kirk yacoub Wrote:Dear John and father Gregory,
A succinct explanation of Tradition is given on
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That's a great explanation. This was my attempt at explaining it to a Protestant friend - and I was relieved when I read your link to see I was in the same place!
Perhaps it is my want of experience in this that prevents you understanding my explanations of what the Orthodox mean by 'Holy Tradition'. I shall try to find you a site, but until then, here's my final go.
Tradition is that which is handed on. How was the Lord's message handed on? In the first place orally. He told those who listened to Him, and He commissioned the Apostles to carry the word on - including St. Paul. Where do we find that word now, since all who heard it are in repose?
We find it in the writings of the Apostolic and sub-Apostolic era. One of the oldest extant copies of the Scriptures, the fifth century Codex Alexandrinus includes 1 Clement amongst the rest of the Scriptures as we have them. The other ancient surviving text, the Codex Sinaiticus includes The Epistle of Barnabas as well as The Shepherd of Hermas, so we can see that the early Church did not make the same distinction we came to between what was and was not canonical.
This decision was reached, on the basis of the traditions received, by the early Councils. So, the Holy Scriptures themselves are an essential element of how we receive that tradition. But if we accept the canon of the Church, we also accept those books it found edifying - the Apostolic Fathers, as good for our spiritual growth. In addition, we read the early Church Fathers, whose writings also form part of the tradition of hearing and reading the word of God.
Another major source of tradition is the Liturgy of the Church; in our doxologies we express our beliefs, and in the Eucharist we encounter the Truth of the Risen Lord. Anyone who really wants to see tradition in action just needs pop into an Orthodox Church.
Now I can give him your link and he'll bem if no happier, a lot better informed!
Many thanks, Kirk,
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)