An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


A doctrine traceable to patristic times of a temporary, intermediate state between heaven and hell. As developed in the Roman Catholic Church, purgatory is a state or place of hope and anticipation. Venial sins are cleansed, and temporal punishment is completed for forgiven sins. Article XXII of the Articles of Religion states that the “Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory” is “grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God” (BCP, p. 872). Purgatory is seldom mentioned in Anglican descriptions or speculations concerning life after death, although many Anglicans believe in a continuing process of growth and development after death. A vivid literary description of purgatory is provided by Dante in The Divine Comedy. See Eschatology.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.