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Author Topic: Are Traditions infallible?  (Read 4287 times) Average Rating: 0
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wolf
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« on: July 21, 2011, 11:08:29 AM »

I'm sure this question has been asked many times, but here it is again. When I am talking about traditions, I mean things like the life/death of early apostles and saints, the life of the Theotokos, St. Luke writing the first icon ect. Many of these are not believed to be true by modern scholars. Is every word of every tradition Holy Tradition, or are some traditions more important than others? How does infallibility work in Orthodoxy anyway..?
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« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2011, 11:21:19 AM »

I'm sure this question has been asked many times, but here it is again. When I am talking about traditions, I mean things like the life/death of early apostles and saints, the life of the Theotokos, St. Luke writing the first icon ect. Many of these are not believed to be true by modern scholars. Is every word of every tradition Holy Tradition, or are some traditions more important than others? How does infallibility work in Orthodoxy anyway..?

They're just as infallible as modern scholars.

Some traditions are more important than others. If you misbelieve or refuse to believe certain traditions, this can lead you into heresy. Others you can, I suppose, choose not to believe, but you'll be something of an idiot.
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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2011, 11:32:19 AM »

wolf,

A general question like this doesn't profit much in discussion, because the answer no matter what others say here is simply:

No.

Now, once you begin to get more specific on which thread of tradition you mean and what you mean by infallible (even most folks don't even get the simple definition correct), then you can have an interesting discussion.

Also you ought to get your mind around the fact that everything is tradition to the degree we can discuss something within a historical or even phenomenological context, which is probably what most people care about. As to ontology that is a separate matter and something most folks probably wouldn't understand, don't need to, nor is important.

So, is there anything specific you are having trouble with?

And what do you mean by infallible?

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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2011, 12:05:02 PM »

What is meant by Holy Tradition is not the same thing as what Protestants believe about the Bible. It's a horse of a different color.

What we mean is that if you examine any doctrine or practice of The Church you can look back and see how it has been understood over time..
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2011, 12:13:33 PM »

Thank you both for the replies.

I wasn't thinking of not believing certain doctrines, but wondered more what the "limit" of Holy Tradition is.
Roman Catholics have a distinction between Dogma, Doctrine and then non-doctrinal teaching. The former two pertain to matters of Faith while the latter does not. I think all are presumed to be true, but it does not necessarily affect your salvation if you stop believing in a matter of non-doctrinal tradition. I wonder if there is an equivalent to this in Orthodoxy. If there is any way of knowing when legend or even reliable traditions become part of the Holy Tradition.

Quote
And what do you mean by infallible?

Free from theological and historical error. The Resurrection (I presume) would be a infallible teaching because it is true historically and theologically. At least, this has been my understanding.

Quote
So, is there anything specific you are having trouble with?

I am not necessarily talking about traditions such as the Entry into the Temple by the Theotokos, which appear quite early (although I am struggling), but minor things such as the idea that St. Luke wrote the first Icon or that the High Priest said This or that exact words to Mary as she entered the temple. It is the minor details that don't necessarily appear in the text of the services (something I have heard is a standard of sorts) but are nevertheless encountered by anyone researching these topics.
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2011, 12:32:12 PM »

Thank you both for the replies.

I wasn't thinking of not believing certain doctrines, but wondered more what the "limit" of Holy Tradition is.
Roman Catholics have a distinction between Dogma, Doctrine and then non-doctrinal teaching. The former two pertain to matters of Faith while the latter does not. I think all are presumed to be true, but it does not necessarily affect your salvation if you stop believing in a matter of non-doctrinal tradition. I wonder if there is an equivalent to this in Orthodoxy. If there is any way of knowing when legend or even reliable traditions become part of the Holy Tradition.

Quote
And what do you mean by infallible?

Free from theological and historical error. The Resurrection (I presume) would be a infallible teaching because it is true historically and theologically. At least, this has been my understanding.

Quote
So, is there anything specific you are having trouble with?

I am not necessarily talking about traditions such as the Entry into the Temple by the Theotokos, which appear quite early (although I am struggling), but minor things such as the idea that St. Luke wrote the first Icon or that the High Priest said This or that exact words to Mary as she entered the temple. It is the minor details that don't necessarily appear in the text of the services (something I have heard is a standard of sorts) but are nevertheless encountered by anyone researching these topics.


