My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
WHAT IS DIVINE REVELATION? (Part II)
By Father Anthony Alevizopoulos, PhD. of theology, PhD. of Philosophy
Based on the treasure of the holy memory of the Church, the study of Holy Scripture leads to unity, and not the breakdown of the Church. This way the Will of Christ for the unity of the faithful is fulfilled (St. John 17:20-21). That is why the Holy Apostles advised Christians to hold on to the traditions - that is, the treasure with which they entrusted them (1 Corinthians 11:2; Phil. 4:9) "either by word or by epistle" (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 2 Timothy 1:13).
The shepherds of the Church were placed in this position to remain alert, namely to be guards [Episcopos (Bishop) = overseer] of the purity of the life and of the teaching of the Church (Acts 20:28-31): "stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands...hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me...that good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us" (2 Timothy 1:6,13,14), "and the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others" (2 Timothy 2:2).
In other words, Apostolic Succession goes together with apostolic teaching. In this way, we understand the words of Saint Ignatius (110): "Because Jesus Christ, our True life, is the mind of the Father, just like the bishops who have been appointed all over the world are with the mind of Jesus Christ ("mind in Jesus Christ"). Therefore, you too follow the mind of the bishop, something you already do, for the worthiness of your ministry's name which is also worthy of God, and joined together with the bishop, like the strings with the guitar" (St. Ignatius, Ephesians 3, 2-4, 1).
This teaching is not a recent one - it is a conviction from the beginning of Christianity: "From the dogmas and the truths that the Church guards, some we have received from written teaching while others that have mystically reached us we have received from the tradition of the Apostles. Both elements, written and oral traditions, have the same importance for the faith. And no one who has even a little knowledge of ecclesiastical practices raises any objections concerning them. For if we set out to abandon whatever customs are unwritten, that somehow they do not have great importance, without realizing it we would harm the essence of the Gospel or rather we would turn the message into a name void of meaning" (Saint Basil the Great, about the Holy Spirit, 27:66).
During the time of Saint Basil the Great, whoever had even "a little knowledge of the ecclesiastical practices" agree that Divine Revelation was mystically guarded by the Church IN its fullness. As an example, Saint Basil mentions the custom of "those hoping in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" showing their faith "by making the sign of the Cross."
Here, therefore, we have a basic difference with the Protestant world. Their claim "Sola scriptura" (by Scripture alone)" leaves Scripture itself bare, exposed to the "authentic interpretation" and the "infallibility" of each pastor.
Holy Scripture cannot be made absolute, because it would replace the living Christ with the letter of the Bible, becoming divine isolated from the life of the Body of Christ, from the life of the Saints (St. Jude 3). Holy Scripture is the "word about God which passed through the hearts of the Saints, it is the word of God concerning God" (Mr. George Metalinos, Greek Orthodox theologian), the Truth delivered "once and for all" to the Saints (St. Jude 3), and in fact not the fullness of Truth but a part of it. It cannot be understood separately from the Church (1 Timothy 3:15). [Source: Manual of Heresies and para-Christian Groups by Father Anthonly Alevizopoulos).
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God