The Creation of Purgatory A Place of Atonement and Purification

What happens when you die. According to catholic theology you either go to heaven or hell. But to get to either you must go through an intermediate stage called purgatory . This place is closely associated with catholicism but did you know that it derives from pagan traditions where the soul is judged and purified like many pagan concepts of death and the afterlife . Purgatory is a place that offers a path to salvation although it began only as a state of being for souls who were neither totally good nor totally evil . Popes Clerics and Theologians expanded its role in the catholic church during the middle ages and define purgatory as a specific location between heaven and hell.

 On the other hand medieval authors and artists further detailed this mysterious place if you read the entire bible you will find no references to purgatory because it was basically invented in the middle ages. The term purgatory was first used in a 12th century text a 12th century text attributed to henry a sultry the author was probably a monk from ireland who related an irish church tradition in which the irish knight owen visited saint patrick's purgatory . Owen was busy with his medieval nightly quarrels but one day he became alarmed by his own actions specifically those committed during the civil war during the reign of king stephen he began to fear his eternal destiny as he contemplated his evil deeds. 

Hee confessed to the bishop and punished himself to gain forgiveness and reconciliation .Owen was so regretful that he told the bishop that he would go to saint patrick's purgatory to obtain absolution the bishop told him that was unnecessary instead he recommended that the night to fast and pray owen who wanted to go to purgatory entered a dark and horrible hole with the hope of seeing paradise on the other side for owen purgatory was a means to an end. He endured Purgatory inspired by the promise of salvation according to the 12th century text saint patrick received divine guidance from god about Purgatory the saint was a christian missionary who lived somewhere during the 5th century wanting to save the irish from paganism but the irishman would not convert to christianity unless he could visit the other world and return. 

According to one version of the story one night while the saint was sleeping he was visited by god who took him to a scant and barren place the divine guide showed him a moat and told him that anyone who entered and spent a day and a night there would be absolved of his sins when saint patrick awoke there was a book and a staff in front of him left by god as symbols of his authenticity. Although the details of the story changed depending on the source in all St patrick received divine knowledge and it was he who found the entrance to purgatory therefore saint patrick's Purgatory became increasingly important during the middle ages but the early church fathers discussed the basic idea of a state like purgatory even before the middle ages in ancient times saint augustine argued that there are some who have departed from this life who are neither so bad as to be considered unworthy of mercy nor so good as to be entitled to immediate happiness. 

he identified souls who were transported to the afterlife still tainted by sin but who were worthy of purification he suggested that this would happen in an intermediate state a century later saint isidore of seville emphasized this idea based on the book of matthew 12:32 . Which states that anyone who speaks a word against the son of man will be forgiven but anyone who speaks against the holy spirit will not be forgiven either in this age or in the age to come to justify the idea that some sins will be forgiven and purified by a certain cleansing fire between this life and the next in both cases the purification of the soul occurred after death but not in a physical location purgatory. As it would become known welcomed different sinners whose souls needed to be saved but in 12th century texts Purgatory required a physical location . 

At the time it was claimed that purgatory was on station island. In loch durg county donegal upon arriving there pilgrims were supposed to spend three days fasting not sleeping while exposing themselves to the cold.

believe it or not today nearly 15 000 people still visit the site to undergo these privations the growing popularity of st patrick's purgatory. In christian literature reflected the proliferation of this concept the contributions of church fathers like saint augustine. the experiences of holy men like st patrick were synthesized to define purgatory as a roman catholic truth between late antiquity and the middle ages. The religious and cultural development of purgatory expanded in penitential literature and commentaries on the post-mortem purification of the soul. Purgatory was a state between life and salvation where the soul would be purged of sin. According to historian jacques lagoth purgatory or third place emerged as an alternative to dualistic beliefs about heaven and earth. le goff claimed that in this place souls were left between the death of the individual and the last judgment so that certain sinners could be saved.

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 Most likely subjected to some kind of judgment the connections between saint patrick's purgatory and the christian conception of an intermediate state grew due to the writings of medieval chroniclers. For example the 12th century chronicler gerald of wales wrote about st patrick's purgatory as a place filled with evil spirits, where individuals were crucified all night with severe torments continually afflicted by many unspeakable punishments. water and other things after going through this the individual would not have to endure the pains of hell except if he committed some very grave sin. 

Purgatory became firmly established in the christian tradition. The debate focused on its description rather than on its existence prayers for the dead were part of christian practice. According to the christian calendar and saints one way to decrease the time spent in purgatory was to pray. In monastic environments men and women were charged with helping the dead in their ascension to heaven. This became an increasing concern as the images of purgatory became more and more terrible. There was no clear indication of how long a person's soul could stay in purgatory. The number of prayers was also difficult to assess. Therefore additional methods were developed to decrease the time spent by someone in purgatory. Another way to decrease the time in purgatory was indulgences various indulgences began in the early 11th century which were initially prayers.

 But were quickly coupled with monetary donations to the church until then indulgences did not entirely purify the soul. However pope urban ii offered a full indulgence to the crusaders who announced the first crusade in 1095.

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 Absolute pardon to those who set out to liberate the holy land as time went on indulgences. Became increasingly linked to money in 1344 for example pope clement vi granted 200 full indulgences to catholics. In england alone in the 13th century under pope innocent iv. Purgatory was defined within the roman catholic church according to the pope purgatory was a place of purgation. According to the traditions and authority of the holy fathers after pope innocent iv clarified what purgatory was and how it worked within the roman catholic church. Scholars and clerics continued to expand the concept with increasingly articulate and specific visual and written accounts of purgatory. The move from a mere concept to an actual place was completed by the 13th century. 

But purgatory was acquiring a specific image in the late middle ages. It was described as a consuming and purifying fire reminding people that after the judgment fire will descend with the damned into hell people were encouraged to do everything on earth to shorten their time in purgatory. For fear of not being able to escape poets minstrels and writers took the notion of purgatory even further reciting verses about stabbing fires and cries of pain. But there was some hope if someone had done his duty. It was believed that person could not be prevented from going directly to paradise. According to jacques legoff the noun purgatory was not commonly used until the late 12th century. When it was popularized by theologians in parisian universities.

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 The theologians of the university of paris many of them franciscan or dominican friars debated questions about purgatory and the benefits it offered to the soul saint thomas aquinas was one of them if the church in theology consolidated. The concept of purgatory literature was responsible for detailing that place when dante alighieri wrote his divine comedy as early as the 14th century. He narratively described a journey through hell purgatory and paradise the details images and vision reflected the writer's idea of a medieval world and contributed to the perception of life after death. The second part of the divine comedy purgatory contains seven levels each corresponding to one of the seven deadly sins presented as a mountain on an island.

 Dante's presentation of purgatory was promising his and others work solidified the notion that purgatory was a physical place not just a theological either where the soul remained indefinitely after that. Purgatory was used by the church to raise plenty of money through indulgences. This fact was not well accepted by everyone people like luther began to emerge who wanted to reform and moralize the church. In response the catholic church carried out the counter-reformation the council of trent in the mid-16th century organized by the church was above all a response to criticism as part of the counter-reformation the council of trent took place between 1545 and 1563. Where reforms were made and various doctrines were upheld in addition the council affirmed the existence of Purgatory .