Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow on the Particular Judgment and Toll-Houses

May 16, 2015

Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow 1816-1882

“Orthodox Dogmatic Theology” v.II, pp. 526-538

§ 249.

Reality of the Particular Judgment

The doctrine that, upon the death of a man a judgment takes place, known as the particular judgment in contrast to the general, which is to be at the end of the world.

1) Was known even in the Church of the Old Testament. The wise son of Sirach says in one place: “For it is a convenient thing unto the Lord in the day of death to reward a man according to his ways. The affliction of the hour maketh a man forget pleasure: and in his end his deeds shall be revealed.” ( Sir. 11, 26. 27). If it is a convenient thing unto the Lord on the very day of his death to reward a man according to his merits, and if, according to His will, there is indeed a revelation at his very end to a person of his doings, and this is not postponed until the general judgment, it must be necessary to allow that immediately upon a man’s death there will be a particular judgment. Otherwise, what would be the purpose that at that time all his works would be revealed to him? What does that revelation itself mean? And why does the Wise one note that it is convenient to God to reward a man for his deeds on the very day of his death?…

2) Was expressed with all clarity in the New Testament by St. Apostle Paul when he said: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews. 9, 27). Here the Apostle, obviously, does not suggest any gap between death and the judgment. Therefore is speaking not of the general judgment, but of the particular one.

3) Was clearly preached by the Holy Fathers and teachers of the Church. For example:

St. Gregory The Theologian, speaking in one place on the death of King Constantius, remarks that he translated from life here, “having brought, as they say, useless repentance at his last breath, at which time everyone becomes a sincere judge of himself, on account of the judgment that awaits there([1640]).

St. John Chrysostom inspired his audience: “No one living on earth, without having obtained the remission of his sins, after his transition to the future life, can escape those torments. But just as criminals are taken from prison to court in chains: so, upon their departure from this life, souls will be led to the terrible judgment, burdened by the various bonds of sins “([1641]). “On departure from this life, we will appear at a fearful judgment, and will give an account of all our affairs, and–if we remained in our sins , then we shall undergo tortures and executions, but if decide to pay at least a little heed to ourselves, then we shall be made worthy of crowns and blessings unimaginable: knowing this, let us keep the naysayers silent and let us ourselves embark on the path of virtue, that with hope, befitting a Christian, we shall appear at the aforesaid judgment, and obtain the benefits promised to us “([1642]). And also: “Prepare thy works for [thy] going forth, and prepare thyself for the path;” (Prov. 24: 27 [Septuagint]). If you have someone stolen something, give it back, and say, like Zacchaeus: I will restore it fourfold (Luke 19,). If you have berated someone, if you have become the enemy of anyone either, reconcile prior to the trial. Resolve all things here, so that you will see that judgment without any grief. As long as we are here, until then we have a good expectations: but when we depart there- we will be powerless to repent and wash away our sins. Therefore we must continually prepare for our departure from here. For what if it will be pleasing to God to call us tonight? What if tomorrow? “([1643]).

Blessed Augustine calls it a “fair and very salutary belief that the souls are judged as soon as they emanate from their bodies, before they appear for the judgment where they will be tried in resurrected bodies “([1644]).

St. Demetrius of Rostov: “For us, Orthodox Christians, it is meet for every one of us on every day and at every hour to look for the unknown hour of the ending of our lives, and to be ready for departing: for there will be a terrible judgment for each one of us, prior to the general terrible judgment.”([1645]). “Judgment is twofold: particular and general. A particular judgment is one which every man, dying, has, since he will then see all of his own deeds “([1646]). “We look for every day and every hour the coming of the Lord to us, but not yet that terrible coming again, with which He will come to judge the living and the dead and to reward each for his deeds; we do not await at every hour that time, in which (by the words of Peter the Apostle) in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2 Peter. 3, 10), but await, each one, the hour of our own death, in which the judgment of God will come to take our souls from our bodies, in which hour there will be for each a particular trial about that which we have done; we await that hour at every hour as the Lord Himself, protecting us, taught in the Gospel: Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. (Luke 12, 40) “([1647]).

4) It is comprehensible also for common sense. It could not accept that the state of souls, from death until the general judgment remain undetermined, uncertain ([1648]). For how to represent this state? Unconscious? But how is that possible for the soul which is, by nature, self-conscious? And even if this were possible, with what purpose could this be permitted by the wise Providence? ““Or conscious? In that case, how could the soul be conscious of itself, while not being found in a defined state? And what kind of an existence would this be? Therefore, it is necessary to postulate a disposition for every soul immediately upon the death of a man; and do it is necessary to postulate the particular judgment, at which this disposition must be determined.

§ 250.

The representation of the particular judgment: the doctrine of the toll-houses.

How the particular judgment takes place The Holy Scripture does not set forth. But the figurative representation of the judgment, based mainly on Holy Tradition and in concord with the Holy Scriptures, we find in the doctrine of the toll-houses, which exists from ancient times in the Orthodox Church.

I. The essence of the doctrine of the toll-houses can be seen in the Word of St. Cyril of Alexandria on the departure of the soul, which is usually printed in one of the books of the Church- “The Augmented Psalter”([1649]). Let us borrow from its primary themes. “When separation of our soul with the body there will appear before us, on the one hand, the hosts and the forces of heaven, on the other powers of darkness, evil holders of the air, aerial toll-house officers, torturers and accusers in our matters … Seeing them, the soul is troubled, shudders, trembles, and in confusion and horror, wishes to seek the protection of God’s angels, but, even being accepted by the holy angels, and under their shelter flowing through the aerial spaces and soaring to the heights, it will encounter different toll-houses (like some outposts or customs houses that exact fees), which are blocking its way into the kingdom, and will be stopping it and impeding its aspiration to achieve that goal. At each of the toll-houses an answer will be demanded concerning particular sins. The first toll-house concerns sins committed through the mouth and tongue … The second toll-house — sins through sight … The third toll-house–sins through hearing … The fourth toll-house–smell… The fifth -toll-house– All iniquity and foul deeds perpetrated by using the hands. To further toll-houses other sins are related, such as: anger, hatred, envy, vanity and pride … briefly, each passion of the soul, every sin in this way will have its toll-takers and torturers … There will be present at this also the divine powers and a host of evil spirits, and just as the first would represent the virtues of the soul, so the last accusers of sins, committed by word or deed, with the thought or intention. Meanwhile, the soul, being among them, will be living in fear and trembling, worrying in its thoughts, until, finally, based on its acts, deeds and words, either will be convicted and bound with chains, or, having been acquitted, it will be released (for everyone is tied by the bonds of their own sins). And if for its life being devout and pious, it would be found worthy, it will be taken up angels, and then it will already fearlessly speed to the kingdom, accompanied by the holy powers … On the contrary, if it turns out that it spent its life in negligence and incontinence: it shall hear that terrible voice: let the ungodly be taken away, that he see not the glory of the Lord. (Isa. 26, 10 , [Septuagint])…; then the angels of God leave it, and it is taken by the terrible demons …, and the soul, bound by unbreakable ties, will be cast down into a abode grim and dark, in places under the earth, for confinement in underground dungeons and prisons of hell.” ([1650]).

