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Concerning the Holy Scriptures

I believe that all the Scriptures are inspired by God and that, as St. John Chrysostom says, "It is impossible for a man to be saved if he does not read the Scriptures." However, the Holy Scriptures cannot be dissociated from the Church, for She wrote them. The Scriptures were written in the Church, by the Church and for the Church. Outside the Church, the Scriptures cannot be understood. One trying to comprehend the Scriptures though outside the Church is like a stranger trying to comprehend the correspondence between two members of the same family. The Holy Scriptures lose their meaning, the sense of their expression and their content for the man who is a stranger to the Church, to Her life, to Her Mysteries and to Her Traditions, since they were not written for him. I believe and I confess that there is no contradiction whatsoever between the Sacred Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church. By the word "Tradition," I do not mean an accumulation of human customs and practices which have been added to the Church. According to the holy Apostle Paul, the written and oral Traditions are of equal value; for it is not the means of transmission that saves us, but the authenticity of the content of what has been transmitted to us. Furthermore, the teaching of the Old Testament as well as that of the New Testament were transmitted orally to God's people before they were written down.

Therefore, the Holy Scriptures themselves are a part of Holy Tradition which is a unified whole and we must accept it as a whole, and not choose bits and parts according to our private opinions or interpretations. The official versions and texts of the Orthodox Church are the Septuagint version of the Old Testament (which was used by the Apostles when they recorded the New Testament) and the Greek text of the New Testament. Translations into the various languages have also been approved by the Church and are extensively used. I acknowledge that there are a plurality of meanings for each verse of the Bible, provided that each interpretation be justified by the teachings of the Holy Fathers who are glorified by God. I reject all human systems of interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, whether they be allegorical, literalistic, or otherwise. I confess that the Holy Scripture was written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it is solely through the Holy Spirit that we can read and understand It. I acknowledge that I cannot read or understand the Scriptures without the assistance of the Holy Spirit and the illumination of the Tradition of the Church, even as the eunuch of Candice could not understand the prophets without the aid of St. Philip, who was sent to him by the Holy Spirit (Acts 8). I denounce as blasphemous every attempt to correct, re-adapt or "de-mythologize" the sacred texts of the Bible. I confess that Tradition alone is competent to extablish the Canon of the Holy Scriptures since only Tradition can declare what belongs to it and what is foreign to it. Moveover, I confess that the "foolishness of preaching" (I Cor. 1:21) is superior to the wisdom of man or his rationalistic systems.

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