Acquiring an Orthodox Mindset: Holy Tradition, the Criterion of Truth
This selection of articles introduces the reader to the concept of Holy Traditionthe
life of the Holy Spirit in the Church, expressed in the "phronema
ton pateron" (Gr., the "mind of the Fathers)as the
spiritual authority of the Church and the very criterion of Truth. Articles
that discuss the interrelation between the
practice of the virtues and a person's ability to enter into and understand
this mindset are also included.
"Following the Holy
Fathers": Father Georges Florovsky and the Patristic Mindset. An excellent introduction
to the "Phronema page."
St. Vincent of Lérins and Catholicity.
St. Gregory Palamas and the Tradition of the Fathers,
by Fr. George Florovsky. This is Ch. 7 from The Collected Works of
Georges Florovsky, Vol. I, Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern
Orthodox View (Vaduz, Europa: Buchervertriebsanstalt, 1987), pp.
105-120. This classic work is now out of print but still available. Check
with Eastern Christian Supply
Mind of the Orthodox Church, excerpts from the book by Metropolitan
Hierotheos of Nafpatkos. This book is indispensable for one who wants
understand what it means to acquire the Mind of the Church. A must read.
Let This Mind Be In You, by Father
David Moser. Especially important for converts.
Sermon on the Sunday of St. Gregory
Palamas (Great Fast 1998): by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna. Profound
words on the significance of this great Saint for the Orthodox Church.
Paradosis and its Noetic Base: Towards
a Spiritual Statement of Tradition in Orthodox Thought, by Archimandrite
(now Archbishop) Chrysostomos and Hieromonk (now Bishop) Auxentios. This
is the summary chapter (V) from Scripture and Tradition (Etna,
CA: Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, 1994). Appended to this
chapter are two discussions about the misuse of St. Vincent's Canon. This
87 page book is the single best overview of the concept of Holy Tradition
and its role in the life of the Church. Read
an excerpt from the Introduction.
Introduction to Humility, by Bishop [now Archbishop] Chrysostomos
of Etna (Etna, CA: Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies). This is
included here because the cause of much innovation today is pridea
failure to humbly bow before the witness of Holy Tradition and be obedient
to its spiritual guidance. Innovation is the offspring of the mindset
of the Serpent: "Did God really say?" Besides the introduction,
I include here this excerpt from the book
which illustrates this point and is thus very relevant to the whole concept
of developing an Orthodox mindset.
Monastic Life: In Response to a Modernist Abbot's Observations. This
article was added in part because it so eloquently lays out the relation
between praxis and theoria. "By attention to externals,
we affect internals; and by the restored internal state, external attributes
Remarks to a Priest on Holy Tradition and Modernism,
by Archbishop Chrysostomos.
The Articles on the Terms "Canonical"
and "Canonicity": I highlight this collection of articles
in this section for two main reasons: 1) these terms are misunderstood
by many Orthodox today; and 2) these terms are integrally related to the
concept of spiritual authority and the concomitant evaluation of such
on the basis of Holy Tradition.
and Opinions, by Fr. Michael Pomazansky. A discourse on the nature
of Holy Tradition.
A Commonitory, by St. Vincent of Lérins.
"...we receive the divine Canons with delight, and we maintain wholly and unshakably
the enactment of these Canons set forth by the allpraised Apostles, the
holy trumpets of the Spirit, and by the six holy cumenical Synods, and
those assembled locally to issue such commandments, and by our holy Fathers.
For they all, being enlightened by one and the same Spirit, ordained what
From Canon I of
the Seventh cumenical Synod
"It is not enough to be acquainted with the texts and to know how to draw
from them quotes and arguments. One must possess the theology of the Fathers
from within. Intuition is perhaps more important for this than erudition,
for intuition alone revives their writings and makes them a witness.
It is only from within that we can perceive and distinguish what (actually)
is a catholic testimony from what would be merely theological opinion,
hypothesis, interpretation, or theory... Only in the integral communion
of the Church is this 'catholic transfiguration' of consciousness truly
possible. Those who, by reason of their humility in the presence of the
Truth, have received the gift to express this catholic consciousness
of the Church, we call them Fathers and Doctors, since what they make
us hear is not only their thought or their personal conviction, but moreover
the very witness of the Chruch, for they speak from the depth of its catholic
fullness. Their theology evolves on the plane of catholicity, of universal
Fr. Georges Florovsky, "The Ways of Russian Theology" in The
Collected Works of Georges Florovsky, Vol. IV, Aspects of Church
History (Belmont, MA: Nordland, 1987), pp. 191, 192