St. Basil on the Torments of Gehenna

St. Basil the Great ca. 330-379

The one who has done much evil in this life will be confronted by frightening, sinister-looking angels, emitting fire in their breath and their glances because of the harshness of their character; their gloomy and threating demeanor will be like the night. See the deep pit, the impenetrable darkness; fire without brightness, which has the power to burn but is deprived of light. Then imagine a kind of worm that is venomous and carnivorous, that can eat ravenously without ever being filled, and that cause unbearable pain with its bites. Then think of the worst punishment of all: eternal reproach and shame. Fear these things; and trained by this fear, rein in your soul from its desire for evil. (PG 29.372A7—B6. Excerpted from “The Hope of the Early Church: A Handbook of Patristic Eschatology by Brian E. Daley. Chap 7: Facing Death in Freedom: Eastern Eschatology in the Age of Nicea [325-400], pg. 82)