I love infallible. As you say, it means something like "free from error" or better yet "ain't wrong". But we all being good neo-Platonists, know that the privation of something doesn't the opposite make. So infallible certainly doesn't mean "true".

Orthodox don't (or I haven't ever heard it used) use the word infallible. As marc obliquely allude to above, it is more of a consensus over time made up of the witness of Scripture, Councils, Liturgy, Patristics, hymns / icons, with the degree of emphasis in about that order, to make it simple.

If you don't believe in the Resurrection in its full theological and historical truth, you absolutely ain't Orthodox.

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple is another matter. More than a few prominent Orthodox hold its "theological" truth but have grave reservations about its historical possibility. You can see by searching this board, the Orthodox here are split on the matter.

Certainly, there are things you "must" believe (just look at the Symbol of Faith) and there are other traditions which some understand in a variety of ways or don't believe in at all.

The best way to discern all this of course is to attend liturgy and read the Scriptures. Ask questions of your fellow Orthodox to get a gist of the degree of consensus on the matter you have questions about.

Recently for example, there was a poster who was arguing a literal interpretation of Christ's words regarding referring to no man as father, teacher, etc.

Did you notice the reaction? I don't think a single person on this board even began to give any credence to idea that was a legitimate POV.

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple? Not so much consensus here.

If you don't know how to use google to see how "divisive" certain traditions are or how "literally" they are held in general by folks on this board, just do the following in google:

Code:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/ WHATEVER YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/ "entrance of the theotokos"

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/ "call no man father"

The quotes will return only those results with that exact phrase contained within.

Best of luck.



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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2011, 01:30:02 PM »

How does infallibility work in Orthodoxy anyway..?

Here's how it works: God speaks or works infallible, then humans mess it up.  And that's about it. Wink  Whether you're talking about the Bible, morality, or whatever else, humans have a way of getting things wrong. Thankfully God keeps nudging us back in the right direction.
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2011, 03:18:18 PM »

Like Apostle Luke painting first icon.

In Eastern Orthodox monasteries there are icons believed to be painted by Apostle Luke. There is even a prayer mentioning that:
St. Luke wrote the first icon, of the Most Holy Theotokos Directress or Hodigitria, mentioned in the Paraklesis to the Theotokos:

Speechless be the lips of impious ones,
Those who do not reverence
Your great icon, the sacred one
Which is called Directress,
And was depicted for us
By one of the apostles,
Luke the Evangelist.

So, based on history rules is OK.
Some people want to see with their eyes Apostle Luke painting icons. What can you do then.
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2011, 03:50:48 PM »

Ugh--I just noticed a typo in my post... I meant "God speaks or works infallibly"
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2011, 09:30:16 AM »

Everything human is fallible.
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2011, 12:24:52 PM »

The resurrection is an infallible teaching for the same reason that "platybus are mammals that lay eggs" is. Because it happened in the real world. Not because the chain of transmission is "infallible".

Only God is infallible in the strict sense. The Church will never err because it is the nature of Truth to prevail.

Many people, even large powerful groups have erred though because they though that something or someone among their ranks was the exclusive channel of this infalibillity. The Heresiarchists, Gnostics, the Formulists, Papists, Bibleists, Chronocentrists, Calendarists, Culturalists, Akribeists all believe, directly or indirectly that a certain Church's element of their choice, invariably considered the one or supreme source of truth and build a system over it at the expense of the communion with the holos of the Church. (thus the term "αἵρεσις", meaning "choice" or "system of principles")
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2011, 01:11:13 PM »

Yes, this is true, because...

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me.

This is the tricky part, if Jesus Christ is the truth, then He things that are not of Him are not true.  The standard is that no things apart from Him are true in and of themselves.  Therefore, a 'tradition' that is not of Him cannot be true.

A tradition is only true to the extent that it leads one to Christ, so a biblical parable can be more true than the real-life 'relationships' we experience on a daily basis, even though the parable are, in fact, not historcal phenomenon whereas our relationships are.  Yet, the latter can be utterly fake.



