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Toll Houses- After Death Reality or Heresy? (Nikola Zbiljic, IOCS Cambridge, Jun 2013)

Toll Houses- After Death Reality or Heresy? (Nikola Zbiljic, IOCS Cambridge, Jun 2013)

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Published by Nikola Zbiljic
Toll Houses:After Death Reality or Heresy?
Toll Houses:After Death Reality or Heresy?

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Published by: Nikola Zbiljic on Jul 11, 2013
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10/07/2013

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TollHouses:AfterDeathRealityorHeresy?
”Forourstruggleisnotagainstfleshandblood,butagainsttherulers,againstthepowers,againsttheworldrulersofthisdarkness,againstthespiritualforcesofevilintheheavens.”(Ephesians6:12)
KeepingthetruefaithandpreservingtheancienttraditionoftheOrthodoxChurchhasbecomeaneverincreasing,difficultbattleinourcontemporaryworld.GreatnumberoftheflockoftheChurchhavebecomecaughtupin“worries”oftheworldthatsomeofourclergy,(mainlyintraditionalprotestantterritories),whowerechosenfromthatflock,havestartedtoadaptthetraditionoftheChurchtosuitthatworld.Duetothisunfortunatefact,thetraditionoftheChurchstartstofadeandisdying.OnesuchancienttraditionistheOrthodoxteachingontheArialTollHouses.InthispaperIwillshowthattherecentoppositiontoancienteschatologicaltraditionoftheChurchonAerialTollHousesistheafterdeathreality,andassuchisnotaheresyofgnosticoriginasisclaimed,butrathertheDevinerevelationthathasessentialvalueinguidingthefaithfultosalvation.“Rejectionofpossibilityoftheirexistence(TollHouses)contradictstheconsciousnessoftheancientChurch....”
1
Whathappenstothesoulafteritsseparationfromthebodyatthetimeofdeath,forfortydaysthereafteranduntiltheLastJudgementisfoundintheHolyTraditionofOneHolyCatholicandApostolicChurch.TheOrthodoxChurchteachesthattheman’ssoulafteritsseparationfromthebodyistakentoGodforjudgement,whichincontrasttotheLastJudgementiscalledParticularJudgementbecauseitisnothappeninginfrontofwholeworldanditdoesnothavetheaimtodecidethefateofthesoulforeternity,liketheLastJudgement,butuntilthetimeofthegeneralresurrection.Thefactthatthefateofthesoulisbeingdecidedstraightafterdeath,accordingtothedeedsofthedepartedisseeninourSaviour’sparableof“theRichmanandLazarus”(Luke16,23)TherighteousLazaruswastakentothebosomofAbrahamandtherichmanwasinthrowntohadeswheretherewas“gnashingoftheteeth”andthe“greatabyss”separatedtherighteousfromthewicked.

1
Minutes of the Session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside or Russia 19 November/2 December, 1980
 
 
ThethiefthatrepentedandaskedtheLordto“rememberhiminHisKingdom”wasgiventhepromisetobethefirstdwellerinParadisebythecrucifiedJesus:“TodayyouwillbewithmeinParadise”(Luke23,43)TheParticularJudgement,accordingtotheteachingoftheChurch,isprecededbythesoulgoingthroughAerialTollHousesaccompaniedbytheAngelofGodwheretheevilspirits,whichareintheair(Eph.6,12)aretryingtoholdit,andstakeaclaimtoitbyrevealingallitssinscommittedduringlifetime.ThedemonsareattemptingtoholditanddragitdowntoHadesbyappealingtotheattachmentofthesoultotheearthly,worldlythingsthatthepersonwasaccustomedto,inparticularappealingtoitsweaknessesandtheaffinitytocommitparticular“enjoyable”sins.Therefore,thewar,whichwaswagedduringthelifeonearth,isbeingcontinuedaftertheseparationofthesoulfromitsbody.Wehavebeenforewarnedtoshieldourselvesfromallthedevilsattacksonthesoulonthe“evilday”bytakingup“thefullarmourofGodsothatyoumaybeabletostandyourground”(Eph.6,13)StJeromeinterpretingtheApostlesays:”ThebattleoftheChristiansoulwiththedevilsisfought…chesttochest,butthesoulcanonlyshielditselfwithonebasicweapon,andthatislotsofgooddeeds”
2
Gregory,thestudentoftheSaintBasiltheNew,wholivedinthefirsthalfoftheXcentury,hadrevelationoftheeventssurroundingthehourofdeathoftheblessedTheodoraandhertormentswhilepassingthroughtheAerialTollHouses.
3
TheteachingonArealTollHouses,albeitwithoutsuchdetaileddescriptionsastherecountofGregoryoftheTheodora’sexperienceismostancient,andcanbefoundin“virtuallyeveryFatheroftheChurch”
4
StCyrilofJerusalemteaches:“Insameuniquewaythedeviltormentsthesoulbyrecountingandnumberingallthesinsandlawlessnesswhichwehavecommittedwithdeed,word,knowinglyorunknowingly,fromtheyouthtothedayofdeath,whenthesouliscarriedtoGodtobejudged”
5
Despitetheforcesofevilintheair,thesoulisnotleftalonetofacethem,howeveritisaccompaniedbyangelsofGodwhichcomedownfromHeavenstohelpthesoulfromdevilsaccusations,liesanddeceits.AswehaveseeninLuke16,22,theAngelcarriedthepoormanLazarustoParadise,thusthefaithfulexpecttheirhelpduringsoulsunnatural