It is therefore evident: a) That the toll-houses represent the inevitable path that all human souls, both evil and good, make during the transition from temporal life to the eternal lot; b) that at the toll-houses, during this transition, every soul, in the presence of angels and demons, before the eye of the all-seeing Judge, gradually and in detail is interrogated concerning all its deeds, both bad and good, c) that as a result of this interrogation, this detailed examination of every soul concerning its previous life, souls that are good, who have been acquitted at every toll-house, will be lifted up by the angels into the heavenly abodes, while the souls of sinners, being detained in one or another of the toll-houses, having been accused of wickedness, are dragged, upon the sentence of the unseen Judge, by demons to their dark dwelling-places ([1651]). And, therefore, the toll-house is nothing other than the particular judgment, which is performed on human souls invisibly by the Lord Jesus Himself through the angels, and admitting to the this also the accusers of our brethren (Rev. 12,10), the evil spirits, — the judgment, at which the soul is reminded of all its deeds which are impartially evaluated before it, and after which is determined its known outcome[1652]).

II. This doctrine of the toll-houses, as set out by St. Cyril of Alexandria, existed in the Church before St. Cyril, as well as after–in all subsequent centuries.

1) Before St. Cyril of Alexandria, it is found very frequently, as a doctrine generally known, in the writings of Holy Fathers and teachers, in particular of the fourth century ([1653]). For example:

In St. Ephraim the Syrian: “When the lordly powers are approaching, when the terrible hosts are coming, when the divine collectors command the soul to move from the body, when, dragging us by force, lead us to the inevitable judgment: then, seeing them, the poor man. . . begins to shake, as if from an earthquake, and is all atremble … The divine collectors, having taken the soul, rise up through the air, where appear the principalities, the dominions, the rulers of the adverse powers. These are our evil of accusers, strange toll-collectors, scribes, tax-collectors; they meet the soul on its path describe and examine the sins and the handwriting of this person, the sins of his youth and old age, voluntary and involuntary, committed in deed, word, and thought. There is great fear and great trepidation for the poor soul, indescribable need, which it will then suffer from countless multitudes and hordes of its enemies, slandering it, to keep it from being able to rise to heaven, to dwell in the light of the living, to enter into the land of life. But the holy angels, having taken the soul, lead it away.”([1654]).

In St. Athanasius the Great: “In some night, a voice from above came to him (Anthony), saying: “Anthony, arise, go out and see. And having arisen, he went out, and having lifted up his eyes to heaven, he saw someone long and dark, reaching the clouds with his head: he saw others, also, as if with wings, striving to rise to the heavens, but this one, stretching forth his hand, prevented their climb, and they were pushed away from him and cast down on the ground; others, however, ignoring him, flew across with boldness, causing that one to lament about them, gnashing his teeth. And again there was a voice to Anthony: understand what you saw, and he began to understand with an illuminated heart that this was the rising of the souls, the obstruction of the devil, when he could clutch sinners to himself, while he could not catch the saints. “And also, “St. Anthony, once finding himself in a state similar to death, saw himself being carried on the air. Impeding him on his path were aerial demons and they would not let him pass by: while angels, in conflict with them, demanded to know the reason for this obstruction. They then were forced to discover the sins of Anthony from the time of his birth”([1655]).

In St. Macarios the Great: “When the human soul emanates from the body, a great kind of mystery occurs. For if it were guilty of sin: then come hordes of demons, evil angels and dark forces, which are taking this soul and carrying it away to their side. No one should be surprised by this. For if a man, while still alive, while still being found in this world, resigned, surrendered and subjugated himself to them, then will not they even more possess and enslave him when he goes out of this world? “As to the other, better part of people, with them it occurs in another way. That is, the angels are with the holy servants of God, so even in this life, the holy spirits surround them and protect them. And when the soul is to be separated from the body, then the choirs of angels take them into their society, into a radiant life, and thus lead them to the Lord”([1656]).

In St. John Chrysostom: “If when we are going into some foreign country or city, demand guides: how much more will we need helpers and directors for us to pass unhindered by the chiefs, authorities, aerial world rulers, persecutors, keepers of the toll-houses?…» “The Holy angels peacefully separated us from the body (these words are placed by the holy father into the mouth of infants who died), and we, having good guides, without calamity passed by the aerial authorities. The evil spirits could not find in us what they were looking for, did not notice what they wanted. Having seen the body without sin, they are humiliated, and seeing the immaculate soul, they are ashamed, and seeing the undefiled tongue, silent. We passed by, and humiliated them. The net was broken, and we were freed. Blessed be God, who hath not let us fall into their snare” ([1657]). And also: “those lying on the bed with great force shall shake it and look in fear at those present, while the soul tries to stay in the body and does not want to part with it, terrified by the vision of approaching angels. For if we, looking at frightening people, tremble; then what will be our anguish when we see the approaching angels fierce and merciless powers when they will be dragging our soul and will be tearing it away from our body, when it [the soul] will weep, but in vain and to no avail? ” ([1658]).

The same is set out, with more or less detail, by St. Basil the Great ([1659]), St. Gregory of Nyssa ([1660]), St. Epiphanius ([1661]), Eusebius of Caesaria ([1662]), Palladius of Elenopolis ([1663]), Macarius of Alexandria ([1664]).

2) After St. Cyril of Alexandria this doctrine is transmitted by a series of teachers of the Church, of different places and times.

Namely: Eusebius, bishop of Galicia: “Afore its separation from the body it will be too late for the soul to repent of its iniquities. Alas, what will happen to it, when those responsible for its death (the evil spirits) will drag it across the vast aerial air space and lead it by dark paths?” ([1665]).

Blessed John the Merciful: “As the soul departs from the body and wishes to arise to the heavens, it is met by faces of demons, and is tortured first for lies and slander. And if it has not repented of them, then it will be restrained by the demons. And again, higher, the soul is met by demons and tortured for fornication and self-glorification. If it has repented of these, it will be free of them. And there are many barriers and trials by the demons for the soul striving toward the heavens. After these–rage, jealousy, gossip, anger, slander, pride, bad words, disobedience, vengeance, avarice, greed, evil remembering, doing magic, casting spells, gluttony, hating one’s brother, murder, stealing, having no mercy, fornication and adultery. And when that accursed soul is going from earth to heaven is, apart from it are found holy angels who do not help it: but the soul speaks for itself, giving an answer of its repentance and good deeds, and especially of alms. For if there are sins that it forgets to repent here, then by alms it will be delivered from the violence of the demonic toll-houses”([1666]).

Venerable Maximos the Confessor: “Who of those like me, defiled by the filthiness of sin, will not fear the presence of the Holy angels, who is to pass from this life, according to the commandment of God, with force, anger, and against his will, force him from his body? Who, conscious of their own evil deeds, does not fear meeting cruel and merciless crafty demons? “([1667]).

Also: St. John Climacus ([1668]), Venerable Theodosius of the Caves ([1669]), St. Cyril of Turov ([1670]), Mark of Ephesus, Gabriel of Philadelphia ([1671]), St. Dimitry of Rostov ([1672]) and others.

