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Purgatory (, borrowed into
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
via
Anglo-NormanAnglo-Norman may refer to: *Anglo-Normans The Anglo-Normans ( nrf, Anglo-Normaunds, ang, Engel-Norðmandisca) were the medieval ruling class in England, composed mainly of a combination of ethnic Anglo-Saxons, Normans, Bretons, Flemish people, F ...
and
Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular o ...
) is, according to the belief of some
Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of ...

Christians
(mostly
Catholics The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...
), an
intermediate state In some forms of Christian eschatology, the intermediate state or interim state is a person's "intermediate" existence between one's death and the universal resurrection. In addition, there are beliefs in a particular judgment right after deat ...
after physical
death Death is the permanent, irreversible cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living Living or The Living may refer to: Common meanings *Life, a condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organi ...

death
for expiatory purification. The process of purgatory is the final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of
the damned
the damned
.
Tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of conscious ...

Tradition
, by reference to certain texts of
scripture Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of ...
, sees the process as involving a cleansing fire. Some forms of
Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings ...
, particularly within
Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the and of . It is the , with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as , make up a majority of the population in , and believe that is the , whose comin ...
, deny its existence. Other strands of Western Christianity see purgatory as a place, perhaps filled with fire. Some concepts of
Gehenna The Valley of Hinnom is an important topographical feature surrounding historical Jerusalem from the west and southwest. Its name in biblical Hebrew is "valley of the son of Hinnom" (''ge ben hinnom'') or "valley of the children (sons) of Hi ...
in
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
resemble those of purgatory. The word "purgatory" has come to refer to a wide range of historical and modern conceptions of postmortem suffering short of everlasting damnation. English-speakers also use the word in a non-specific sense to mean any place or condition of
suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. Suffering is the basic element that makes up the negative valence of affective ...

suffering
or torment, especially one that is temporary. The
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
holds that "all who die in God's grace and friendship but still imperfectly purified" undergo the process of purification which the Church calls purgatory, "so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of
heaven Heaven or the heavens, is a common religious cosmological or transcendent supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also ...
". Catholicism bases its teaching also on the practice of praying for the dead, in use within the Church ever since the Church began, and mentioned in the
deuterocanonical The deuterocanonical books (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its p ...
boo
2 Maccabees 12:46
According to
Jacques Le Goff Jacques Le Goff (1 January 1924 – 1 April 2014) was a French historian and prolific author specializing in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, o ...
, the conception of purgatory as a physical place came into existence in
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
towards the end of the twelfth century.LeGoff, Jacques. ''The Birth of Purgatory''. Trans.
Arthur Goldhammer Arthur Goldhammer (born November 17, 1946) is an American academic and translator. Early life Goldhammer studied mathematics at MIT, gaining his PhD in 1973. Career Since 1977 he has worked as a translator. He is based at the Center for Europ ...
. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1986, pp. 362–366
Le Goff states that the conception involves the idea of a purgatorial fire, which he suggests "is expiatory and purifying not punitive like hell fire". At the
Second Council of Lyon:''The First Council of Lyon, the Thirteenth Ecumenical Council, took place in 1245.'' The Second Council of Lyon was the fourteenth ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, convoked on 31 March 1272 and convened in Lyon, Kingdom of Arles (in mo ...
in 1247, when the Catholic Church defined, for the first time, its teaching on purgatory, the
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
did not adopt the doctrine. The council made no mention of purgatory as a third place or as containing fire, which are absent also in the declarations by the Councils of Florence (1431-1449) and of (1545-1563). Popes
John Paul II Pope John Paul II ( la, Ioannes Paulus II; it, Giovanni Paolo II; pl, Jan Paweł II; born Karol Józef Wojtyła ; 18 May 19202 April 2005) was the head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Ca ...
and
Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI ( la, Benedictus XVI; it, Benedetto XVI; german: Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, , on 16 April 1927) is a retired prelate A prelate () is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ra ...
have declared that the term does not indicate a place, but a condition of existence. The
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Critic ...
, mother church of the
Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, re ...
, officially denounces what it calls "the Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory", but the
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
,
Oriental Orthodox Churches The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christian traditions and church families that originally developed during classical and late antiquity in Western Asia Western Asia, also We ...
, and elements of the
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation. Adherents of Anglicanism are called ''Anglicans''; t ...

Anglican
,
Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Jesus Christ and was founded by Martin Luther, a 16th-century German monk and Protestant Reformers, reformer whose efforts to reform the theology ...
and
Methodist Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations Denomination may refer to: * Religious denomination, such as a: ** Christian denomination ** Jewish denomination ** Islamic denomination ** Hindu d ...

Methodist
traditions hold that for some there is cleansing after death and
pray for the deadReligions with the belief in a future judgment or a resurrection of the dead General resurrection or universal resurrection is the belief that a resurrection of the dead, or resurrection from the dead ( Koine: , ''anastasis onnekron''; literall ...
. The
Reformed Church Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christianity, Christian practice set ...

Reformed Church
es teach that the departed are delivered from their sins through the process of
glorification Glorification may have several meanings in Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus ...
. Rabbinical
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
also believes in the possibility of after-death purification and may even use the word "purgatory" to describe the similar rabbinical concept of
Gehenna The Valley of Hinnom is an important topographical feature surrounding historical Jerusalem from the west and southwest. Its name in biblical Hebrew is "valley of the son of Hinnom" (''ge ben hinnom'') or "valley of the children (sons) of Hi ...
, though Gehenna is also sometimes described as more similar to
hell In religion Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Different religions may o ...

hell
or
Hades Hades (; grc-gre, ᾍδης, Háidēs; ), in the ancient Greek religion Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs, rituals, and Greek mythology, mythology originating in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public ...
.


History of the belief

While use of the word "purgatory" (in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
''purgatorium'', a place of cleansing, from the verb ''purgo'', "to clean, cleanse") as a noun appeared perhaps only between 1160 and 1180, giving rise to the idea of purgatory as a place (what
Jacques Le Goff Jacques Le Goff (1 January 1924 – 1 April 2014) was a French historian and prolific author specializing in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, o ...
called the "birth" of purgatory), the Roman Catholic tradition of purgatory as a transitional condition has a history that dates back, even before
Jesus Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it i ...

