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Purgatory and Praying for the dead

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  • Purgatory and Praying for the dead

    A protestant friend asked me a while ago...whether the armenian church (orthodox) believes in the purgatory. Since I know very little (actually next to nothing) about the topic..I did some thorough research on the topic (google), which eventually led me to an article on Wikipedia.

    In that article (sorry I don't have a link to it), it stated that the armenian orthodox church does not believe in purgatory. It also mentioned in the same article that praying for the dead is nevertheless practiced.

    Which brings me to my question...and I am hoping to get some logical explanation.
    If there is no purgatory...why are we praying for our dead?
    'be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle'
    Plato (427-347BC)

  • #2
    Re: Purgatory and Praying for the dead

    I have a better question ... if God knows it all (all that happened, happens, and will happen), why pray at all? Isn't prayer just an attemt to influence the almighty God? How arrogant is that?
    Last edited by Sip; 07-12-2006, 03:01 PM.
    this post = teh win.

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    • #3
      Re: Purgatory and Praying for the dead

      "Prayer is an act of charity, an ecstasy of the heart. To charge someone for the prayers we direct to God in their name, is to transform oneself into a paid intermediary."


      "Prayer is an invocation through which, by means of thought, Man enters into communication with the being to whom he directed himself. This may be for the purpose of asking for something, giving thanks or as a glorification. We may pray for ourselves or for others, for the living or for the dead. Prayers addressed to God are heard by those Spirits who are charged with the execution of His will. All those addressed to good Spirits are referred to God. When someone prays to beings other than God, these are serving as mediators or intercessors, because nothing can happen without God's wishes."

      Here is a reason for praying for those who just passed away:

      "Prayers for those who have just left the Earth ore not for the exclusive purpose of showing our sympathy. They also have the effect of helping to release them from their Earthly ties, and in this manner shorten the period of perturbation which always follows the separation, so allowing a more peaceful awakening on the other side. Nevertheless, in this case, as in all other circumstances, the efficacy depends on the sincerity of the thought and not on the quantity of words offered with more or less solemnity in which very frequently the heart does not participate. Prayers which truly come from the heart encounter a resonance in the Spirit to whom they are directed, whose ideas are still in a state of confusion, as if they were friendly voices come to awaken them from sleep" -Alan Kardec
      Last edited by Jen; 07-12-2006, 04:23 PM.
      "Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own." - Paulo Coelho

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      • #4
        Re: Purgatory and Praying for the dead

        This is the AAC's position on it? Just for reference, could you provide a source, JenM?
        "Many diasporans are the descendants of genocide survivors. They are not just going to forget what the Ottoman Turks did to them or their ancestors in 1915. For the Turkish government the diasporans are merely the "ones that got away."" -- Tom Servo

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        • #5
          Re: Purgatory and Praying for the dead

          Originally posted by Quarteria
          This is the AAC's position on it? Just for reference, could you provide a source, JenM?
          Nope, I was just answering his question on why should we pray for the dead independently of our religion.

          Those quotes are Alan Kardec's words.
          "Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own." - Paulo Coelho

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          • #6
            Re: Purgatory and Praying for the dead

            although I appreciate (truly) the effort made to explain the reason behind praying (in general and for the passed away), but my question is more specific than that.
            I want to know why the armenian apostolic church practices praying for the dead if it believes their fate is sealed as soon as they pass away? (ie there is no purgatory..they go either to heaven or hell).
            'be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle'
            Plato (427-347BC)

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            • #7
              Re: Purgatory and Praying for the dead

              Originally posted by alphacarbon
              although I appreciate (truly) the effort made to explain the reason behind praying (in general and for the passed away), but my question is more specific than that.
              I want to know why the armenian apostolic church practices praying for the dead if it believes their fate is sealed as soon as they pass away? (ie there is no purgatory..they go either to heaven or hell).

              Sorry I didn't get your question...have you tried asking an Armenian priest? Nowadays most of them have e-mails, so even if there is no church nearby your home, you could always send an e-mail...just a suggestion...
              "Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own." - Paulo Coelho

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              • #8
                Re: Purgatory and Praying for the dead

                From what I've been told - the act of praying for the dead in Purgatory is as specifically Roman Catholic thing, and it was a practice that developed in the late medieval period. Its eventual abuse led - in part - to the Reformation.

                However, there are plenty of medieval Armenian inscriptions on churches that ask for prayers to be said for specific deceased people. Perhaps it is the concept of Purgatory that is missing from the Armenian Church, along with all the Orthodox Churches. But if that is so, then what is the point of asking for the prayers.
                Last edited by bell-the-cat; 07-13-2006, 10:43 AM.
                Plenipotentiary meow!

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                • #9
                  Re: Purgatory and Praying for the dead

                  It has been commanded to pray for the dead in the Bible. Besides that, there have been cave inscriptions found asking for prayers for the dead (ca 300s and prior). It wasn't just a midieval invention, but, I'm looking at this from the RC position. I think the Orthodox believe in a concept of Purgatory, but, they don't call it that. I would LOVE to know the official AAC position on this if anybody here knows.
                  "Many diasporans are the descendants of genocide survivors. They are not just going to forget what the Ottoman Turks did to them or their ancestors in 1915. For the Turkish government the diasporans are merely the "ones that got away."" -- Tom Servo

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