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The Soul After Death Paperback – March 1, 2009
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Now in its sixth printing
About the Author
Fr. Seraphim Rose (1934-1982) was an Orthodox monk in the ancient tradition that dedicated his life to reawakening modern Western man to forgotten spiritual truths. From his remote cabin in the mountains of northern California, he produced writings, which have been circulated throughout the world in millions of copies. Today he is Russia's best-loved spiritual writer. His books Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future and NIHILISM have changed countless lives with their uncompromising and sobering truth.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book explains the Eastern Orthodox teaching on what happens to the soul after death, and dismisses the fake modern accounts. Many modern day after-death experiences of "light" are actually demonic deceptions.
Orthodox teaching on the death experience and the Particular Judgment is emphasized. New Age and occult interpretations, so popular these days, are presented fairly and held up to their proper contempt. The result is a synthesis that could be read profitably by all Christians, and non-Christians, rightly concerned with this terribly important subject.
A minor criticism is in order, though. At the outset of his presentation, Seraphim Rose makes certain to express his disdain at Roman Catholicism. This commentary is unnecessary, and mars the quality of this generally excellent work. It is nevertheless well written, and tremendously important. We recommend the reading and serious consideration of this excellent book.
"No matter how absurd the idea of the toll-houses may seem to our 'wise men', they will not escape passing through them."
St. Theophan The Recluse
In this monumental work, Fr. Seraphim Rose of blessed memory discusses the Orthodox teachings on death, and in particular the Orthodox Patristic Tradition of the Toll Houses; that is the testing of souls by demons at the point of death. He begins by discussing Near Death Experiences (NDE's) and explains how these should be viewed as demonic temptations - `And it is no wonder; for even Satan himself is able to take the form of an angel of light.' 2 Corinthians 11:14.
Fr. Seraphim cites examples where non-believers who have experienced these NDE's claim to have seen `beautiful lights' or `gardens' etc. He warns against such visions making the case that this is simply a ruse by the evil one to trick these non-believers into thinking they will be entering into some sort of paradise after death, whilst they fail to comprehend the truth that while there is life after death, the lights and visions they have encountered are in fact far more sinister and the reality of their situation far more dangerous.
He compares and contrasts the writings on NDE's with Orthodox teachings on angels and in particular the realm of the spirits. The book explains the Toll Houses in light of the teachings of the Church Fathers: Fr. Seraphim quotes from St John Chrysostom, St Gregory the Dialogist, St Athanasius the Great in addition to citing numerous other sources, and quoting numerous Orthodox prayers which reference the hour of death and the Toll Houses.
`Answer to a critic': In this final part of the book, Fr. Seraphim Rose responds to a certain `critic' whom he does not mention by name. This critic wrote a book `The Aerial Toll-House Myth: The Neo-Gnosticism of Fr Seraphim Rose' which as Fr Thomas Hopko states in an interview on Ancient Faith Radio about the Aerial Toll Houses, is simply a vitriolic attack on Fr. Seraphim. In his response, Fr. Seraphim shreds the critic's `arguments' showing this individual to be confused, and his arguments futile at best.
Finally, as we read in the Prolog from Ohrid by St Nikolai Velimirovich for August 15th (Feast of the Dormition of the Virgin):
"Each one of the faithful can learn much, indeed very much, from the life of the Virgin Theotokos. However, I would like to mention here only two things. First, she had the habit to pray frequently on Golgotha, on the Mount of Olives, in the Garden of Gethsemane, to go to Bethlehem and to other places famous because of her Son. At all of these places, especially Golgotha, she prayed on bended knees. By this, she gave the first example and incentive to the faithful to visit the holy places out of love toward Him Who, by His presence and by His passion and glory, made these places holy and significant. Second, we learn how she, in her prayer, prayed for a quick departure from this life that her soul, at the time of her separation from the body, might not see the prince of darkness and his horrors, and hidden from the dark regions not encounter the power of Satan. Do you see how terrible it is for the soul to pass through the toll-gates [mitarstva]! When she, who gave birth to the Destroyer of Hades and, who herself has frightening power over demons prayed thusly, what then is left for us? Out of very great humility, she commended herself to God and did not trust in her own deeds. So much less should we trust in our deeds and even more we should commend ourselves into the hands of God, crying out for His mercy, especially for mercy at the time of the departure of the soul from the body."