The Orthodox Pages

















Question 214

Got a question for you Pater... Well its a question I was asked but tbh didn't know the answer too!!! We are taught that when people die, they can still watch over us & know when we pray for them etc... But then we're taught that after saranda meres they fall asleep until the parousia...  Never thought about that until I was asked n now I'm intrigued to know how that works...


Answer to Question 214


The belief that people sleep in the afterlife until the General resurrection comes from the Parable of the ten Virgins where while they waited for the return of the Bridegroom we are told they slumbered and slept. Also when Christ told the Disciples that Lazarus had died he first said that Lazarus sleepeth. St. Paul also says: "Brethren, I would not have you to be ignorant, concerning them which are asleep" (1 Thessalonians 4:13) But in all these cases sleeping refers to the death of the body and not the sleeping of the soul. That is why we call the place where we bury the dead a Koimitirio and not nekrotafio. The body is sleeping or inactive until it will be awakened and renewed at the Second coming of Christ.  The soul goes to a place of rest, but it is always alert and active. If we didnít believe this then we would not pray to the saints for their intercessions because if they were asleep they would not be able to help us. We also have the event of the Transfiguration where Christ was transfigured and Moses and Elias appeared and talked with him. This clearly teaches that the souls of the departed are not in a state of sleep.