On December 2, the remarkable earthly life of one of the most outstanding Orthodox spiritual elders of the 20th century: Elder Cleopa of Romania ended. Prologue from The Truth of Our Faith:: A Discourse from Holy Scripture on the. Teachings of True Christianity, By Elder Cleopa of Romania. The name and. Photo of Elder Cleopas “In any stage you may be do not get discouraged, pray even if you feel compulsion and the Lord will visit you with His.

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From The Truth of Our Faith: Archimandrite Cleopa Ilie; — was a well known twentieth century writer and spiritual elder of Romania.

One chapter in his book, The Truth of Our Faith, is dedicated to the defense of the Orthodox teaching on Holy Scripture against criticism by Protestants.

This chapter, organized as a dialogue, is a helpful aide in apologetics, and explains the significance of Tradition in the Orthodox Church. Holy Tradition is the eder of the Church, given by God with a living voicea portion of which was later written down. Holy Tradition is the life of the Church in the Holy Spirit ; and, in concord with the enduring life of the Church, it is a wellspring of Holy Revelation, and thus it possesses the same authority as Holy Scripture.

Throughout this period of time Holy Scripture did not exist, nor was the Sabbath observed among the people. For thousands of years the faithful and chosen people were guided on the path of salvation by Holy Tradition alone—namely, from the teachings about God which they received from a living voice.

Cleopa (Ilie)

Only during the 1, years from the time of Moses until the advent of Christ were they guided by the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament. Just as people were guided in the knowledge of God and on the path of salvation by Holy Tradition alone that is, by a living voice—oral tradition during cpeopa period of time before the books of the Old Testament were written, so were the people similarly guided before books of the New Testament were written. Holy Tradition was the guide eldrr which the first Christians were directed to the path of salvation.

The first Person to bring the teachings of the New Testament with a living voice to the ears of the people was our Saviour Jesus Christ Himself, Who taught the people continually for three and a half years, spreading His Gospel without writing any of it down.

Inasmuch as He was fulfilling His obedience to His Father, He did not send His Apostles to write the Gospel, but rather to preach it to the whole world, saying: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: Although there were many other writers who were considered inspired and faithful scribes of the Apostles, it is the Church which did or did not recognize them, for She is unerring.

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eldfr The Church lived eder truth of the Gospel even before anything was committed to writing, having lived by Holy Tradition eldsr the outset. Thus, Holy Tradition is this: Yes, but it is said that because Holy Scripture is the word of God it must not be substituted by or exchanged for Elded, which is the word of man, as is written in the Gospel: Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? Ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, cloepa Thus, we have no need to replace or supplement the law of God, contained in Holy Scripture, with the tradition of men. What your friends have told you is not at all true, eleer the law of God is not contained in Holy Scripture alone.

Listen to what the divine Evangelist John says: And there are also clsopa other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.

Again, the same Evangelist declares in one of his epistles: Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: So you see that when the holy Evangelist had the opportunity, he taught his disciples more by the living voice of Tradition than by his epistles to them.

While your friends observe at all costs only what is written, they do not take into account that the Saviour and the majority of His Apostles did not leave any writings, but rather taught orally, with the living voice of Tradition.

After all, the Apostle counsels us: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the eldwr, and not after Christ Col. It is our responsibility, then, to preserve ourselves from the false traditions of men. Dearest to Christ, you do not discern the difference between the teachings of human traditions and those that proceed from the apostolic and evangelical tradition.


You have brought an excerpt here from Holy Scripture that refers to the tradition of human teachings and pseudo philosophy that has no relationship whatsoever to the evangelical and Apostolic Tradition of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Holy Tradition is neither a tradition of men, nor a philosophy, nor some kind of trickery; it is the word of God which He personally delivered to us. The great Apostle Paul teaches and exhorts us to fervently keep the traditions, saying; Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, c,eopa by word, or our epistle 2 Thess.

Some people to the contrary advise weaker Christians to slander and abandon the Apostolic and evangelical traditions, not understanding that Holy Scripture itself is a fruit of cleola Holy Spirit, and it grew out of the roots and tree of Holy Tradition.

This is apparent from the words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy: And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture ceopa given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness 2 Tim. These words are clear. It is unnecessary to add anything to Holy Scripture.

Paul wrote to Timothy that a good teacher could use the Old Testament to support his faith in Christ and his instruction in Christianity. According to the notion that you mistakenly assert, it would follow that not one book of the New Testament—those written after the epistles of the Apostle Paul to Timothy—should be accepted.

It is enough instead for us to recognize leder Old Testament books mentioned in the passage to which you refer. The Church of Christ determined the truths of the Faith, according to the long course of Tradition, through the teachings and canons of the holy Ecumenical Councils, decrees and the Symbol of Faith [The Creed], and by confessions [of Faith] made by holy and wonderworking hierarchs at the many local synods which have been held continuously since days of old.

