What is Holy Tradition?
Perhaps the most important thing to learn about the Orthodox Church is simply that the Church is orthodox. By that I mean the word “orthodox” itself was an adjective long before it was the name given to the Church. This word “orthodox” is generally defined as that which keeps to the original principles of any given system of thought. In the
“Tradition” itself is another confusing word trapped by our common associations. We understand traditions as being those quaint little things we have inherited from our distant past. We have traditional Thanksgiving meals and traditional graduation ceremonies. What’s important is that we are paying homage to the past by repeating those old and ancient things that our parents taught us to revere.
This is innocuous enough; in fact very pleasant and comforting. Yet, beyond those “pleasant” things we consciously do to honor our past ritually, we are also subconsciously imbibing a greater tradition. The language we speak has been formed through the processes of history. Every lesson we learn was somehow handed down from the vast bank of knowledge acquired in the past. Even the way in which we perceive objects and facts is shaped by our inherited culture; which is how we know a particular song or painting is indeed “beautiful.” Tradition is more than just the repetition of practices from the past for the past’s sake, but more so the inherited framework of thinking in which we have individually learned to know and interpret facts.
to be continued...