Jesus Christ
, to the worldwide practice of caring for the dead and praying for them and to the belief, found also in Judaism, which is considered the precursor of Christianity, that
prayer for the deadReligions with the belief in a Judgment Day, future judgment or a resurrection of the dead or of purgatory often offer prayers on behalf of the dead to God. Buddhism For most funerals that follow the tradition of Chinese Buddhism, common practices i ...
contributed to their
afterlife The afterlife (also referred to as life after death or the world to come) is an existence in which the essential part of an individual's identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group ...

afterlife
purification. The same practice appears in other traditions, such as the medieval Chinese Buddhist practice of making offerings on behalf of the dead, who are said to suffer numerous trials.Purgatory
in Encyclopædia Britannica
The Catholic church found specific
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as aut ...
support in after-life purification in 2 Maccabees 12:42–45, part of the Catholic
biblical canon A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of Religious text, texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as authoritative scripture. The English word ''Canon (basic principle), canon'' comes from t ...
but regarded as
apocrypha Apocrypha (Gr. ἀπόκρυφος, ‘the hidden hings) The biblical Books received by the early Church as part of the Greek version of the Old Testament, but not included in the Hebrew Bible, being excluded by the non-Hellenistic Jews fro ...
l by Protestants. And according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church praying for the dead was adopted by Christians from the beginning, a practice that presupposes that the dead are thereby assisted between death and their entry into their final abode. The
New American Bible Revised Edition The New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) is an English-language Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek l ...
, authorized by the United States Catholic bishops, says in a note to the 2 Maccabees passage: "This is the earliest statement of the doctrine that prayers and sacrifices for the dead are efficacious. Judas probably intended his purification offering to ward off punishment from the living. The author, however, uses the story to demonstrate belief in the resurrection of the just, and in the possibility of expiation for the sins of otherwise good people who have died. This belief is similar to, but not quite the same as, the Catholic doctrine of purgatory." Over the centuries, theologians and others have developed theories, imagined descriptions and composed legends that have contributed to the formation of a popular idea of purgatory much more detailed and elaborate than the quite minimal elements that have been officially declared to be part of the authentic teaching of the Church. Shortly before becoming a Roman Catholic, the English scholar
John Henry Newman John Henry Newman, C.O. (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890) was an English theologian Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proc ...
argued that the ''essence'' of the doctrine is locatable in ancient tradition, and that the core consistency of such beliefs is evidence that Christianity was "originally given to us from heaven". The Catholic Church's teaching on purgatory, defined in the
Second Council of Lyon:''The First Council of Lyon, the Thirteenth Ecumenical Council, took place in 1245.'' The Second Council of Lyon was the fourteenth ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, convoked on 31 March 1272 and convened in Lyon, Kingdom of Arles (in mo ...
(1274), the
Council of Florence The Council of Florence is the seventeenth ecumenical council An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matt ...
(1438–1445), and the
Council of Trent The Council of Trent ( la, Concilium Tridentinum), held between 1545 and 1563 in (or Trento, in northern ), was the 19th of the . Prompted by the , it has been described as the embodiment of the ."Trent, Council of" in Cross, F. L. (ed.) ''Th ...

Council of Trent
(1545–63), is without the imaginative accretions of the popular idea of purgatory.


Christianity

Some denominations, typically
Roman Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...
, recognize the doctrine of purgatory, while many Protestant and Eastern Orthodox churches would not use the same terminology, the former on the basis of their own ''
sola scriptura , meaning by scripture alone, is a Christian theological doctrine held by some Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants orig ...
'' doctrine, combined with their exclusion of 2 Maccabees from the Protestant canon of the Bible, the latter because the Orthodox churches consider purgatory a non-essential doctrine.


Catholicism

The
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
gives the name purgatory to what it calls the after-death purification of "all who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified.” Though in popular imagination purgatory is pictured as a place rather than a process of purification, the idea of purgatory as a physical place with
time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component quantity of various me ...

time
is not part of the Church's doctrine. Fire, another important element of the purgatory of popular imagination, is also absent in the Catholic Church's doctrine.


The purgatory of Catholic doctrine

At the
Second Council of Lyon:''The First Council of Lyon, the Thirteenth Ecumenical Council, took place in 1245.'' The Second Council of Lyon was the fourteenth ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, convoked on 31 March 1272 and convened in Lyon, Kingdom of Arles (in mo ...
in 1274, the Catholic Church defined, for the first time, its teaching on purgatory, in two points: # some souls are purified after death; # such souls benefit from the prayers and pious duties that the living do for them. The council declared: A century and a half later, the
Council of Florence The Council of Florence is the seventeenth ecumenical council An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matt ...
repeated the same two points in practically the same words, again excluding certain elements of the purgatory of popular imagination, in particular fire and place, against which representatives of the
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
spoke at the council: The
Council of Trent The Council of Trent ( la, Concilium Tridentinum), held between 1545 and 1563 in (or Trento, in northern ), was the 19th of the . Prompted by the , it has been described as the embodiment of the ."Trent, Council of" in Cross, F. L. (ed.) ''Th ...

Council of Trent
repeated the same two points and moreover in its 4 December 1563 Decree Concerning Purgatory recommended avoidance of speculations and non-essential questions: Catholic doctrine on purgatory is presented as composed of the same two points in the ''
Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church The ''Catechism of the Catholic Church'' ( la, Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae; commonly called the ''Catechism'' or the ''CCC'') is a catechism A catechism (; from grc, κατηχέω, "to teach orally") is a summary or exposition of doctrine ...
'', first published in 2005, which is a summary in dialogue form of the ''
Catechism of the Catholic Church The ''Catechism of the Catholic Church'' ( la, Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae; commonly called the ''Catechism'' or the ''CCC'') is a promulgated for the by in 1992. It sums up, in book form, of the Catholic faithful. Publication history ...
''. It deals with purgatory in the following exchange: These two questions and answers summarize information in sections 1030–1032 and 1054 of the ''
Catechism of the Catholic Church The ''Catechism of the Catholic Church'' ( la, Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae; commonly called the ''Catechism'' or the ''CCC'') is a promulgated for the by in 1992. It sums up, in book form, of the Catholic faithful. Publication history ...
'', published in 1992, which also speaks of purgatory in sections 1472−1473.


Role in relation to sin

According to the doctrine of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
, those who die in God's grace and friendship imperfectly purified, although they are assured of their eternal salvation, undergo a purification after death, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of God. Unless "redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness",
mortal sin A mortal sin ( la, peccatum mortale), in Catholic theology Catholic theology is the understanding of Catholic doctrine or teachings, and results from the studies of theologians. It is based on Biblical canon, canonical Catholic Bible, sc ...
, whose object is grave matter and is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent, "causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back." Such sin "makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the 'eternal punishment' of sin".
Venial sin According to Catholicism The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide . As the world's oldest and largest continuousl ...
, while not depriving the sinner of friendship with God or the eternal happiness of heaven, "weakens charity, manifests a disordered affection for created goods, and impedes the soul's progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment", for "every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the 'temporal punishment' of sin". "These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain." This purification from our sinful tendencies has been compared to rehabilitation of someone who needs to be cleansed of any addiction, a gradual and probably painful process. It can be advanced during life by voluntary self-mortification and penance and by deeds of generosity that show love of God rather than of creatures. If not completed before death, it can still be a needed for entering the divine presence. Saint
Catherine of Genoa Catherine of Genoa (Caterina Fieschi Adorno, 1447 – 15 September 1510) was an Italian Roman Catholic Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th centur ...
said: "As for paradise, God has placed no doors there. Whoever wishes to enter, does so. An all-merciful God stands there with His arms open, waiting to receive us into His glory. I also see, however, that the divine presence is so pure and light-filled – much more than we can imagine – that the soul that has but the slightest imperfection would rather throw itself into a thousand hells than appear thus before the divine presence." A person seeking purification from sinful tendencies is not alone. Because of the
communion of saints The communion of saints (), when referred to persons, is the spiritual union of the members of the Christian Church, living and the dead, excluding therefore the damned. They are all part of a single " mystical body", with Christ Jesus; he ...
: "the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin". The Catholic Church states that, through the granting of
indulgences Apostolic Benediction and Plenary Indulgence Parchment In the teaching of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christi ...
for manifestations of devotion, penance and charity by the living, it opens for individuals "the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins".


