General Consideration

Generally speaking, the term ‘tradition’, parádosis in Greek, implies an act of “giving, offering, delivering, and performing charity.”[1] Theologically, it denotes any “teaching or practice transmitted throughout the life of the Church.”[2]

The Eastern Church tradition does not distinguish between mysticism and theology, that is, between “personal experience of the divine mysteries and the dogma affirmed by the Church.”[3] In other words, mysticism works together with theology and both reflect the action of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Consequently, the Eastern tradition is integrally branded in the Spirit and is, in fact, the life in the Spirit who communicates to the Church the shared experience of the mysteries of God the Father, which are revealed through the deeds and words of God the Son. Hence, parádosis in the Eastern Church is Trinitarian in nature and aspect and is the very life of the Holy Trinity as it has been revealed by Christ himself and witnessed by the Holy Spirit.

The Christian tradition and its foundation are rooted in the Scriptures. The tradition of the Eastern Church is lived in the presence of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity whose manifestation is beheld in terms of the Word of Life that was revealed, seen, and witnessed to, and which was with the Father (cf. 1 John 1:2). In his Letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul highlights the part played by the Holy Spirit in the work of salvation directed by the Father and carried out by the Son (cf. Ephesians 2:13-18). The Spirit is ever present and continually active in the Church, the mystical body of Christ. The Eastern Church is holding on to the Holy Tradition that St. Paul ultimately admonishes the Thessalonians to follow and that Jesus taught to his apostles and which is to be preserved because God is its source (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:15). The apostles in return transmitted this Holy tradition to the Church under the inspiration and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.


[1] George Bebis, Tradition in the Orthodox Church – Terminology and Meaning, retrieved via Internet, 4th October 2012,

[2] Ibid.

[3] Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1976), 8.