As a long time Christian, I have interacted with people of all denominations. In theology school, I often picked one denomination and researched everything about it. In my second year, I began with Catholic and Orthodox Churches due to the striking similarities. While they agreed on many things, the doctrine of purgatory tore them apart. I took further steps to research what the Orthodox thought about Purgatory and approached the Presbyter of the nearest Orthodox Church. His insight left a lasting impact on me to date. Last week, I opened this discussion in my online denomination forum. I asked the Orthodox members in the house to tell us what they thought of Purgatory. As usual, the platform went ablaze with a heated debate. I looked at the arguments from the Catholics and those who supported the Orthodox. With my vast knowledge on the subject, I was able to address the question of the day, “Do Orthodox believe in Purgatory?” and put an end to the debate.
According to the Orthodox doctrine, the concept of purgatory is inexistent. The Orthodox Church’s view of the afterlife differs from the idea of purgatory. Similar to most denominations, it agrees with the concept of an afterlife. However, the Orthodox Church disagrees with the idea of purgatory, which has purifying fire.
I invite you to join me in the article below in looking at the Orthodox views on life after death. Some denominations believe in purgatory. However, some, such as the Orthodox Church, hold a different perspective. We will learn the Orthodox’s concept of purgatory and limbo and understand the reasons behind their stand.
Does the Orthodox Church believe in purgatory?
The Orthodox Church believes that the departed will experience a foretaste of hell or paradise. Also, the Orthodox Church does not have an objective teaching authority. Hence, it rejects the idea of purgatory since it eludes an authoritative stance in Orthodoxy doctrine.
What are the beliefs of the Orthodox Church regarding purgatory?
The Orthodox Church’s view of the afterlife differs from that of purgatory. It does not agree with the idea of a defined place with literal fire where departed souls burn in the way of purification. The Orthodox doctrine view of an afterlife does agree that there is a process that the departed soul goes through before final judgment.
However, according to the Church, this place is not purgatory. It holds the idea that the soul may go to paradise or hell. Also, the Church does not define hell as a permanent place since the prayers of the relatives and members of the Church for the departed may redeem the soul from hell to heaven.
Do Orthodox Christians accept the concept of purgatory and limbo?
The Orthodox leaders guide the Christians belonging to their Church; hence, they do not accept the concept of limbo and purgatory. Limbo implies a place between hell and heaven where unbaptized departed souls stay, though not condemned to punishment. However, they will be deprived of eternal happiness next to God.
The idea behind limbo is that all born into the earth have original sin from Adam. Therefore, they will not be pure if they don’t go through baptism. The Orthodox Church believes that original sin is not transmissible to generations but will go through the consequence of original sin, which is death. It disagrees with the idea that unborn children, due to abortion, miscarriage, or infant mortality, have the original sin.
Why do Orthodox not believe in purgatory?
The Orthodox Church disagrees with the concept of purgatory for various reasons. For instance, purgatory involves the departed souls burning in a fire of purification. The Orthodox Church is of the view of purifying punishments, not purifying fire. Its doctrine does not believe in the existence of a place with purifying fire.
The Orthodox Church implies that after death, the soul will either go to heaven, hell, or in the abode of the dead. Those who die before confessing minor sins and without presenting fruits of repentance for sins will receive cleansing from God and receive eternal happiness in God’s presence. They receive cleansing after death or during the trial of death with its fear.
How does the Orthodox Church view life after death
According to the Orthodox Church, an afterlife exists. It is the idea that life after death involves the individual experiencing a foretaste of hell or paradise. The outcome depends on whether the person led a righteous life or not.
The Orthodox Church believes that there are sections of the afterlife. One part is before and after the resurrection, and the other is the final judgment. The denomination implies that before and after the resurrection, the departed either go to paradise, the abode of the dead, or hell. Also, the denomination believes prayers from the soul’s family and friends may redeem their outcome.
The Church believes in Jesus’ resurrection, who will reunite with the living and dead. Also, the soul of the departed will unite with their physical bodies. After, they will all receive judgment determining the final destination; hell or heaven.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.