3) We know also that the doctrine of the toll-houses is included in the Lives of the Saints ([1673]) and in the most holy songs and prayers, used by the Orthodox Church. These are:

In the canon to the Lord Jesus and All-Holy Mother of God, which is sung at the separation of the soul from the body of every right believer:

“Vouschafe me to pass from the earth unhindered by the Aerial Prince, the violent one, torturer, keeper of the terrible ways and vain word-extortionist “(Ode 4, tr. 4).

“Vouschafe me to flee from the barbarian bodiless hosts, to pass the aerial depths and to arise to the heavens, so that I may forever glorify Thee, O Mother of God “(Ode. 8, tr. 2).

In the Octoechos of St. John Damascene, in the Canon for the dead:

“When my soul desires to separate its bodily ties and depart from life, do Thou appear to me, O Mistress, and destroy the councils of the bodiless enemies, crush their jaws of those who seek to devour me: that I may without hindrance pass the princes of darkness, standing in the air, O Bride of God, “(Tone 2, Sat. Ode 9, Tr. 16) ([1674]).

In Canon to the Guardian Angel:

“All my life I have spent much time in vain, now I approach the end: I pray thee, my keeper, be a protector to me and an undefeated champion, when I will pass the toll-houses of the ferocious keeper of the world”(Ode. 9, tr. 3) ([1675]).

In the Prayer after the fourth Kathisma:

“O Lord, grant me tears of compunction … that with them I will pray to Thee to be cleansed before my end of every sin: a fearsome and stern place I must pass, having separated from my body, and a multitude of dark and inhumane demons will meet me (Psalt. Prayer after the 4th Kath.).

Such continuous, perpetual and ubiquitous use in the Church of the doctrine of toll-houses, and especially among teachers of the fourth century, offers indisputable evidence that it has been transmitted to them from teachers of the prior centuries and is based on apostolic tradition.

III. It is natural because the doctrine of the toll-houses is in complete agreement with the Holy Scripture. In this doctrine:

1) It says that to people dying, at the time of the separation of their soul from the body, are sent angels of God and the torturing spirits.

The Savior Himself said: when the poor man died he was carried by angels to the bosom of Abraham (Luke 16: 22), and God said to another man: “You fool! In this very night your soul will be wrested from you (Luke 12, 20) ““ “wrested,” it is most fair to consider, by malevolent spirits ([1676]). In addition St. Scripture teaches that the angels in general are ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1, 14), that they cared about us during all our lives (Ps. 90, 10. 11), and are our intercessors and directors, especially the Guardian Angel given to each person at baptism (Matt. 18, 10, Ps. 33,): very natural, if these good spirits do not leave us without their the help especially at the weighty moment of our death, and that they will not refuse to accompany our souls, guide and support them also during the fearsome and totally unknown to them passage from this real life into the realms of eternity. On the other hand the Holy Scripture teaches that all activities of evil spirits are continually directed to our destruction (Eph. 6: 12, 2 Tim. 2: 26, 1 Thess. 3:5) that our adversary the devil, with his minions, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter. 5, 9): Would he miss his convenient opportunity to do anything possible to achieve the ruin of our souls also in the moments of their separation from the body?

2) It is said that, on separation from the body, a person’s soul, making its way into the upper world through the ethereal space, continually meets fallen spirits there. And the word of God witnesses that the air is as if filled with the spirits of wickedness in the heavenly spheres (Eph. 6, 12), naturally, filled not physically, but spiritually ([1677]) – that their prince is a prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2, 2), and that, therefore, the soul of man, as soon as it comes out of the body, inevitably comes into their area.

3) It appears that these dark spirits, as toll-collectors, torturers, stop the soul during its path to heaven at various toll-houses, reminding it in stages about its different kinds of sins, and trying in every way to condemn it – yet, good angels, accompanying the soul at the same time, remember, the opposite of its sins — its kind deeds and strive to justify it. It is natural to such an activity of the evil spirits is completely natural: they cannot not know and not remember all of our sins, they cannot not use, when the occasion arises all efforts in order to condemn us, when, according to the teachings of the Holy Scripture, they are our constant tempters and participants in all our wrongdoings (I Thess. 3, 5; I John. 3,  and are committed to one goal: to deprive us of our eternal salvation (Luke 8, 12; I Peter. 5, . In the same way the previously mentioned activity of good angels is equally natural, of those, who, as our mentors in every good thing and who lead us to eternal salvation (Hebrews 1, 14), who, no doubt, know our good deeds, and by their love, cannot but help to contribute to our justification.

4) It appears that God does not directly perform a private judgment of the soul of a man upon its separation of the body, but allows it to suffer torture by the evil spirits, who act as if they were the instruments of his terrible justice, and yet at the same time uses as instruments of His goodness, the good angels. But if even at the time of the end of the world when the Lord will appear in all His glory, to judge the living and the dead, He will not directly will perform everything related to the judgment, but “will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. (Matt. 13: 41-49;): what then surprising that He performs the particular judgment not directly, but through His serving spirits, of course, while being present at this invisibly Himself, as the Omnipresent One. Similarly, if it is known know that before the judgment of all, when even the fallen spirits will receive their final due (Jude 6), God allows them to act against man (Job 1, 12; 1 Peter. 5, 9), and sometimes uses them while still on the earth as His instruments of righteous wrath against sinners, as angels of destruction (Ps. 77, 49; 1 Cor. 6, 5): that what is strange if He allows them to be the same sort of instruments of His righteousness also during the particular judgment over the souls of men, using at the same time, as instruments of His goodness, His good angels?

IV. One must, however, note that, as in general with all depictions of matters of the spiritual world, — for us, clothed with flesh, there are inevitably features which are presented more or less physically, anthropomorphically,- -so, in particular, inevitably, they occur in the detailed teaching on the toll-houses, which the human soul passes upon separation from the body. And therefore we must keep firmly in mind the instruction that the angel gave the Venerable Macarius of Alexandria, when he just began talking about the toll-houses: “Accept earthly things here as being the weakest representation of the heavenly” ([1678]). It is necessary to consider toll-houses not in the rough, or sensual sense, but as much as it is possible for us, in a spiritual sense, and not be tied to particulars, which have been presented by various authors and in various stories of the Church differently, while preserving the unity of the basic idea regarding the toll-houses, ([1679]).



[1640] Word XXII, Praise of Athan. the Great, in Works of the Holy Fathers II,


[1641] On the Gospel of Matt Word XIV, n. 4. v. I, p. 263.

[1642] On the Gospel of Matt, Word XIII, n. 6, v. I, pp. 251-252.

[1643] Word on Lazarus II, n. 4, t. I, Addresses to the Antioch. people, p. 63, in Russian trans.

[1644] Nam illud, Quod rectissime et valde salubriter Credit (Vincentius Victor), judicari Animas, cum de corporibus exierint, antequam veniant ad illud judicium, quo eas oportet jam redditis corporibus judicari, atque in ipsa, qua in hic vixerint, carne torqueri, hoc itaque tandem ipse nesciebas? (De Anima et ejus origine II, 4, n. 8, in Patrolog. Curs. compl. T. XLIV, p. 498).

[1645] Investigation of the schismatic Brynsk faith, p. 117.

[1646] Collected Works. t. V, p. 8.

[1647] Investigation pp. 285-286.

