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This issue is of absolutely massive doctrinal importance. The theology of it is almost if not at the identical same level of doctrinal seriousness as the Catholic belief in Purgatory. It is saying even after death a person can lose their soul, and also prayers for the dead can help avoid this.



Kinda weird to, because the Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead) talks about a journey through a 40 day period in an intermediate realm where the Soul encounters Angels and Demons and it sounds very much like the Toll Houses... But in Seraphim Rose's book Soul After Death he critiques the Bardo Thodol.

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so when a backslidden Orthodox dies, he is escorted by Angels with a hinterland, where he has no chance to gain salvation whatever. That means he is PREJUDGED as damned. 
That means the remainder must be NOT in a state of no salvation possible, they are logically either
1) In a prejudged state of salvation (thus escorted by angels toward heaven) but can blow it by giving in to demonic attack
2) Neither pre-damned nor pre- judged-as-saved, but can be saved if they add to their "salvation process" overcoming these demonic attacks.
Thus there are 3 types of people in this "Areal zone". However the existence of 2 types of pre-judged people is a contradiction of Orthodox theology that states no one is in a state of salvation before 1) The Day of Judgement, or 2) Finding themselves in Heaven.
Therefore Aereal Toll house contradicts standard Orthodoxy.

If you can pray to thousands of saints now, in heaven, when the Day of Judgement has not yet occurred, then you can be in a state of salvation before that. Right? Some would sway that very belief proves that is it the Evangelical belief that you are in a state of salvation now, because of Christ, before the Day of Judgement, and the Orthodox view that you cannot be is therefore false. The same people would argue the same thing with Aerial Toll Houses - is some people are being escorted to heaven by angels, and are tempted along the way, they are in a state of salvation before heaven, and before the Day of Judgement, but need to not throw away that salvation.


According to St. John, even the souls of innocent infants must pass through these toll-houses, for the all-evil devil seeks to snatch their souls, too. However, the infants make the following confession (according to St. John): "We have passed by the evil spirits without suffering any harm. For the dark custom officials saw our spotless body and were put to shame; they saw the soul good and pure and were embarrassed; they say the tongue immaculate and pure and blameless and they were silenced; we passed by and humiliated them. This is why the holy angels of God who met and received us rejoiced, the righteous greeted us with joy and the saints with delight said, 'Welcome, the lambs of Christ!'"

quote on the absurdity of the infant confession "St John figuratively spoke for them."


in more modernist jurisdictions, there is a tendency to abbreviate the services, with references to the toll houses removed.

quote: it's only among converts in the US and Canada. Orthodox Christians in touch with the Holy Tradition believe in this Orthodox teaching.



a change in the state of the departed can be effected through prayer.


The subject of the toll-houses is not specifically a topic of Orthodox Christian theology: it is not a dogma of the Church in the precise sense, but comprises material of a moral and edifying character, one might say pedagogical.


the Particular Judgment which occurs within 8 days after death. The Toll Houses refer to that time frame and determine whether we go to "Abraham's bosom" or to a "Place of Torment".

the 8 and 40 day memorial services, - liked with Toll House prayers. see link

First 40 Days in Toll Houses.


We very much believe in the existence of the toll houses as compiled by Fr Seraphim Rose in his book The Soul After Death, which really is a gathering of quotes form the Holy Fathers.


Those days are significant because that is when the soul appears before the throne of God, hence we get together and pray for the soul of the repose to find mercy before the Lord. It is more related to the tradition of the Church. The same service is held not only on the 8th day and the 40th day, but at 3 months, 6 months etc. But it is the same service and has the same goal. Until the second coming, the souls of those departed can still be saved through the intercessions of us




The soul appears before the throne two times in the 40 day period. First one is not for judgement, but the soul is brought before the throne to bow before the Lord. Then he is taken to visit both heaven and hell, and comes back before the throne on the 40th day for judgement.

Concerning the toll houses, consider this: They are a well-established tradition in the Orthodox Church. Are they universally discussed? Far from it. However, where is the tradition that denies them? I haven't seen *any* evidence against them except for *one* statement by St. Isaac the Syrian which may or may not apply to them.

The major critics, Archbishop Lazar and Old-Calendrist Fr. Michael Azkoul do not have any good arguments against them. Archbishop Lazar is a rabid supporter of evolutionary theory and LGBT agenda and Fr. Michael is rather alone among the Old Calendrists' concerning this issue afaik. So what, really, is there to say against the toll houses tradition?

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