Speculations and imaginings about purgatory

Some Catholic saints and theologians have had sometimes conflicting ideas about purgatory beyond those adopted by the Catholic Church, reflecting or contributing to the popular image, which includes the notions of purification by actual fire, in a determined place and for a precise length of time. Paul J. Griffiths notes: "Recent Catholic thought on purgatory typically preserves the essentials of the basic doctrine while also offering second-hand speculative interpretations of these elements". Thus
Joseph Ratzinger Pope Benedict XVI ( la, Benedictus XVI; it, Benedetto XVI; german: link=no, Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, , 16 April 1927) is a retired prelate A prelate () is a high-ranking member of the clergy Clergy are formal lea ...

Joseph Ratzinger
wrote: "Purgatory is not, as
Tertullian Tertullian (; la, Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus; 155 AD – 220 AD) was a prolific early Christian The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religio ...

Tertullian
thought, some kind of supra-worldly concentration camp where man is forced to undergo punishment in a more or less arbitrary fashion. Rather it is the inwardly necessary process of transformation in which a person becomes capable of Christ, capable of God, and thus capable of unity with the whole communion of saints". The speculations and popular imaginings that, especially in late medieval times, were common in the Western or
Latin Church , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , alt = Façade of the Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran , caption = Archbasilica of Saint Joh ...
have not necessarily found acceptance in the
eastern Catholic Churches The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, Eastern Rite Catholicism, or simply the Eastern Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christi ...
, of which there are 23 in
full communion Full communion is a communion or relationship of full understanding among different Christian denomination A Christian denomination is a distinct Religion, religious body within Christianity that comprises all Church (congregation), church cong ...
with the Pope. Some have explicitly rejected the notions of punishment by fire in a particular place that are prominent in the popular picture of purgatory. The representatives of the
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
at the
Council of Florence The Council of Florence is the seventeenth ecumenical council An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matt ...
argued against these notions, while declaring that they do hold that there is a cleansing after death of the souls of the saved and that these are assisted by the prayers of the living: "If souls depart from this life in faith and charity but marked with some defilements, whether unrepented minor ones or major ones repented of but without having yet borne the fruits of repentance, we believe that within reason they are purified of those faults, but not by some purifying fire and particular punishments in some place." The definition of purgatory adopted by that council excluded the two notions with which the Orthodox disagreed and mentioned only the two points that, they said, were part of their faith also. Accordingly, the agreement, known as the
Union of Brest The Union of Brest (; ; ; ) was the 1595-96 decision of the Ruthenian Orthodox Church eparchies (dioceses) in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth to break relations with the Eastern Orthodox Church and to enter into communion with, and place itse ...
, that formalized the admission of the
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC; ; la, Ecclesia Graeco-Catholica Ucrainae) is a in with the worldwide . It is the second-largest (') in the Catholic Church, second only to the . It is part of the es of the Catholic Church that ar ...
into the full
communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, reenacting the Last Supper **Communion (chant), the Gregorian chant that acc ...
of the Roman Catholic Church stated: "We shall not debate about purgatory, but we entrust ourselves to the teaching of the Holy Church".


Fire

Fire has an important place in the popular image of purgatory and has been the object of speculation by theologians, speculation to which the article on purgatory in the ''
Catholic Encyclopedia The ''Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church'' (also referred to as the ''Old Catholic Encyclopedia'' and the ''Original Catholic Encyclopedia'') i ...
'' relates the warning by the Council of Trent against "difficult and subtle questions which tend not to edification." Fire has never been included in the Catholic Church's defined doctrine on purgatory, but speculation about it is traditional. "The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire." In this regard the ''Catechism of the Catholic Church'' references in particular two New Testament passages: "If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire" and "so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ". Catholic theologians have also cited verses such as "I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are my people'; and they will say, 'The LORD is my God'", a verse that the Jewish
school of ShammaiThe House of Hillel (Beit Hillel) and House of Shammai (Beit Shammai) were, among Jewish scholars, two schools of thought A school of thought, or intellectual tradition, is the perspective of a group of people who share common characteristics of o ...
applied to God's judgment on those who are not completely just nor entirely evil. Use of the image of a purifying fire goes back as far as
Origen Origen of Alexandria, ''Ōrigénēs''; Coptic language, Coptic: Ϩⲱⲣⲓⲕⲉⲛ Origen's Greek name ''Ōrigénēs'' () probably means "child of Horus" (from , "Horus", and , "born"). ( 184 – 253), also known as Origen Adamantius, was an ...

Origen
who, with reference to , seen as referring to a process by which the dross of lighter transgressions will be burnt away, and the soul, thus purified, will be saved, wrote: "Suppose you have built, after the ''foundation'' which Christ Jesus has taught, not only ''gold, silver, and precious stones'' − if indeed you possess gold and much silver or little − suppose you have ''silver, precious stones'', but I say not only these elements, but suppose that you have also ''wood and hay and stubble'', what does he wish you to become after your final departure? To enter afterwards then into the holy lands with your ''wood'' and with your ''hay'' and ''stubble'' so that you may defile the Kingdom of God? But again do you want to be left behind in the fire on account of the ''hay'', the ''wood'', the ''stubble'', and to receive nothing due you for the ''gold'' and the ''silver'' and ''precious stone''? That is not reasonable. What then? It follows that you receive the ''fire first'' due to the ''wood'', and the ''hay'' and the ''stubble''. For to those able to perceive, our God is said to be in reality ''a consuming fire''." Origen also speaks of a refining fire melting away the lead of evil deeds, leaving behind only pure gold.
Saint Augustine In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being ...

