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Aerial Toll-Houses

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{{cleanup[[Image:tollhouses.jpg|right|thumb|350px|An Iconographic depiction of the Toll Houses]]The teaching of '''Aerial Toll-Houses''' regards the soul's journey after its departure from the body, and is related to the [[w:particular judgment|Needs particular judgment]]. In its most general form, it refers to the idea that after death, the demons attempt to find a more balanced approach (much basis for taking the soul to Hades, while the angels and the prayers of the text assumes that this theory living defend the soul if it can be defended. Whether the soul is universally held)finally seized by the demons, or taken to heaven depends on the state of the soul at death. Also needs In either case, the soul then experiences a lot foretaste of what it can expect after the [[w:final judgment|final judgment]]. According to Fr. Thomas Hopko, the teaching of the Toll Houses is found in virtually every Father of style workthe Church .<ref>Fr. Thomas Hopko on the Toll-houses,}}mp3</ref>
The teaching of '''Aerial Toll-Houses''' regards the soul's journey after its departure from the body.==Patristic evidence==
DnIn [http://www. Andrew Werbiansky summarizes the theory (described in Frorthodoxinfo. [[Seraphim Rose]]'s book ''The Soul After Death'') as follows: "following a person's com/death the soul leaves the body and is escorted to God by [[angel]]s/vita-antony. During this journey aspx the soul passes through an aerial realm which is ruled by demonslife of St. The soul encounters these demons at various points referred to as "toll-houses" where Anthony the demons then attempt to accuse it Great], he saw a vision of sin souls rising towards heaven and, if possible, drag the soul into hellsome being stopped by a large demon and cast down."<ref>Likewise [http://www.stlukeorthodoxfordham.comedu/htmlhalsall/evangelistbasis/2000/deathtollbede-book1.html St.htm Death Bede] recorded certain visions of a Celtic Saint who saw a soul arising and fighting off demons with the Toll House Contraversy] by Deacon Andrew Werbiansky</ref>help of angels and his reposed wife's soul.
According to teaching of In the Church, every person has demons that attack him, and "shoot their arrows at them"Philokalia, as Church Fathers say, that "arrows" being thoughts that suggest committing sinsSt. These demons write down every [[sin]] that they persuaded people to do, and even thoughts that people accepted and complied with, but did not, for what ever reason, actually actualize them. When a person repents for a sin, and confesses it in the Holy Mystery Diadochos of Photiki (/Sacrament) of Confession <ref>if there is an opportunity for that, if not, confession without ca 400 – 486 a [[priest]] is sufficient, as in the case of the Good Thief</ref>, it is by God's Grace and Power erased from the demon's papers. d.) states:
When the soul dies:"If we do not confess our involuntary sins as we should, on we shall discover and ill-defined fear in ourselves at the third day it is carried by [[angels]] towards Heavenhour of our death. On We who love the Lord should pray that we may be without fear at that waytime; for if we are afraid then, they must go past 20 aerial toll-houses, which are huge groups we will not be able freely to pass by the rulers of demons arranged according the nether world. They will have as their advocate to specific kinds plead against us the fear which our soul experiences because of sinsits own wickedness. When a But the soul accompanied which rejoices in the love of God, at the hour of its departure, is lifted with the angels of peace above all the hosts of darkness. For it is given wings by angels gets to a toll-housespiritual love, demons that tempted that soul during her life approach and accuse since it for sinsceaselessly carries within itself the love which 'is the fulfilling of the law' (Rom. 13:10). The sins that are written on papers of demons have to be "payed for" by persons good deeds in life, such as prayer<ref>Philokalia, fasting, asceticism, doing works of mercyVolume I, etcp. 295</ref>
According to Hagiographies, and In the accounts Alphabetical Sayings of [[saints]] that have passed the aerial toll-houses, and talked about it in their appearances to various holy manDesert Fathers, the demon often accuse the soul Theophilus of sins that they tempted her with, but it didn't comply with, of sins that she repented for, and Antioch (who reposed in that cases one of the angels, the one which was the persons guardian angel, speaks for the person, saying that those are lies, and that payment is not necessary, taking the soul to the next toll-house412 a.d. ) we find:
:"The same Abba Theophilus said, "What fear, what trembling, what uneasiness will there be for us when our soul is separated from the body. Then indeed the force and strength of the adverse powers come against us, the rulers of darkness, those who command the world of evil, the principalities, the powers, the spirits of evil. They accuse our souls as in a lawsuit, bringing before it all the sins it has committed, whether deliberately or through ignorance, from its youth until the time when it has been taken away. So they stand accusing it of all it has done. Furthermore, what anxiety do you suppose the soul will have at that hour, until sentence is pronounced and it gains its liberty. That is its hour of affliction, until it sees what will happen to it. On the other hand, the divine powers stand on the opposite side, and they present the good deeds of the soul. Consider the fear and trembling of the soul standing between them until in judgment it receives the sentence of the righteous judge. If it is judged worthy, the demons will receive their punishment, and it will be carried away by the angels. Then thereafter you will be without disquiet, or rather you will live according to that which is written: “Even as the habitation of those who rejoice is in you.” (Ps. 87.7) Then will the Scripture be fulfilled: “Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35.10).:"Then your liberated soul will go on to that joy and ineffable glory in which it will be established. But if it is found to have lived carelessly, it will hear that terrible voice: "Take away the ungodly, that he may not see the glory of the Lord." (cf. Isaiah 26.10) Then the day of anger, the day of affliction, the day of darkness and shadow seizes upon it. Abandoned to outer darkness and condemned to everlasting fire it will be punished through the ages without end. Where then is the vanity of the world? Where is the vain-glory? Where is carnal life? Where is enjoyment? Where is imagination? Where is ease? Where is boasting? Riches? Nobility? Father, mother, brother? Who could take the soul out of its pains when it is burning in the fire, and remove it from bitter torments?" <ref>The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection, translated by Benedicta Ward, p. 81-82)</ref> St. Mark of Ephesus wrote: :"But if souls have departed this life in faith and love, while nevertheless carrying away with themselves certain faults, whether small ones over which they have not repented at all, or great ones for which – even thought they have repented over them – they did not undertake to show fruits of repentance: such souls, we believe, must be cleansed from this kind of sin, but not by means of some purgatorial fire or a person definite punishment in some place (for this, as we have said, has not been handed down to us). But some must be cleansed in they very departure from the body, thanks only to fear, as St. Gregory the Dialogist literally shows; while others must be cleansed after the departure from the body, either while remaining in the same earthly place, before they come to worship God and are honored with the lot of the blessed, or – if their sins were more serious and bind them, for a longer duration – they are kept in hell [i.e., Hades], but not in order to remain forever in fire and torment, but as it were in prison and confinement under guard." <ref>First Homily: Refutation of the Latin Chapters concerning Purgatorial Fire, by St. Mark of Ephesus. Qtd. In "The Soul After Death, p 208f)</ref> ==Liturgical Evidence== In both the Greek and Slavonic Euchologion, in the canon for the departure of the soul by St. Andrew , we find in Ode 7: "All holy angels of the Almighty God, have mercy upon me and save me from all the evil toll-houses." Likewise, in the Canon of Supplication at the Parting of the Soul in ''The Great Book of Needs'' are the following references to the struggle of a soul passing through the toll-houses::"Count me worthy to pass, unhindered, by the persecutor, the prince of the air, the tyrant, him that stands guard in the dread pathways, and the false accusation of these, as I depart from earth." (Ode 4, p. 77).:"Do thou count me worthy to escape the hordes of bodiless barbarians, and rise through the aerial depths and enter into Heaven…" (Ode 8, p. 81).:"[W]hen I come to die, do thou banish far from me the commander of the bitter toll-gatherers and ruler of the earth…" (Ode 8, p. 81). In the Octoechos, there are many references to the Toll Houses: :"When my soul is about to be forcibly parted from my body's limbs, then stand by my side and scatter the counsels of my bodiless foes and smash the teeth of those who implacably seek to swallow me down, so that I may pass unhindered through the rulers of darkness who wait in the air, O Bride of God." [ Octoechos, Tone Two, Friday Vespers] :"Pilot my wretched