Thursday, August 12, 2010

What is Holy Tradition

Holy Tradition is the deposit of faith given by Jesus Christ to the Apostles and passed on in the Church from one generation to the next without addition, alteration or subtraction. Vladimir Lossky has famously described the Tradition as "the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church." It is dynamic in application, yet unchanging in dogma. It is growing in expression, yet ever the same in essence.
Unlike many conceptions of tradition in popular understanding, the Orthodox Church does not regard Holy Tradition as something which grows and expands over time, forming a collection of practices and doctrines which accrue, gradually becoming something more developed and eventually unrecognizable to the first Christians. Rather, Holy Tradition is that same faith which Christ taught to the Apostles and which they gave to their disciples, preserved in the whole Church and especially in its leadership through Apostolic succession.

The central location in Holy Tradition is occupied by the Holy Scriptures, the written witness to God's revelation in the Church. As such, the Scriptures are always interpreted from within the Tradition which was the context for their writing and canonization.

Excerpt from OrthodoxWiki dated 19 October 2009
Article Title: Introduction to Orthodox Christianity

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