Monday, July 28, 2014

Dead Traditionalism

Many believe that tradition is merely repeating what we were taught when we were younger, or its merely what the Fathers said, centuries ago. They don’t understand it as a living being, but as a dead repetition of events and customs. John Meyendorff, in his book ‘Living Tradition’, claims that:

‘…dead traditionalism cannot be truly traditional. It is an essential characteristic of patristic theology that it was able to face the challenges of its own time while remaining consistent with the original apostolic Orthodox faith. Thus simply to repeat what the Fathers said is to be unfaithful to their spirit and to the intention embodied in their theology…for us to be “traditional” implies an imitation of the Fathers in their creative work of discernment…We must imitate their constant effort to understand their contemporaries and to use words and concepts which could truly reach the minds of the listeners. True tradition is always a living tradition. It changes while remaining always the same. It changes because it faces different situations, not because its essential content is modified.’[1]

[1] Meyendorff, John, Living Tradition, (Crestwood, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1978), pp. 7-8. 

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