fall under the cognizance of our understandings [now]; what then shall those things be which are prepared for such as wait for Him? The Creator and Father of all worlds,(11) the Most Holy, alone knows their amount and their beauty. First Epistle Of Clement To The Corinthians, Chap. XXXV

In considering the tomb and those in the tomb, we weep, But we should not; for we do not know whence they have come, And where they are now, and who has them. They have come from temporal life, released from its sorrows; They are at peace, waiting for the receiving of divine light. The Lover of man has them in His charge, and He has divested them of their temporal clothing In order that He may clothe them with an eternal body. Why, then, do we weep in vain? Why do we not trust Christ, as He cries: "He who believes on me shall not perish, For even if he knows corruption, after that corruption, He will be resurrected and he will rise up Saying, 'Thou art the Life and the Resurrection'"? St Romanos the Melodist - On the Raising of Lazarus I

It is said that in the life to come the angels and saints ever increase in gifts of grace and never abate their longing for further blessings. No lapse or veering from virtue to vice takes place in that life. St. Gregory of Sinai, Philokalia, Vol. IV

It is said that in the life to come the angels and saints shall never cease to progress in increasing their gifts, striving for greater and ever greater blessings. No slackening or change from virtue to sin is admitted in that life. St. Gregory of Sinai (Texts on Commandments and Dogmas no. 54)

O man, inevitably immortal, though thou thinkest not of this, and even desirest it not. Be careful not to forget thine immortality, lest forgetfulness of immortality become a deadly poison even for this thy mortal life, and lest that immortality forgotten by thee, slay thee to all eternity, should it suddenly come upon thee, unawares and unprepared. Sermon of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow (1782-1867), The Immortality of the Soul and the Resurrection from the Dead

Once gone forth from hence there is no more place for repentance; no satisfaction can be accomplished. It is here that life is lost or saved; it is here that eternal salvation is provided for by the worship of God, the the fruits of faith. St. Cyprian of Carthage, Letter to Demetrius

Our Lord Jesus Christ, then, comes from heaven; and He comes with glory at the end of this world, in the last day. For of this world there is to be an end, and this created world is to be re-made anew. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 15 no. 3)

Since we know that Thou, O Christ, by Thy divine sovereign power rulest of Thine elect, where there is refreshment, in the brilliant splendor of the Saints, grant rest, O Friend of man to Thy faithful servants that have reposed and have departed unto Thee, Who alone art our Benefactor, Lord. For Thou will save those Thou has formed in Thine own image, O only Lord Who art greatly merciful. Aposticha of the Praises of Matins, Saturday of the Souls, from The Pentecostarion

Surely, then, the worshippers and friends and sons of God are to be held in honor? for the honor shown to the most thoughtful of fellow-servants is a proof of good feeling towards the common Master. These are made treasuries and pure habitations of God: `For I will dwell in them,' said God, `and walk in them and I will be their God.' The divine Scripture likewise saith that the souls of the just are in God's hand and death can not lay hold of them. For death is rather the sleep of the saints than their death. `For they travailed in this life and shall to the end,' and `Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.' What then, is more precious than to be in the hand of God. For God is Life and Light, and those who are in God's hand are in life and light. St. John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith

The Teachers of the Eastern Orthodox Church, having Holy Scripture as their foundation, teach that those who die in the Lord go to a place of rest, according to the statement in the Apocalypse: "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth. Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them" (Revelation 14:13). This place of rest is viewed as spiritual Paradise, where the souls of those who have died in the Lord, the souls of the righteous, enjoy the blessings of rest, while awaiting the day of rewarding and the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus...

About the sinners, they teach that their souls go down to Hades, where there is suffering, sorrow, and groaning, awaiting the dreadful day of the Judgment.

The Fathers of the Orthodox Church do not admit the existence of another place, intermediate between Paradise and Hades, as such a place is not mentioned in Holy Scripture.

After the end of the General Judgment, the Righteous Judge (God) will declare the decision both to the righteous and to the sinners. To the righteous He will say: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;" while to the sinners He will say: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." And these will go away to eternal Hades, while the righteous will go to eternal life. This retribution after the General Judgment will be complete, final, and definitive. It will complete, because it is not the soul alone, as the Partial Judgment of man after death, but the soul together with the body, that will receive what is deserved. It will be final, because it will be enduring and not temporary like that at Partial Judgment. And it will be definitive, because both for the righteous and for the sinners it will be unalterable and eternal. "Modern Orthodox Saints, St. Nectarios of Aegina", Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, Massachusetts., 1981., pp. 154-187



We who are pious Christians must henceforth not weep for the dead like the impious and the unbelievers, who do not hope in the resurrection. This world, my brethren, is like a prison. When must man rejoice? When he enters the prison or when he is being liberated from the prison? It seems to me, when enters the prison he must weep and be sad, and when he comes out of the prison he must rejoice. Therefore, my brethren, do not grieve for the dead, but if you love them do what you can for their souls; offer liturgies, memorial services, fasts, prayers, alms. Modern Orthodox Saints I, St. Cosmas Aitolos).Dr. Constantine Cavarnos., INSTITUTE FOR BYZANTINE AND MODERN GREEK STUDIES., Belmont, Massachusetts., pp.81-94





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