Reply To: [Orthodoxy] Purgatory

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Anonymous
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The Church does define that Purgatory is a place of purification from the temporal punishment due to sin, in order to ready us for the Beatific Vision. While it has over centuries the manner of expressing how purgatory effects that purification of the soul has varied, the concept that it is a place of purification, or as your instruction (James) focused on, enlightenment of sorts is all consistant with the Churches teachings.

It all reminds me of a priest who was teaching about baptism in a small villiage in the Tropics, before electricity and modern conveniances had come to the islands before World War II. He asked the students about various liquids that would either be valid or invalid in the rite, they all agreed that fresh water from a lake, stream or river would be valid, and rose water and coconut water was not. He asked them about water that was made out of ice, the students said no it would not be valid. He told them it would, they where all puzzled. He asked them why the water from ice would not be valid, it was potable water, and true water. They informed him they had never heard of ice, and did not know what it was. Which taught the priest that sometimes we look at the same thing from a different angle, and that the angle is sometimes influenced by our culture.

In some times and cultures the pains and suffering of Purgatory is more cultural, and as souls do not feel phyisical pain, (theologians tell us that the suffering in purgatory is knowing that we will See God face to face, but our suffering is in having to wait.) we sometimes understand one aspect of Purgatory from our culture, rather than as a whole concept.