DMV New Year's Retreat 2012 held on December 30th, 2011

The MGOSCM youth of the DMV area recently had the Road to Redemption Retreat. This retreat was a truly enlightening message that instilled a newly found sense of faith in our orthodox youth. The main speaker, Rev. Dn. Philip Mathew, began by speaking of how the orthodox faith views death. While the body and the soul are often used interchangeably; they are two separate entities, two separate beings that co-exist in the same space. What makes death so traumatic and so dauntingly final is that the body and the soul are separated, torn apart from each other forever. This is the physical separation, the physical death that the body and soul endure. There is, however, a more traumatic death that can be experienced: spiritual death, the soul being torn away from its Creator, God. As the soul sins, it is torn further and further from God. God offers physical death to humans as an act of mercy; it is his way of ensuring that the soul will not endure the trauma of being torn away from its Creator.

In addition to the idea of death, Rev. Dn. Philip Mathew also discussed what happens to the soul, after death. The media portrays vivid pictures of the afterlife, including a fiery hell and an angelic heaven. According to the Orthodox faith, the souls of the dead in Sheol, an area where the souls wait for Jesus to return. Sheol contains two distinct areas: Paradise, which is like the Garden of Eden, a land which offers a preview of what heaven will be like and Sheol, which is a dark, ominous area that reveals how torturous hell will be. Once the soul is placed in either Paradise or Sheol, nothing more can be done, the soul cannot redeem itself. However, God is the ultimate creator and if the church prays for a particular soul, God does have the power to move the soul from Sheol to Paradise. The journey of the soul from the world