What are the 7 levels of Purgatory? (punishment for the seven levels of Purgatory?)

In December, I told my online Christian forum members to ask any intriguing questions about Christianity. One of them asked me about the seven levels of Purgatory. I remembered we had asked the same question in theology school after a lesson on Purgatory. The lecturer took us to the priest in the local Catholic Church. We learned so much about the Purgatory levels that we requested to have similar sessions every week. Since our online forum is interdenominational, the Purgatory topic sparked a heated debate. The Catholics had much information to share, while the Protestants demanded supporting scriptures. With vast knowledge on this topic, I gave everyone a brief background on Purgatory levels. After that, they became so interested in levels of Purgatory and the punishment at each level that we ended up spending 3 straight hours discussing them. So, what are the levels of Purgatory?

There are seven levels of Purgatory, and they are equivalent to the deadly sins. They divide the mountain into terraces, and each terrace has its deadly sin. Starting from the top, the levels are Lust, Gluttony, Greed or Avarice, Sloth, Anger, Greed, and Pride.

Join me in this article as I discuss the seven levels of Purgatory and the punishments at each level. Read on to find out more.

The 7 Levels Of Purgatory

What are the 7 levels of Purgatory?
Levels Of Purgatory. Image source: Freepik

I will start from the bottom;

7. Pride

This is the level where those guilty of the deadly sin of pride fall. At this level, there is a lot of weight on them because it is at the bottom. This makes them bow down, which is a sign of humility.

They walk while bowing down, and beneath them lies the most beautiful carvings that tell stories about pride and humility. The stories are inspired by the Bible and mythology regarding pride and humility. One of the carvings tells a story of how King David showed humility. There was a time when King David danced for God in gratitude despite his King status in 2 Samuel6:14-22. Also, the story of the Virgin Mary is depicted, and it is called Annunciation. Carvings that are inspired by mythology are said to have depicted the story of Emperor Trajan, who was humble enough to ignore his royal position and help a widow who was so poor.

Thirteen carvings depict stories about pride. The first carving tells the story of the fall of Lucifer. Lucifer was thrown from heaven because of his pride; he was the most beautiful angel and wanted to be like God, according to Isaiah 14:12-17. Another carving depicts the pride in the story of the tower of Babel. Other carvings narrate the stories of kings full of pride, including; King Saul, King Rehoboam, and King Nimrod.

Other carvings are inspired by mythological stories, just like other humble carvings. One such mythological story is the story of Queens Niobe and Arachne. The gods gifted these Queens divine gifts. However, they let pride get in their way because of the power of their gifts. They were not humble enough to be subordinate to the gods; instead, they wanted to be on the same level as the gods and would insult them. Their pride led to very dire consequences. Another mythology that souls guilty of the sin of pride look at is the story of Olympus and the giants, the story of the fall of Troy, and the story of Alcamaeon.

At this level, the souls are believed to be saying the Lord’s Prayer. Also, there is a beatitude at this level: Blessed are the poor in spirit.


The punishment for the sinful souls of pride is that they have to carry weighty burdens on their backs. This automatically makes them bow down, which is a sign of humility. The punishment seeks to kill their pride and teach them humility. When punishment is over at this level, it is believed that the angel comes and removes the letter P from the forehead of sinners. This shows that the burden of pride on their backs has been lifted, and they can swiftly move to another level.

6. Envy

punishment for the seven levels of Purgatory?
Sin of Envy. Image source: Pixabay

From the bottom, this is the second level where souls that committed the deadly sin of Envy get punished and learn. For example, people who deeply hate others because of their talents, gifts, and skills fall to this level. No one on this level can see because their eyes are shut by iron wire. These souls are not allowed to see because of the idea that it was their eyes that led them into the sin of Envy.

Since they cannot see, they have to listen to the voices in the air that talk about Envy and kindness. The voices narrate Biblical stories that show the importance of kindness and generosity. Some of them are the story of the Virgin Mary being excited over her marriage, and the other is Jesus’ first miracle in John 2:1-11. Also, the stories include the words that Christ tells us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Mythology stories that are told on this level to show kindness include the story of Orestes and Pylades.

In the Bible, the story of Cain is told when his envious heart led him to commit the first murder. Also, a myth story about Aglauros and Herse is told. Aglauros was jealous of Herse because she was the lover of the god Mercury; in Envy, Aglauros blocked Herse from accessing god Mercury, and god Mercury punished Aglauros by turning her into a stone.


