Orthodox saints have many quotes to say about death and the afterlife. They warn us not to deceive ourselves about the afterlife, because what we sow here, we will reap elsewhere. We will no longer be able to progress after leaving this world, so we must learn to deal with it appropriately.
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Letting go of pain
Some people who experience acute grief are afraid of letting go of their pain. They believe that intense grief indicates a lack of love. Others fear that letting go of their pain will cause them to forget their loved one and not cherish their memories. But letting go of pain can be a beautiful thing.
The concept of ‘expiratory suffering’ is not entirely new to the Orthodox Church. It describes the suffering that awaits the soul after death. Saints and Church Fathers all mention the suffering that follows death, from frightful testing to a war with spirits in the air. However, while this concept is not unique to the Orthodox Church, Protestant objections to it are based on Old Testament texts and the parable of Lazarus from the New Testament. However, many modern commentators acknowledge that these objections are largely irrelevant or lack any force.
In the Old Testament, the idea of expiatory suffering is present in the Servant Songs of Isaiah, and often refers to the collective noun Israel, but it is clear that the Servant was a particular individual. Similarly, the suffering of the righteous is described in Daniel 11:35. The Old Testament explanations of suffering are also present in intertestamental literature.
Protestants do not recognize such prayers as canonical. They also do not accept the Divine authority of extra-scriptural traditions. In contrast, Catholics acknowledge the value of prayers for the dead.
Remembrance of death
The book Remembrance of Death in Orthodox Saints quotes offers an excellent insight into the spiritual experiences of Orthodox Christian saints from a variety of countries. It features more than 300 quotes from fifty different Orthodox saints. Many are drawn from the patristics and scripture, while others come from secular writers. Some are even contemporary, including those from France and Italy.
Answer to the mystery of death
One of the most well-known and widely quoted orthodox saints quotes deals with death. Often quoted as a characteristic of love, death is actually an act that profoundly transforms those who experience it. A mother, for instance, goes to the grave of her children, who are in her soul. These children share her soul, and she lives on in a tiny corner of her soul. The same is true of Christ, who, despite his own suffering, went to the grave of humanity to save them from eternal death.