Ugh--I just noticed a typo in my post... I meant "God speaks or works infallibly"
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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2011, 09:20:47 AM »

Thanks to everyone for the great replies.

orthonorm
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The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple is another matter. More than a few prominent Orthodox hold its "theological" truth but have grave reservations about its historical possibility. You can see by searching this board, the Orthodox here are split on the matter.

I guess I don't see why the Church would pick up traditions that are not historically accurate. Isn't this just opening the Church up to criticism, which surely is the opposite of what God wants? I do understand that historically speaking, people were brought up in the temple instead of being ransomed back on the 40th day (Sampson for example), so I can accept that, but does the Tradition, hymns ect. say anywhere that she was brought up in the Holy of Holies, or is this only in the Protoevangelium? Also, it seems that she was expecting to have some kind of part in salvation, or at least those around her thought that, which could be in contrast to what is portrayed in the Annunciation.

pasadi97
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So, based on history rules is OK.
Some people want to see with their eyes Apostle Luke painting icons. What can you do then.

I am not sure that there is any evidence of icons actually from the 1st century itself, which doesn't mean they didn't exist though. Just out of interest, do you know how far back this tradition goes, or if the Icons in question have been dated scientifically?

Fabio Leite
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The resurrection is an infallible teaching for the same reason that "platybus are mammals that lay eggs" is. Because it happened in the real world. Not because the chain of transmission is "infallible".

I see what you are saying, although I have heard from some Orthodox that the Creed and Ecumenical councils represent Orthodox "dogma", "the Faith once delivered", the rest being extra - true, but not a part of the Faith. Dr. Eugenia Constantinou for example said this.

FatherGiryus
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A tradition is only true to the extent that it leads one to Christ, so a biblical parable can be more true than the real-life 'relationships' we experience on a daily basis, even though the parable are, in fact, not historcal phenomenon whereas our relationships are.  Yet, the latter can be utterly fake.

I think I see what you are saying, but is there any way of drawing the line? If (and you may not be saying this) some traditions are of metaphorical meaning, could the same not be said of other traditions - the incarnation, resurrection?
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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2011, 01:08:26 PM »

There are icons painted on the walls of the catacombs, which are very early.

Also, even if something originated after the First Century, that would not necessarily make it illegitimate. The Church is the creation of Christ, and it should not lack the ability to produce logical outgrowths, necessary to its functions. After all, I've heard no one object to taking the bus to church, and there were no buses in the Apostles' time.  Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2011, 08:36:29 AM »

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but does the Tradition, hymns ect. say anywhere that she was brought up in the Holy of Holies, or is this only in the Protoevangelium?


The hymns for the feast of the Entry of the Mother Od God into the Temple indeed say she was brought up in the Holy of Holies. Here are some verses from this feast:

The spotless maiden is led by the Holy Spirit to dwell in the Holy of Holies. She, who is truly the most holy temple of our holy God, is fed by an angel. He has sanctified all things by her entry, and has made Godlike the fallen nature of mortal men.

With their lamps in hand, the maidens rejoice today as they go in reverence before the spiritual lamp, who enters into the Holy of Holies. They foreshadow the Brightness beyond words that is to shine forth from her, to illumine with the Spirit those that sit in the darkness of ignorance.

After your birth, O Mistress and Bride of God, you came to dwell in the temple of the Lord to be brought up in the Holy of Holies, for you are holy. Gabriel was sent to bring food to you, the undefiled virgin. O Mother of God, without blemish or stain, who is glorified in heaven and on earth, intercede for us.
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« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2011, 09:20:27 AM »

Biro
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There are icons painted on the walls of the catacombs, which are very early.

Also, even if something originated after the First Century, that would not necessarily make it illegitimate. The Church is the creation of Christ, and it should not lack the ability to produce logical outgrowths, necessary to its functions. After all, I've heard no one object to taking the bus to church, and there were no buses in the Apostles' time.

Thanks for the info. I actually don't have a problem with Icons, whether the Apostles created them or not. I know that they can be reliably traced back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries and no-one had a problem with them as far as I know...

