Metropolitan Hilarion: Scripture and Tradition cannot be opposed

© RIA Novosti / said to Carnaveral in fotobounce the festive LiturgyMetropolitan Hilarion: Scripture and Tradition cannot be opposed© RIA Novosti / said to Carnaveral the image Bank

Modern Orthodox theology considers the Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition as part of a whole, are equally necessary for the salvation of man, and considers their possible opposition, like Protestant theology, said the rector of the SS Cyril and Methodius post-graduate studies (CMI), Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk.

Metropolitan Hilarion speaks at international conference, «the gospel of Matthew: historical and theological context», which takes place September 24-28 in Moscow. The conference is jointly organized with the Society of new Testament studies (Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas) and the Higher school of Economics. Report of the rector of the INSTITUTE was devoted to the theme «the gospel of Matthew in Church tradition and in modern science».

In his speech, Metropolitan Hilarion recalled that after the reformation in Protestant theology has developed the thesis that «Only Scripture!», and «as a result, with the growth of the rationalist approach to the study of Scripture all relating to Tradition, was automatically deemed unnecessary and hinder accurate understanding of the biblical text».

«A completely different approach we see in the works of the fathers of the Eastern Church. We find them strict opposition of Scripture and Tradition,» said Metropolitan Hilarion.

According to him, like modern scholars, the Church fathers were faced with situations when the text of the Scriptures was not sufficient to answer a particular question.

«Just as in the analysis of the text of the gospel of Matthew (relying only on the text) we remain with a whole series of unresolved issues, the contemporaries of Saint Basil the Great could not find in the Scripture a sufficient basis for building a convincing teaching about the divinity of the Holy spirit. In these circumstances, St. Basil wrote on the Church’s liturgical tradition, is as old as the new Testament texts, and preserved in the rites and formulas, the age-old Church teaching on Spirit,» said Bishop.

Citing this argument, he continued, «Basil the Great drew the distinction of Scripture and Tradition, on the contrary, they were part of a whole, and he saw no reason to prefer one in favour of another». Overall, said the rector of the INSTITUTE, in the Eastern patristic tradition, Scripture is seen as part of Tradition.

Metropolitan Hilarion also reminded about the activities of the famous Russian Orthodox theologian of the twentieth century, Protopresbyter John Meyendorff, who, according to him, was one of those thinkers who returned to the Orthodox academic theology to its patristic foundations.

«In many respects thanks to it the Orthodox theology of the twentieth century returned to the original characteristic of the Eastern Church, the notion that Scripture and Tradition cannot be opposed. Scripture as part of Tradition is the understanding for our theology for granted,» said the Hierarch.

The Church with its Tradition and theology is «the only possible form of existence of historical Christianity,» he said.

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