3 Eastern Saints & Byzantine Liturgy say “Purgatory” ?


Though, on the ground, the Eastern Orthodox might sound as if they are not of one mind on the subject of post-mortam purgation , it can’t be easily dismissed that there lies in their Patrimony a great deal of evidence for its reality. We have here no less than 4 of the Greats who bear pristine mentioning of the basic concept. Now, we aren’t going to tease out the inevitable question that might arise from St. Gregeory of Nyssa, since he may have held to some sort of universal salvation post-purgatorial process (apokatastasis), thereby discrediting whatever commentary on it. Suffice it to say that it was still confessed in his writing. And likewise, I don’t intend on fleshing out the distinction between post-mortam sanctifying process which is devoid of juridicial satisfaction or the forensic aquitting from temporal punishment and the Latin satispassio. I think the goal here is to show evidence for what could be either one.
(1) St. John Chrysostom (+409) wrote: “It is not in vain that we have received this tradition from the apostles, that we pray for the deceased during the revered and awe-inspiring mysteries.

Will not God be appeased for them, when all the people and priests raise their hands in supplication in this tremendous sacrifice“? (PG 62, 203)

(2) St. Cyril of Jerusalem (+386) in his 23rd Catechetical lecture describes the various prayers offered during the sacred liturgy. He comments on that which is for the dead: ” If a King sent a subject into exile for his offence and then friends of the exile came with a beautiful diadem to placate the king, wouldn’t his displeasure disappear? So, too, we pray to God for the dead, not offering Him a diadem, but Christ himself slain for our sins [on the altar]” (PG 33, 1116)

(3) St. Gregory of Nyssa (+394) wrote “Man will not be able to be a partaker of divinity Gregor-Chora (1)until a purgatorian fire will have cleansed away any stain found on his soul” (PG 46, 525).

(4) The Eastern rite Catholics , also used by the Orthodox, have revealing purgatorial prayers on behalf of the dead in heir панvхида Vigil  (in Greek παννυχίς and μνημόσυνον for Vigil or memorial) services wherein it is petitioned: “Again let us pray for the repose of the soul of the departed servant of God X…and that every transgression both willful and involuntary be forgiven him…that the Lord God may establish his soul in the place where the just find rest . Let us ask for him the peace of God, the kingdom of heaven, and the forgiveness of his sins from Christ, our deathless King and God…Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison…” 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s