LBK
Thanks, do you know where I can find the rest of the text to the service? (would also love to know if the texts to all the 12 great feasts could be found online - I have been trying to search using google but found nothing complete).
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« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2011, 09:32:56 AM »

wolf, I have the complete service for the feast of the Entry in Word form. PM me with a suitable email address, and I can send it to you.
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« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2011, 04:33:57 AM »

I didn't want to make another tread pertaining to a similar matter, so:

The Orthodox Church believes that the Theotokos was bodily glorified in heaven after death, just like her son, and yet believes that we wait until after the second coming for the resurrection of the body (unlike Catholic and Protestants, who tend to say that we go immediately to heaven - one of the reasons I began to look at Orthodoxy actually). Is she the only one - or are all Saints bodily glorified? I have two problems with this if she is the only one:

1)How can the saints intercede for us, especially with bodily visitations as described by some, if they do not have bodies yet?
2)I find it hard to believe that this kind of thing would have been kept secret for 300+ years if she was.

Or is this just a case of time in the Kingdom of God not being the same as on Earth? Although in time the Saints are not glorified, they are in eternity and this is how they can intercede?
 Also, it mentions in one of the gospels that dead Saints started walking around the city - is this the same kind of thing?

I do remember reading that some Fathers believed that most of us wait until after the second coming for the bodily resurrection but Saints and Martyrs "get in early" because of their holiness. Would this be correct, and does it mean that Mary is not the only one bodily in heaven?

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08550a.htm
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According to others, only the martyrs and some other classes of saints are admitted at once to the supreme joys of heaven.
(no source unfortunately).
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« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2011, 04:48:54 AM »

Do you think there is time after death? Maybe they 'already' are 'after' the Judgement.
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« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2011, 04:51:29 AM »

People with glorified bodies:

Christ

The Theotokos

maybe Elijiah.

2)I find it hard to believe that this kind of thing would have been kept secret for 300+ years if she was.
The tradition is earlier than ~350 AD.

1)How can the saints intercede for us, especially with bodily visitations as described by some, if they do not have bodies yet?
They don't have bodies; it's a mystical experience. Angels are bodiless powers, for example, and one appeared to the Myrrh-bearing women as a young man.

I do remember reading that some Fathers believed that most of us wait until after the second coming for the bodily resurrection but Saints and Martyrs "get in early" because of their holiness. Would this be correct, and does it mean that Mary is not the only one bodily in heaven?
I think you're confusing the Paradise with the Kingdom to Come; perhaps as a result of mainstream Protestantism's con-fusion of heaven, the general resurrection and the coming kingdom on earth. The general Resurrection will occur when Heaven comes to Earth. The Saints await resurrection in the Bosom of Abraham, in the now-despoiled Sheol. When one says that the righteous are in heaven right now, one is speaking about "the righteous souls are in the hand of God" (see: Wisdom of Solomon).
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« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2011, 05:36:34 AM »

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Do you think there is time after death? Maybe they 'already' are 'after' the Judgement.

This would have been my first thoughts, but Nicholas Myra seems to say otherwise.

People with glorified bodies:

Christ

The Theotokos

maybe Elijiah.

2)I find it hard to believe that this kind of thing would have been kept secret for 300+ years if she was.
The tradition is earlier than ~350 AD.

I have also read that John the Baptist may have a glorified body, have you heard of this?
Can you prove that it is earliar than the earliest sources, from the 300s AD?
Even if it was earliar than that, why do no first century sources make reference to it? Why the secrecy - it makes it seem as if it was a later tradition, rather than something from the time of the Apostles.
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« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2011, 05:59:45 AM »

Even if it was earliar than that, why do no first century sources make reference to it? Why the secrecy - it makes it seem as if it was a later tradition, rather than something from the time of the Apostles.

Keeping things secret was the norm in early Christianity.
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« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2011, 06:55:47 AM »

My understanding is that the Holy Traditions of the Church are taught and encouraged for the benefit of our knowledge and growth in our spiritual journey, but that the Church has not deemed all Traditions "infallible," necessarily.  "Infallibility" is asserted by the Church for doctrine, part of Holy Tradition, promulgated by an Ecumenical Synod (Council), accepted by the common mind of the church (laity and clergy), and reconfirmed by a subsequent Synod.  Belief in the Church's doctrines are required for salvation.  Belief in the "Theologoumena," "Theological Teachings," are not required to be believed for salvation, but that is not to negate their significance, though, I have heard a prominent priest say the "Theologoumena" "are matters that may or may not be believed."  It may be that while the Church teaches the "theological teaching," it is not specified in scripture or it simply was not a debated controversy, and, as such, was not addressed by an Ecumenical Synod.  
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« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2011, 06:56:51 AM »

Even if it was earliar than that, why do no first century sources make reference to it? Why the secrecy - it makes it seem as if it was a later tradition, rather than something from the time of the Apostles.

