By Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos, from his book "Empirical Dogmatics," edited for length and clarity.
Orthodox tradition differs immensely from non-Orthodox and other religious traditions. In this article we will examine this issue by taking examples from two sciences: astronomy and medicine.
First of all, it should be stressed once more that the Church’s tradition is the experience of the God-seeing saints, Prophets, Apostles and Fathers. They lived this experience by the revelation of God and conveyed it to their spiritual children, and it is recorded in their writings. Thus three factors are very closely linked: the saints who behold God; their illuminated nous, by means of which they share in the experience of revelation; and their writings, in which the experience is recorded in created words and concepts. The basic elements of the tradition are the glorified saints(glorified=theosis), who are the bearers of the tradition.
The Fathers of our Fathers in the Old Testament, the Prophets, had theosis without the human nature of Christ. Afterwards, the Apostles also had theosis, with the human nature of Christ. After Pentecost we have another kind of theosis with the experiences that they have after their initial theosis, because the same experience of Pentecost continues within the Church and has not come to an end. Given that the experience of Pentecost has not come to an end, the bishops, who have this experience, are led to the same experience and know what they are talking about.
Because of the continuity of this tradition, the Orthodox patristic tradition resembles modern biology, chemistry, astronomy and medical science. In this way, the tradition of the Church is continued empirically. What is this parallel experience? The fact that cures continue and people are cured. People continue to learn the truth from astronomy, medical science, and biology; similarly, in Orthodoxy, from the experience of purification, the experience of illumination, which is the cure of the human personality, and the experience of glorification (theosis), which is the telescope and microscope of Orthodox theology. This is why we believe that we are on the right path and are still within the tradition.