Heaven and hell – (Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus)

19 Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury.
20 At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores.
21 As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.
22 “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet.[a] The rich man also died and was buried,
23 and he went to the place of the dead.[b] There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.
24 “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’
25 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish.
26 And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
27 “Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home.
28 For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’
29 “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
30 “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’
31 “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

— Luke, 16:19–31

Heaven and hell

A sermon of His Eminence, Bishop Parthenius of Antania and Abbot of the Bigorski Monastery, on the Sunday of the parable for the poor beggar Lazarus, uttered in the monastery Refectory on 4th November 2018

Bishop Parthenius, Abbot of Bigorski

My dear ones, today during the Holy Liturgy we had an opportunity to hear one of the most wonderful parables, which our Lord Jesus Christ, in His Divine wisdom, has told the people. Namely, in His Evangelical story the Divine Teacher and Saviour represents two personalities: of an extremely wealthy man and of a poor beggar named by Him as Lazarus, which means “God is my Helper”. This Lazarus lived nearby, almost at the threshold of the rich man’s house and patiently waited for the crumbs from the rich man’s table in order to feed himself, but as the Gospel says, even that was hard for him to get, so he hungered.

Last weekend I had several young people who came to me for a spiritual conversation. They didn’t know much about the Gospel of Christ and weren’t all that familiar with their own Orthodox faith. During the conversation one of the boys asked me: “Father what would Hell be like and who are those people that would end in it?” And I replied: “I wouldn’t want to think even for a second that there would be human souls in hell, therefore I pray and hope for all men to be saved”. Still the question of this boy inspired me to contemplate all week, as to how nice it would be if all men were saved and entered the Kingdom of God... (Continue reading )