The Longer Catechism: Part I (212-282)

The Longer Catechism
of The Orthodox Church

also known as the Catechism of
St. Philaret (Drozdov) of Moscow


ON FAITH (Continued)

On the Fifth Article.

212. What is the first proof and earnest given by Jesus Christ that His sufferings and death have wrought salvation for us men?

This: that He rose again, and so laid the foundation for our like blessed resurrection.

Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. (1 Cor. xv. 20.)

213. What should we think of the state in which Jesus Christ was after His death, and before His resurrection?

This is described in the following hymn of the Church: In the grave as to the flesh, in hades with thy soul, as God, in paradise with the thief, and on the throne wert thou, O Christ, together with the Father and the Spirit, filling all things, thyself uncircumscribed.

214. What is hades or hell?

Hades is a Greek word, and means a place void of light. In divinity, by this name is understood a spiritual prison, that is, the state of those spirits which are separated by sin from the sight of God's countenance, and from the light and blessedness which it confers. (Jude i. 6; Octoich. tom. v.; sticher. ii. 4.)

215. Wherefore did Jesus Christ descend into hell?

To the end that He might there also preach His victory over death, and deliver the souls which with faith awaited His coming.

216. Does holy Scripture speak of this?

It is referred to in the following passage: For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He may bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the Spirit; in which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison. (1 Pet. iii. 18, 19.)

217. What is there for us to remark on the next words of the Creed: and rose again the third day, according to the Scripture?

These words were put into the Creed from the following passage in the Epistle to the Corinthians: For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scripture; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, according to the Scripture. (1 Cor. xv. 3, 4.)

218. What force is there in these words: according to the Scripture?

By this is shown that Jesus Christ died and rose again, precisely as had been written of Him prophetically in the books of the Old Testament.

219. Where, for instance, is there any thing written of this?

In the fifty-third chapter of the book of the Prophet Isaiah, for instance, the suffering and death of Jesus Christ is imaged forth with many particular traits: as, He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah liii. 5.)

Of the resurrection of Christ the Apostle Peter quotes the words of the sixteenth Psalm: For why? thou shalt not leave my soul in hell, neither shalt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption. (Acts ii. 27.)

220. Is this also in the Scripture of the Old Testament, that Jesus Christ should rise again precisely on the third day?

A prophetic type of this was set forth in the Prophet Jonah: And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah i. 17.)

221. How was it known that Jesus Christ had risen?

The soldiers who watched His sepulchre knew this with terror, because an angel of the Lord rolled away the stone which closed His sepulchre, and at the same time there was a great earthquake. Angels likewise announced the resurrection of Christ to Mary Magdalene and some others. Jesus Christ Himself on the very day of His resurrection appeared to many: as to the women bringing spices, to Peter, to the two disciples going to Emmaus, and, lastly, to all the Apostles in the house, the doors being shut. Afterwards He oftentimes showed Himself to them during the space of forty days; and one day He was seen of more than five hundred believers at once. (1 Cor. xv. 6.)

222. Why did Jesus Christ after His resurrection show Himself to the Apostles during the space of forty days?

During this time He continued to teach them the mysteries of the kingdom of God. (Acts i. 3.)

On the Sixth Article.

223. Is the statement of our Lord's ascension in the sixth article of the Creed taken from holy Scripture?

It is taken from the following passages of holy Scripture: He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things. (Eph. iv. 10. )We have such a High-Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens. (Heb. viii. 1.)

224. Was it in His Godhead or His manhood that Jesus Christ ascended into heaven?

In His manhood. In His Godhead He ever was and is in heaven.

225. How does Jesus Christ sit at the right hand of God the Father, seeing that God is every where?

This must be understood spiritually; that is, Jesus Christ has one and the same majesty and glory with God the Father.

On the Seventh Article.

226. How does holy Scripture speak of Christ's coming again?

This Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven. (Acts i. 11.) This was said to the Apostles by angels at the very time of our Lord's ascension.

227. How does it speak of His future judgment?

The hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John v. 28, 29.) These are the words of Christ Himself.

228. How does it speak of His kingdom which is to have no end?

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke i. 32, 33.) These are the words of the angel to the Mother of God

229. Will the second coming of Christ be like His first?

No; very different. He came to suffer for us in great humility, but He shall come to judge us in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him. (Matt. xxv. 31.)

230. Will He judge all men?

Yes. All, without exception.

231. How will He judge them?

The conscience of every man shall be laid open before all, and not only all deeds which he has ever done in his whole life upon earth be revealed, but also all the words he has spoken, and all his secret wishes and thoughts. The Lord shall come, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart: and then shall every man have praise of God. (1 Cor. iv. 5.)