Keeping things secret was the norm in early Christianity.

So secret that no-one wrote about them? This isn't the case for most other things in Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2011, 07:11:04 AM »

Even if it was earliar than that, why do no first century sources make reference to it? Why the secrecy - it makes it seem as if it was a later tradition, rather than something from the time of the Apostles.

Keeping things secret was the norm in early Christianity.

So secret that no-one wrote about them? This isn't the case for most other things in Orthodoxy.

Possibly. Though I would agree that calling it "the norm" was a gross overstatement.
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« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2011, 03:47:14 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I'm not quite sure Orthodox really considers the concept of Infallibility in the way the Roman Catholic or even the sola scripture folks.  If anything, the only things Infallible within Orthodox are the Seven Divine Mysteries in and of themselves.  Everything is else up to the Grace of God.

Further, if the Tradition were Infallible, there would have to be at least jurisdictional if not Universal canons regarding which writings, fathers, Saints, teachings, etc etc were legitimately Infallible and in which were not.  In Orthodox we have several over lapping Canons, Councils, and Synods, both Universal, jurisdictional, and even local which define the Tradition, but I would not think rigidly enough for Infallibility.

Stay Blessed,
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« Reply #26 on: August 01, 2011, 04:53:59 PM »

Tradition is the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church through the ages.  So it is of course infallible.

Now, the particulars of how that life has been manifested, that is a slightly diffferent issue.

Take for instance the Fathers: they witness to the Holy Spirit in themselves as they are able.  However, unlike Christ on Mt. Tabor, they are not able to manifest the divine light in all His glory.  A Father is not infallible, because only Christ is infallible. So a Father's writings contain the limitations of his age, his understanding, his education etc.  The light in all the Fathers is the same, but they cannot, due to their lmited nature, manifest it the same way.  Hence the importance of the consensus of the Fathers, as the light shines brighter, as Christ promises when two or three were gathered in His name.
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« Reply #27 on: August 01, 2011, 04:57:26 PM »

Western people, for some reason, seem to crave a form of infallibility. Some want a source to turn to, others seek out gurus who will tell them what to do. It's like they take comfort in surrendering personal responsibility.
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« Reply #28 on: August 01, 2011, 05:07:11 PM »

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Take for instance the Fathers: they witness to the Holy Spirit in themselves as they are able.  However, unlike Christ on Mt. Tabor, they are not able to manifest the divine light in all His glory.  A Father is not infallible, because only Christ is infallible. So a Father's writings contain the limitations of his age, his understanding, his education etc.  The light in all the Fathers is the same, but they cannot, due to their lmited nature, manifest it the same way.  Hence the importance of the consensus of the Fathers, as the light shines brighter, as Christ promises when two or three were gathered in His name.

So basically ialmisry, the Traditions are infallible in spirit, but not necessarily in practice?

PP
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« Reply #29 on: August 01, 2011, 05:09:58 PM »

Western people, for some reason, seem to crave a form of infallibility. Some want a source to turn to, others seek out gurus who will tell them what to do. It's like they take comfort in surrendering personal responsibility.

Gurus are Eastern.
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« Reply #30 on: August 01, 2011, 05:27:12 PM »

Even if it was earliar than that, why do no first century sources make reference to it? Why the secrecy - it makes it seem as if it was a later tradition, rather than something from the time of the Apostles.

Keeping things secret was the norm in early Christianity.

So secret that no-one wrote about them? This isn't the case for most other things in Orthodoxy.

It may have been such common knowledge that they didn't see a need to write it down. They may have assumed it would be passed verbally.
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« Reply #31 on: August 01, 2011, 05:43:38 PM »

Western people, for some reason, seem to crave a form of infallibility. Some want a source to turn to, others seek out gurus who will tell them what to do. It's like they take comfort in surrendering personal responsibility.

