Death & the Future Life: Theological & Pastoral Treatises
The Future Life According
to Orthodox Teaching, by Dr. Constantine Cavarnos. The complete
text of the book is forthcoming,
courtesy of the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies.
The Ladder of Divine Ascent
Our War is not Against
Flesh and Blood: On the Question of the "Toll-Houses",
by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky.
The Taxing of Souls, by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos. From Ch.
2 of Life After Death.
Answer to a Critic, by Fr.
Seraphim Rose of Platina, author of The Soul After Death. This
is Appendix III from the 1995 edition of his most popular work.
The Debate Over Aerial
Toll-Houses, Extract from the Minutes of the Session of the Synod
of Bishops of the ROCOR concerning Deacon Lev Puhalo's [now Archbishop
Lazar] criticism of Fr. Seraphim of Platina's views.
The River of Fire,
by Dr. Alexander Kalomiros. Note: This is a controversial article that may have questionable Orthodox soteriology. You should also consider reading a rebuttal of this article by Vladimir Moss entitled "The River of Fire Revisited".
Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus About Life After Death. From
Life After Death, by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos
Cremation, by Protopresbyter
George Grabbe. Appended to it is the 1932 Decision of the Sobor of
Bishops of The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad concerning the same.
Orthodox View of Heart Transplantation, by Metropolitan Philaret,
of blessed memory.
On the Burial of the
Heterodox, The Decision of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian
Orthodox Church Abroad (1978).
Is No Death: A Conversation With My Mother Before Her Repose,
by Fr. Victor Potapov
Free Will and Death, an excerpt from
The Mystery of Death, by Nikolaos P. Vassiliadis.
According to the teaching of the Fathers of the Church, the soul at its departure
from the body, as well as when it is preparing to leave, senses the
presence of the demons who are called customs demons, and is possessed
with fear because of having to pass through customs....
Of course there are some who maintain that such notions as customs houses and
aerial spirits have come into Christianity from Gnostic theories and
pagan myths which prevailed during that period.
There is no doubt that such views can be found in many Gnostic texts, in pagan
ideas which are found in Egyptian and Chaldaean myths. However it
must be emphasised that many Fathers adopted the teaching about customs
houses, but they cleared it of idolatrous and Gnostic frames of reference
and placed it in the ecclesiastical atmosphere. The holy Fathers were
not afraid to do such creative work.
Metropolitan Hierotheos, Life After Death, Ch. 5, "The
Taxing of Souls"
When my soul is about to be separated violently from the members of the body,
then, O Bride of God, come to my aid; scatter the counsels of the
fleshless enemies and shatter their millstones, by which they seek
to devour me mercilessly; that, unhindered, I may pass through the
rulers of darkness standing in the air.
Theotokion from Friday Vespers, Tone 2
Perhaps no aspect of Orthodox eschatology has been so misunderstood as this
phenomenon of the aerial toll-houses.
Many graduates of todays modernist Orthodox seminaries are inclined
to dismiss the whole phenomenon as some kind of "later addition"
to Orthodox teaching, or as some kind of "imaginary" realm
without foundation in Scriptural or Patristic texts or in spiritual
reality. Such students are the victims of a rationalistic education
which is lacking in a refined awareness of the different levels of
reality which are often described in Orthodox texts, as well as of
the different levels of meaning often present in Scriptural and Patristic
writings. The modern rationalistic over-emphasis on the "literal"
meaning of texts and a "realistic" or this-worldly understanding
of the events described in Scripture and in Lives of Saintshave
tended to obscure or even blot out entirely the spiritual meanings
and spiritual experiences which are often primary in Orthodox sources.
Therefore, Bishop Ignatiuswho on the one hand was a "sophisticated"
modern intellectual, and on the other a new and simple child of the
Churchcan well serve as a bridge on which todays Orthodox
intellectuals might find their way back to the true tradition of Orthodoxy.
Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina, The Soul
After Death, p. 66.