232. Will He then condemn us even for evil words or thoughts?

Without doubt he will, unless we efface them by repentance, faith, and amendment of life. I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Matt. xii. 36.)

233. Will Jesus Christ soon come to judgment?

We know not. Therefore we should live so as to be always ready. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. (2 Pet. iii. 9, 10. )Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Matt. xxv. 13.)

234. Are there not, however, revealed to us some signs of the nearer approach of Christ's coming?

In the Word of God certain signs are revealed, as the decrease of faith and love among men, the abounding of iniquity and calamities, the preaching of the Gospel to all nations, and the coming of Antichrist. (Matt. xxiv.)

235. What is Antichrist?

An adversary of Christ, who will strive to overthrow Christianity, but instead of doing so shall himself come to a fearful end. (2 Thess. ii. 8.)

236. What is Christ's kingdom?

Christ's kingdom is, first, the whole world; secondly, all believers upon earth; thirdly, all the blessed in heaven.

The first is called the kingdom of nature; the second, the kingdom of grace; the third, the kingdom of glory.

237. Which of these is meant when it is said in the Creed that of Christ's kingdom there shall be no end?

The kingdom of glory.

On the Eighth Article

238. In what sense is the Holy Spirit called the Lord?

In the same sense as the Son of God, that is, as very God.

239. Is this witnessed by holy Scripture?

It is plain from the words spoken by the Apostle Peter to rebuke Ananias: Why hath Satan fitted thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? and further on, Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. (Acts v. 3, 4.)

240. What are we to understand by this, that the Holy Spirit is called the Giver of life?

That he, together with God the Father and the Son, giveth life to all creatures, especially spiritual life to men.

Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, He can not enter into the kingdom of God. (John iii. 5.)

241. Whence know we that the Holy Spirit proceedeth from the Father?

This we know from the following words of Jesus Christ Himself: But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me.( John xv. 26.)

242. Does the doctrine of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father admit of any change or supplement?

No. First, because the Orthodox Church, in this doctrine, repeats the very words of Jesus Christ; and His words, without doubt, are an exact and perfect expression of the truth. Secondly, because the second œcumenical Council, whose chief object was to establish the true doctrine respecting the Holy Spirit, has without doubt sufficiently set forth the same in the Creed; and the Catholic Church has acknowledged this so decidedly, that the third œcumenical Council in its seventh canon forbade the composition of any new Creed.

For this cause John Damascene writes: Of the Holy Spirit, we both say that He is from the Father, and call Him the Spirit of the Father; while we nowise say that He is from the Son, but only call Him the Spirit of the Son. (Theol. lib. i. c. 11; v. 4.)

243. Whence does it appear that the Holy Spirit is equally with the Father and the Son, and, together with them, to be worshiped and glorified?

It appears from this, that Jesus Christ commanded to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. xxviii. 19.)

244. Why is it said in the Creed that the Holy Spirit spake by the prophets?

This is said against certain heretics, who taught that the books of the Old Testament were not written by the Holy Spirit.

245. Does holy Scripture witness that the Holy Spirit really spake by the prophets?

The Apostle Peter writes: For prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Pet. i. 21.)

246. Did not the Holy Spirit speak also by the Apostles?

Certainly He did. Unto the prophets, says also the Apostle Peter, it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the Gospel unto you by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven. (Pet. i. 12.)

247. Why, then, is there no mention of the Apostles in the Creed?

Because when the Creed was composed none doubted of the inspiration of the Apostles.

248. Was not the Holy Spirit manifested to men in some very special manner?

Yes. He came down upon the Apostles, in the form of fiery tongues, on the fiftieth day after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

249. Is the Holy Spirit communicated to men even now likewise?

He is communicated to all true Christians. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Cor. iii. 16.)

250. How may we be made partakers of the Holy Spirit?

Through fervent prayer, and through the Sacraments.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him? (Luke xi. 13.)

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour. (Titus iii. 4-6.)

251. What are the chief gifts of the Holy Spirit?

The chief and more general are, as reckoned by the Prophet Isaiah, the following seven: the spirit of the fear of God, the spirit of knowledge, the spirit of might, the spirit of counsel, the spirit of understanding, the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of the Lord, or the gift of piety and inspiration in the highest degree. (Isaiah xi. 2.)

On the Ninth Article

252. What is the Church?

The Church is a divinely instituted community of men, united by the orthodox faith, the law of God, the hierarchy, and the Sacraments.

253. What is it to believe in the Church?

It is piously to honor the true Church of Christ, and to obey her doctrine and commandments, from a conviction that grace ever abides in her, and works, teaches, and governs unto salvation, flowing from her one only everlasting Head, the Lord Jesus Christ.

254. How can the Church, which is visible, be the object of faith, when faith, as the Apostle says, is the evidence of things not seen?

