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From the Orthodox Liturgical Tradition on the Encounter with Aerial Demons at the Time of Death

by Anastasios Hudson on May 7th, 2013

For the sake of aiding discussions on the matter of the Toll Houses and Orthodox views on eschatology in general, I offer some excerpts from our liturgical tradition.   There are more, but these are just a few I selected arbitrarily:

The Taxing of Souls at Death

The Taxing of Souls at Death

“Noetic roaring lions have surrounded me, seeking to carry me away and bitterly torment me. Do thou crush their teeth and jaws, O pure One, and save me” (Ode 3, Troparion 2).

“Behold, terror has come to meet me, O Sovereign Lady, and I am afraid of it. Behold, a great struggle awaits me, in which be thou unto me a helper, O Hope of my salvation” (Ode 4, “Both Now”).

“They that shall lead me hence have come, holding me on every side. But my soul shrinks back and is afraid, full of great rebelliousness, which do thou comfort, O pure One, by thine appearance” (Ode 7, “Glory”).

“O thou that gavest birth to the Lord Almighty, when I come to die, do thou banish from me the commander of the bitter toll-gatherers and ruler of the earth, that I may glorify thee unto the ages, O holy Theotokos” (Ode 8, Troparion 3).

And from another canon at the departing of the soul from the body, for those who have suffered a long time, by St. Andrew of Crete:

“Come all you that have gathered together, who have lived your lives in piety, and lament the soul bereft of the glory of God, for shameful demons are striving to enslave it” (Ode 1, Troparion 1).

“Behold, a multitude of evil spirits are standing about, holding the handwriting of my sins, and they cry out exceedingly, shamelessly seeking my lowly soul” (Ode 1, “Glory”).

“O Sovereign Lady! O Sovereign Lady! Have mercy now on my perplexed soul looking to thy protection only, and do not disdain me, O Good One, who am being given over to demons” (Ode 4, “Both now”).

“Have mercy on me, O all-holy Angels of God Almighty, and deliver me from all the evil toll-collectors, for I have no good deeds to balance my evil deeds” (Ode 7, Troparion 2).

Source: St. Tikhon’s edition of the Book of Needs (Volume III, pages 75 ff.).

From → Excerpts

  1. Ambrose Moonet permalink

    We await the appearance of “After Death.” We must be grateful to the Church of Antioch that they are promoting this work (written in Arabic.) The English version is expected in September.

    I have been fortunate to obtain one chapter from the in-process English translation of the book. The book makes no bones about labelling the toll houses as heresy.

  2. Anastasios Hudson permalink

    I will remind you, Father, that I have a policy of not engaging you in debate after our previous, unfruitful interactions on other forums. That is the only reason I am approving this comment. Any further comments from you on this site will not be answered or even deleted. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.


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