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Limitless and without consolation would have been our sorrow for close ones who are dying, if the Lord had not given us eternal life. Our life would be pointless if it ended with death. What benefit would there then be from virtue and good deed? Then they would be correct who say: But man was created for immortality, and by His resurrection Christ opened the gates of the Heavenly Kingdom, of eternal blessedness for those who have believed in Him and have lived righteously.
Our earthly life is a preparation for the future life, and this preparation ends with our death. Then a man leaves all his earthly cares; the body disintegrates, in order to rise anew at the General Resurrection. Often this spiritual vision begins in the dying even before death, and while still seeing those around them and even speaking with them, they see what others do not see.
But when it leaves the body, the soul finds itself sfiintei other spirits, good and bad. Usually it inclines toward those which are more akin to it in spirit, and if while in the body it was under the influence of certain ones, it will remain in dependence upon them when it leaves the body, however unpleasant they may turn out to be upon encountering them.
For the course of two days the soul enjoys relative freedom and can visit places on earth which were dear to it, but on the third day it moves into other spheres. According to various revelations there are twenty such obstacles, the so-called “toll-houses,” at each of which one or another form of sin is tested; after passing through one the soul comes upon the next one, and only after successfully passing through all of them can the soul continue its path without being immediately cast into gehenna.
How terrible these demons and their toll-houses are may be seen in the fact that Mother ecateriina God Herself, when informed by the Archangel Gabriel of Her approaching death, answering her prayer, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself appeared from heaven to receive the soul of His Most Pure Mother and conduct it to heaven. Terrible indeed is the third day for the soul of the departed, and for this reason it especially needs prayers then for itself.
Then, having successfully passed through the toll-houses and bowed down before God, the soul for the course of 37 more days visits the heavenly habitations and the abysses of hell, not knowing yet where it will remain, and only on the fortieth day is its place xcatistul until the resurrection of the sfnitei.
Acatistul Sf. Visarion al Larisei – Diacon Rosu Vlad / Diacon Andrian Șerban
Until then changes are possible in the condition of souls, especially through offering for them the Bloodless Sacrifice commemoration at the Liturgyand likewise by other prayers. How important commemoration at the Liturgy is may be seen in the following occurrence: Before the uncovering of the relics of St.
Theodosius of Chernigov the priest-monk the renowned Starets Alexis of Goloseyevsky Hermitage, of the Kiev-Caves Lavra, who died in who was conducting the re-vesting of the relics, becoming weary while sitting by the relics, dozed off and saw before him the Saint, who ecateeina him: I beg you also, when you will serve the Liturgy, to commemorate my parents” — and he gave their names Priest Nikita and Maria. Theodosius, “but the offering at the Liturgy is more powerful than my prayer.
But especially beneficial for them is commemoration at the Divine Liturgy. There have been many appearances of the dead and other occurrences which confirm how beneficial is the commemoration of the dead. Many who died in repentance, but who were unable to manifest this while they were alive, have been freed from tortures and have obtained repose. In the Church prayers are ever offered for the repose of the dead, and on the day of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, in the kneeling prayers at vespers, there is even a special petition “for those in hell.
Every one of us who desires to manifest his love for the dead and give them real help, can do this best of all through prayer for them, and particularly by commemorating them at the Liturgy, when the particles which are cut out for the living and the dead are let caatistul into the Blood of the Lord with the words: We can do nothing better or greater for the dead than to pray for them, offering commemoration for them at the Liturgy.
Of this they are always in need, and especially during those forty days when the soul of the deceased is proceeding on its path to the eternal habitations. Ecaterjna body feels nothing then: But the soul senses the prayers offered for it and is grateful to those who make them and is spiritually close to them. O relatives and close ones of the dead! Do for them what is needful for them and within your power.
Use your money not for outward adornment of the coffin and grave, but in order to help those in need, in memory of your close ones who have died, sfinteei churches, where prayers for them are offered. Show mercy to the dead, take care of their souls.
Before us all stands the same path, and how we shall then wish that we would be remembered in aatistul Let us therefore be ourselves merciful to the dead. As soon as someone has reposed, immediately call or inform a priest, so he can read the Prayers appointed to be read over all Orthodox Christians after death.
Try, if it be possible, to have the funeral in Church and to have the Psalter read over the deceased until the wfintei. Most definitely arrange at once for the serving of the forty-day memorial, that is, daily commemoration at the Liturgy for the course of forty days.
