‘Critical’ editions can contribute possible variations of meaning, perhaps even equally important alternative meanings — however, the text that is formed and shared in the tradition of the Church is always the most important and authoritative.

This doesn’t mean that the Church is continuously free of errors or that errors cannot persist even for centuries. History shows how such errors are traced in the Orthodox world.

Anyone may have objections, and in the course of time the common understanding of the Church realizes what to keep or change. This shared understanding is followed always, whether it finds a formal expression in synodic decisions or not. Differences suggested by ‘critical’ editions can be evaluated too and be accepted or rejected.

Here is an example of a significant difference between the text as formed in the tradition of the Orthodox Church and the text of a ‘critical’ edition. In the Gospel of Matthew (5, 22) πᾶς ὁ ὀργιζόμενος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ εἰκῆ ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει (=everyone who is angry against a brother without reason will be found guilty in the Last Judgment). The ‘critical’ edition of Aland, Black, Martini, Metzger and Wikgren removes the adverb εἰκῆ (=without reason): everyone who is angry will be found guilty…

Accepting the ‘critical’ edition we have to infer that the distinction between bad and good anger does not belong to the first Gospel, being a later addition. This in itself, as we saw, is not a problem, if the ‘augmented’ version agrees with the common understanding of the Church — we are thinking now the importance of the meaning itself. The ‘critical’ edition prohibits absolutely a feeling that the text of the Orthodox Churches rejects only under certain conditions.