2
CommentariesontheEphesians
3
LivesoftheSaintsfor26March,StBasiltheNew
4
Fr.ThomasHopko“TollHouses:AfterDeathRealityorHeresy”AncientFaithRadiotranscriptSept302007
5
Homilyontheleavingofthesoul
 
separationfromthebody,thetimeofdeathandthereafteruntiltheparticularjudgement.”Thenweareinneed…ofmanyhelpers…greatprotectionfromtheAngelwhilewegoingthroughtheaerialspaces”
6
ManyrighteousandsaintsoftheChurchhavevisionsatthetimeoftheirdeathandhavearticulatedwhattheysawtotheonesthatwereleavingbehind,sowemaybebetterpreparedwhenthatinevitablehourcomes.St.AthanasiustheGreatwrites:“
certain bitter and terrible beings stood in theair and wished to hinder him (St Anthony) from passing through. But when hisconductors opposed them, they demanded whether he was not accountable tothem. And when they wished to sum up the account from his birth,Antony's conductors stopped them, saying, 'The Lord hath wiped out the sinsfrom his birth, but from the time he became a monk, and devoted himself to God,it is permitted you to make a reckoning.’…
And his understanding was opened,and he understood that it was the passing of souls, and that the tall being whostood was the enemy who envies the faithful. And those whom he caught andstopped from passing through are accountable to him, while those whom he wasunable to hold as they passed upwards had not been subservient to him…”
7
 The depicted vision of St Anthony in his hagiography stresses the importance of the repentance and leading the God fearing life, as in the contrary we will fall inthe hands of the evil one and will not pass those terrible aerial hurdles on the wayto dwellings prepared by God for His righteous. (John 14, 2)St Mark of Ephesus, that Great pillar of Orthodoxy states: “"But if souls havedeparted this life in faith and love, while nevertheless carrying away withthemselves certain faults, whether small ones over which they have not repentedat all, or great ones for which – even thought they have repented over them – they did not undertake to show fruits of repentance: such souls, we believe, must be cleansed from this kind of sin, but not by means of some purgatorial fire or adefinite punishment in some place (for this, as we have said, has not been handeddown to us). But some must be cleansed in they very departure from the body,thanks only to fear, as St. Gregory the Dialogist literally shows; while othersmust be cleansed after the departure from the body, either while remaining in thesame earthly place, before they come to worship God and are honored with thelot of the blessed, or – if their sins were more serious and bind them, for a longer duration – they are kept in hell [i.e., Hades], but not in order to remain forever infire and torment, but as it were in prison and confinement under guard"
8
St.JohnoftheLaddergivestheaccountofamonasticwhowasdying,andwhohadbeguntopassfromthislifetothenext,andtoexperiencethe

6
StJohnChrysostom“Homilyontheremembranceforthedeparted”
7
StAthanasiustheGreat“LifeofStAnthonytheGreat”
8
StMarkofEphesus“FirstHomily:RefutationoftheLatinChaptersconcerningPurgatorialFire,takenfromIn"TheSoulAfterDeath,p208

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