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John Gundarsson
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*The above should read estimated 300 million, not estimated million.
In eastern orthodox theology, it is taught that only those baptized in the orthodox church can be saved (there is no guarantee of salvation, and the orthodox church does not recognize the sacraments of other Christian denominations). Since there is an estimated million orthodox Christians on earth today, this means that the remaining 7 billion human beings without an orthodox baptism will not be saved. Of course, there is also a clause in orthodox theology. God may decide to save non-orthodox people, however, they will be blind in Paradise because the eyes of their soul were never opened via an orthodox baptism. It should also be noted that orthodox theology teaches that all humans before the advent of Christ, including all the old testament patriarchs and prophets, were in Hades. It is taught that Christ apparently preached in Hades for the time period he was there and many people believed and were saved. There are varying opinions on whether all of Hades was emptied or if only some were saved. There also seems to be no teaching on whether these souls are blind or not as they did not receive an orthodox baptism as they lived before Christ. There is also some conflicting teachings on suicide. In orthodox teachings and canons, those who commit suicide forfeit their salvation and are forbidden an ecclesiastical burial. However, if one is "insane" and commits suicide, then there is economia and there is a chance that they are saved. In the first few centuries of the Christianity, some Church Fathers permitted suicide if it was to preserve one's virginity. There are even orthodox saints who committed suicide to preserve virginity and are regarded as martyrs. One group of martyrs is a mother who murdered her two daughters so they wouldn't be raped and then killed herself. These saints, Domnina, with her two daughters Bernike and Prosdoke, are celebrated every year in both the Orthodox and Catholic church on October 4. Then of course, there's the confusing and conflicting teachings in orthodoxy about unborn babies, either aborted or miscarried, and children who die unbaptized. St. Athanasios says clearly that an unbaptised person cannot enter the Kingdom of God. He also asserts that unbaptised children will not enter the Kingdom, but neither will they be lost, for they have not sinned. St. Anastasius of Sinai expresses this even more clearly: for him, unbaptised children do not go to Gehenna. But he is not able to say more; he does not express an opinion about where they do go, but leaves their destiny to God’s judgment. St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote a work specifically on the destiny of infants who die. The anguish of the Church appears in the questions he puts to himself: the destiny of these infants is a mystery, “something much greater than the human mind can grasp”. St. Gregory of Nazianzus writes that these children receive neither praise nor punishment from the Just Judge, because they have suffered injury rather than provoked it. These Greek Fathers teach that children who die without Baptism do not suffer eternal damnation, though they do not attain the same state as those who have been baptised. On the other hand, they do not explain what their state is like or where they go. As a side note, women who miscarry are penanced the same as those who have abortions and are called murderers in the prayers read over them in confession. Miscarriage is classified as an act of involuntary murder in the eastern orthodox canons:
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May 22, 2015