What Do Greek Orthodox Believe Happens After Death?

Are you curious about what happens after death according to Greek Orthodox beliefs? Well, get ready for an exciting journey as we explore this fascinating topic! Greek Orthodox tradition holds strong beliefs about the afterlife, offering a unique perspective on what awaits us beyond this earthly realm. So, let’s dive right in and discover the captivating insights into life after death from a Greek Orthodox standpoint.

According to Greek Orthodox belief, when we die, our souls separate from our bodies and enter into the presence of God for judgment. It is believed that each individual will face a personal review of their thoughts, actions, and intentions during their time on Earth. This process determines whether one enters paradise or experiences eternal separation from God.

Now you may be wondering: What does this mean for those who are deemed worthy of paradise? Well, without giving too much away just yet, hold onto your seats because there are some intriguing concepts surrounding heaven in Greek Orthodox theology that will surely captivate your imagination!

Key Takeaways

  • Greek Orthodox believe in the resurrection of the body and eternal life after death.
  • The soul is believed to separate from the body at death and undergo a process of purification.
  • Prayers, sacraments, and acts of charity are considered essential for the journey towards heaven.
  • Greek Orthodox hold firm to the belief that God’s love and mercy extend even beyond death, offering hope and comfort to believers.

What are the core beliefs of Greek Orthodox regarding the afterlife?

    Greek Orthodox Christianity has a rich and ancient tradition that shapes its beliefs about the afterlife. Understanding these core beliefs can provide insight into the spiritual worldview of this faith.

    Immortality of the Soul

    Greek Orthodox Christians believe in the immortality of the soul, which means that life continues beyond physical death. They believe that at death, the soul separates from the body and enters into a state known as “separation” or “particular judgment.”

    Heaven and Hell

    According to Greek Orthodox belief, there are two possible destinations for souls after death: heaven or hell. Heaven is seen as eternal communion with God, where souls experience perfect joy and fulfillment. Hell, on the other hand, is understood as eternal separation from God’s love and presence.

    Purgatory-Like State

    The Greek Orthodox Church also teaches about a temporary state called “Hades” or “the intermediate state.” This is not to be confused with purgatory in Catholic theology but rather refers to a time when souls undergo purification before entering into their final destination.

    Prayers for Departed Souls

    Greek Orthodox believers offer prayers for departed loved ones throughout their lives because they believe in an ongoing connection between the living and deceased members of their community. These prayers are said to assist those who have died in finding comfort, peace, and ultimately salvation.


    A central belief within Greek Orthodoxy regarding the afterlife is bodily resurrection at Christ’s second coming. The resurrected bodies will be transformed into incorruptible forms, reuniting with their souls for eternity.

    Understanding these core beliefs sheds light on how Greek Orthodox Christians approach matters related to death, mourning rituals, prayer practices for departed loved ones, and their hope in eternal life through Christ’s resurrection.

How do Greek Orthodox view the concept of heaven and hell?

    The concept of heaven and hell holds significant importance in the beliefs of Greek Orthodox Christians. According to their faith, heaven is seen as a state of eternal communion with God, where believers experience perfect joy, peace, and fulfillment. It is described as a place free from suffering and sin, where individuals are reunited with loved ones who have also attained salvation.

    On the other hand, hell is regarded as a state of separation from God due to one’s rejection or denial of His love and grace. It is believed to be a place of eternal torment and anguish for those who have chosen to distance themselves from God’s presence.

    To gain a deeper understanding of these concepts within Greek Orthodoxy, we can explore several key aspects:


    The ultimate goal for Greek Orthodox Christians is to achieve theosis or deification – becoming one with God through divine grace. This process involves striving for holiness and purity in life so that individuals may be united with God in eternity.


    The Greek Orthodox Church teaches that after death, all souls will face judgment before Christ. This judgment considers both an individual’s actions on earth (deeds) as well as their inner disposition towards God (faith). It determines whether they will dwell in heaven or suffer in hell.


    Unlike some other Christian denominations, the concept of purgatory does not exist within Greek Orthodoxy. Instead, purification occurs during earthly life through repentance and participation in sacraments such as confession and Holy Communion.