Gurus are Eastern.

Your point?

Guru-ism is very common amongst Westerners, both those flocking to Hindoo gurus in the West and India, and those flocking to real or imagined holy elders in Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #32 on: August 01, 2011, 05:44:41 PM »

Even if it was earliar than that, why do no first century sources make reference to it? Why the secrecy - it makes it seem as if it was a later tradition, rather than something from the time of the Apostles.

Keeping things secret was the norm in early Christianity.

So secret that no-one wrote about them? This isn't the case for most other things in Orthodoxy.

It may have been such common knowledge that they didn't see a need to write it down. They may have assumed it would be passed verbally.

Just like the Scriptures, the oral sayings of the Lord recorded by St. Paul, and the oral part of holy tradition.
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« Reply #33 on: August 01, 2011, 08:50:52 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Western people, for some reason, seem to crave a form of infallibility. Some want a source to turn to, others seek out gurus who will tell them what to do. It's like they take comfort in surrendering personal responsibility.

This is because for better or worse the Western civilization has been guided by its logical mind and not its mysterious heart (this is not to say the West has no heart, rather they just under emphasize its' importance) and so the logical mind needs rigid, structured, mathematical rules, laws, and guidelines to make sense of its place in reality.  The East on the other hand, is a bit more esoteric about the matter, and prefers the harmony and spiritual inspiration of relying upon the heart.  In fact, the Orthodox and the Mysteries were precisely established by our Lord to heal the gap and put properly together the thinking mind which has its foot in this present world, and our spiritual hearts which are attuned to the Divine.

Infallibility in the Catholic Church is a concept foreign entirely to Orthodox (aside from the Seven Divine Mysteries themselves) because we do not need things to be perfect in our comprehension of them, instead we must experience God from the stillness of our hearts and then the truth underlying shines forth and changes us.  Our minds can not change or heal us, as our minds are precisely what is broken, and it is obvious that you can't use a broken tool for repairs.  The heart in God's Grace can heal and teach us all there is to understand through direct experience rather then contemplative reasoning.  This is why we call them Mysteries Smiley

stay blessed,
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« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2011, 05:46:50 AM »

There are valid historical documents that are called traditions. Applying history rules they are valid. Applying other sets of rules like if I did not see apostle painting I don't believe then I don't know.
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« Reply #35 on: August 02, 2011, 10:47:48 AM »

Looks like I was repeating myself.

Some people say that Eusebius history of Church speaks about this and also icons painted by St Luke exists even today . From generation to generation the information that this icon was painted by Apostle Luke remained .

http://www.coptic.net/articles/CopticIcons.txt
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« Reply #36 on: August 02, 2011, 11:25:56 AM »

I think that is a good summary.



So basically ialmisry, the Traditions are infallible in spirit, but not necessarily in practice?

PP
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« Reply #37 on: August 02, 2011, 01:32:05 PM »

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I think that is a good summary.

Thank you FatherGiryus. That really helps me out...very much so actually.

PP
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« Reply #38 on: August 03, 2011, 04:04:56 AM »

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Further, if the Tradition were Infallible, there would have to be at least jurisdictional if not Universal canons regarding which writings, fathers, Saints, teachings, etc etc were legitimately Infallible and in which were not.  In Orthodox we have several over lapping Canons, Councils, and Synods, both Universal, jurisdictional, and even local which define the Tradition, but I would not think rigidly enough for Infallibility.

This struck me as well. Many EO would say that the OO churches are Orthodox, and yet they have different traditions, as do the different churches in the EO communion - if tradition is absolutely infallible in the way that it is practiced, then which practice is correct? Tradition being infallible in spirit makes a lot of sense to me.

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It may have been such common knowledge that they didn't see a need to write it down. They may have assumed it would be passed verbally.

May have been - but the same could be said of any of the main doctrines of the Church - yet they were written down because people know about them, wanted to write about them and preach about them for the instruction of the faithful. Surely something as important as the Mother of God being taken up to heaven and bodily resurrected would have been something to talk about, and yet people in the Church remain silent for 400 years (if anyone knows the actual date, it would be much appreciated). Also, the tradition wasn't uniform either - there were differences in what actually happened by different sources.

