Death & the Future Life: The Writings of the Saints
This section contains homilies and other writings, as well as Lives of Saints, which relate to our theme
the Incarnation of the Logos, by St. Athanasius the Great.
An excellent English edition of this classic work has been published
by St. Vladimir Seminary Press. It includes a superb Introduction
by C. S. Lewis.
on Life After Death, by St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco,
with comments by Fr. John Mack.
on the Gospel of St. Matthew, by St. John Chrysostom
The Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos
Christ holding the all-luminous soul of Mary, depicted in the form of a child
on 1 Corinthians 15, by St. John Chrysostom
Commentary on the Last
Judgement, from The Explanation by the Blessed Theophylact,
The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Chapter 25:41-46.
Commentary on the Parable of the Rich Man and
Lazarus, from The Explanation by the Blessed Theophylact
(St. Luke 16)
The Journey Beyond Death: St.
Theodora's Journey Through the Aerial Toll-Houses
The Lives of Sts. Justina and Cyprian:
Christianity vs. Sorcery.
The Life of St. Salvius: Seer of Heavenly
St. Mark of Ephesus on the State of Souls
After Death: Against the Roman Catholic Doctrine of Purgatory.
Excerpts from his homilies given at the 15th century Pseudo-Synod
"Condemned" to be Immortal,
by St. Justin (Popovich) of Chelije.
Concerning the Resurrection, by St.
John of Damascus
Concerning Angels, by St. John of Damascus.
See also The Church's Teaching Concerning Angels,
from Orthodox Life.
The Life of
St. Columba, by St. Adamnan. See Book III, Of the Visions of Angels
Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, by St. Bede. See
especially Book V, Ch. 12, 13, and 15 for events related to our theme.
(Note: Book V is not yet online, but should be soon. Consult a paperback
edition until then.)
Life of St. Cuthbert, by St. Bede. See esp. Ch. IV, "How,
In Company With Shepherds, He Saw the Soul of Bishop Aidan Carried
to Heaven by Angels," and Ch. XXXIV.
The Life of St. Anthony, by St. Athanasius
the Great. One of the most famous classics of Christian antiquity.
A book which became the model for all hagiographical literature. See
Sections 59-60, and 65-66 for events related to our theme.
When Thou hadst fallen asleep in the flesh as one mortal, O King and Lord, Thou
didst rise again on the third day, raising up Adam from corruption,
and abolishing death: O Pascha of incorruption! O Salvation of the
Exapostilarion for the Sunday of Pascha
It is the day of Resurrection, let us be radiant, O ye peoples; Pascha, the
Lord's Pascha; for Christ God hath brought us from death unto life,
and from earth unto Heaven as we sing the triumphal hymn.
Heirmos for Ode One, Paschal Canon
Let us arouse in ourselves the remembrance of death by visiting cemeteries, visiting
the sick, being present at the death and burial of our close ones,
by frequently examining and renewing in our memories various contemporary
deaths which we have heard of or seen.... Having understood the shortness
of our earthly life and the vanity of all earthly acquisitions and
advantages; having understood the frightful future that awaits those
who have disdained the Redeemer and redemption and have offered
themselves entirely as a sacrifice to sin and corruptionlet us turn
our mental eyes away from their steady gazing at
the deceptive and enchanting beauty of the world which easily catches
the weak human heart and forces it to love and serve it; let us turn
them to the fearful but saving spectacle of the death that awaits us.
Let us weep over ourselves while there is time; let us wash, let us
cleanse with tears and confession our sins which are written in the
books of the Sovereign of the world. Let us acquire the grace of the
Holy Spiritthis seal, this sign of election and salvation; it is
indispensable for a free passage through the spaces of the air and for
entrance into the heavenly gates and mansions.... O ye who have been
banished from Paradise! It is not for enjoyments, not for festivity,
not for playing that we find ourselves on earthbut in order that by
faith, repentance, and the Cross we might kill the death which has
killed us and restore to ourselves the lost Paradise! May the merciful
Lord grant the readers of this Homily, and him who has composed it, to
remember death during this earthly life, and by the remembrance of it,
by the mortification of oneself to everything vain, and by a life
lived for eternity, to banish from oneself the fierceness of death
when its hour shall come, and through it to enter into the blessed,
eternal, true life. Amen.
Conclusion of a Homily on Death, by St. Ignaty Brianchaninov.
From his Collected Works, Vol. III, pp. 181-183. (Translation taken from The Soul After Death, p. 172.)