Friday, March 13, 2009

Mark of Ephesus on the Afterlife

The following are some of the theses of Metropolitan Mark Eugenikos (Μάρκος Ευγενικός = Mark the Courteous) of Ephesus [1392-6/3/1444] regarding the afterlife:
1. The separated soul of the sinner does not suffer from a material fire. The damned do not suffer from punishment by fire until after the Last Judgment.
2. The absence of an abode with temporary punishment in Christ's Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus means that Purgatory does not exist.
3. The teaching of the existence of an abode of temporary punishment savors of the Origenist heresy of apokatastasis condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Council, because it teaches that there will be purification after this life and therefore makes people lazier in this life.
4. The righteous do not inherit the Kingdom prepared for them until they are
5. The existence of a purifying fire is nowhere mentioned in Scripture and the Church Fathers.
6. There is no need for posthumous purification because the different degrees of Heavenly happiness come from the different degrees of purification in this life; the little evil in the saints results not in punishment, but in different degrees of happiness. A purifying fire will eradicate the difference in degrees of happiness, contrary to the words of our Lord in Jn 14:2: "In My Father's house there are many mansions."
7. The longing for the beatific vision purifies people posthumously, making a purifying fire superfluous.
8. Just as the small good among great sins is not rewarded, the small sins among great goods do not need to be punished by a purifying fire.
9. St. Gregory the Great Theologian teaches [Easter Sermon] that there is no purification "beyond this night," meaning that there is no purification after this life.
10. As the Old Testament saints with light sins were held in prison without fire before Christ descended into Hades to free them, so do those in our era who sin lightly stay as in a prison, but without purifying fire, until the Second Coming of Christ.
11. The Holy Fathers who have been blessed to have visions of the afterlife "have nowhere explained a purifying temporary fire."
12. Purgatory is impossible because it contradicts the teaching on the immutability of the will of the soul after death, by making the person change from an evil will to a good will.
13. St. John Chrysostom the Great interprets 1 Cor 3:15 as discussing the Hell of the damned, not the fire of Purgatory.
14. St. Basil the Great on Ps 29:7, which reads, "The voice of the Lord divideth the flame of fire."

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