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Traditions (family discussion)

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
"Family Values: Traditions"

Within our families, traditions are passed from generation to generation. Traditions also exist within our church. These Traditions have passed our Faith from the Apostles. There are different types of traditions with in out church. Holy Traditions or the capital T's are the Traditions that the Church has handed down to us. These cannot be separated from the life of the Faith. Holy Tradition includes such things as the Sacraments, Feast Days, and the Dogma of our Church to name a few. Other traditions or the little t's are traditions that we have implemented into our faith. Many of these traditions have come out of piety and cultural customs, but some of these traditions come from a lack of understanding of Holy Tradition.

We must not stay to the letter of the law without understanding what the Spirit of the law or rules or guidelines that we are taught to follow truly are. Christ came to TEACH us and to make us UNDERSTAND and internalize His teachings, not to simply obey without understanding. Everything we do as Orthodox Christians has meaning, and good meaning at that. As parents, we should always strive to find out the meaning and reason for what we do in our Church. This way we correctly pass our faith onto our children. This is the tradition of true Orthodoxy.


Gather together as a family and discuss traditions you hold dear as a family (they don't need to be around the church). Teach your children that a tradition is something that is passed down from generation to generation. Tell them that is how our Orthodox faith has been shared through Apostolic Tradition. Jesus taught His Apostles and they went out to the world. Make a list of religious traditions and as a family discuss why you do these.

Play telephone with your family. If you have a small family, you might want to invite over some relatives…the more the better. One person reads the message and whispers it in the ear of the next person then that person to the next and so forth. When you reach the last person, have them state the message out loud and see if it is the same as the first message. If it is not, discuss why (i.e. messenger didn't convey clearly, the listener was not paying attention). If the message was correct, focus on the attention it took to properly deliver the right message. Compare this to how Holy Tradition has been passed in our church.

For Further Information

on Holy Tradition check out these books which can be ordered at

  • The Treasured Traditions and Customs of the Orthodox Churches by Mary Paloumpis Hallick
  • Guide to Orthodox Life: Some Beliefs, Customs and Traditions of the Church by Father David and Presbytera Juliana Cownie
  • Guide to Greek Traditions and Customs in America by Marilyn Rouvelas


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