[1648] Some heretics were taught that the soul dies together with the body, so then to rise with it on the day of resurrection (Eusebius. Church History VI,

Sec. 37 Augustine. haeres. LXXXIII; Damascene, haere.). The Nestorians taught that if the soul, without dying, but during the entire named period, i.e. from the death of the body until its future Resurrection, remains in a state of unconsciousness (Asseman. dissert. de Nestor. In Bibl. Orient. T. III, P. 11 , ρ. 342). The latter belief has been renewed by the Anabaptists and some Protestants (Zwing. Elench. adv. Catabapt. vol. III, n. 433).

[1649] However, even in the most Orthodox confession is expressed the essence of

the doctrine, although not clearly and fully, and the word “toll-houses” is not used (see Part II, Ans. To Quest. 25). [1650] Λόγος περι ̉εξόδου ψυχής, in Opp. T. V, p. II, p. 405-408, ed. Lutet., Χ in Christian Readings 1841, 1, 202-207.

[1651] Also about the toll-houses, as the path which is common for all who have deceased, it is described in the Life of the Venerable Vasiliy the New, where the Blessed Theodora, among other things, explains: “While ascending up I asked the holy angels who were leading us: my lords, do all Christians pass through these toll-houses, or is it possible for some person to pass through here without torture and fear, which are found in the toll-houses? The blessed angels answered me: there is no other path for the souls of the faithful, ascending to the heavens, all pass through here, but not all are equally tortured as you were; only sinners like you, those who have not performed a full confession of sins they have committed , those who were embarrassed and hid their shameful sins before their Spiritual Father; for if someone should truly confess all of his evil deeds, and is remorseful, and repents of those evil things he has done” ”then their sins are invisibly erased by the mercy of God, and when such a soul passes through here, the aerial torturers, having opened their books, can find nothing written in them, and they can do no harm, and the soul ascends joyously to the throne of grace. ”

[1652] “And it is meet, says St. Basil the Great, that the judgment of God would not be forcible, but rather that it be more like those courts, which are common among the people, and the defendant is given an opportunity to be justified, so that the person, seeing his case presented in clarity, and while defending his case, confirmed the inarguable judgments of God, agreeing, that punishment is meted out to him fully justly, and also when being pardoned he could see that forgiveness is given to him in accordance with law and order “(Exegesis of the 1 Chap. Of Isaiah, in Works of the Holy Fathers VI, 69-70). [1653] Prior to the fourth century, hints at this doctrine can be seen in Tertullian (de Anima cap. 53, in Patrolog. cursus. compl. T. II, P. 741), Origen (in Joan. T. XIX, n. 4; Τ. XXVIII, n. 5; in Levit. Hom. IX, n. 4), Hippolytus (adv. Platon. c. 1), Clement of Alexandria (Strom. IV 18) and others.

[1654] Homily on those who have reposed in Christ, in the Works of the Holy Fathers, XV, 269. 270. 271. The same doctrine is expressed by St. Ephraim, in his Homily Concerning those who deny the resurrection of the dead (in the Work of the Holy Fathers XV, 115-116) and in his Testament (Christian Readings, 1827, ХХVII, 275. 285. 292).

[1655] Life of Venerable Antholy of Egypt., in Orr. T. I, p. II, pag. 845, ed.Maur., in the  Chetyi-Minei , genv. 17.

[1656] Conversations on the double nature of those who have departed this life in Christian Writings 1828. XXXI, 113-114.

[1657] Homily XI, In memory of the dead (see in the Margarete). The Holy Father speaks in the same manner in his Conversation II οn Lazarus, n. 3, in t. I Conversations with the Antiochian people, p. 61 in the Russian translation.

[1658] on Matt. LIII, in volume II, p. 414.

[1659] In one place, he says: “Let no one flatter himself with vain rhetoric (Eph. 5, 6). For sudden destruction will come upon them (1 Thess. 5, 3), and they will be overturned, as by a storm. A morose angel will appear to take you forcibly and will pull your soul, bound by sins and, often turning back to what is left here, and weep silently, because the instrument of weeping has already been shut”(Conversation exhorting those who wish to be baptized in Works of the Holy Fathers VIII, 241). Αnd elsewhere: “Start thinking of your last day (because, without a doubt, you are not alone going to live forever), imagine to yourself confusion, reduced respiration and the hour of death, the approaching verdict of God, hastening angels, the soul in terrible perturbation because of this, mercilessly tormented by our sinful conscience, drawing the pitiful glances at what is there, finally- an undeniable need for being transported to that far-off resettlement”(Letter. 43 to a fallen virgin, ibid. X, 139).

[1660] De baptism. in Opp. T. II. p. 220, ed. Morel.

[1661] Hæres. LXXV.

[1662] Demonstr. Evangel. III, c. 5; praeparat. Evang. XI, c. 20.

[1663] Lavsaik Ch. 24, p. 89-90, St. Petersburg. 1850

[1664] Homily on the passing of the soul in Christian Readings 1831, XLIII, 126-131.

[1665] Homil. an ad monach., in Biblioth. PP., T. VII, p. 656.

[1666] Homily on the passing of the soul, in the Prologue for 29 October pg. 211 on the reverse

[1667] Epist. ad Cubicularium, in Biblioth. PP. T. XXVI, p.. 581.

[1668] Joan Climacus. Scala paradisi, p. 158, Paris 1633.

[1669] On his deathbed he prayed to the Lord Jesus thus: “My Lord! Be merciful to my soul, that it may not be met by the evil of the powers of the enemy, but let it be taken by Thy angels, who conductors through the dark toll-houses, leading me to the light of Thy mercy”(Chetyi-Minei. under 3 May)

[1670] He discloses the teaching on the toll-houses in great detail (The monuments of Russia Literature. XII century, p. 92, Moscow, 1821).

[1671] Vid. apud LeQuien, Dissert. Damascen. V, in Opp. s. Joan. Damasceni T.1.

[1672] “when the terrible hour of separation of my soul from the body shall come: then, My Redeemer, take me up in Thy hands, and protect me from all disasters unharmed, and let not my soul see the gaze of the cunning demons, but being saved, let it pass all of the toll-houses” (Coll. Works. p. I, pp. 179).

[1673] Which are: The Life Rev. Anthony the Great under 17 January; Life of St. John the Merciful at 29 October; Life of the Venerable Vasiliy the New at 12 November and 26 March.

[1674] And again: “In the hour, O Virgin, of my end keep me from the hands of the demons, and from the judgment, and trials , and terrible torture, and the bitter toll-houses, and the evil Prince, O Mother of God, and eternal condemnation (Octoechos. p. I, p. 286 on the reverse.Moscow, 1838).

[1675] Also: “Be merciful unto me, O angels of all-holy God Almighty, and save me from all of the evil toll-houses: for I do not have good deeds to measure against the measure of my evil doings.” (Trebnik. p. 182 on the reverse, M. 1836).

[1676] “At that time, Lazarus was led away by angels. On the contrary, the soul of the other (the rich man) was taken by some powers, perhaps, sent for this purpose; for the soul does not by itself depart to the other life, because this is impossible. If we, traveling from city to city, need a guide, then how much more will we need a guide for our soul, torn from our body and being presented to future life. For this reason, it, flying away from the body, frequently arises, frequently lowers down, and it fears, and it trembles. Because the consciousness of our sins always tortures us, but especially in that hour, when we face being led away to the coming tortures and the terrible judgment seat” (St. John Chrysostom, Conversations with the Antiochian people, III, On Lazarus II, n. 3 in vol. I, p. 61 in the Russian translation).

