This is very difficult for me to absorb, but appreciate the scholarly discussion comparing viewpoints of Roman Catholic and Orthodox both historically and current catechism. ( if I followed correctly)
The afterlife merits and Orthodoxy
** in summation, there’s a handy Conclusion.
If we can sum up this article, allow us to simply say that Orthodoxy teaches that Heaven is an eternity of enjoying the radiance of God, because we are being conformed into His Light. The pure of heart will see God simply because they want to. They are literally willing their own salvation, perpetually, by the grace of God.
Hell, is an eternity of the exact opposite. It is an eternity of an obstinate will, that cannot change, which resists conforming to that Light and therefore burns from it.
Man’s merit (or lack thereof) is simply is to what degree he is participating in the life of God via Theosis. Hence, merit (or lack thereof) does not deserve Heaven or Hell as a matter of strict retribution, but rather it simply coincides where on the “spectrum” of God’s Light the soul will be after death. The volition of the soul decides whether the experience of Light is joyful or joyless.
For Saint Mark of Ephesus, the preceding view of the afterlife made the idea of Purgatory incomprehensible. So, even if the thoughts explicitly referred to in the preceding are not explicitly held by every Orthodox Christian, they are certainly part of the undercurrent of Orthodox thought. This makes their opposition to a literal Purgatory more understandable.
Whew! Time flies reading the blogosphere. Uh, time to hack and schedule this.