soul, pure Virgin, and have compassion on it, as it slides under a multitude of offences into the deep of destruction; and at the fearful hour of death snatch me from the accusing demons and from every punishment." [ Ode 6, Tone 1 Midnight Office for Sunday] In the [ Saturday Midnight Office], the prayer of St. Eustratius, contains the following: :"And now, O Master, let Thy hand shelter me and let Thy mercy descend upon me, for my soul is distracted and pained at its departure from this my wretched and filthy body, lest the evil design of the adversary overtake it and make it stumble into the darkness for the unknown and known sins amassed by me in this life. Be merciful unto me, O Master, and let not my soul see the dark countenances of the evil spirits, but let it be received by Thine Angels bright and shining. Glorify Thy holy name and by Thy might set me before Thy divine judgment seat. When I am being judged, suffer not that the hand of the prince of this world should take hold of me to throw me, a sinner, into the depths of hades, but stand by me and be unto me a savior and mediator..." <ref>See The Unabbreviated Horologion or Book of the Hours, ed. Fr. Laurence Campbell (Jordanville, NY: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1995), p. 34, and The Great Horologion (Boston, MA: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1997), p. 48</ref> ==The Number of the Toll Houses== The most detailed version of the toll-houses occurs in a vision of Gregory of Thrace, apparently from the 10th century. The demons accuse the soul at each toll-house of sins. In some cases the demon might accuse the soul of sins that they tempted her with, but it didn't comply with, or of sins that she repented for, and in that cases one of the angels, the one which he did was the persons guardian angel, speaks for the person, saying that those are lies, and that payment is not repentnecessary, taking the soul to the next toll-house. If a person has unrepented sins, and does not have enough good deeds and prayers of the living to pay for them, the demons of the corresponding toll-house grab him, and take him to hellhades to await the final judgment. The soul navigates This vision recounts the toll-houses in the following order:
* At the first aerial toll-house, the soul is questioned about sins of the tongue, such as empty words, dirty talk, insults, ridicule, singing worldly songs, too much or loud laughter, and similar sins.
* The fourth is the toll-house of gluttony, which includes overeating, drunkenness, eating between meals, eating without prayer, not holding fasts, choosing tasty over plain food, eating when not hungry, and the like.
* The fifth is the toll-house of laziness, where the soul is held accountable for every day and hour spent in laziness, for neglecting to serve God and pray, for missing Church services, and also for not earning money through hard, honest labor, for not working as much as you are paid, and all similar sins.
* The sixth toll-house is the toll-house of [[theft]], which includes stealing and robbery, whether small, big, light, violent, public, or hidden.
* The seventh is the toll-house of covetousness, including love of riches and goods, failure to give to charity, and similar acts.
* The eight is the toll-house of usury, loan-sharking, overpricing, and similar sins.
* The last, twentieth toll-house is the toll-house of unmercifulness: failing to show mercy and charity to people, and being cruel in any way.
==Are They Literal?==
Many of the Orthodox who accept the doctrine of the toll-houses do not take the form or all the teachings from the vision of Gregory literally. Thus for example Fr. Thomas Hopko maintains that one should not try to associate a particular time after death to the process, nor should one take the toll-houses as being literally "in the air," or necessarily twenty in number. Likewise, he makes no mention in his argument for them of the doctrine of bargaining for sins (which is similar in some ways to the Latin doctrine of merits). Instead, his description, drawing on St. John Chrysostom and the Fifty Homilies of St. Macarius of Egypt, among others, takes the toll-house encounters to describe the attempt of the demons to assault the soul with its own vulnerability to sin, or to entice it away from God, and describes passing through the toll-houses as the purification of the soul.<ref>Fr. Thomas Hopko on the Toll-houses,</ref>. St. Theophan the Recluse likewise said that what the demons are seeking is "passions," and suggested that, although the toll-houses are often depicted as frightening, the demons might equally well try to entice the soul by appealing to one of its weaknesses. Some others go so far as to say that the demons and angels are metaphors for the sins and virtues of the soul.
