Friday, October 10, 2014

Faithfulness to Tradition

Many understand Tradition as being a conservative reality within the Orthodox Church, which constantly looks back, without being able to identify the present and future problems for the Christians. If this is the case, then Tradition (a living organism) would be dead and not a living entity within Orthodoxy. Therefore, we should battle this idea. Tradition is a way of life, it is how we interpret Scripture and Christian life, it is the route we take for the ultimate objective we have as Christians, i.e. theosis – salvation. Elisabeth Behr Sigel explains this reality:

‘We must not confuse faithfulness to tradition with a sacralisation of the past, of Church history. Tradition is not a kind of sacred and unshakable monument, nor is it a prison in which we are to be locked up. It is a river of life, penetrated and fertilized by the energies of the Holy Spirit. The river necessarily carries along with it historical and therefore transitory elements as well as impurities and other pollutants. Sometimes Tradition even seems frozen under a great ice shell, but below this frozen and rigid surface flow ever fresh springtime waters. It is up to us, with the help of God’s grace, to break the ice that is above all the ice of our hearts become cold. When our hearts will once again burn in our breast, like they did for the disciples of Emmaus, we will recognize the Lord, and he will himself explain “in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Lk 24:27). For us and in us, Tradition will become a spring of living water. From the ancient spring, we will drink water that will give us new force so as to answer the questions today.’[1]

[1] Behr-Sigel, Elisabeth, The Ministry of Women in the Church, (California, Oakwood Publications, 1991), pp. 94-95. 

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