American Orthodox Catholic Christianity

Faith Of Our Fathers Series


  Where Is the Truth?


Never has there been such an age of false teachers as this pitiful 20th century, so rich in material gadgets and so poor in mind and soul. Every conceivable opinion, even the most absurd, even those hitherto rejected by the universal consent of all civilized people -- now has its platform and its own "teacher" .... As a result, philosophy has a thousand schools, and "Christianity" a thousand cults and sects. Where is the truth to be found in all of this, if indeed it is to be found at all in our most misguided times?

Only in one place is there to be found the fount of true teaching, coming from God Himself, not diminished over the centuries, but ever fresh, being one and the same in all those who truly teach it, leading those who follow it to eternal salvation. This place is the Orthodox Catholic Church of Christ, the fount is the grace of the All-Holy Spirit, and the true teachers of the Divine doctrine that issues from this fount are the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Catholic Church...

The Orthodox Catholic teachings of the Holy Fathers are not something of one age, whether "ancient" or "modern".  They have been transmitted in unbroken succession from the time of Christ and His Apostles to the present day, and there has never been a time when it was necessary to discover a "lost" patristic teaching. Even when many Orthodox Christians may have neglected this teaching (as is the case, for example, in our own day), its true representatives were still handing it down to those who hungered to receive it. There have been great patristic ages, such as the dazzling epoch of the fourth century, and there have been periods of decline in patristic awareness among Orthodox Christians; but there has been no period since the very foundation of Christ's Church on earth when the patristic tradition was not guiding the Church; there has been no century without Holy Fathers of its own. St. Nicetas Stathatos, disciple and biographer of St. Simeon the New Theologian, has written: "It has been granted by God that from generation to generation there should not cease the preparation by the Holy Spirit of His prophets and friends for the order of His Church."

Most instructive is it for us, the last Christians, to take guidance and inspiration from the Holy Fathers of our own and recent times, those who lived in conditions similar to our own and yet kept undamaged and unchanged the same ever-fresh teaching, which is not for one time or race, but for all times to the end of the world, and for the whole race of Orthodox Christians.

(From "The Holy Fathers of Orthodox Spirituality", 'The Orthodox Word, Vol. 10, Sept-Oct. 1974.)

And when he served the Liturgy, his face became like an angel's and was penetrated with such light that it was not possible to look freely at him .... His mind was bright, clearly beholding the truth of God. He loved these truths with all the fullness of his heart. Therefore, when he would give a talk his words went from heart to heart and were always effective and fruit-bearing.

(From the life of St. Symeon the New Theologian in The Sin of Adam, Seven Homilies by St. Symeon; Platina CA.

 


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