The traditions about Mary are one of the last stumbling blocks between me and the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #39 on: August 03, 2011, 04:10:45 AM »

This struck me as well. Many EO would say that the OO churches are Orthodox, and yet they have different traditions, as do the different churches in the EO communion - if tradition is absolutely infallible in the way that it is practiced, then which practice is correct? Tradition being infallible in spirit makes a lot of sense to me.

Discussions EO vs. OO are banned outside Private Forums. If you don't have an access there, you should ask FrChris and ask that question there.
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« Reply #40 on: August 03, 2011, 05:56:39 AM »

This struck me as well. Many EO would say that the OO churches are Orthodox, and yet they have different traditions, as do the different churches in the EO communion - if tradition is absolutely infallible in the way that it is practiced, then which practice is correct? Tradition being infallible in spirit makes a lot of sense to me.

Discussions EO vs. OO are banned outside Private Forums. If you don't have an access there, you should ask FrChris and ask that question there.

Sorry, and thanks.
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« Reply #41 on: August 03, 2011, 10:04:27 AM »

if tradition is absolutely infallible in the way that it is practiced, then which practice is correct?

Remember that there is a difference between (T)radition, and (t)radition.
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« Reply #42 on: August 03, 2011, 10:10:56 AM »

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There are icons painted on the walls of the catacombs, which are very early.

Also, even if something originated after the First Century, that would not necessarily make it illegitimate. The Church is the creation of Christ, and it should not lack the ability to produce logical outgrowths, necessary to its functions. After all, I've heard no one object to taking the bus to church, and there were no buses in the Apostles' time.

Thanks for the info. I actually don't have a problem with Icons, whether the Apostles created them or not. I know that they can be reliably traced back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries and no-one had a problem with them as far as I know...

LBK
Thanks, do you know where I can find the rest of the text to the service? (would also love to know if the texts to all the 12 great feasts could be found online - I have been trying to search using google but found nothing complete).

Here is the text for Pascha and the 12 Great Feasts as celebrated by the Antiochian Archdiocese: http://www.antiochianladiocese.org/service_texts_great_feast.html

They include Vespers, Matins, and variable parts of the Divine Liturgy. Smiley
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« Reply #43 on: August 03, 2011, 10:54:47 AM »



CBGardner
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It may have been such common knowledge that they didn't see a need to write it down. They may have assumed it would be passed verbally.

May have been - but the same could be said of any of the main doctrines of the Church - yet they were written down because people know about them, wanted to write about them and preach about them for the instruction of the faithful. Surely something as important as the Mother of God being taken up to heaven and bodily resurrected would have been something to talk about, and yet people in the Church remain silent for 400 years (if anyone knows the actual date, it would be much appreciated). Also, the tradition wasn't uniform either - there were differences in what actually happened by different sources.

The traditions about Mary are one of the last stumbling blocks between me and the Orthodox Church.


What about the Trinity? That is a central teaching that's never spelled out in Scripture. Plus all the Gospels aren't uniform in their narrative so that's no sign of inaccuracy.
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« Reply #44 on: August 03, 2011, 11:58:57 AM »

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Thank you Grin

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What about the Trinity? That is a central teaching that's never spelled out in Scripture. Plus all the Gospels aren't uniform in their narrative so that's no sign of inaccuracy.

True, but the Trinity can be demonstrated to have been a consistant teaching of Christianity from the beginning, whereas the Dormition as a tradition first appears reliably a couple of centuries after Christs death. Besides, writers from the first century onwards wrote about the trinity - not using the same language, but what they say in the fourth century could be accepted in the first.
I am not saying that the Dormition is not true, but surely there has to be a reason why this wasn't written about until many centuries after the dawn of Christianity. Unless, it is a later tradition - is that possible? A later tradition picked up by the Church, but never the less true because it has been accepted by all in the Church, sort of like the Catholic idea of Sensus fidelium? Would that be an unacceptable understanding for Orthodox?

katherineofdixie
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Remember that there is a difference between (T)radition, and (t)radition.

Ok, but where is the limit drawn? For example, I remember reading somewhere that the Russians or Copts have a tradition that details what the Theotokos said when she saw Luke the Evangelist painting the first icon. Big T or little t?
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