15 years ago, before the afterlife became mainstream fanfare with books and movies about heaven and the like, my journey to understand what has been taught and experienced by Orthodox Christians for the last 2,000 years about life beyond was just beginning.
During my college years (as my friends can attest) I was living a very sinful life away from God. Think of the typical, worldly college experience: that was me. My eternal future didn’t matter because I was enjoying satisfying my present.
You can listen to me tell the story here:
This is also available on my Orthodox Christian Meets World iTunes PODCAST CHANNEL
Then one day, on a visit to my mom’s house, as soon as I walked through the door she holds out in front of my face some printed document, about 10 pages long, stapled; when I looked closer I noticed it was all in hand-written Arabic.
“What is this?” I asked.
She enthusiastically explained that this was a copy of what some monk purportedly wrote about his experience dying, seeing the afterlife, and returning again.
My interest was piqued, but I needed to get my bearings and understand why she was so excited, who this was, how this is even possible, and why I should care.
Turns out, this monk was from an ancient Christian monastery in Egypt (and if you don’t know, Christian monasticism is rooted in the monks of the Egyptian desert, and most regard the Egyptian monk St. Anthony as the founder of monasticism some 1600 years ago).
“How do you know this monk? Why do you trust what he wrote? How did you even get this?”
I came to find out that this monk attended Engineering School with my uncle, and was related through his sister’s marriage to a close family friend.
I heard enough to proceed. I felt compelled for some reason to plop a laptop down on the dining room table and, together with my mother, translated the entire story into English.
That moment forever changed my life. Suddenly I gained an eternal perspective on things and felt so foolish for being so unprepared for the afterlife. Nothing has been the same for me ever since.
But my curiosity did not end there. I needed to know more. I needed to find more afterlife experiences, if there were any, and I needed to place this story in the context of Scripture and early Christianity. So I challenged myself: if Orthodox Christianity is true, then any other Orthodox afterlife experiences I come across must be consistent with each other, and they must conform with Scripture, and early Christian teachings.
15 years later, with an endorsement from my diocesan bishop and several others, and after extensive review by Orthodox theologians and scholars, through God’s grace, it is time to finally share what I’ve found.
While the pivotal change of my life was that first experience I read, compiling this book changed me yet again.
You don’t have to be Orthodox or even Christian to read this book (I’ve even included an extensive glossary for that very purpose). Whether you are seeking comfort over the loss of a loved one, or simply desiring to satisfy your curiosity about the unknown, here are just a few of things you can expect from reading Orthodox Afterlife:
- What is death and what does it feel like to die?
- What will our spirits look like?
- What will we see immediately after death?
- What is the experience after death? Is it a journey, or do we directly find ourselves in some other place?
- What is Hades like? Is it really a fiery torment? Is everyone punished the same?
- What is Paradise like? How does it look? What does it feel like being there?
- What happens to infants after they die?
- Will we see God in heaven? Will we see the Father? The Son? The Holy Spirit?
- What will we do in the afterlife? Will it be enjoyable?
The book is available for preorder from STM Abbey Press (the official publishing arm of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern U.S.A.).
For more info or to preorder, please visit:
Please share the news with others. My goal is that this book might do for you or someone else what it has done for me, and more. If one story changed my life, hopefully the dozens of experiences in this book have an even greater impact.