If the funeral is in a church where there are no daily services, the relatives should take care to order the forty-day memorial wherever there are daily exaterina.
It is likewise good to send contributions for commemoration to monasteries, as well as to Jerusalem, where there is constant prayer at the holy places. Let us take care for those who have departed into the other world before us, in order to wcaterina for them all that we can, remembering that “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Not for an instant does it cease to exist. Our external, biological and earthly life ends with death, but the soul continues to live on. The soul is our very existence, the center of all our energies and our thoughts. The soul moves and gives life to the body.
Mănăstirea “Sfânta Treime”, s. Rudi, r. Soroca
After its separation from the body it continues to live, to exist, to have awareness. Theophan the Recluse, in a message to a dying woman, writes: Your body will die, but you will over to a different world, being alive, remembering yourself and recognizing the whole world that surrounds you. Dorotheos 6th century summarizes the teaching of the early Fathers in this way: But, as it says in the Psalm, ‘In that day all their thoughts shall perish’ Psalm The thoughts he speaks of are those of this world, about houses and possessions, parents and children, and business transactions.
All these things are destroyed immediately when the soul passes out of the body. But what he did against virtue or against his evil passions, he remembers and none of this is lost. In fact, the soul loses nothing that it did in the world but remembers everything at its exit from this body.
John Cassian 5th century likewise teaches: The souls of the dead do not lose their consciousness, they do not even lose their dispositions — that is, hope and fear, joy and grief, and something of that which they expect for themselves at the Universal Judgment they begin already to foretaste.
Such a person discerns in his beloved friends’ tears of pain their love and sincere dedication. The greatest earthly joy is undoubtedly the realization that we die honored and appreciated by all who knew us. But just as at the hour of death the dead body is surrounded by relatives and friends, so also is the soul, which abandons the body and is directed towards its heavenly homeland, accompanied by the spiritual beings related to it. The virtuous soul is surrounded by bright angels of light, while the sinful soul is surrounded by dark and evil beings, that is, the demons.
Basil The Great 4th century explains it this way: A grim angel i.
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O acatitsul you will be troubled at the hour of death for yourself! How you will sigh! Macarius Of Egypt writes of this: This same Father also teaches us: If the deceased has departed unrepentant, a host of demons and rejected angels and dark powers receive that soul and keep it with them.
The completely opposite happens with those who have repented: The champion of Orthodoxy against the Nestorian heresy, St.
Cyril Of Alexandria likewise teaches: The soul of the righteous is taken by the holy angels, passed through the air and is raised up. Gregory The Dialogist writes: Then the evil spirits will seek out in the departing soul its deeds; then they will present before its view the sins towards which they had disposed it, so as to draw their accomplice to torment.
But why do we speak only of the sinful soul, when they come even to the chosen among the dying and seek out their own in them, if they have succeeded with ecaterima Among men there was only One Who before His suffering fearlessly said: For the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me John This truth is confirmed by various liturgical services.
John is simply repeating a teaching common to the Church. Macarius Of Alexandria having received the teaching not ecayerina men but from an angel explains: Ecateina the course of two days the soul is permitted to roam the earth, wherever it wills, in the company of the angels that are with it. Therefore, the soul loving the body, sometimes wanders about the house in which its body has been laid out, and thus spends two days like a bird seeking its nest.
On the third day, He Who Himself rose from acatistull dead on the third day, commands the Christian soul, in imitation of His Resurrection, to ascend to the Heavens to worship the God of all. John Of Damascus vividly describes the state of the soul, parted from the body but still on earth, helpless to contact the loved ones whom it can see, in the Orthodox Funeral Service: What manner of ecaterins doth the soul endure when it is parted from the body!
How many then are its tears, and there is none scaterina show compassion! It raiseth its eyes to acaatistul angels; all unavailing is its prayer. It stretcheth out its hands to men, and findeth none to succor. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, meditating on sdintei brevity of our life, let us beseech of Christ rest for him who hath departed hence, and for our souls great mercy. Theophan, in writing to the brother of a dying woman, says: It only goes over to another order of life.
It is not she whom they will put in the grave. She is in another place.
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She will be just as alive as you are now. In the first hours and days she will be around you. Only she will not say anything, and you won’t be able to see her; but she will be right here.
Have this in mind. We find this teaching in Holy Scripture cf. In their accusation the demons uttered many brazen lies; but since their slanders were wanting in proof, a free path opened for Antony.