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'''Purgatory''' refers to a doctrine in the [[Roman Catholic Church]] which posits that those who die in a state of grace undergo a purification in order to achieve the holiness necessary to enter heaven (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1030).<sup>[http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p123a12.htm#III]</sup>
The [[Orthodox Church]] has neither explicitly recognized the term "purgatory" nor officially accepted such a state, which is distinct from the more general being "asleep in the Lord." In his book entitled ''Why Do We Reject Purgatory?'', [[Coptic]] [[Pope]] [[Shenouda III (Gayyid) of Alexandria|Shenouda III]] presents many theological and biblical arguments against Purgatory. For example, he refers to 1 Thess 4:16,17, "And the dead in [[Christ]] will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord", in which [[Apostle Paul|Paul]] describes the Last Day saying that those faithful who are still alive will meet the Lord with those who rise from the dead and then remain with Him always, and wonders, "Are these faithful (alive on the Last Day) exempt from Purgatory? Or is God showing partiality towards them?"<sup>[http://www.suscopts.org/messages/lectures/eschlecture7.pdf]</sup> However, a response to this objection from the Catholics is perhaps found in the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. In discussing the Final Conflagration (the fiery apocalyptic purification/transformation of the Old Heaven and Earth into the New Heaven and Earth accepted by all the
fathers) it is said that for those still living at the time of the Conflagration, it will act as a sort of "Purgatory," for them: "There are three reasons why those who will be found living will be able to be cleansed suddenly. One is because there will be few things in them to be cleansed, since they will be already cleansed by the previous fears and persecutions. The second is because they will suffer pain both while living and of their own will: and pain suffered in this life voluntarily cleanses much more than pain inflicted after death, as in the case of the martyrs, because "if anything needing to be cleansed be found in them, it is cut off by the sickle of suffering," as Augustine says (De Unic. Bap. xiii), although the pain of martyrdom is of short duration in comparison with the pain endured in purgatory. The third is because the heat will gain in intensity what it loses in shortness of time."
That said, Greek Orthodox [[Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia|Metropolitan Kallistos Ware]] acknowledges several schools of thought among the Orthodox on the topic of purification after death. This divergence indicates that the Catholic interpretation of purgatory, more than the concept itself, is what is universally rejected. Also, there are Orthodox sources that indicate some sins can be forgiven after death<sup>[http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/death/stmark_purg.aspx];(Mt 12:32)</sup> but which also reject the notion of purgatory because of the indulgences and idea of purgatorial fire that are tied to it.