Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers


10 Entries

Do not works precede Scripture and Tradition? Does not Tradition precede Scripture? Were not the works of Noah, Abraham, the Forefathers and representatives of the Church of the Old Testament pleasing to God? And did not the tradition exist among the Patriarchs, beginning with Adam, the forefather of all? Did not Christ give liberty to men and teaching by word of mouth before the Holy Apostles by their writings bore witness to the work of redemption and the law of liberty? Wherefore, between Tradition, works and Scripture, there is no contradiction, but, on the contrary, complete agreement. A. Khomiakov, The Church is One

Often, doubtless, when we have not the Lord's passion in mind and see the image of Christ's crucifixion, His saving passion is brought back to remembrance, and we fall down and worship not the material but that which is imaged: just as we do not worship the material of which the Gospels are made, nor the material of the Cross, but that which these typify. For wherein does the cross, that typifies the Lord, differ from a cross that does not do so? It is just the same also in the case of the Mother of the Lord. For the honor which we give to her is referred to Him Who was made of her incarnate. And similarly also the brave acts of holy men stir us up to be brave and to emulate and imitate their valor and to glorify God. For as we said, the honor that is given to the best of fellow-servants is a proof of good-will towards our common Lady, and the honor rendered to the image passes over to the prototype. But this is an unwritten tradition, just as is also the worshipping towards the East and the worship of the Cross, and very many other similar things. St. John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith

Sacred TRADITION is the very CHURCH; without the Sacred TRADITION the CHURCH does not exist. Those who deny the Sacred TRADITION deny the Church and the preaching of the Apostles.

Before the writing of the Holy Scriptures, that is, of the sacred texts of the Gospels, the Acts and the Epistles of the Apostles, and before they were spread to the churches of the world, the CHURCH was based on Sacred Tradition....The holy texts are in relation to Sacred Tradition what the part is to the whole. The CHURCH Fathers regard Sacred Tradition as the safe guide in the interpretation of Holy Scripture and absolutely necessary for understanding the truths contained in the Holy Scripture. The CHURCH received many traditions from the Apostles... The constitution of the church services, especially of the Divine Liturgy, the holy Mysteria themselves and the manner of performing them, certain prayers and other institutions of the Church go back to the Sacred Tradition of the Apostles. In their conferences, the Holy Synods draw not only from Holy Scriptures, but also from Sacred Tradition as from a pure fount. Thus, the Seventh Ecumenical Synod says in the 8th Decree: "If one violates any part of the CHURCH Tradition, either written or unwritten, let him be anathema. "Modern Orthodox Saints, St. Nectarios of Aegina", Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, Massachusetts., 1981., pp. 154-187

The Church Fathers regard Sacred Tradition as the safe guide in the interpretation of Holy Scripture and absolutely necessary for understanding the truths contained in Holy Scripture. St. Nectarios of Aegina, Modern Orthodox Saints, V. 7

The Faith which I was taught by the Holy Fathers, which I taught at all times without adjusting according to the times, this Faith I will never stop teaching; I was born with it and I live by it. St. Gregory the Theologian

Therefore let us leave untouched the senseless speculations of the masses and the false doctrines, and turn to the teaching delivered to us in the beginning, let us be temperate and ready for our prayers, persevere in fasting, and fervently implore the All-seeing God not to expose us to temptations, since the Lord has said: 'The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.' St. Polycarp, Epistle to the Philippians.

These, then, are the things in which you must stand firm and follow the Lord's example: be steadfast and immovable in the faith; love the brotherhood; cherish one another; be united in the truth; with the meekness of the Lord give precedence to one another; despise no one. When able to do a work of charity, do not put it off; for almsgiving delivers from death. One and all, submit to each other's rights; for life among the gentiles must be beyond reproach; thus by your good example you will win praise for yourselves and the Lord will not be blasphemed on your account. St. Polycarp, Epistles to the Philippians

Tradition is the living faith of the dead, while traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Jaroslav Pelikan (not as Holy Father, but a good quote, nonetheless)

What are "our traditions"? They are everything that the God-man Christ, He Himself, and by the Holy Spirit, gave the commandment to hold and to live according to Them; whatever He delivered to his Church, in which He dwells continuously with His Holy 'Spirit (Cf. Mt. 28:19-29). "Our traditions" are our whole life in grace in God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the life of us Christians, which began in the Church of Christ, through the Apostles, by the decent of the Holy Spirit. ... Thus, our "traditions" are the new life of the grace in the Holy Spirit, which is the soul of the Church, the life in the Eternal Truth of God, in the Eternal Justice of God, in the Eternal Love of God, in the Eternal Life of God. Here man is not creating anything, nor can he create the Eternal Truth, the Eternal Justice, the Eternal Love, the Eternal Life, but they are for him to accept, to change into his own. St. (Fr.) Justin Popovich in Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ

When Christ Himself spoke to Paul and called him, He could have opened his eyes at once and made known to him the way of perfection; instead He sent him to Ananias and told him to learn from him the way of truth, saying: 'Arise and go into the city, and there you will be told what you must do' (Acts 9:6). In this manner He teaches us to be guided by those who are advanced on the way, so that the vision rightly given to Paul should not be wrongly interpreted; otherwise it might lead later generations presumptuously to suppose that each individual must be initiated into truth directly by God, as Paul was, and not by the fathers. St. John Cassian(On the Holy Fathers of Sketis)

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