Saint Thomas Aquinas

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Few Thoughts From the Church Fathers on Sacred Tradition

Here are a few thoughts from the Church Fathers to ponder as you start your week.



Saint Basil the Great


"Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have delivered to us in a mystery by the Apostles by the tradition of the Apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force"
Holy Spirit 27



"In answer to the objection that the doxology in the form 'with the Spirit' has no written authority, we maintain that if there is not other instance of that which is unwritten, then this must not be recieved. But if the great number of our mysteries are admitted into our constitution without written authority, then, in company with many others, let us recieve this one. For I hold it apostolic to abide by the unwritten traditions. 'I praise you,' it is said, 'that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances as I have delivered them to you;' and 'Hold fast the traditions which ye have been taught whether by by word, or our Epistle.' One of these traditions is the practice which is now before us, which they who ordained from the beginning, rooted firmly in the churches, delivering it to their successors, and its use through long custom advances pace by pace with time. If as in a court of Law, we were at a loss for documentary evidence, but were able to bring before you a large number of witnesses, would you not give your vote for our aquittal? I think so; for 'at the mouth of two or three witnesses shall the matter be established'. And if we could prove clearly to you that a long period of time was in our favour, should we not have seemed to you to urge you with reason that this suit ought not to be brought into court against us? For ancient dogmas inspire a certain sense of awe, venerable as they are with hoary antiquity"
Holy Spirit 71


Saint Gregory of Nyssa

"It suffices for proof of our statement that we have a tradition coming down from the Fathers, an inheritance as it were, by succession from the Apostles through the saints who came after them."
C. Eunomius 4:6


Saint Athanasius

"But after him (the devil) and with him are all inventors of unlawful heresies,who indeed refer to the Scriptures, but do not hold such opinions as thesaints have handed down, and receiving them as the traditions of men, err,because they do not rightly know them nor their power"
Festal Letter 2

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