The Orthodox Church Church perserves the Faith that was entrusted to it once and for all by Our Lord Jesus Christ. (c.f. St Jude 1:3) By the Grace of God, the Fathers, especially the Holy Bishops, have perserved the Holy Faith until this day. These teachers of the Faith have been faithful to preserve unadultered this Faith during their time and to pass it on to follwoing generations. They fought against those that wished to corrupt the Faith through heresy. They have also explored the full riches of the Faith and they have passed on their insights. Even though the Faith was delivered once and for all, there are not enough books in the world to contain all there is to know about the Faith and Christ is continuing to reveal more us through the Fathers until this day.
Wisdom from the Holy Fathers
Some people with possessions possess them dispassionately, and so when deprived of them they are not
dismayed but are like those who accepted the seizure of their goods with joy (cf. Heb. 10:34). Others possess
with passion, so that when they are in danger of being dispossessed they become utterly dejected, like the rich
man in the Gospel who went away full of sorrow (cf. Matt. 19:22); and if they actually are dispossessed, they
remain dejected until they die. Dispossession, then, reveals whether a man's inner state is dispassionate or
dominated by passion.
The Fathers do not provide new teachers for the Church; there is only one Teacher, Christ, who teaches us in a mystery through the Fathers. This is not done by automation, many Bishops fell into terrible heresies, but Christ speaks through those who willing submit their wills and minds to Him. The Fathers do not speak of themselves or as men but as Christ in a Mystery.
Unlike western confessions, there is no development of the Faith in the Orthodox Church. The Faith was complete from the start. In fact in reality the Faith is Christ Himself, who is the same today, yesterday and forever. There can be no development as with human ideas. However, as mentioned above it has taken, and will take, centuries, if ever, for all that could be written about the Faith to be written and to correct all false ideas (heresies) that may arise. The Fathers established rules of Faith to set limits on appropriate understandings of the Faith and these have developed over the years to reflect the new varities of misunderstandings of the Faith. The Faith itself has not changed.
For the above reasons and others, the Church honours the Fathers and She holds their teachings in high honour. Along with the Holy Scripture, which takes first place, the writings of the Fathers are read to help us to understand our Faith and to live lives pleasing to God. Those who distain the Fathers in fact deny the continual presence of Christ in His Church, just as He promised. He has not left us to grope around in the dark to seek Him but He speaks to us and guides us constanly through the Fathers.
Below are some links to sites that contain collections of the writings of the Holy Fathers translated into English.