Sacred Tradition, as the eternal and immutable dwelling of
the Holy Spirit in the Church, lies at the very root of her
being, and so encompasses her life that even the very
Scriptures come to be but one of its forms. Thus, were the
Church to be deprived of Tradition she would cease to be
what she is, for the ministry of the Spirit of the New
Testament is the ministry of the Spirit ‘written not with
ink, but with the Spirit of the living God: not in tables of
stones, but in the fleshly tables of the heart’. (cf. 1 Cor.
Suppose that for some reason the Church were to be bereft of
all her books, of the Old and new Testaments, the works of
the holy Fathers, of all service books – what would happen?
Sacred Tradition would restore the Scriptures, not word for
word, perhaps – the verbal form might be different – but in
essence the new Scriptures would be the expression of that
same ‘faith which was once delivered unto the saints’ (Jude
3). They would be the expression of the one and only Holy
Spirit continuously active in the Church, her foundation and
her very substance.
Scriptures are not more profound, not more important than
Holy Tradition but, as said above, they are one of its forms
— the most precious form, both because they are preserved
and convenient to make use of. But removed from the stream
of Sacred Tradition, the Scriptures cannot be rightly
understood through any scientific research.
the Apostle Paul had the ‘mind of Christ’, how much more
does this apply to the whole body of the Church of which St.
Paul is one member! And if the writings of St. Paul and the
other Apostles are Holy Scripture, then new Scriptures of
the Church, written supposedly after the loss of the old
books, would in their turn become Holy Scripture for
according to the Lord’s promise God, the Holy Trinity, will
be in the Church even unto the end of the world.
are wrong when they set aside Sacred Tradition and go, as
they think, to its source — to the Holy Scriptures. The
Church has her origins, not in the Scriptures but in Sacred
Tradition. The Church did not possess the New Testament
during the first decades of her history. She lived then by
Tradition only — the Tradition St. Paul calls upon the
faithful to hold (cf. 2 Thess. 2:15).
is a well-known fact that all heresiarchs have always based
themselves on the Holy Scriptures, only their
interpretations differing. The Apostle Peter spoke of this
perversion of the meaning of the Scriptures when they are
construed personally, by the individual reader (cf. 2 Pet.
Individual members of the Church — not excluding her finest
sons and teachers — do not achieve the whole fulness of the
gifts of the Holy Spirit, and so their teachings and
writings are marred by one or another imperfection —
sometimes even error — whereas as a whole the Church’s
schooling, possessed of the gifts and knowledge, remains
true for all time.