Orthodox view of Hell is Catholic Purgatory

So, my friends, I came across this on Wikipedia and wondered what this even meant

In 2008, the Russian Orthodox bishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Vienna, in his presentation at the First World Apostolic Congress of Divine Mercy (held in Rome in 2008), argued that God’s mercy is so great that He does not condemn sinners to everlasting punishment. The Orthodox understanding of hell, said Bishop Hilarion, corresponds roughly to the Roman Catholic notion of purgatory.

Is this the standard Orthodox teaching? Or is it just of Russian origin? Or neither?

Just wanted to hear what you all had to say.

God Bless,

Bballer32

It’s in accordance with an Orthodox version of universal salvation: people still go to Hell, but because God is omnipresent, his grace is forever present. And eventually/hopefully, those in Hell come around to it after they suffer the incomprehensible pain, which makes all the pleasures of the world absolutely worthless in comparison. There have been a number of Orthodox universalists going back to the early Church Fathers. Most Orthodox don’t adhere to this belief, but it is a permissible position unless formulated along the lines of Origen. Origen’s version of universal salvation was explicitly condemned at the 5th Ecumenical Council.

This a good response. I just wanted to add that Met. Hilarion’s is a little misrepresented by this statement. In his book, Christ the Conqueror of Hell, Met. Hilarion argues that one can and even should hope for the reconciliation of all, but he never affirms that this will happen. I share his view, as have many Orthodox Christians throughout history.

To explain this I will quote from the Metropolitan’s book on this subject.

‘“We should know that at present, that is, prior to the general resurrection, the souls of the righteous exist in certain special designated places, and those of sinners in another region, the former rejoicing in their hope, but the latter grieving in expectation of the terrors that await them, since the saints have not yet received the promise of good things.” Proceeding from the fact that the final destiny of people after death is not determined before the last judgement and therefore it is possible to alter their fates, the Orthodox Church prays for every person who has fallen asleep, including those in Hades.’

Orthodox Christianity, vol 2, page 502

The first quote is from the Synaxion of Meatfare sunday.

I think we should also ask what “corresponds roughly” mean. (For perspective: does the RC view correspond roughly to the picture presented in C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce ?)

Hard to see how this corresponds with the particular judgement and the Saints, it suggests we would pray for them instead of visa versa.

Question arisen from your post…so what is the Orthodox view of hell?

Is it a permanent state or temporary state to be in?

And eventually/hopefully, those in Hell come around to it after they suffer the incomprehensible pain, which makes all the pleasures of the world absolutely worthless in comparison.

This is akin to the Catholic understanding of purgatory.

Most Orthodox would generally say it is a permanent state. As for our view of Hell, we do not view it as a total separation from God. Rather we view it as the very presence of God. Those who hate God would suffer most if the one they hate most was forever in their presence. We do not so much think of it as a place, but rather as a state of being.

Yes, it is very similar to the concept of purgatory.

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