"The Church does not speak through an individual but through the Consensus Patrum, the consensus of the Fathers of the Church. That means that no one bishop, theologian or saint has the entirety of the Truth. It doesn’t matter how holy or how learned you are, the Holy Spirit speaks the Truth and manifests the Truth through the totality of the Church. (Obviously, both individually and corporately, we should strive to be both learned and holy, to study and to pray.)
Our Church has been around for 2000 years. We’ve learned a great deal during that time. We’ve made some mistakes along the way and hopefully we’ve learned from them. We have studied the Bible, and understand it by the Holy Spirit working through the whole Church and the whole of Church History. Holy Tradition is the Bible understood and lived by the Church. The
dogma of the Church especially as expressed in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is Holy Tradition. If you disagree with a point of the Creed, you are not in The Church.
There are big “T” Traditions that are unchangeable and there are little “t” traditions which can vary from place to place and time to time, especially in relation to the practice of the faith. For instance, my grandmother was a very pious and faithful woman. She always began her day with prayer and reading the Bible, and continued to pray and read the Bible throughout the day. She was always at church services and kept the oil lamp on the proskinitari across the street lit at all times. She was raised, as were many of you, with the practice of infrequent communion. You fasted for two weeks, one week or at the very least on Saturday to receive Holy Communion at Pascha, Christmas, Panagia’s and your nameday. When she saw someone going for Holy Communion on a regular basis, she would get very upset, “What do they think it is, soup?”
Yet we know that the best expression of our Holy Tradition is to keep up a healthy spiritual life, observing the fast on Wednesdays and Fridays as well as other fasting periods, maintaining our prayer life and our moral life, confessing our sins personally and formally through Holy Confession, and receiving Holy Communion often as a means of spiritual sustenance. We know that it is not “soup” but it is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, spiritual food for spiritual health for those who have prepared to receive it. [Incidentally, Canon 64 of the Apostolic Canons forbids fasting on a Saturday or a Sunday, except for Holy Saturday, but don’t tell my grandmother!]
Does that mean that my grandmother is/was wrong? Of course not, she did what she believed was right and God blessed her for that. Our Parishes are composed of a great many people with a great many different experiences of tradition, all of us very attached to how things were done in the old days. If we do things differently, does that mean that we are doing things wrong or that things were done wrong back in your home parish? Not necessarily, they may both be right or at least acceptable.
Our challenge is to come to a consensus through study and prayer as to the best way to manifest the Holy Tradition of our Church and to honor the various traditions that each of us has known. This is not always easy. I am humble enough to realize that I am not infallible, and that I do not have a lock on the Total Truth of God. My primary concern however to manifest in our Parish communities that which is in both the best Tradition and traditions of our Orthodox Christian Church." Fr. Demetri Tsigas
When asked to provide citation for this quote Katherine replied "It was from his parish newsletter awhile ago - maybe even last year. I liked it so much that I copied it and kept it. " Thanks for responding Katherine!
Just a reminder to all that when posting quotes your should always cite the source. If it is a parish newletter note the name of the parish and the location, the year of the newsletter ,and if known the date or Volume and number of the newsletter. We ask for these citations so our members can go to the source and read the entire article if they desire.
Thanks, Thomas Convert issues Forum Moderator