First, though the Church be visible, the grace of God, which dwells in her, and in those who are sanctified in her, is not so; and this it is which properly constitutes the object of faith in the Church.

Secondly, the Church, though visible so far as she is upon earth, and contains all Orthodox Christians living upon earth, still is at the same time invisible, so far as she is also partially in heaven, and contains all those that have departed hence in true faith and holiness.

255. On what may we ground the idea that the Church is at once upon earth and in heaven?

On the following words of the Apostle Paul, addressed to Christians: Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus Christ the Mediator of the new covenant. (Heb. xii. 22-24.)

256. How are we assured that the grace of God abides in the true Church?

First, by this: that her Head is Jesus Christ, God and man in one person, full of grace and truth, who fills His body also, that is, the Church, with like grace and truth. (John i. 14, 17.)

Secondly, by this: that He has promised His disciples the Holy Spirit to abide with them forever, and that, according to this promise, the Holy Spirit appoints the pastors of the Church. (John xiv. 16.)

The Apostle Paul says of Jesus Christ, that God the Father gave Him to be head over all things to the Church, which is His body. (Eph. i. 22, 23.) The same Apostle says to the pastors of the Church: Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit hath made you Bishops, to feed the Church of our Lord and God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. (Acts xx. 28.)

257. How are we further assured that the grace of God abides in the Church even till now, and shall abide in it to the end of the world?

Of this we are assured by the following sayings of Jesus Christ Himself and His Apostle: I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matt. xvi. 18. )I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matt. xxviii. 20.) Unto Him, God the Father, be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Eph. iii. 21.)

258. Why is the Church one?

Because she is one spiritual Body, has one Head, Christ, and is animated by one Spirit of God. There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. (Eph. iv. 4-6.)

259. Are we still more expressly assured that Jesus Christ is the one only Head of the one Church?

The Apostle Paul writes, that for the Church, as the building of God, other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. iii. 10, 11. ) Wherefore the Church, as the Body of Christ, can have no other Head than Jesus Christ.

The Church, being to abide through all generations of time, needs also an ever-abiding head; and such is Jesus Christ alone.

Wherefore, also, the Apostles take no higher title than that of ministers of the Church. (Col. i. 24, 25.)

260. What duty does the unity of the Church lay on us?

That of endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph. iv. 3.)

261. How does it agree with the unity of the Church, that there are many separate and independent churches, as those of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, Russia?

These are particular churches, or parts of the one Catholic Church: the separateness of their visible organization does not hinder them from being all spiritually great members of the one body of the Universal Church, from having one Head, Christ, and one spirit of faith and grace. This unity is expressed outwardly by unity of Creed, and by communion in prayer and Sacraments.

262. Is there likewise unity between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven?

Doubtless there is, both by their common relation to one Head, our Lord Jesus Christ, and by mutual communion with one another.

263. What means of communion has the Church on earth with the Church in heaven?

The prayer of faith and love. The faithful who belong to the Church militant upon earth, in offering their prayers to God, call at the same time to their aid the saints who belong to the Church in heaven; and these, standing on the highest steps of approach to God, by their prayers and intercessions purify, strengthen, and offer before God the prayers of the faithful living upon earth, and by the will of God work graciously and beneficently upon them, either by invisible virtue, or by distinct apparitions, and in divers other ways.

264. On what is grounded the rule of the Church upon earth to invoke in prayer the saints of the Church in heaven?

On a holy tradition, the principle of which is to be seen also in holy Scripture. For instance, when the Prophet David cries out in prayer, O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel our fathers, he makes mention of saints in aid of his prayer, exactly as now the Orthodox Church calls upon Christ our true God, by the prayers of His most pure Mother and all His saints. See (1 Chron. xxix. 18.)

Cyril of Jerusalem, in his explanation of the divine Liturgy, says: We make mention also of those who are before departed, first, of the Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, and Martyrs, that by their entreaties and intercession God may receive our prayers. (Cat. Myst. v. c. 9.)

Basil the Great, in his sermon on the day of the Forty Holy Martyrs, says: Whoever is afflicted has recourse to the Forty, and whoever is joyful runs to the same; the one that he may find relief from his sorrows, the other that he may keep his happiness. Here the pious wife is to be seen praying for her children; another asks the return of her absent husband; another the restoration of health to the sick. Yes; let your petitions be with the Martyrs.

265. Is there any testimony of holy Scripture to the mediatory prayer of the saints in heaven?

The Evangelist John, in the Revelation, saw in heaven an angel, to whom was given much incense, that he should offer it, by the prayers of all saints, upon the golden altar which was before the throne; and the smoke of the incense ascended up by the prayers of the saints out of the hands of the angel before God. (Rev. viii. 3, 4.)