[1677] “But there is also mental (noetic) place where the mind is active, and mental and incorporeal nature exists: where the mind dwells and acts and is contained not in a bodily but in a mental fashion. For it is without form (σχ̃Εμα), and so cannot be contained as a body is. . . The angel, although not contained in place with figured form as is body, yet is spoken of as being in place because he has a mental presence and acts in accordance with his nature, and is not elsewhere but has his mental limitations there where he acts.”  (St. John Damascene, Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book 1, Chapter 13, Pp. 42-43).

[1678] Word on the departure of the soul, in Christian Readings, 1831, XLIV, 126.

[1679] Compare, for example, the detailed description of the toll-houses in the Homily of St. Cyril of Alexandria and in the Life of the Venerable Basil the New.

33 thoughts on “Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow on the Particular Judgment and Toll-Houses

  • May 16, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    How the Saints, by God’s Grace, Battled the Demons in the Air to Save King Branndubh’s Soul

    Brandubh was killed on the morrow, and demons carried of his soul into the air. And Maedhog [Abbot of Ferus; also called St. Aedhan] heard the wail of his soul as it was undergoing pain, while he was with the reapers. And he went into the air, and began to battle with the demons. And they passed over Hy; and Columkille heard them while he was writing; and he stuck the style into his cloak, and went to the battle to the aid of [Abbot] Meadhog, in defense of Brandubh’s soul. And the battle passed over Rome, and the style fell out of Columbkille’s cloak, and dropped in front of [St.] Gregory [the Great, the Dialogist], who took it up in his hand. Columkille followed the soul of Brandubh to heaven. When he reached it, the congregation of heaven were at Celebration, namely, ‘Te decet hymnus’ [Ps. 64], and ‘Benedic anima mea’ (Ps. 103), and ‘Laudate pueri Dominum’ [Ps. 112]; and this in the beginning of the Celebration of heaven. Columbkille did the same as the people of heaven. And they brought Brandubh’s soul back to his body again. Columbkille tarried with Gregory; and brought away Gregory’s brooch with him, and it is the hereditary brooch of the coarb of Columbiklle. [Life of St. Columba by St. Adamnan]

    • May 17, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Fr. Enoch,

      If you like, you can cut and paste that comprehensive collection of patristic sayings I have on the subject on this blog. You can remove the quotes by World Orthodox bishops that I used as a preface of sorts and write your own, or just leave the sayings as is. I don’t need any credit. Let’s get the truth out there and ferret out all innovators on this subject once and for all.

      • May 17, 2015 at 5:42 pm

        Thanks, Maximus. I remember running across the above translation someone did of Met. Macarius section on the Particular Judgment some years ago on the web. I was glad when it was forwarded to you you put it up, some time ago, because I had lost the original copy (I have one other person did translate the introduction and a few other part of Met. Macarius’ work from the two volume French edition published by the Governing Synod in the 19th century; but, aside from that, most of Met. Macarius’ works are in bits and piece in English, if anything more).

        • May 17, 2015 at 9:50 pm

          Thanks for sending it to me!

  • May 16, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    How St. Kevin did battle with demons, and by the Mercy of God, Saved the Soul of an Undeserving Man, by God’s Grace

    A certain cruel soldier had frequently perpetrated robberies among those mountain ridges. He had never done a good action but one, which was praying each day, that through St. Kevin’s merits, his soul might be saved. On a particular occasion, being surrounded by those who were in pursuit of him, he was put to death, and afterwards cut to pieces. An Angel of the Lord then appeared to [St.] Kevin saying: “A certain wretched man, who hath daily invoked thee to ward off danger from his soul, is slain on this day. Do you, therefore, act valiantly in the Lord’s name, and follow the demons who drag his soul to torments. For, although his body is destroyed, yet through the power of God, you shall snatch his soul from destruction.” Then, the holy Abbot felt comforted. Guided by the Angel, he was taken up from the earth to the higher regions of air, where he remained from the ninth hour to the following day, engaged in a contest with demons. In fine, through the Mercy of God, he release the wretched man’s soul from their power. Meantime, not knowing the cause of their holy Abbot’s absence, his monks felt sorrowful, on finding their venerable superior missing. When he returned to them, on the following day, he said: “O my brethren, bury the body of that culprit in your cemetery, for on his account, I ascended towards heaven. His soul is now liberated from the demons, and is at rest in God’s presence.” The monks did as they were commanded, while admiring those wonders wrought by the Almighty, through his holy servant. [Lives of the Irish Saints, Volume 6]

    • May 17, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Book info and page numbers please. I must have this one!

      • May 17, 2015 at 5:46 pm

        Pg. 62 O’Hanlon did some good work on the old manuscripts and books, otherwise, we’d have to start from scratch with either Latin (which would not be that bad, but, still time consuming), or Old Irish (which would have been impossible for the vast majority of people today, except for a select few scholars).

        • May 18, 2015 at 10:58 pm

          Fr. Enoch,

          Can you give me a breakdown of the Orthodox interpretation for when early Western Saints use the term “merit”. I’ve read somewhere that it was utilized as early as Tertullian.

          I noticed that the account also says that the “Almighty wrought works” through St. Kevin by “the Mercy of God” so it’s not like these merits put God in a status of debt (I’m not even sure if that’s the RCC understanding). I realize that the source is an RCC one so there might be theological interpolation occurring with the translation process, even though they’ve lost contact with the tradition of aerial demons in the process of the Particular Judgment.

          I interpret what’s written in that account according to what is observed in the writings of Ss. Barsanuphius and John in the manner of how to they taught their followers to pray to living Saints:

          ‘When we entreat the Holy Fathers who have departed to the Lord, we should say: “Forgive me.” But to those who are still with us, one should say: “Pray for us that we may receive forgiveness.” And when you entreat the Lord Himself, speak thus: “Have mercy on me, O Master, for the sake of Thy holy martyrs and for the sake of the Holy Fathers, and by their prayers forgive me my trangressions.” For the Prophet also said: For the sake of Abraham Thy servant (Dan. 3:35), and the Lord Himself said: I will defend this city for My sake, and for the sake of David My servant.’ (IV Kings 19:34). (Answers to the Questions of Disciples, 713)

          Not only is the teaching similar but I observed the same type events occur after death for the followers of Ss. Barsanuphius and Kevin:

          St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite: “The Great Elder [Barsanuphius of Gaza] would give over the souls of certain dying brethren to the Holy Life-giving Trinity, and while they would be passing over to heaven, he would free them from demonic attacks.” (The Life of Saints Barsanuphius and John, 5)

          In both Saint’s lives we have people that highly venerated them and sought their intercessions while still alive, and both Saints aided these persons against the wiles of the aerial demons after death.

          • May 18, 2015 at 11:25 pm

            I suppose an Orthodox interpretation would simply be the prayers for the departed; if an holy hermit fasts constantly, prays constantly, afflicts his body, gives alms, and does extreme ascetic labors for the salvation of others, and as a result, his prayers are answered, and those people accept baptism and live a Christian Orthodox life, or they repent and live a life according to God’s Will if they are already Orthodoxy, we can certainly say that his ‘merits’ (in a certain sense) were responsible for this, because it was this prayer for God’s Grace that helped.

