Fr. John Meyendorff (1926 – 1992) – was a leading theologian of the Orthodox Church as well as a writer and teacher. He was a great student of 14th century Saint, Gregory Palamas. Meyendorff served as the Dean of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York until 1992. Here, Meyendorff explains that the Orthodox church does not reject the idea of universal salvation, or apokatastasis, because it conflicts with the notion of eternal damnation, but “because it presupposes an ultimate limitation of human freedom”.
“The fact that the Logos assumed human nature as such implied the universal validity of redemption, but not the ‘apokatastasis’, or universal salvation, a doctrine which in 553 was formally condemned as Origenistic. Freedom must remain an inalienable element of every man, and no one is to be forced into the Kingdom of God against his own free choice; the ‘apokatastasis’ had to be rejected precisely because it presupposes an ultimate limitation of human freedom – the freedom to remain outside of God.” ~ Byzantine Theology, 163