Each soul in this level has to wear penitential cloaks. Their eyes have to be closed by force using iron wire. This is compared to how falconers train to hear sounds while they shut their eyes. The souls have their eyes shut so they cannot be distracted by what they see and listen to the messages in the Biblical and Mythological stories. The angel now removes the second P from their foreheads.

5. Wrath or Anger

The third level from the bottom hosts the souls that were full of anger and wrath. This level is covered with very thick and acrid smoke that shows bitterness in the souls. It also resonates with the blindness that anger causes in a person.

At this level, the souls cannot see. Therefore, they are given visions that talk about anger and patience. The visions of patience that are given in the Bible include the story where Jesus’ parents were looking for Him only to find Him in the temple, as recorded in Luke 2:41-52. Also, the story of Stephen being stoned in Acts 7:54-60 comes as a vision to them. In addition, a mythology story about an Athenian King who forgave a young man who was trying to be killed by the queen for embracing the princess in public–Legend of Peisistratus comes as a vision.

In addition, visions about wrath are brought to the souls. In the Bible, the story of Haman in the book of Esther comes as a vision. Hanna was so angry that he wanted to kill all Jews, only to be defeated by Mordecai and Esther. When it comes to mythology, the story of Procne comes as a vision. Procne was so full of wrath that she killed her son for raping her daughter. She cooks the parts of her son and feeds the husband. The story of Queen Amata is also given as a vision to the souls. Amata did not want the Trojan Prince to marry her daughter; she had another suitor in mind. So, the suitor and the Prince had to fight, and the Prince won. Queen Amata was so angry that she committed suicide.

At this level, souls are supposed to say the prayer of the Lamb of God in Unison to show that they can now put their anger aside and work together. They also learn from the Beatitude; Blessed are the meek.


Their souls stay in the acrid smoke which blocks their vision. They can only have spiritual visions since the smoke clogs them. Once they are done, the angel removes the third P from their foreheads.

4. Sloth

This is the fourth level from the bottom, and the souls here are so busy. They run around the terrace to show diligence as opposed to their sloth lifestyle. While these souls run, they shout the examples of sloth and diligence stories they should have learned from. For example, they shout the stories of zeal from the Bible when Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth and learned that she was pregnant, as recorded in Luke 1:39-45. They also tell Mythology stories like the story of Caesar conquering Ilerda in Spain.

Also, the souls guilty of sloth run while narrating stories about sloth in the Bible when Israelites refused to follow Moses in the desert. They also narrate stories of Aeneas’s entourage; some chose not to move to Latinum and remained behind.


The punishment for these souls is to stay extremely busy by running up and down the terrace, narrating examples of sloth and zeal. The angel will show up and remove the fourth P from the souls.

3. Avarice

Souls in this level lie face down so they do not see items that can make them greedy. The souls are supposed to yell examples of greed at night and examples of generosity during the day. Examples of Greed include the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. Examples of generosity include the story of how Jesus was born in a manger.


The souls are meant to lie face down and recite verses from Psalm. The verses are about the souls choosing to follow the word of God. Then after purification, the angel erases the fifth P from the souls.

2. Gluttony

On this terrace, gluttonous souls are forced to fast as they watch a tree of fruits. They fast to redeem themselves, and this makes their souls thin. The tree speaks to the souls and denies them a chance to eat the fruits. It tells the gluttonous souls stories of temperance, the opposite of gluttony. The tree gives the story of Mary asking Jesus to turn water into wine for everyone, not just herself. Other stories include the lifestyle of John the Baptist. The tree also gives stories of the women of ancient Rome who refused wine and asked for water.

At the furthest end of this terrace, another tree speaks of gluttony. It cites example stories of how Eve ate from the forbidden tree.


The souls at this level are punished by their inability to access food and fruits that they can see. They only listen to the trees talk. Once done, the angel erases the sixth P from their foreheads.

1. Lust

What are the 7 levels of Purgatory?
Sin of lust. Image source: Freepik

This is the topmost level of Purgatory, and souls guilty of committing lustful sins are placed here. Their souls are woven in a huge wall of flames that purify them. The souls shout the examples of lust from the Bible and myth stories and praise chastity. In the Bible, they talk of the Virgin Mary as a chaste lady, while in mythology, they talk of the goddess Diana. Their examples of lust in the Bible are the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19, and mythology is the story of Pasiphae, the queen who lusted for a Bull and birthed with it. When the souls fully repent, they pass through the flames and enter the earthly paradise, which is the Garden of Eden, and are led to heaven.


The souls in this level have to pass through huge flames of fire before they make it to the earthly paradise.

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