            St. James says, “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (Jam. 5:19-20)

            If such labors that we give forth for the salvation of the living are effective, certainly such labors can help the souls of the departed, whether from the demonic hosts, or those who are in need of relief in (see Decree 18 of the Synod in Jerusalem, St. Mark’s Replies on Purgatory, and Larger Russian Catechism, etc).
            “Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (Jam. 4:6)

            All is by God’s Grace, even our good works, but, it is not such as to force us against our free will which He granted to all men. In this sense, our merits, or good works, which we accomplish by God’s Grace should lead us to deprecate ourselves and give God the glory.

          • May 18, 2015 at 11:58 pm

            Ahhhhh… the wonderful benefits of knowing a Western Rite Priestmonk! Thanks so much for this info.

          • May 19, 2015 at 12:17 am

            St. Hilary of Poitiers: The elect are distinguished in their wedding garment, splendid in the pure and perfect body of the new birth. Election, therefore, is not a thing of haphazard judgment. It is a distiction made by selection based on merit. Blessed, then, is he whom God elects: blessed for the reason that he is worthy of election. And it given us to know in what respect the blessed shall be elect, this being clear from what follows: “He shall dwell in your tabernacles.” (Commentaries on the Psalms, 64 [65])

          • May 18, 2015 at 11:39 pm

            The RCC teachings in the much later Medieval and Renaissance, etc, period, often have an ‘appearance’, or a certain similarity to Orthodox teaching, but, this is only so far. Thus, RCC writers mimic language that was used centuries and ages before, but, give slightly different interpretations; thus, the prayers of the saints and their ascetic labors for our benefit are accepted, but, they then build them up into a treasury of supererogatory merits in heaven which are controlled by the Pope; see, we see a big jump there already. RCC writers acknowledged that an intermediate state exists between death and the General Resurrection, in which those who departed having repented but not brought forth works of repentance (see St. Mark of Ephesus’ Homilies On Latin Purgatory) were consigned to a ‘place’, or really state’, which was traditionally called Hades, where, by the Great Mercy of God through the Bloodless Sacrifice, prayers, alms, etc, they were relieved and translated eventually to paradise; all that was true, however, the RCC writers then add purgatorial fire (which, to be honest, is merely one of a multitude of symbols older writers use; some describe green fields, others darkness, some ice, etc) which is relieved through the use of indulgences purchased from the Pope or those allowed, and which indulgences take advantage of the treasure of supererogatory heavenly merits of the saints which the Pope has control over, etc, etc. In both cases they are right to a certain point, but, then, so many other things come in as to ruin the matter.

            The same for many other things; as often as they accuse the Orthodox of ‘reading back into things’, they are far more guilty of the matter. Thus, St. Gregory the Great, the Dialogist, words on how he views Constantinople as being ‘submitted’ to the ‘Apostolic See’ are seen as evidence of the supremacy, or something similar of Old Rome in relation to Constantinople; however, St. Gregory’s interpretation of Apostolic See was FAR more expansive than Innocent III in the 1200s; the Apostolic See to St. Gregory Dialogists was Old Rome, Antioch and Alexandria together. Perhaps this is still an incorrect view, but, it certainly isn’t what would be much later made of it. Whatever it is, it is not Papalist Supremacism. The same for the term ‘vicar of Christ’; this, as demonstrated by António Pereira de Figueiredo (who certainly was not Orthodox!), was originally widely given to all bishops, in many areas; perhaps it was wrong, but, it certainly did not mean what Pius IX would have it mean; and on and on and on and on.

          • May 19, 2015 at 12:00 am

            It is revealing, at the least, that O’Hanlan simply rendered these matters, without trying to further alter them. As far as I know, the RC teaching by the 19th century was that there was no attempt by the demons to seize the soul immediately after death; you were either sent to purgatory, heaven, or hell, in their view, immediately. This tells me that O’Hanlan is adding very little to his translation, and it is similar to other accounts I’ve read in St. Bede, St. Boniface, St. Adamnan, St. Guthlac, etc. There are some books which written that cover this, which deal in chapters, in general, with how the Anglo-Saxons, Celts, and other early Western people understood this (also see what the h. It differed in no essential from what Met. Macarius states; some of the medieval western saints in the Anglo-Saxon culture described the soul passing through a forest even(!) in which the demons and angels fought over the soul, until the righteous emerged at the other end (thought, I think this was a rarer perception; the aerial scene was the most common).

            We look at the accounts of the Crucifixion, and we see many of the Gospel writers emphasize, or say, somewhat slightly different things;, but, certainly, we not being unbelievers in the Scriptures, do not take these as true contradictions. The same with the visions and accounts of the lives of the saints; some are different, but, the differences need not prove essentially contradictory; not only need they not, but, more often than not, if we approach it with the right eye, we see they are not.

          • May 19, 2015 at 12:12 am

            Yes, St. Maximus said that pious reading smooths over any apparent contradictions in the Gospel. This is my response to a priest that objected to this doctrine:

            “The telonia are obviously a long-held tradition of the Church. To object to them based on a literal count of how many there “really” are is ridiculous in my estimation. There are various images to point to spiritual realities in the world beyond: toll-houses, angelic and demonic examinations, fire, ice, bogs, etc. Some of the visions even utilize all these images simultaneously so if one reads these accounts in attempt to find contradictions in the geography of the lower heavens and hades literally (or coarsely) understood, is missing the point.”

      • May 17, 2015 at 5:48 pm

        The early and mid Medieval lives and writings of the Irish saints are full of these accounts and descriptions. All the saints and holy men had the same experience.

    • May 18, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      St.Justin Popovich has a chapter on Toll-Houses and Particular Judgment in “Dogmatics”. What are the beliefs in the Greek old calendar church regarding toll-houses?

      • May 18, 2015 at 11:02 pm

        I know that the SiR believes in them. Anastasios Hudson wrote about them publicly when he was a GOC-K priest. I honestly can’t see how anyone who’s read even a small selection of Fathers can deny them. It actually vexes me to no end how the multitude of Saints testify to their reality and yet people want to follow the teaching of a defrocked deacon instead.

      • May 18, 2015 at 11:16 pm

        There was generally no controversy anywhere about them, until the mid 20th century, which gradually was pushed more and more. Most simply let them be as part of the tradition of the Church, and did not seek to provide a complex defense, since it was not seen as necessary. In some sense, this was taken advantage of by a number of intelligent writers who made several attacks on them; in general, due to a somewhat pervasive influence in many circles of HOCNA and allied writers, it became ‘controversial’, and heavily caricatured. However, when the caricature is dispelled, as Met. Macarius does in the above, many have no problem accepting the tradition on this matter.

        I’d say most Orthodox Greek ‘Old Calendarists’ do not oppose this teaching, unless they have been heavily influenced to the contrary.

        • May 19, 2015 at 9:29 am

          Thank you both for answers. I was surprised to find out that some people within true old calendar churches do not believe in toll-houses. If the toll-houses were not real, then 40 days and all the prayers for reposed would be unnecessary. It is logical. Even in the official churches teaching against toll-houses is considered to be heresy.

