The History of Leith

July 21, 2007

Damned Souls and Purgatory


According to a very early Christian doctrine the soul of a dead person was bound to its body until it was raised at Judgement day. However the thought of the soul being held in a decaying corpse was horrible to many so the idea came in of purgatory a sort of half way house between heaven and hell. The deceased’s time in purgatory depended on the “prayers for the dead” the Obit being said or a donation being made to the Church. That is why in many early Leith Charters the phrase ” for the weel of the soul” is used. This is why Chantry Chapels to pray for the dead members of the Leith Trade Incorporations were set up in up in South Leith Church and these prayers were to be said until the ” the crack of Doom”. This practice was one of the reasons for the Reformation of the Church of Scotland and the total rejection of the idea of purgatory.

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