Saint Augustine
tentatively put forward the idea of a post-death purgatorial fire for some Christian believers: "69. It is not incredible that something like this should occur after this life, whether or not it is a matter for fruitful inquiry. It may be discovered or remain hidden whether some of the faithful are sooner or later to be saved by a sort of purgatorial fire, in proportion as they have loved the goods that perish, and in proportion to their attachment to them."
Gregory the Great Pope Gregory I ( la, Gregorius I; – 12 March 604), commonly known as Saint Gregory the Great, was the bishop of Rome from 3 September 590 to his death. He is known for instigating the first recorded large-scale mission from Rome, the Gregoria ...
also argued for the existence, before Judgment, of a ''purgatorius ignis'' (a cleansing fire) to purge away minor faults (wood, hay, stubble) not mortal sins (iron, bronze, lead). Pope St. Gregory, in the Dialogues, quotes Christ's words (in Mat 12:32) to establish Purgatory: "But yet we must believe that before the day of judgment there is a Purgatory fire for certain small sins: because our Saviour saith, that he which speaketh blasphemy against the holy Ghost, that it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come. (Mat 12:32) Out of which sentence we learn, that some sins are forgiven in this world, and some other may be pardoned in the next: for that which is denied concerning one sin, is consequently understood to be granted touching some other."
Gregory of Nyssa Gregory of Nyssa, also known as Gregory Nyssen ( grc-gre, Γρηγόριος Νύσσης; c. 335 – c. 395), was bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is gener ...

Gregory of Nyssa
several times spoke of purgation by fire after death, but he generally has
apocatastasis Apocatastasis (, from grc-gre, ἀποκατάστασις, ''apokatástasis'') is reconstitution, restitution, or restoration to the original or primordial condition. An interpretation divides apocatastasis into three types of restorations, those ...
in mind. Medieval theologians accepted the association of purgatory with fire. Thus the ''
Summa Theologica The ''Summa Theologiae'' or ''Summa Theologica'' (), often referred to simply as the ''Summa'', is the best-known work of Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) ...
'' of
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar, Philosophy, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential ...

Thomas Aquinas
considered it probable that purgatory was situated close to hell, so that the same fire that tormented the damned cleansed the just souls in purgatory. Ideas about the supposed fire of purgatory have changed with time: in the early 20th century the ''
Catholic Encyclopedia The ''Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church'' (also referred to as the ''Old Catholic Encyclopedia'' and the ''Original Catholic Encyclopedia'') i ...
'' reported that, while in the past most theologians had held that the fire of purgatory was in some sense a material fire, though of a nature different from ordinary fire, the view of what then seemed to be the majority of theologians was that the term was to be understood metaphorically.
Pope Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI ( la, Benedictus XVI; it, Benedetto XVI; german: Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, , on 16 April 1927) is a retired prelate A prelate () is a high-ranking member of the clergy Clergy are formal leader ...

Pope Benedict XVI
recommended to theologians the presentation of purgatory by Saint
Catherine of Genoa Catherine of Genoa (Caterina Fieschi Adorno, 1447 – 15 September 1510) was an Italian Roman Catholic Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th centur ...
, for whom purgatory is not an external but an inner fire: "The Saint speaks of the soul's journey of purification on the way to full communion with God, starting from her own experience of profound sorrow for the sins committed, in comparison with God's infinite love. ..'The soul', Catherine says, 'presents itself to God still bound to the desires and suffering that derive from sin and this makes it impossible for it to enjoy the beatific vision of God'. Catherine asserts that God is so pure and holy that a soul stained by sin cannot be in the presence of the divine majesty. We too feel how distant we are, how full we are of so many things that we cannot see God. The soul is aware of the immense love and perfect justice of God and consequently suffers for having failed to respond in a correct and perfect way to this love; and love for God itself becomes a flame, love itself cleanses it from the residue of sin." In his 2007 encyclical ''Spe salvi'', Pope Benedict XVI, referring to the words of
Paul the Apostle Paul; el, Παῦλος, translit=Paulos; cop, ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ; he, פאולוס השליח, name=, group= (born Saul of Tarsus;; ar, بولس الطرسوسي; el, Σαῦλος Ταρσεύς, Saũlos Tarseús; tr, Tarsuslu Pavlus AD ...
in about a fire that both burns and saves, spoke of the opinion that "the fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour. The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away. This encounter with him, as it burns us, transforms and frees us, allowing us to become truly ourselves. All that we build during our lives can prove to be mere straw, pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain of this encounter, when the impurity and sickness of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation. His gaze, the touch of his heart heals us through an undeniably painful transformation 'as through fire'. But it is a blessed pain, in which the holy power of his love sears through us like a flame, enabling us to become totally ourselves and thus totally of God. In this way the inter-relation between justice and grace also becomes clear: the way we live our lives is not immaterial, but our defilement does not stain us for ever if we have at least continued to reach out towards Christ, towards truth and towards love. Indeed, it has already been burned away through Christ's Passion. At the moment of judgement we experience and we absorb the overwhelming power of his love over all the evil in the world and in ourselves. The pain of love becomes our salvation and our joy. It is clear that we cannot calculate the 'duration' of this transforming burning in terms of the chronological measurements of this world. The transforming 'moment' of this encounter eludes earthly time-reckoning – it is the heart's time, it is the time of 'passage' to communion with God in the Body of Christ." File:Peter Paul Rubens 172.jpg , Purgatory, by
Peter Paul Rubens Sir Peter Paul Rubens (; ; 28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640) was a Flemish Flemish (''Vlaams'') is a Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Geneti ...

Peter Paul Rubens
File:Concepcion Santa Cruz 09.jpg , Altar in Iglesia de la Concepción,
Santa Cruz de Tenerife Santa Cruz de Tenerife, commonly abbreviated as Santa Cruz (, ), is a major city, capital of the island of Tenerife, Province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and capital of the Canary Islands. Santa Cruz has a population of 206,593 (2013) within its ...
File:Folio 113v - Purgatory.jpg , A fiery purgatory in the ''
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'' File:V.Carmen de Beniajan-general.jpg ,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Our Lady of Mount Carmel, or Virgin of Carmel, is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patron saint, patroness of the Carmelites, Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy ...

Our Lady of Mount Carmel
and purgatory, ,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
File:LadyOfMtCarmelWithSufferingSouls.jpg ,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Our Lady of Mount Carmel, or Virgin of Carmel, is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patron saint, patroness of the Carmelites, Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy ...

Our Lady of Mount Carmel
and purgatory,
North End, Boston The North End is a Neighborhoods in Boston, neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It has the distinction of being the city's oldest residential community, where Europeans have continuously inhabited since it was colonized in the 163 ...

North End, Boston
File:Auhausen St. Maria 473gf.JPG , Detail of altar in Lutheran church in
Auhausen Auhausen is a municipality in the Swabian district Donau-Ries in Bavaria in Germany. The municipality is within the Oettingen central administrative body. Auhausen was the site of the 1608 meeting that formed the Protestant Union, also known as the ...

Auhausen
,
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
File:AMR Kirche - Altar 3.jpg , Our Lady, St Monica and souls in purgatory,
Rattenberg Rattenberg ( bar, Råttnberg) is a City A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. Lo ...