          • May 19, 2015 at 10:20 am


            In the old world countries, in general, most people have no problem accepting the telonia; however, in the United States and Canada, for the past 50 years, among different groups, including the ‘Official’ jurisdictions (like the OCA, Antiochians, Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate, etc) there has been waged a large scale campaign in seminaries and other printing houses to attack the telonia teaching, to mischaracterize it, to say it isn’t the teaching of the Church, etc. Such mischaracterizations, such as the the view that the toll-houses teach that demons control our judgment and that they can lie about us and the lies cannot be challenged, and that we are basically at the mercy of demons at our death, and God has nothing to do with the Particular Judgment, has, for many simple people and others who were presented a false picture, proved very destructive. People were willing to accept prayer fro the departed, but, with the telonia teaching, due to the influence of many writers and seminaries (with some exceptions) being toned down, it left a bit of a gap; people would pray for the departed (per the instructions even after the 40 days, thus, for even relief of those who are in Hades until they are delivered, see Decree 18 of Jerusalem Synod 1672), but, the period of the Particular Judgment was presented as one in which you die and are immediately presented before God’s Throne (with no dispute of your soul by the demons and angels), and then God assigns you to either Paradise or to Hades (the later being either temporally, or eternally). I would say that ROCOR, in general, silence much of the opposition to the telonia teaching, however, until 1988 or so, there was a significant contingent of Greek clergy in ROCOR (most deriving, originally, from clergy which left the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the late 1960s to join ROCOR), which heavily agitated against the telonia teaching, and accused all those who held it of heresy. This was combined with dozens of booklets and book which sought to quote the Scriptures, services, and Fathers against the telonia, which, eventually led to many traditionalist being uncertain about what the teaching was in the 40 days after death. However, thanks to greater educational improvement, and an attempt to present older material and more reasoned Scriptural, patristic, and liturgical arguments from the Church’s Tradition, it would seem the pendulum is swinging back.

            If a man is taught simply, “The toll-house teaching is that demons decide whether you go to heaven or hell after death,” every right thinking person would object. But, of course, that is not what it is being taught.

            If a man is, instead, taught, “The toll-house teaching is that after death, as part of the Particular Judgment, God allows the demons and angels to dispute over your soul, with the demons being controlled in what they can and can’t do (i.e., they just can’t make up stuff without them being ‘called out on it’ by the Angels and rebuffed), and the Angels actively taking part, and this, in general is a spiritual and, from an earthly point of view, incomprehensible reality, through which God gives His judgment, etc,” most people will think more positively.

            In Christ,

            Fr. Enoch

          • May 19, 2015 at 10:48 am

            Father bless, thank you for such a long answer. Some time ago I came across the book by Fr.Michael Azkoul “Aerial toll-house myth”. Isn’t fr.Michael the priest in the true orthodox church? I did not have the knowledge that some of the clergy oppose the teaching of toll-house, I was truly surprised to learn that. I read the life of St. Theodora and the teaching about toll-houses before confessions. I believe that not believing in toll-houses makes us to be too loose in the faith, and to think how small sins cannot separate us from God. Thank you for the article and all the comments.

          • May 19, 2015 at 11:36 am

            As you may know, there are multiple Synods of bishops each claiming to be the True Orthodox Church; some are friendly to the others, some are mutually antagonistic to some, some are ambivalent toward all, and some are downright hostile to all but their own. In Greece, until about 1979, there were two main groups of True Orthodox (Greek Old Calendarists), generally called the “Florinites” (who composed about 90 to 95% of ‘Old Calendarists), and a smaller group called the ‘Matthewites’; in 1979 disputes arose over questions of leadership among the Florinites which led to several scandalous and shameful episodes in the 1980s, fracturing the Florinites into several different groups, with a larger group and them moderate to small groups. Recently, however, the condemned Russian heresy of Imiaslavism, which has been making a come back and reviving in the Moscow Patriarchate, has exported itself into Greece and taken over at least two groups of the Greek Old Calendarists (while also making in roads in Russia).

            There have been serious attempts at discussions for unity among traditionalists in Greece (i.e., among the ‘Old Calendarists’), but, these have been fraught with problems, or at least, outside criticisms. Of course, this does not present a very good picture, to say the least, to the outside world, or even many in the ‘official Church’. I do not believe this is a sufficient excuse to stay within the ecumenist-modernist Patriarchates, but, it certainly doesn’t help with many people.

          • May 19, 2015 at 12:49 pm

            I am aware of imyaslavie. Was it finally condemned? Was the false teaching of the toll-houses condemned? Indeed, all these separations among true orthodox give bad impression on those in the official churches. That is the main reason why they refuse to approach the old calendar churches, I can understand that. Obviously they all need to sit down and work on some of those personal issues.

          • May 19, 2015 at 6:18 pm

            Imiaslavie was condemned in 1912 and 1913, and continually resisted by Russian Church authorities, notably, St. Tikhon, and, in general, basically disappeared except for attempts by Sophiologists in the 1930s to defend it, wasn’t heard from again until the early 2000s, when it made a re-appearance in ROAC (Free Russian Church founded by ROCOR in the late 1980s and early 1990). The leader of the new Imiaslavist movement was eventually deposed and excommunicated by Metropolitan Valent of ROAC in the mid 2000s or so. Imiaslavists then sought to introduce their teaching into other groups, being successful to differing degrees. The vast majority of people who you would call ‘Greek Old Calendarists’ in Greece reject Imiaslavism and condemn it; the situation is similar for similar True Orthodox elsewhere; those who accept Imiaslavism are not considered Orthodox by them.

            The false attempt to paint the toll-houses has, is, largely disappeared among many. I don’t know, personally, anyone who holds the mischaracterized view anymore.

          • May 19, 2015 at 7:33 pm

            Are John S. Romanides and Met. of Nafpaktos Hierotheos read by GOC and other true orthodox? Forgive me, that is the last question. Thank you for clarifying all this to me.

          • May 19, 2015 at 8:55 pm

            Yes. Fr. John Romanides has been read, but, he was deeply involved in the ecumenical movement as well as in modernist renovationaist teachings. Met. Hierotheos has endorsed the doctrine that the Name of God is Uncreated (i.e., he embraces a form of Imiaslavie). As to why these two figures should have assumed such a prominent role among some Genuine Orthodox folks, I can only surmise it is because they present ideas which are emotionally conformable to modern western man. Of, Met. Hierotheos does not appear as bad as Fr. John; but, both display an attempt to re-interpret Orthodox doctrine in many areas to suit the modern emotional sentimentality.

          • May 20, 2015 at 12:01 am

            No wonder all these heresies evolved in the true orthodox churches. 2000 years of the orthodox wisdom through which Holy Fathers were sanctified, and “enlightened” people read this junk literature?!

          • May 20, 2015 at 6:52 am


            I think you might misunderstand. Imiaslavism, even from the ‘official church’ viewpoint was developed by Russian priests and monks in the 1890s and early 1900s. In fact, the only people defending Name-Worship in the 1920s and 1930s were members of the Soviet Moscow Patriarchate under Met. Sergius, or members of the Paris Exarchate under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Today, a prominent exponent of Name-Worship is the second in charge of the Moscow Patriarcahte, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk. This is why it is so strange that some True Orthodox fall from Orthodoxy by accepting these teachings of these later groups. All are agree today that no one can call themselves a True Orthodox Christian if they accept Imiaslavie.

