Talk 29: If Only the Saints are Saved, What Happens to the Faithful Who Die Struggling With Sins and Passions?

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Set of 3 Audio CD's

(Duration: 3hrs 16mins) 

In the writings of the Holy Fathers we often read statements such as these: “Our sins will prevent us from seeing God,” “Only those who have been purified before death can be saved,” and, “After death, even forgotten sins will be used by the demons to obstruct a soul’s passage to Heaven.” Many who read these types of statements fall into despair, thinking that salvation is impossible. The fact is, most people are neither complete sinners nor complete saints when they die. This raises the question: what happens to the souls of these people?

In this talk Father Kosmas uses the writings of the holy fathers and the Orthodox funeral service to explain what happens to the souls of those who die with minor unconfessed sins, or who have not brought forth fruits of repentance for sins confessed. He emphasises that there is much hope for the salvation of those who have died without having attained spiritual perfection. Knowing the Church’s teaching on this topic not only can help those who have already departed this life, but can also help us to better prepare for our own departure.

The following questions are also discussed: why are people reluctant to give money to the poor on behalf of the departed? When is it appropriate to weep for our departed loved ones? Is there a place called purgatory, as the Roman Catholic Church teaches, where souls suffer in order to be cleansed of their sins? Are the Protestants correct when they say that, since there is no repentance after death, praying for the dead is useless? Why did one saint appear to a priest, asking him to commemorate his departed parents? What is the Orthodox teaching on praying for those who have committed suicide?

Other points covered in this talk include: a wonderful account of how the dead appeared in order to defend a sinful priest; how zeal in praying for the dead is a sign of spiritual progress; how to prepare for one’s own departure from this life; how Elder Cleopa of Romania gives hope for Orthodox Christians who have departed this life without proper preparation; and the reason why many departed souls hope that one of their relatives will become a priest or a monastic.