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40 days after death
Question from Dennis on 6/5/2007:

Fr. Trigilio,

Is this Russian Orthodox website's belief about what happens 40 after death the same as our Roman Catholic belief? If no, in what way is it different? Thanks.

http://www.orthodox.net/articles/life-after-death-john-maximovitch.html

Answer by Fr. John Trigilio on 6/7/2007:

It seems to be an attempt to modify the doctrine of Purgatory in that the faithful are asked to pray for the deceased soul for 40 days after death during which time they traverse the natural and supernatural worlds, according to this Russian Orthodox tradition. Catholic dogma is more clear. Particular Judgment occurs at death. The soul goes to heaven, hell or purgatory. If heaven or hell, there is no chance of leaving either, before or after 40 days since death. Purgatory is not necessarily 40 days for everyone or anyone. It may be hours, days, weeks, years, centuries, or millennia depending on the individual person and the attachment to sin and temporal punishment due to sin they accumulated during life. We do not say the soul wanders the earth for 39 or 40 days. The soul is judged and goes directly to heaven, hell or purgatory. They do not haunt houses, or walk the earth as ghosts.

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