At these synods, the authenticity and genuineness of the holy Orthodox Faith was firmly established, primarily in those areas where it was attacked by the existing heresies of the time.

The irrevocable and inalterable content of Holy Tradition emerges from the totality of cleo;a synods.

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This can be understood by closely examining the essence of the following precepts:. When a tradition does not fulfill these stipulations, it cannot be considered true and holy, and consequently cannot be considered admissible or fit to be observed. Notwithstanding all the efforts which you say the Orthodox Church has made and continues to make relative to the truth of Tradition, some believe only the teachings which are contained in Holy Scripture.

For the first Christians—they say—accepted only such writings as were contained in Holy Scripture, as it is written: These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so Acts From this it follows that we should observe the teachings we find in Holy Scripture.

The great Apostle Paul, however, commends the Christians of Corinth not because they kept the written teachings, but because they obeyed him and diligently observed the oral teachings that they had received from him. Listen to what he writes; Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and even as I delivered to you, ye are holding fast the traditions 1 Cor.

I wonder which is better for us to do: Furthermore, we have established that the Holy Apostles and Evangelists believed and preached abundantly from Holy Tradition, which they inherited from of old, and which is not written anywhere in Holy Scripture. Where specifically does it appear that the Holy Apostles taught anything other than what was written in Holy Scripture?

Here are two testimonies: The Holy Apostle Jude says in his catholic epistle, including in verse nine: But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, The Lord rebuke thee Jude 9. Dearest to Christ, search all of Holy Scripture and see if you will find this citation. Still further down in the same epistle the Apostle refers to the prophecy of Enoch, saying: And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him Jude However, the Apostle Jude is not the only one to speak from Tradition.


Listen to what the illustrious Paul says in his second epistle to Timothy: Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: And again the renowned Apostle Paul, guiding the priests of Ephesus, says: Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, it is more blessed to give than to receive Acts Now I ask you who insist on only putting faith in the written word: From where did the two Apostles—Jude and Paul—take these words?

For you will not find them anywhere in Holy Scripture. Still, I question the possibility of preserving Holy Tradition to this day unadulterated and genuine in all respects, as it was in the beginning.

You saw how the famed Paul commends the Christians of Corinth for carefully and mindfully keeping the unwritten traditions they had received from his very lips. Moreover, you heard that the Apostles Paul and Jude employed words in their preaching taken directly from Holy Tradition, such as those referring to the prophecy of Enoch, and others.

I also pointed out to you by what means Holy Tradition was preserved throughout the ages.

Elder Cleopa on the Eight Sources of Temptation

Furthermore, the same Apostle Paul exhorts and directs the Christians of Thessalonica to be very attentive and vigilant to keep the Holy Tradition: Therefore, brethren, eldsr fast, and hold the traditions which ye have eldef taught, whether by word, or our epistle 2 Thess. And in another place he says: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than edler which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed Gal.

In other words, he is speaking of the Gospel that he handed down to them with a living voice and not only by the written word. How was this Canon of Holy Tradition in the Church eledr over the span of thousands of years? In our age, some allege that the clergy and ecclesiastical writers alter from day to day the truth of Holy Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition, which in cleopw beginning was authentic and genuine?

They say that if you have in your hand a book that was published 50 years ago and you put it next to one published recently, they would have nothing in common. It therefore follows that if the hierarchs and elcer have done this with the sacred books, they would do the same with the Holy Tradition which the Orthodox boast they have preserved unscathed from [the time of] the Holy Apostles. What your companions have accepted is not at all correct.

The very founder of the Church, Jesus Christ, governs it in an eledr way, until the end of the ages Mat. If some ecclesiastical writers, hierarchs, priests or laity translated the Bible from another language, or amended some passage containing an expression which does not correspond to our present-day speech, this would only be an adjustment and modification of the expression, and not a serious alteration of the substance of the Biblical text.

If a Romanian from the time of the Elder Mirtsea or Stephan the Great were resurrected today and you wanted to speak with him, you would only with difficulty understand him, because the language has developed into something that is not exactly what was spoken then.

This is precisely what has happened with respect to the books. I previously referred you to the foundation upon which Holy Tradition rests, and the means by which its authentic, original image is reliably preserved and conveyed throughout the ages. To these can also be added the following monumental cleppa meaningful testaments—assurances of the unimpaired preservation of Holy Tradition:.

These Fathers admonished clepoa faithful of their day to guard themselves from the teachings of heretics, and to fully maintain only the Apostolic Tradition Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, 2: Unfortunately, with the passage of time, these books were eventually lost Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, 4: Further behold those brilliant witnesses representing the faith of apostolic times and the period immediately following them up until the fourth century.

The acts of the ancient Church are an important testimony to the value of the Holy Tradition, and to the honor shown it from those times until today.

The Holy Apostles handed down some things via the written word, while others via the spoken.