Rattenberg
,
Tyrol Tyrol (; historically the Tyrole; german: Tirol ; it, Tirolo) is a historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Gre ...
File:Kientzheim StFelix 30.JPG , Our Lady of Passau in St Felix Church,
Kientzheim Kientzheim (; ; Alsatian language, Alsatian: ''Kientza'') is a former Communes of France, commune in the Haut-Rhin Departments of France, department in north-eastern France. On 1 January 2016, it was merged into the new commune Kaysersberg-Vignob ...
,
Alsace Alsace (, also ; Low Alemannic German Low Alemannic German (german: Niederalemannisch) is a branch of Alemannic German Alemannic, or rarely Alemannish (''Alemannisch'', ), is a group of High German dialects. The name derives from the ancie ...

Alsace
File:Heidelberg cpg 144 Elsässische Legenda Aurea 338r St. Patricks Fegefeuer.jpg , Purgatory, 1419 drawing by unknown artist from
Strasbourg Strasbourg (, , ; german: Straßburg ; gsw, label=Bas Rhin Bas-Rhin (; Alsatian: ''Unterelsàss'', ' or '; traditional german: links=no, Niederrhein; en, Lower Rhine) is a department Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, divi ...

Strasbourg
File:Michel-Serre-Vierge à l'enfant et le purgatoire.jpg , Painting by
Michel Serre Michel Serre (1658–1733) was a Catalonia, Catalan-born France, French painter. Biography Early life Michel Serre was born on January 10, 1658 in Tarragona, Spain.''L'Artiste: journal de la littérature et des beaux-arts'', L'Artiste, 1849, pp. ...
in the Saint Cannat Church, Marseilles File:Wimpfen-stadtkirche-predell.jpg , Altar predella in the town church of Bad Wimpfen, Baden-Württemberg File:Mantlach - Velburg NM 002.JPG , Request for prayer for the souls in purgatory File:Catedral de San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico - DSC06866.JPG , Stained-glass window in Puerto Rico Cathedral File:Cristobal Rojas 46a.JPG , Purgatory by Venezuelan painter Cristóbal Rojas (artist), Cristóbal Rojas (1890) File:St.Ulrich am Pillersee - Deckenfresko 1a.jpg , Ceiling of St Ulrich Church in Pillersee,
Tyrol Tyrol (; historically the Tyrole; german: Tirol ; it, Tirolo) is a historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Gre ...
, Austria File:Andrea Vaccaro - The Virgin intercedes for the Souls in Purgatory.jpg , Our Lady Interceding for the Souls in Purgatory, by Andrea Vaccaro File:Stephan Lochner Souls in Purgatory.jpg , Miniature by Stefan Lochner showing souls in purgatory File:Ánimas Benditas.jpg , Azulejo of souls in purgatory, Seville,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain


Popular notion of purgatory as a place

In his ''La naissance du Purgatoire'' (''The Birth of Purgatory''),
Jacques Le Goff Jacques Le Goff (1 January 1924 – 1 April 2014) was a French historian and prolific author specializing in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, o ...
attributes the origin of the idea of a third other-world domain, similar to heaven and hell, called Purgatory, to Paris intellectuals and Cistercians, Cistercian monks at some point in the last three decades of the twelfth century, possibly as early as 1170−1180. Previously, the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
adjective ''purgatorius'', as in ''purgatorius ignis'' (cleansing fire) existed, but only then did the noun ''purgatorium'' appear, used as the name of a place called Purgatory. The change happened at about the same time as the composition of the book ''Tractatus de Purgatorio Sancti Patricii'', an account by an English Cistercian of a penitent knight's visit to the land of purgatory reached through a cave in the island known as Station Island or St Patrick's Purgatory in the lake of Lough Derg (Donegal), Lough Derg, County Donegal, Ireland. Le Goff said this book "occupies an essential place in the history of Purgatory, in whose success it played an important, if not decisive, role". One of the earliest depictions of St Patrick's Purgatory is a fresco in the Convent of San Francisco in Todi, Umbria, Italy. Whitewashed long ago, this fresco was only restored in 1976. The painter was likely Jacopo di Mino del Pellicciaio, and the date of the fresco is around 1345. Purgatory is shown as a rocky hill filled with separate openings into its hollow center. Above the mountain St Patrick introduces the prayers of the faithful that can help attenuate the sufferings of the souls undergoing purification. In each opening, sinners are tormented by demons and by fire. Each of the seven deadly sins – avarice, envy, sloth, pride, anger, lust, and gluttony – has its own region of purgatory and its own appropriate tortures. Le Goff dedicates the final chapter of his book to the ''Purgatorio'', the second canticle of the ''Divine Comedy'', a poem by fourteenth-century Italian author Dante Alighieri. In an interview Le Goff declared: "Dante's ''Purgatorio'' represents the sublime conclusion of the slow development of Purgatory that took place in the course of the Middle Ages. The power of Dante's poetry made a decisive contribution to fixing in the public imagination this 'third place', whose birth was on the whole quite recent." Dante pictures the purgatory as an island at the antipodes of Jerusalem, pushed up, in an otherwise empty sea, by the displacement caused by the fall of Dante's Satan, Satan, which left him fixed at the central point of the globe of the Earth. The cone-shaped island has seven terraces on which souls are cleansed from the seven deadly sins or capital vices as they ascend. Additional spurs at the base hold those for whom beginning the ascent is delayed because in life they were Excommunication, excommunicates indolent or late repenters. At the summit is the Garden of Eden, from where the souls, cleansed of evil tendencies and made perfect, are taken to Heaven#Christianity, heaven. The Catholic Church has included in its teaching the idea of a purgatory rather as a condition than a place. On 4 August 1999, Pope John Paul II, speaking of purgatory, said: "The term does not indicate a place, but a condition of existence. Those who, after death, exist in a state of purification, are already in the love of Christ who removes from them the remnants of imperfection as "a condition of existence". Similarly in 2011,
Pope Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI ( la, Benedictus XVI; it, Benedetto XVI; german: Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, , on 16 April 1927) is a retired prelate A prelate () is a high-ranking member of the clergy Clergy are formal leader ...

