An integral part of the destructive ideology peddled by modernists is to deny the existence of the Tradition. Making out that there is no such thing as the Tradition, they claim that there are therefore only human customs, thus, very typically for them, reducing the Inheritance of the Holy Spirit to relativistic humanism. They are wrong – the Tradition exists and this is precisely the deposit of the Holy Spirit that the Apostle calls us to guard (1 Tim 6, 20).
There is only one Tradition, just as there is only one Church. True, there are local customs, but some of these are bad and come from spiritual decadence. These have come into the Church in recent times through Western influence and can be encountered especially in Greece, Cyprus and in parts of Romania and the Patriarchate of Antioch, which have been exposed for some generations to Western decadence. In their parishes in the USA and elsewhere, some of these groups actually use organs and people sit in pews during Church services! Of course, this is no part of the Tradition and is only justified as a custom because it is what heretics do. Here there are clear cases where the Tradition is being lost. However, modernists justify all this saying that ‘you can have organs or not have organs, you can have pews or not have pews – these are merely differences of custom’. This is a lie.
Such people are simply victims of modernist decadence and have lost the Tradition. Much more seriously, and this is now widespread among those who come from heterodox backgrounds, there is the custom of communion without confession and even persecution of those who do not take communion. This is like saying that communion is medicine which can be administered without a diagnosis. The fact is that if you take the wrong medicine because you do not have a diagnosis, you can die. Though the modernists hate the Scriptures because they are not politically correct, the Apostle Paul wrote about communion for damnation in the first century: ‘For this cause many are weak and sickly among you’ (I Cor 11, 30). Similarly, there is the modernist practice of forcing women to take communion during menstruation, which also goes against the Holy Spirit.
Another widespread modernist practice is to change the services, justifying arbitrary changes contrary to the Tradition. All of this goes hand in hand with the use of the papal calendar instead of the Orthodox calendar. Here too modernists assert that there are two calendars, therefore we can use either. In reality, there is only one Church calendar. The fact that we accept as Orthodox those who use the papal calendar for the fixed services is economy, a dispensation made for the sake of their salvation. Another abuse is celebrating without an iconostasis. This can happen initially in missionary circumstances, but after a few weeks any real Orthodox parish will have an iconostasis. Not to take a blessing on seeing a priest is another abuse – not part of the Tradition. Connected with this is the refusal of women not to cover their heads (I Cor 11, 13) and generally wear improper and immodest dress in church.
It is no good like Anglicans, who do not understand what the Church is, saying that in the Church there are only various human customs and so that we can ignore them or compromise them in amoral ‘pick and mix’ consumerism. In reality, there is right and wrong, good and bad, black and white, and there can be no compromise between right and wrong, just as there can be no concord between Christ and Belial (2 Cor 6, 15). The Tradition is One.