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Paradise and Hell according to Orthodox tradition
A description of Hell by the Elder Paisios
Source: © THE SACRED MONASTERY OF THE EVANGELIST JOHN THE THEOLOGIAN, SOUROTI, THESSALONIKI.
- Elder, what is Hell like?
- Let me tell you a story that I've heard:
Once there was a simple man who kept asking God to show him what Paradise and Hell are like...
So, one night, in his sleep, he heard a voice saying: «Come, let me show you what Hell looks like».
He suddenly found himself in a room, where many people were seated around a table. In the middle of that table was a pot filled with food. But all those people were hungry, because they were unable to eat. They each held a very long spoon in their hand. They were able to take food out of the pot, but couldn't bring the spoon to their mouth. Because of this, some were complaining, others were shouting, others were weeping...
Then he heard the same voice saying to him: «Come now, and let me show you what Paradise also looks like».
He again found himself suddenly in another room, where many people were seated around a table, just like the one before, and in the middle of that table was -again- a pot full of food. Those people also held the same kind of long spoon in their hand. But every one of these people was full and happy, because each would dip his spoon in the pot and feed the person near him....
- Do you understand now, how you too can feel that you're living in Paradise, from this lifetime?
Whoever does a good deed feels gladness, because he is rewarded with a divine consolation.
Whoever does bad things suffers, and he makes the terrestrial Paradise a terrestrial Hell.
Do you have love, kindness inside you? Then you are an angel, and everywhere you go or stand, you will be carrying Paradise with you.
Do you have passions, meanness? Then you have the devil inside you, and everywhere you go or stand, you carry Hell along with you.
We begin to live Paradise or Hell from this life, here......
Translation by K.N.
Article published in English on: 28-8-2005.
Last update: 28-8-2005.