[[Image:puhalo.jpg|right|thumb|350px|Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, censing an icon of Fr. Seraphim (Rose)]].There is disagreement in certain circles regarding the status of this teaching within the Orthodox Church. Some, including [[Archbishop]] [[Lazar (Puhalo) of Ottawa]], consider this teaching controversial, even false (describing it as gnostic or of pagan origin). These accusations were later declared to be wrong by the Holy Synod of the Russian Church Abroad.<ref name="orthodebatelink">[ Holy Synod of the Russian Church Abroad]</ref> The traditional proponents of the teaching argue that it appears in the hymnology of the Church,<ref>January 27, The Recovery of the Holy Relics of our Father among the Saints John Chrysostom, Troparion 1, Ode 5 of Orthros: "Grant me to pass untroubled through the host of noetic satraps and the tyrannic battalion of the lower air in the hour of my departure..."</ref> <ref>Parakletike, Friday Vespers, Second Mode: "When my soul is about to be separated violently from the members of the body, then, O Bride of God, come to my aid; scatter the counsels of the fleshless enemies and shatter their millstones, by which they seek to devour me mercilessly; that, unhindered, I may pass through the rulers of darkness standing in the air."</ref> in stories of the lives of saints (for example, the Life of St. [[Anthony the Great]], written by [[Athanasius of Alexandria|St. Athanasius the Great]], the life of St. [[Basil the New]], and St. [[Theodora]]), in the homilies of St. [[Cyril of Alexandria]]<ref> St. [[Cyril of Alexandria]] ''Ephesi praedicata depoito Nestorio, ACO''.14(5<sup>2</sup>.405D) as referenced by Lampe, G.W.H., ''A Patristic Greek Lexicon'', Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1961, p.1387</ref> in the Discourses of [[Abba Isaiah]],<ref>''The Twenty-nine Discourses of our Holy Father Isaiah,'' Volos, 1962, p. 37 (in Greek): "[Live] every day having death before your eyes, and concerning yourselves with how you will come out from the body, how you will pass by the powers of darkness what will meet you in the air, and how you will answer before God..."</ref> the [[Philokalia]], the [[Ladder of Divine Ascent]], and the [[Dogmatics of the Orthodox Church]] by Blessed [[Justin Popovich]]. Several contemporary Church figures speak about toll-houses.<ref>[ The Taxing of Souls] by Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos)</ref> <ref>[ Answer to a Critic, Appendix III from The Soul After Death] by Father [[Seraphim Rose]] of Platina</ref> <ref>Vid. Ephraim, Elder, [ ''Counsels from the Holy Mountain,''] St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery, Arizona, 1999, pp. 436, 447.</ref> <ref>Cavarnos, Constantine, ''[ The Future Life According to Orthodox Teaching,]'' Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, Etna, California, 1985, pp. 24-26.</ref> Secondly, not a single Church Father ever wrote even one sentence expressing doubt about this teaching (which is present in its most general form in the Church sense since at least fourth century), although their discussions of the topic are always about general struggles with "tax-collector" demons, lacking the details present in Gregory's vision (apart from one pseudo-Makarian story which also mentions numerous toll-houses and a bargaining over sins at each one). Thirdly, some of the greatest modern authorities of the Orthodox Church, such as St. Ignatius Brianchaninov<ref>A Word on Death, chapter "Aerial toll-houses"</ref> and St. [[Theophan the Recluse]],<ref>What is spiritual life, and how to obtain it, chapter "Perfect preparation for the Mystery of Repentance"</ref> insisted not only on the truthfulness, but on the necessity of this teaching in the spiritual life of a Christian. Since the teaching of the tollhouses has been [ accredited by the [[Holy Synod]] of the [[ROCOR|Russian Church Abroad]]], it therefore may be considered an official teaching of the Orthodox Faith.
*[http://pageswww.prodigysaintjonah.netorg/frjohnwhitefordarticles/tollhouses.htm Evidence for the Tradition of the Toll Houses found in the Universally Received Tradition of the Church]
*[ State of the Soul After Death According to the Teachings of Saint John Damascene] by Hieromonk Dionysios
*[ Death and the Toll-Houses] by Vladimir Moss
*[ Life After Death] by St. [[John Maximovitch]]
*[ On the Question of the "Toll-Houses": Our War is not Against Flesh and Blood] by Fr. [[Michael Pomazansky]]
*[ The Taxing of Souls] by Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos)
*[ Answer to a Critic (Deacon Lev Puhalo), Appendix III from The Soul After Death] by Father Seraphim Rose of Platina
*[ Illumined Heart Podcast Interview of Fr. Thomas Hopko]
*[ Fr. Seraphim Rose in Greece (Postcards From Greece Podcast, by Fr. Peter Heers)]
*[ “To Sleep, Perchance to Dream”: The Middle State of Souls in Patristic and Byzantine Literature] by Nicholas Constas
*[ From Repose to Resurrection: The Intermediate State of Souls] by Jesse Dominick. This paper, written for St. Tikhon's Seminary, examines in part the teaching of the toll-houses, including modern Saints, elders, and theologians who have taught the toll-house doctrine and responses to several criticisms of the toll-house teaching.
[[ro:Vămile văzduhului]]

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