    Prayers for the Departed

    Following someone’s passing, it is customary for Greek Orthodox believers to offer prayers for their soul’s journey toward eternal rest. These prayers express hope that God’s mercy will grant them salvation if they were not fully prepared at the time of death.

    In conclusion

Are there any rituals or practices associated with death in Greek Orthodox tradition?

One important ritual is the preparation of the body for burial. The body is carefully washed, anointed with oil, dressed in white garments, and placed in a casket. This process symbolizes purification and prepares the soul for its journey to eternal life.

Another significant practice is the funeral service, known as the “Parastasis.” This service takes place at the church and includes prayers, hymns, readings from scripture, and eulogies. It serves as a time for family and friends to come together to remember their loved one and seek solace from their faith.

Following the funeral service, there is usually a procession to accompany the casket to its final resting place. During this procession, mourners may carry candles or icons while chanting hymns. This act of walking alongside their loved one signifies solidarity with them even after death.

Once at the cemetery, another short prayer service called “Trisagion” is performed before interment. Family members often take turns placing handfuls of soil on top of the casket as they say their final goodbyes.

Do Greek Orthodox believe in reincarnation or resurrection after death?

Greek Orthodox theology holds a firm belief in the resurrection after death rather than reincarnation. According to their teachings, when a person passes away, their soul separates from their physical body and enters into the realm of the afterlife. This separation is seen as temporary, as it is believed that at the end of time, all souls will be reunited with their resurrected bodies.

Resurrection holds great significance in Greek Orthodox Christianity as it aligns with Jesus Christ’s own resurrection from the dead. It signifies the victory over sin and death and offers hope for eternal life in communion with God.

In Greek Orthodox tradition, there are specific rituals and prayers performed to honor and remember the departed souls. These practices reflect a deep belief in the eventual reunion of body and soul through divine intervention.

How does the belief in life after death impact the daily lives of Greek Orthodox followers?

    Providing comfort and hope

    Believing in life after death offers solace to Greek Orthodox followers during difficult times, such as the loss of a loved one or personal struggles. This belief assures them that there is a greater purpose beyond earthly existence, instilling hope for a better future.

    Guiding moral choices

    The belief in an afterlife acts as a moral compass for Greek Orthodox followers. They strive to lead virtuous lives, following the teachings of their faith, with the understanding that their actions will be judged in the next life. This motivates them to make ethical decisions and treat others with kindness and compassion.

    Inspiring devotion to religious practices

    The concept of eternal life encourages devout adherence to religious rituals and traditions among Greek Orthodox believers. Daily prayer, attending church services regularly, participating in sacraments like Holy Communion, and observing fasting periods become essential practices that reinforce their connection with God and prepare them for the afterlife.

    Shaping priorities

    The belief in an everlasting existence prompts Greek Orthodox followers to prioritize spiritual growth over material pursuits. They place emphasis on nurturing relationships with God, family, and community rather than solely focusing on worldly achievements. This perspective fosters a sense of gratitude for blessings received while encouraging selflessness towards others.

    Encouraging perseverance

    Belief in life after death provides motivation for enduring challenges or hardships faced by Greek Orthodox followers. It reinforces the idea that temporary suffering can lead to eternal rewards, giving them strength to overcome obstacles and maintain resilience during trying times.


Q1: What is the Greek Orthodox belief about the soul after death?

A1: Greek Orthodox believe that after death, the soul separates from the body and enters into a state of awaiting judgment.

Q2: How do Greek Orthodox view heaven and hell?

A2: Greek Orthodox believe in both heaven and hell as eternal states of existence. Heaven is seen as communion with God, while hell is understood as separation from Him.

Q3: Do Greek Orthodox believe in purgatory?

A3: No, Greek Orthodox do not believe in purgatory. They believe that after death, individuals go directly to either heaven or hell based on their spiritual state.

Q4: What role does prayer play for the deceased according to Greek Orthodoxy?

A4: Prayer holds great importance for the deceased in Greek Orthodoxy. It is believed that through prayer, living believers can offer support and intercede for those who have passed away, helping them find peace and salvation.

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