            In fact, the True Orthodox have had to eject many persons who have been embracing Imaslavism, because we were so concerned with Church Tradition and wisdom; on the other hand, the Moscow Patriarchate, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the OCA, etc, have allowed Imiaslavism to be an acceptable view (and even promoted) in their bodies.

            Additional, the anti-telonia folks first started in the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the 1950s and 1960s; most today, in fact, exist in the OCA and the Antiochian Patriarchate (there is, in fact, a book officially published with the sanction of the Antiochian Patriarchate which claims that the telonia are ‘heresy’), Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate, etc, etc.

            So, I do not mean to argue, my friend, but, Imiaslavism was only able to thrive in the Moscow Patriarchate and Ecumenical Patriarchate in the 1930s; then be revived again in the Moscow Patriarchate in the 1990s. Then, it finally, influenced a few True Orthodox priests, who should not have been listening to MP or Phanar teachers; these True Orthodox priests who taught imiaslavie were eventually all deposed and excommunicated by the True Orthodox of Russia. The Moscow Patriarcahte, on the other hand, allows imiaslavism to be proclaimed (it even allows universalism, orapokatastasis, to be taught in its seminaries and by is bishops), while the True Orthodox have anathematized, once again, these heresies.

            Again, the vast majority of all anti-telonia people are in the ‘official church’; and the only way the anti-telonia movement was able to be exported into the True Orthodox in the 1970s and 1980s, was by Ecumenical Patriarchate priests joining ROCOR, and then later seeking to try to influence others. However, today, while anti-telonia views are widely held by members of the Antiochian Patriarchate, OCA, Greek Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, etc, these views are not considered acceptable by True Orthodox.

            In each case, as described in the above, the True Orthodox have always consciously identified themselves as not a ‘new and separate’ group that formed in the 1930s or so, but, as a continuation of the Church as it was before the outbreak and apostasy of the Patriarchates. Thus, we always consciously sought to solve problems when they arose and always took them seriously; agonizing over brothers who taught one things, and seeking to either correct them, or , if all else fails, to expell them from the Church until they come to their sense. On the other hand, the ‘Official Church’, such as the Moscow Patriarchate, Antiochian Patriarchate, Ecumenical PAtriarchate, and, sadly, the Serbian PAtriarchate, have allowed the heresies of ecumenism and modernism to fester, and did not listen to those in them trying to call them back to their Orthodoxy. This, I believe is the difference, one takes heresies seriously and has to fight and expel them,; the other, just doesn’t care and is taken over.

            In Christ,

            Fr. Enoch

          • May 20, 2015 at 10:30 am

            I agree with everything what you wrote, there was not misunderstanding. Yes, the true orthodox who fell into heresies should not listen theologians from world orthodoxy. I do understand the difference between those in ecumenism and the true orthodox. The only thing I was not aware of is the fact that some true orthodox people actually read theologians such us John S. Romanides. For that reason I said: no wonder heresies evolved. I know where imyaslavie comes from, but it was the surprise that came back and entered into true orthodoxy. I do understand that true orthodox churches belong to the Church, whose head is Christ. I do understand some of them are not in communion, but it does not mean they are not in the Truth. Thank you and I hope all true orthodox churches will unite in the Truth.

          • May 25, 2015 at 10:19 pm

            These authors are likely read because Greek Old Calendarist hierarchs and theologians don’t write much.

          • May 26, 2015 at 1:32 am

            I think that mostly applies to ones in the English language. There are writings in Greece, in Greek, by Greeks, about Greek Orthodox questions, but, few, if any, have been translated into English.

            However, in Greece and Russia, AS I UNDERSTAND, these things dealing with Romanides and the telonia, never rose up, really. The whole ‘controversy’ seems largely to have been something you find in US; first starting in various WO seminaries, and then transporting themselves into among True Orthodox (‘Greek Old Calenarists’).

          • May 27, 2015 at 8:05 pm

            Father Enoch or Marlon Scott, will you please write for me the list of the authors (and their books ) that teach the name-worshiping? This is very important for the salvation of many. I have always been reading books written by Holy Fathers only. Just recently I learned that those newly canonized elders and some popular elders have been teaching name-worshiping.
            Thank you so much.

  • May 19, 2015 at 1:27 am

    Life of St. Columba of Ireland and Scotland (6th century), by St. Adamnan (7th century)

    Book III

    Chapter X. Of the Apparition of Angels whom the man of God saw carrying to heaven the soul of a blacksmith, named Columb, and surnamed Coilrigin.

    A certain blacksmith, greatly devoted to works of charity, and full of other good works, dwelt in the midlands districts of Scotia (Ireland). When the forementioned Columb, surnamed Coilrigin, was dying in a good old age, even at that very moment when he departed from the body St. Columba, who was then in the Iouan island (Hy, now Iona), thus addressed a few of the senior brethren who were standing around him, “Columb Coilrigin, the blacksmith, hath not laboured in vain, seeing that he had had the happiness, as he desired, to purchase the eternal rewards by the labor of his hands. For, behold, at this moment, his soul is carried by the holy angels to the joys of the heavenly country, because he laid out all that he could earn by his trade in alms to the poor.”

    Chapter XI. Of a similar vision of Angels whom the blessed man beheld carrying to heaven the soul of a certain virtuous woman.

    In like manner, on another occasion, whilst the holy man was living in the Iouan island (Hy, now Iona), he one day suddenly raised his eyes to heaven and uttered the words, “O happy woman, happy because of thy virtues; the angels of God are now carrying thy soul to paradise.” Now these words from the mouth of the saint were heard by a certain religious brother, a Saxon, by name Genere, who was at that moment working at his trade, which was that of a baker. And on the same day of the month, at the end of the same year, the saint addressed the same Genere the Saxon, and said, “I see a wonderful thing; behold, the woman of whom I spake in thy presence last year, now meeting int he air the soul of her husband, a poor and holy man, and together with the holy angels engageth in a contest for it against the adverse powers; by their united assistance, and by the aid of the virtuous character of the man himself, his soul is rescued from the assaults of the demons, and brought to the place of eternal refreshment.

    Chapter XIV. Of the Apparition of Angels who had come down to meet the souls of the monks of St. Comgell

    At another time, when the venerable man was living in the Iouan island (Hy, now Iona), he became suddenly excited, and summoned the brethren together by the sound of the bell. “Now,” said he, “let us help by our prayers the monks of the Abbot Comgell, who are just now in danger of being drowned in the Lake of the Calf (Loch Laodh, now Belfast Lough); for, lo! at this moment they are fighting against the hostile powers in the air, and are striving to rescue the soul of some stranger who is also drowning with them.” Then after having wept and prayer fervently, he hastily stood erect before the altar with a joyful countenance, whilst the brethren continued to lie prostrate in prayer. “Give thanks,” he said, “to Christ, for now the holy angels coming to the aid of holy souls, have rescued this stranger from the attacks of the demons, and borne him off in triumph like victorious martyrs.”

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