May 7, 2014 + On Sacred Tradition, Part 2
by Fr. Michael Pomazansky
We find this sacred ancient Tradition
- in the most ancient record of the Church, the Canons of the Holy Apostles;
- in the Symbols of Faith of the ancient local churches;
- in the ancient Liturgies, in the rite of Baptism, and in other ancient prayers;
- in the ancient Acts of the Christian martyrs. The Acts of the martyrs did not enter into use by the faithful until they had been examined and approved by the local bishops; and they were read at the public gatherings of Christians under the supervision of the leaders of the churches. In them we see the confession of the Most Holy Trinity, the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, examples of the invocation of the saints, of belief in the conscious life of those who had reposed in Christ, and much else;
- in the ancient records of the history of the Church, especially in the book of Eusebius Pamphilus, Bishop of Caesarea, where there are gathered many ancient traditions of rite and dogma-in particular, there is given the canon of the sacred books of the Old and New Testaments;
- in the works of the ancient Fathers and teachers of the Church;
- and, finally, in the very spirit of the Church's life, in the preservation of faithfulness to all her foundations which come from the Holy Apostles.
The Apostolic Tradition which has been preserved and guarded by the Church, by the very fact that it has been kept by the Church, becomes the Tradition of the Church herself, it "belongs" to her, it testifies to her; and, in parallel to Sacred Scripture it is called by her, "Sacred Tradition."
The witness of Sacred Tradition is indispensable for our certainty that all the books of Sacred Scripture have been handed down to us from Apostolic times and are of Apostolic origin. Sacred Tradition is necessary for the correct understanding of separate passages of Sacred Scripture, and for refuting heretical reinterpretations of it, and, in general, so as to avoid superficial, one-sided, and sometimes even prejudiced and false interpretations of it.
Finally, Sacred Tradition is also necessary because some truths of the faith are expressed in a completely definite form in Scripture, while others are not entirely clear and precise and therefore demand confirmation by the Sacred Apostolic Tradition. The Apostle commands, "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and bold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle" (2 Thess. 2:15).
Besides all this, Sacred Scripture is valuable because from it we see how the whole order of Church organization, the canons, the Divine Services and rites are rooted in and founded upon the way of life of the ancient Church. Thus, the preservation of "Tradition" expresses the succession of the very essence of the Church.
Dogmas and Opinions, by Fr. Michael Pomazansky.
http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/dogmas_opinions_e.htm. Accessed April 16th, 2014
Commemoration of the Apparition of the Sign of the Precious Cross Over Jerusalem in 351 AD
The image of Your cross has shown more brightly than the sun, extending from the holy mountain to the place of the skull. In it, You have shown Your strength, O Savior, and confirmed all Orthodox Christians in the True Faith. Through the prayers of the Theotokos, save us, O Christ our God.
Kontakion, Tone 4
The pure and Life-giving Cross which opened paradise appeared in splendor above the earth, extending its brilliant rays to the heavens. Today we faithful accept its radiance as our guide to the eternal light. We bear it in our struggles as an assurance of victory and triumph!