Purgatory Introduction: Since the ancient times, the Church has had extensive faith in the immortality of the soul and rebirth of the dead. The souls that deserve to go to paradise first have to pass through the purgatory in order to properly purify for their life in heaven. Specifically the people that have befriended god and have died in godâ€™s good grace, but are imperfectly purified are required to pass through the purgatory. Purgatory is a painful yet necessary condition of purification.
Biblical Accounts of Purgatory The New Testament accounts purgatory as an intermediate condition after death and before resurrection on the last day. In the Book of John, a fire is discussed which would purify people after bodily death. Moreover, the book of Matthew, discusses a fire, which might burn up the work of a sinner whereas, at the same time would bless the work of a person with good deeds and an honest heart. St Fursa, an Irish Abbot from the seventh century, had described his concept of afterlife as a place where the angels would protect him while the demons pursue him. Eastern Catholic Churches, belonging to the Syriac tradition used a different name for the Purgatory, i.e. Sheol. According to them Sheol did not contradict with the concept of purgatory at all and was the same.
Purgatory as a Physical Place The concept of purgatory as a physical place was first bought by Jacques Le Goff around 12th century. According to him, many biblical verses and accounts define the existence of purgatory as an actual physical place. He says that St. Augustine, Gregory the Great and St. Peter had greatly contributed to defining Purgatory as a physical place. The medieval otherworld journey narratives including Irish Visio Tnugdali define the concept of St. Patrickâ€™s purgatory as a remote island with an entrance that looks like a cave. Other stories have also described the entrance of purgatory on the Mount Etna of Sicily. And so, the concept of Purgatory started to become popular. These concepts and beliefs were later also supported by the imaginations of musicians, poets, painters and many other artists of the medieval times.
Other Religious Beliefs Jewish religion also believes in a purgatory. Till date, the concept of Gehenna sounds almost like the concept of Purgatory. Whereas, in Islam the concept of a particular place exists where the dead will dwell until they are sent to either paradise or hell on the day of judgement.
The concept of purgatory as a physical place was first bought by Jacques Le Goff around 12th century. According to him, many biblical verses...