For young people to understand that our Church was built upon Holy Tradition. Young people will learn to discern between Holy Tradition and other traditions of our Orthodox Faith.

Preparing for the Session:

Read the article “What’s Up with T-n-t” in the December 2002 Challenge section of the Orthodox Observer.

Opening Prayer

(Prayer to Christ the True Light)

Christ our God, the True Light
Who enlightens and sanctifies every person who comes into the world:
Seal us with the Light of Your Countenance
that we may perceive Your Unapproachable Radiance.
Direct the footsteps of our life in the way of Your commandments.
Through the prayers of Your all-pure Mother and of all Your saints.Amen.

Opening Discussion

Accept all answers and reflect back

  • What is tradition?
  • What are some traditions that your family has?
  • What are some religious traditions that our church and family have? (list all on a large sheet of paper for all to see)

Read the following bible passage from 2 Thessalonians 2:15

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions, which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.”

  • What is this passage saying?
  • What are the traditions taught by the epistle? (traditions that have been taught to us through the scripture)
  • What are the traditions taught by word? (traditions that have been passed down to us through the apostles)
  • Why are traditions important?


A tradition is something that is handed down to us. Holy Traditions are that which were handed down from the Apostles who receive them from Christ. We also call this Apostolic Tradition. These Traditions cannot be changed. Church traditions (with a little t) are individual or local ways people express their faith.


(Defending Your Ts)

Split the young people into groups of 3 to 5 people. Give them each a list with 3 traditions. Have them decide which traditions are big T Traditions and which are little t traditions. They must prepare to defend their decision. If they decide it is a correct little t, then have them give the explanation what makes it correct and likewise for the incorrect. Give them time to prepare as a group and then have each group report back. Have your parish priest help you make come up with the list to use and explain the reason they are Big T’s or little t’s

Wrap Up

Look back over the list of traditions you made at the beginning of the session. Go through as a group and decide which are big T’s and which are little t’s. For the little t’s, discuss whether they are correct or incorrect. If you are not sure about some tell them you will check into it and get back to them at the next meeting. When you have finished, read the following story:

Someone Has Been Here Before Us

A little girl, not used to traveling, was making a train trip across the country with her mother. Looking out the train window, she could see rivers and streams ahead. She worried how the train would be able to cross those bodies of water.

As they drew near the river for the first time, the little girl saw the bridge which was to provide the way over. Two or three times the same thing happened. Finally, the little girl leaned back in the train seat and with a long sigh of relief and confidence said, “Somebody has been here before us and built bridges for us all the way.”

Christ has been here before us and He has built bridges for all the way – the bridge from sin to forgiveness, from despair to hope, from doubt to faith, from death to life. His apostles have passed His saving knowledge to us and Christ expects us like His Apostles to hand down this Holy Faith.

Closing Prayer

(Vesper Hymn, Sunday of the Blind Man)

Christ our God, sun of righteousness, by Your divine touch
You gave light to the eyes of the blind man who had been deprived of light since birth.
Enlighten also the eyes of our souls and make us sons and daughters of light
so that we may cry out to You in faith:
great and beyond words is Your compassion towards us!
Loving Lord, glory to You!

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