Pope Benedict XVI
, speaking of Saint
Catherine of Genoa Catherine of Genoa (Caterina Fieschi Adorno, 1447 – 15 September 1510) was an Italian Roman Catholic Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th centur ...
(1447–1510) in relation to purgatory, said that "In her day it was depicted mainly using images linked to space: a certain space was conceived of in which purgatory was supposed to be located. Catherine, however, did not see purgatory as a scene in the bowels of the earth: for her it is not an exterior but rather an interior fire. This is purgatory: an inner fire."Saint Catherine of Genoa
. Benedict XVI General Audience, January 12, 2011, accessed May 15, 2018


Eastern Orthodoxy

While the
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
rejects the term ''purgatory'', it acknowledges an intermediate state after death and before final judgment, and offers
prayer for the deadReligions with the belief in a Judgment Day, future judgment or a resurrection of the dead or of purgatory often offer prayers on behalf of the dead to God. Buddhism For most funerals that follow the tradition of Chinese Buddhism, common practices i ...
. According to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:
The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. ...There is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge. The Orthodox Church does not believe in purgatory (a place of purging), that is, the inter-mediate state after death in which the souls of the saved (those who have not received temporal punishment for their sins) are purified of all taint preparatory to entering into Heaven, where every soul is perfect and fit to see God. Also, the Orthodox Church does not believe in indulgences as remissions from purgatorial punishment. Both purgatory and indulgences are inter-corelated theories, unwitnessed in the Bible or in the Ancient Church, and when they were enforced and applied they brought about evil practices at the expense of the prevailing Truths of the Church. If Almighty God in His merciful loving-kindness changes the dreadful situation of the sinner, it is unknown to the Church of Christ. The Church lived for fifteen hundred years without such a theory.
Eastern Orthodox teaching is that, while all undergo an particular judgment, individual judgment immediately after death, neither the just nor the wicked attain the final state of bliss or punishment before the Last Day, with some exceptions for righteous souls like the Theotokos (Blessed Virgin Mary), "who was borne by the angels directly to heaven." The Eastern Orthodox Church holds that it is necessary to believe in this intermediate after-death state in which souls are perfected and brought to full Theosis (Eastern Orthodox theology), divinization, a process of growth rather than of punishment, which some Orthodox have called purgatory. Eastern Orthodox theology does not generally describe the situation of the dead as involving suffering or fire, although it nevertheless describes it as a "direful condition". Decree 18 The souls of the righteous dead are in light and rest, with a foretaste of eternal happiness; but the souls of the wicked are in a state the reverse of this. Among the latter, such souls as have departed with faith but "without having had time to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance ... may be aided towards the attainment of a blessed resurrection [at the end of time] by prayers offered in their behalf, especially those offered in union with the oblation of the bloodless sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ, and by works of mercy done in faith for their memory." The state in which souls undergo this experience is often referred to as "Hades". The ''Orthodox Confession'' of Peter Mogila (1596–1646), adopted, in a Greek translation by Meletius Syrigos, by the 1642 Council of Iaşi, Jassy in Romania, professes that "many are freed from the prison of Hades, hell ... through the good works of the living and the Church's prayers for them, most of all through the unbloody sacrifice, which is offered on certain days for all the living and the dead" (question 64); and (under the heading "How must one consider the purgatorial fire?") "the Church rightly performs for them the unbloody sacrifice and prayers, but they do not cleanse themselves by suffering something. The Church never maintained that which pertains to the fanciful stories of some concerning the souls of their dead who have not done penance and are punished, as it were, in streams, springs and swamps." (question 66). The Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem (1672) declared: "The souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought" (an enjoyment or condemnation that will be complete only after the resurrection of the dead); but the souls of some "depart into Hades, and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed. But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed, especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most, which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep and which the Eastern Orthodox Church, Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release. We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the resurrection of the dead, common resurrection and Last Judgment, judgment, but when we know not." Some Orthodox believe in a teaching of "aerial toll-houses" for the souls of the dead. According to this theory, which is rejected by other Orthodox but appears in the hymnology of the Church, "following a person's death the soul leaves the body and is escorted to God by angels. During this journey the soul passes through an aerial realm which is ruled by demons. The soul encounters these demons at various points referred to as 'toll-houses' where the demons then attempt to accuse it of sin and, if possible, drag the soul into hell."


Protestantism

In general, Protestantism, Protestant churches reject the Catholic doctrine of purgatory although some teach the existence of an intermediate state. Many Protestant denominations, though not all, teach the doctrine of ''
sola scriptura , meaning by scripture alone, is a Christian theological doctrine held by some Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants orig ...
'' ("scripture alone") or ''prima scriptura'' ("scripture first"). The general Protestant view is that the Bible, from which Protestants exclude deuterocanonical books such as 2 Maccabees, contains no overt, explicit discussion of purgatory and therefore it should be rejected as an unbiblical belief. Another view held by many Protestants, such as the Lutheran Churches and the
Reformed Church Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christianity, Christian practice set ...

Reformed Church
es, is ''sola fide'' ("by faith alone"): that faith alone is what achieves salvation, and that good works are merely ''evidence'' of that faith. Justification is generally seen as a discrete event that takes place once for all during one's lifetime, not the result of a transformation of character. However, most Protestants teach that a transformation of character naturally follows the salvation experience; others, such as those of the
Methodist Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations Denomination may refer to: * Religious denomination, such as a: ** Christian denomination ** Jewish denomination ** Islamic denomination ** Hindu d ...

Methodist
tradition (inclusive of the Holiness Movement) teach that after justification, Christians must pursue holiness and good works. Those who have been saved by God are destined for heaven, while those have not been saved will be excluded from heaven. Some Protestants hold that a person enters into the fullness of one's bliss or torment only after the resurrection of the body, and that the soul in that interim state is conscious and aware of the fate in store for it. Others have held that souls in the intermediate state between death and resurrection are without consciousness, a state known as soul sleep. As an argument for the existence of purgatory, Protestant religious philosopher Jerry L. Walls wrote ''Purgatory: The Logic of Total Transformation'' (2012). He lists some "biblical hints of purgatory" (Mal 3:2; 2 Mac 12:41–43; Mat 12:32; 1 Cor 3:12) that helped give rise to the doctrine, and finds its beginnings in Early Christianity, early Christian writers whom he calls "Fathers and Mothers of Purgatory". Citing Le Goff, he sees the 12th century as that of the "birth of purgatory", arising as "a natural development of certain currents of thought that had been flowing for centuries", and the 13th century at that of its rationalization, "purging it of its offensive popular trappings", leading to its definition by a council as the Church's doctrine in 1274. Walls does not base his belief in purgatory primarily on Scripture, the Mothers and Fathers of the Church, or the magisterium (doctrinal authority) of the Catholic church. Rather his basic argument is that, in a phrase he often uses, it "makes sense." For Walls, purgatory has a logic, as in the title of his book. He documents the "contrast between the satisfaction and sanctification models" of purgatory. In the satisfaction model, "the punishment of purgatory" is to satisfy God's justice. In the sanctification model, Wall writes: "Purgatory might be pictured ... as a regimen to regain one’s spiritual health and get back into moral shape." In Catholic theology Walls finds that the doctrine of purgatory has "swung" between the "poles of satisfaction and sanctification" sometimes "combining both elements somewhere in the middle". He believes the sanctification model "can be affirmed by Protestants without in any way contradicting their theology" and that they may find that it "makes better sense of how the remains of sin are purged" than an instantaneous cleansing at the moment of death. While purgatory was disputed by the Reformers, some early patristic theologians of the Eastern Church taught and believed in "
apocatastasis Apocatastasis (, from grc-gre, ἀποκατάστασις, ''apokatástasis'') is reconstitution, restitution, or restoration to the original or primordial condition. An interpretation divides apocatastasis into three types of restorations, those ...
", the belief that all creation would be restored to its original perfect condition after a remedial purgatorial reformation. Clement of Alexandria was one of the early church theologians who taught this view. Protestants have always contended that there are no second chances. However, for Lutherans a similar doctrine of what may happen to the unevangelized is expressed in the book titled ''What about those who never heard''. The reality of purgatorial purification is envisaged in Thomas Talbott's ''The Inescapable Love of God'' Different views are expressed by different theologians in two different editions of ''Four Views of Hell''.


