As per the Christian Doctrine the soul is immortal and there is ‘No Re-Incarnation or Re-Birth‘; a soul will have one Birth and one Death..
When a human being dies, the ‘Spirit’ goes back to the ‘Creator-God the Almighty’ and the ‘Body’ goes back to the original place from where it had come, the mud or dust and the ‘Soul’ will ultimately go to either ‘Heaven’ or ‘Hell’.
For the Good Deeds done during the life-time, the souls would get an ‘Eternal Reward’ and enter ‘Heaven’ –the abode of God the Almighty, where the Son of God, Jesus Christ would be seated on the right of His Father-God.
For the ‘Eternal and Unforgivable Sins’ committed during the life-time, the souls will get ‘Eternal Punishment’ and will be dropped into the ‘Hell’, the abode/place of eternal punishment of ‘Satan’, the rebelled angel.
Some of the Christian believe that there are two types of ‘Judgement’ of the souls by God; an ‘Individual Judgement’ as and when persons die and a ‘Final and Common Judgement’ on the day of the ‘Second Coming’ of the ‘Son of Man, Jesus Christ’.
According to them, the souls of the deceased are sent either to ‘Heaven’ or ‘Hell’ immediately after death, by the ‘Individual Judgement.
And some of the souls will be neither taken into ‘Heaven’ nor dropped into ‘Hell’.
They will be kept in an ‘Intermediate Place’ called the ‘Purgatory’, where those souls will be undergoing temporary and minor punishments for the ‘Ordinary/Pardonable Sins’ committed during the life time and for purification for entering into ‘Heaven.
After the completion of the temporary punishment and purification the souls will enter ‘Heaven’.
Prayers for the deceased souls in Christianity:
The Christians who pray for the souls in the purgatory will remember and pray for the repose of , not only the souls of their relatives, but also all the souls of people who have died so far, for whom nobody remembers of pray for their repose.
The people cannot know as to, which souls will be in ‘Heaven’, ‘Hell’ or ‘Purgatory’; God only will know the true status.
So, the christians used to pray for the repose of the souls of all the deceased people, including their close relatives, relatives, friends, neighbours and even the unknown people. ,
The christians used to pray for the deceased on the day of the death, before the funeral & burial, and on 30th day of death, anniversaries.
Also on the 02nd of November every year, all the christians observe the ‘All Souls Day’, when they remember and pray for the repose of the souls of the deceased.
On the ‘All Souls Day; the christians clean the cemeteries of their relatives and decorate them with flowers & garlands and light up candles and burn incenses and pray for the repose of the souls.
Also, they pay for ‘Special Masses’ (Special Prayers of the Christians performed in the churches by the ordained priests) in the churches for the repose of the souls of the deceased relatives and others.
The following is the List of some sections/Churches of Christianity, who believe in the ‘Doctrine of Purgatory’ and who pray for the repose of the souls of the Deceased:
- Roman Catholic Church,
- Anglican Church,
- Lutheran Christians,
- Orthodox Churches,
- ‘Methodists’ Church,
- The ‘Free’ Christian Church and
- The Later Days Saints (LDS) Christian Church-
Why Some of the Christians Do Not Pray For the Souls of the Deceased?:
Many the ‘Protestant’ Christians, especially, the ‘Pentaghasts’ do not believe in the doctrine of ‘Purgatory’.
According to them, the souls of the deceased will neither enter ‘Heaven’ nor ‘Hell’.
Instead, the souls are being kept in a ‘Sleeping Status’ called ‘Pardesh’ until the day of the ‘Second Coming of the Son of Man, Jesus Christ’ which is the day of the ‘Final Judgement’.
On the ‘Second coming of the Son of God Jesus Christ on the ‘Final Judgement Day’ the souls of those who have already died and kept sleeping in pardesh in a common place will be resurrected.
All the souls of the living people at that time along with the resurrected souls from the ‘Sleeping Status; will be transformed instantly and get either ‘eternal reward’-heaven or ‘eternal punishment’-hell.
According to such Christians every man and woman born on this earth must be re-born in Jesus Christ and receive ‘Baptism’ by Immersion into Water’, by accepting Jesus Christ as their own Saviour and they will be called the ‘Redeemed Christians’.
They believe and spread the ‘Good News’/Gospel that only the souls of people thus ‘Redeemed’ by ‘Water Immersion Baptism’ will enter ‘Heaven’. They do not believe in the doctrine of ‘Individual Judgement’/Purgatory.
According to such christians,during the life-time all the human beings must be reborn in Jesus Christ as described above and prayers etc for the souls of the deceased are of no use to them.
They do not accept the ‘Infant Baptism’ and ‘Baptism of the Deceased of the other sections of Christianity, who believe in ‘Purgatory’.
[…] Why do Christians in India pray for the souls of their deceased relatives and others? […]