Following Christian Tradition

I am aware the term 'traditionalist' has a bit of a negative connotation, but here is an example of one traditionalist I admire.  In 1943, Archbishop Damaskinos of the Greek Orthodox Church had been hiding Jews in residences around Athens.  The Nazis finally arrested the Christian and put him before a firing squad. 

Now, one of the Archbishop's predecessors, Patriarch Gregory of Constantinople, had been in a similar predicament a century prior.  He ended up being lynched by the Turks.  So, before being shot, Damaskinos spoke to the Schutzstaffel commander: "According to our tradition of the Greek Orthodox Church, our prelates are hanged, not shot. Please respect our tradition."

Tradition gives us strength.  We do not rely on ourselves to justify, to innovate, to will.  We are merely obedient to a proper behavior.  And obedience, ultimately, is freedom.  One Christian tradition is charity towards all people of all creeds.  The average person would have had to perform a serious cost-benefit analysis and then summon a tremendous amount of will power to risk his life to save a Jewish person in Nazi-occupied territory.  The Christian simply needed to fall back on tradition.  Archbishop Damaskinos's traditionalism afforded him total freedom.  He could act without being afraid of death or wondering if he was wrong.  Know that when Catholics follow tradition, we are not stifling our creativity, but enhancing our freedom.  Catholics do what Christ handed on to his apostles and the apostles to their successors and so on down the line...even if that be a firing line.


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