Anglicanism

Anglicans, as with other
Reformed Church Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christianity, Christian practice set ...

Reformed Church
es, historically teach that the saved undergo the process of
glorification Glorification may have several meanings in Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus ...
after death. This process has been compared by Jerry L. Walls and James B. Gould with the process of purification in the core doctrine of purgatory (see #Reformed, Reformed, below). Purgatory was addressed by both of the "foundation features" of Anglicanism in the 16th century: the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion and the Book of Common Prayer. Article XXII of the Thirty-Nine Articles states that "The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory . . . is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Bible, Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God." Prayers for the departed were deleted from the 1552 Book of Common Prayer because they suggested a doctrine of purgatory. The 19th century Anglo-Catholicism, Anglo-Catholic revival led to restoring prayers for the dead.
John Henry Newman John Henry Newman, C.O. (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890) was an English theologian Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proc ...
, in his ''Tract XC'' of 1841 §6, discussed Article XXII. He highlighted the fact that it is the "Romish" doctrine of purgatory coupled with indulgences that Article XXII condemns as "repugnant to the Word of God." The article did not condemn every doctrine of purgatory and it did not condemn prayers for the dead. As of the year 2000, the state of the doctrine of purgatory in Anglicanism was summarized as follows:
Purgatory is seldom mentioned in Anglican descriptions or speculations concerning life after death, although many Anglicans believe in a continuing process of growth and development after death.
Anglican Bishop John Henry Hobart (1775–1830) wrote that "Hades in Christianity, Hades, or the place of the dead, is represented as a spacious ''receptacle'' with gates, through which the dead enter." ''The Anglican Catechist'' of 1855 elaborated on Hades, stating that it "is an
intermediate state In some forms of Christian eschatology, the intermediate state or interim state is a person's "intermediate" existence between one's death and the universal resurrection. In addition, there are beliefs in a particular judgment right after deat ...
between death and the Resurrection of the dead, resurrection, in which the soul does not sleep in unconsciousness, but exists in happiness or misery till the resurrection, when it shall be reunited to the body and receive its final reward." This intermediate state includes both Bosom of Abraham, Paradise and
Gehenna The Valley of Hinnom is an important topographical feature surrounding historical Jerusalem from the west and southwest. Its name in biblical Hebrew is "valley of the son of Hinnom" (''ge ben hinnom'') or "valley of the children (sons) of Hi ...
, "but with an impassable gulf between the two". Soul in the Bible, Souls remain in Hades until the Final Judgment and "Christians may also improve in holiness after death during the middle state before the final judgment." Leonel Mitchell, Leonel L. Mitchell (1930–2012) offers this rationale for prayers for the dead:
No one is ready at the time of death to enter into life in the nearer presence of God without substantial growth precisely in love, knowledge, and service; and the prayer also recognizes that God will provide what is necessary for us to enter that state. This growth will presumably be between death and resurrection."
Anglican theologian C. S. Lewis (1898–1963), reflecting on the history of the doctrine of purgatory in the
Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, re ...
, said there were good reasons for "casting doubt on the 'Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory' as that Romish doctrine had then become" not merely a "commercial scandal" but also the picture in which the souls are tormented by devils, whose presence is "more horrible and grievous to us than is the pain itself," and where the spirit who suffers the tortures cannot, for pain, "remember God as he ought to do." Lewis believed instead in purgatory as presented in
John Henry Newman John Henry Newman, C.O. (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890) was an English theologian Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proc ...
's ''The Dream of Gerontius (poem), The Dream of Gerontius''. By this poem, Lewis wrote, "Religion has reclaimed Purgatory," a process of purification that will normally involve suffering.


Lutheranism

The Protestant Reformers, Protestant Reformer Martin Luther was once recorded as saying: In his 1537 ''Smalcald Articles'', Luther stated: With respect to the related practice of praying for the dead, Luther stated: A core statement of Lutheran doctrine, from the Book of Concord, states: "We know that the ancients speak of prayer for the dead, which we do not prohibit; but we disapprove of the application ''ex opere operato'' of the Lord's Supper on behalf of the dead. ... Epiphanius testifies that Aerius held that prayers for the dead are useless. With this he finds fault. Neither do we favor Aerius, but we do argue with you because you defend a heresy that clearly conflicts with the prophets, apostles, and Holy Fathers, namely, that the Mass justifies ''ex opere operato'', that it merits the remission of guilt and punishment even for the unjust, to whom it is applied, if they do not present an obstacle." (Philipp Melanchthon, ''Apology of the Augsburg Confession''). Lutheran Reformer Mikael Agricola still believed in the basic beliefs of purgatory. Purgatory as such is not mentioned at all in the Augsburg Confession, which claims that "our churches dissent in no article of the faith from the Church Catholic, but only omit some abuses which are new."


Methodism

Methodism, Methodist churches, in keeping with Article XIV - Of Purgatory in the Articles of Religion (Methodist), Articles of Religion, hold that "the Romish doctrine concerning purgatory ... is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but repugnant to the Word of God." However, in the Methodist Church, there is a belief in hades in Christianity, Hades, "the
intermediate state In some forms of Christian eschatology, the intermediate state or interim state is a person's "intermediate" existence between one's death and the universal resurrection. In addition, there are beliefs in a particular judgment right after deat ...
of souls between death and the general resurrection," which is divided into Bosom of Abraham, Paradise (for the righteous) and
Gehenna The Valley of Hinnom is an important topographical feature surrounding historical Jerusalem from the west and southwest. Its name in biblical Hebrew is "valley of the son of Hinnom" (''ge ben hinnom'') or "valley of the children (sons) of Hi ...
(for the wicked). After the general judgment, Hades will be abolished. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, "made a distinction between Christian views on hell, hell (the receptacle of the damned) and Hades (the receptacle of all separate spirits), and also between paradise (the antechamber of heaven) and Heaven (Christianity), heaven itself." The dead will remain in Hades "until the Day of Judgment when we will all be bodily resurrected and stand before Christ as our Judge. After the Judgment, the Righteous will go to their eternal reward in Heaven and the Accursed will depart to Hell (see )."


Reformed

After death, Reformed church, Reformed theology teaches that through glorification, God "not only delivers His people from all their suffering and from death, but delivers them too from all their sins." In glorification, Reformed Christians believe that the departed are "raised and made like the glorious body of Christ". Reformed theologian John F. MacArthur has written that "nothing in Scripture even hints at the notion of purgatory, and nothing indicates that our glorification will in any way be painful." Jerry L. Walls and James B. Gould have likened the glorification process to the core or sanctification view of purgatory "Grace is much more than forgiveness, it is also transformation and sanctification, and finally, glorification. We need more than forgiveness and justification to purge our sinful dispositions and make us fully ready for heaven. Purgatory is nothing more than the continuation of the sanctifying grace we need, for as long as necessary to complete the job".


