Toll Houses and the Fathers of the Church

In my last blog, I focused less on quotes from the fathers and more on the controversy itself surrounding the toll houses.  Here, I want to present writings from the saints of the Orthodox Church that discuss the departure of the soul.  If one includes commentary from scripture, patristic writings, and divine services, there are hundreds of these texts.  For the sake of brevity (and because this is a blog and not a scholarly work), many quotes are partial.  More details can be found in the book from which most of these quotes come: The Departure of the Soul.

St. Justin Martyr, †166

Deliver my soul from the sword, and my only-begotten from the hand of the dog; save me from the lion’s mouth (Psalm 21:20-21)…[This was written] so that, when we arrive at the end of life, we may ask the same petition from God, who is able to turn away every shameless evil angel from taking our souls. Continue reading Toll Houses and the Fathers of the Church

Toll Houses: Truth or Lie?

The Unnecessary Controversy:

I first learned about the toll houses from a friend who was quite concerned that I be exposed to the truth early in my journey into Orthodoxy.  He sent me a copy of Fr. Michael Azkoul’s booklet: The Toll-House Myth: The Neo-Gnosticism of Fr. Seraphim Rose.  I was not impressed with the book, but since I had no other knowledge of the subject, I agreed with my friend and the author that the toll house doctrine must be some kind of new heresy that has been emphasized in the past couple of centuries, especially in Russian Orthodoxy.

Several years later, my beliefs have completely changed.  No one argued me into changing sides.  Shortly after my conversion, when I saw that there were various controversies between modern Orthodox people, I decided to mostly stay away from books that were not written by people glorified as saints of the church.  That “limits” me to tens of thousands of texts written over the past 1,900+ years.

I have no shortage of reading material. Continue reading Toll Houses: Truth or Lie?

Resources on Toll-Houses and the After Life

Orthodox toll house iconI know of only a few other topics in Orthodoxy that can cause as much division as toll houses.  With that in mind, I have put together a page in order to assist people who want to know more information.  Most people I’ve spoken to and resources I’ve encountered that oppose the toll house theology end up creating an overly-literal and exaggerated concept of the toll-houses, or they strive so hard to refute toll-houses that they find themselves in the opposite extreme of sharing theology with groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses who teach “soul sleep.”

The resources I have to offer are 1) Free electronic resources and 2) Printed books that are usually a bit more in-depth.  The main purpose of this brief blog post is to point to the resources page that I have been maintaining and periodically updating.

Click here to go to the resource page.