Latter-day Saint Movement

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, teaches of an intermediate place for spirits between their death and their bodily resurrection. This place, called "the spirit world," includes "paradise" for the righteous and "prison" for those who do not know God. Spirits in paradise serve as missionaries to the spirits in prison, who can still accept salvation. In this sense, spirit prison can be conceptualized as a type of purgatory. In addition to hearing the message from the missionary spirits, the spirits in prison can also accept posthumous baptism and other posthumous ordinances performed by living church members in temples on Earth. This is frequently referred to as "baptism for the dead" and "temple work." Members of the Church believe that during the three days following Christ's crucifixion, he preached his gospel to inhabitants of spirit prison.


Judaism

In
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
,
Gehenna The Valley of Hinnom is an important topographical feature surrounding historical Jerusalem from the west and southwest. Its name in biblical Hebrew is "valley of the son of Hinnom" (''ge ben hinnom'') or "valley of the children (sons) of Hi ...
is a place of purification where, according to some traditions, most sinners spend up to a year before release. The view of purgatory can be found in the teaching of the Shammaites: "In the last judgment day there shall be three classes of souls: the righteous shall at once be written down for the life everlasting; the wicked, for Gehenna; but those whose virtues and sins counterbalance one another shall go down to Gehenna and float up and down until they rise purified; for of them it is said: 'I will bring the third part into the fire and refine them as silver is refined, and try them as gold is tried' [Zech. xiii. 9.]; also, 'He [the Lord] bringeth down to Sheol and bringeth up again'" (I Sam. ii. 6). The Hillelites seem to have had no purgatory; for they said: "He who is 'plenteous in mercy' [Ex. xxxiv. 6.] inclines the balance toward mercy, and consequently the intermediates do not descend into Gehenna" (Tosef., Sanh. xiii. 3; R. H. 16b; Bacher, "Ag. Tan." i. 18). Still they also speak of an intermediate state. Regarding the time which purgatory lasts, the accepted opinion of R. Akiba is twelve months; according to R. Johanan b. Nuri, it is only forty-nine days. Both opinions are based upon Isa. lxvi. 23–24: "From one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to another shall all flesh come to worship before Me, and they shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against Me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched"; the former interpreting the words "from one new moon to another" to signify all the months of a year; the latter interpreting the words "from one Sabbath to another," in accordance with Lev. xxiii. 15–16, to signify seven weeks. During the twelve months, declares the baraita (Tosef., Sanh. xiii. 4–5; R. H. 16b), the souls of the wicked are judged, and after these twelve months are over they are consumed and transformed into ashes under the feet of the righteous (according to Mal. iii. 21 [A. V. iv. 3]), whereas the great seducers and blasphemers are to undergo eternal tortures in Gehenna without cessation (according to Isa. lxvi. 24). The righteous, however, and, according to some, also the sinners among the people of Israel for whom Abraham intercedes because they bear the Abrahamic sign of the covenant are not harmed by the fire of Gehenna even when they are required to pass through the intermediate state of purgatory ('Er. 19b; Ḥag. 27a). Maimonides declares, in Jewish principles of faith#Maimonides' 13 principles of faith, his 13 principles of faith, that the descriptions of Gehenna, as a place of punishment in rabbinic literature, were pedagocically motivated inventions to encourage respect of the Torah commandments by mankind, which had been regarded as immature.Maimonides’ Introduction to Perek Helek, ed. and transl. by Maimonides Heritage Center, pp. 3–4. Instead of being sent to Gehenna, the souls of the wicked would actually get annihilated.Maimonides’ Introduction to Perek Helek, ed. and transl. by Maimonides Heritage Center, pp. 22–23.


Islam

Islam has a concept similar to that of purgatory in Christianity. Barzakh is thought to be a realm between paradise (Jannah) and hell (Jahannam) and according to Al-Ghazali, Ghazali the place of those who go neither to hell or to heaven. But because it does not purify the souls it resembles more the limbo than the purgatory. In some cases, the Islamic concept of hell may resemble the concept of Catholic doctrine of purgatory, for Jahannam just punishes people according to their deeds and releases them after their habits are purified. A limited duration in Jahannam is not universally accepted in Islam.


Indian religions

Indian religions believe in purification of the soul in Naraka.


Tengrism

There is belief in Tengrism, that the wicked would get punished in Tamag before they would be brought to the third floor of the sky.Deniz Karakurt: ''Türk Söylence Sözlüğü'', 2011, p. 266.


Zoroastrianism

According to Frashokereti, Zoroastrian eschatology, the wicked will get purified in molten metal.


Mandaeism

In Mandaean cosmology, the soul must go through multiple ''maṭarta'' (i.e., purgatories, watch-stations, or toll-stations) after death before finally reaching the World of Light ("heaven"). The Mandaeism, Mandaeans believe in purification of souls inside of Leviathan,Mandaean Book of John, Das Johannesbuch der Mandäer, ed. and transl. by Mark Lidzbarski, part 2, Gießen 1915, pp. 98–99. whom they also call Ur (Mandaeism), Ur.Hans Jonas: The Gnostic Religion, 3. ed., Boston 2001, p. 117.


See also

* Aerial toll house * Anima Sola * Araf (Islam), Araf * Purgatorio, Dante's ''Purgatorio'' * Future probation * Christian views on Hades * Heaven in Christianity * History of purgatory * Jewish eschatology * Life review * Matarta * Paradise * Penance * Sheol * Spirit world (Latter Day Saints) * Spirits in prison


References


Further reading

* Vanhoutte, Kristof K.P. and McCraw, Benjamin W. (eds.). ''Purgatory. Philosophical Dimensions'' (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017) * Gould, James B. ''Understanding Prayer for the Dead: Its Foundation in History and Logic'' (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016). * Le Goff, Jacques. ''The Birth of Purgatory'' (U of Chicago Press, 1986). * Diana Walsh Pasulka, Pasulka, Diana Walsh. ''Heaven Can Wait: Purgatory in Catholic Devotional and Popular Culture'' (Oxford UP, 2015
online review
* Tingle, Elizabeth C. ''Purgatory and Piety in Brittany 1480–1720'' (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2013). *


External links



A Catholic answer.

on Internet Archive
Church Fathers on Purgatory

Purgatory
Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2009.

with an image of a ladder, reminiscent of icons such as the ''Ladder of Divine Ascent (icon), Ladder of Divine Ascent'', which has been interpreted as a "purgatorial ladder"
Quran Inspector: Chapter 7: "The Purgatory (Al-A'araf)" ( سورة الأعراف )
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