266. Is there any testimony of holy Scripture to beneficent apparitions of saints from heaven?

The Evangelist St. Matthew relates that after the death of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross, many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves, after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Matt. xxvii. 52, 53. And since a miracle so great could not be without some adequate end, we must suppose that the saints which then arose appeared for this, that they might announce the descent of Jesus Christ into hell, and His triumphal resurrection; and so move men born in the Church of the Old Testament to pass over the more readily into that of the New, then opened.

267. What testimonies are there to confirm us in the belief that the saints, after their departure, work miracles through certain earthly means?

The second (fourth in the Greek) book of Kings testifies that by touching the bones of the Prophet Elisha a dead man was raised to life. (2 Kings xiii. 21.)

The Apostle Paul not only in his own immediate person wrought healings and miracles, but the same was done also in his absence by handkerchiefs and aprons taken from his body. Acts xix. 12. By this example we may understand that the saints, even after their deaths, may in like manner work beneficently through earthly means, which have received from them holy virtue.

Gregory the Divine, in his first discourse against Julian, says: Thou wast not abashed by the sacrifices offered for Christ, nor didst fear the great athletes, John, Peter, Paul, James, Stephen, Luke, Andrew, Thecla, and the rest, who before and after these suffered for the truth; who withstood both fire and sword, the torturers, and all sufferings present or threatened, as if their bodies were not their own, or they had had no bodies at all. For what? That they might not, so much as by a word, betray their religion. To whom also great honors and triumphs are with just reason awarded: by whom devils are expelled and diseases healed: who appear in visions, and prophecy: whose very bodies, though separate, when touched or reverenced, have like power with their holy souls; and drops of whose blood, those least tokens of their suffering, like power with their bodies.

John Damascene writes thus: The relics of the saints have been given us by our Lord Jesus Christ as salutary springs, from which manifold blessings flow. And as if in explanation of this, he remarks, that through the mind their bodies also were inhabited of God. (Theol. lib. iv. cap. 15, 3, 4.)

268. Why is the Church holy?

Because she is sanctified by Jesus Christ through His passion, through His doctrine, through His prayer, and through the Sacraments. Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify it, having cleansed it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy, and without blemish. (Eph. v. 25-27.)

In His prayer to God the Father for believers, Jesus Christ said among other things: Sanctify them through thy truth: thy Word is truth. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. (John xvii.17, 19.)

269. How is the Church holy, when she has in her sinners?

Men, who sin, but purify themselves by true repentance, hinder not the Church from being holy; but impenitent sinners, either by the visible act of Church authority, or by the invisible judgment of God, are cut off from the body of the Church; and so she is, in respect of these, also kept holy.

Put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1 Cor. v. 13. )Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal: The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Tim. ii. 19.)

270. Why is the Church called Catholic, or, which is the same thing, Universal?

Because she is not limited to any place, nor time, nor people, but contains true believers of all places, times, and peoples.

The Apostle Paul says that the Word of the Gospel is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit (Coloss. i. 5, 6), and that in the Christian Church there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. (Coloss. iii. 11. ) They which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham. (Gal. iii. 9.)

271. What great privilege has the Catholic [Orthodox] Church?

She alone has the sublime promises that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her; that the Lord shall be with her even to the end of the world; that in her shall abide the glory of God in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever; and consequently that she shall never apostatize from the faith, nor sin against the truth of the faith, or fall into error.

We undoubtingly confess, as sure truth, that the Catholic [Orthodox] Church can not sin, nor err, nor utter falsehood in place of truth; for the Holy Spirit, ever working through His faithful ministers the fathers and doctors of the Church, preserves her from all error. (Missive of the Eastern Patriarchs on the Orthodox Faith, Art. 12.)

272. If the Catholic [Orthodox] Church contains all true believers in the world, must we not acknowledge it to be necessary for salvation that every believer should belong to her?

Exactly so. Since Jesus Christ, in the words of St. Paul, is the Head of the Church, and He is the Saviour of the Body, it follows that, to have part in His salvation, we must necessarily be members of His body, that is, of the Catholic Church. (Eph. v. 23.)

The Apostle Peter writes that baptism saveth us after the figure of the ark of Noah. All who were saved from the general deluge were saved only in the ark; so all who obtain everlasting salvation obtain it only in the one Catholic Church.

273. What thoughts and remembrances should we associate with the name of the Eastern Church?

In Paradise, planted in the East, was founded the first Church of our parents in innocence; and in the East, after the fall, was laid a new foundation of the Church of the redeemed, in the promise of a Saviour. In the East, in the land of Judæa, our Lord Jesus Christ, having finished the work of our salvation, laid the foundation of His own proper Christian Church: from thence she spread herself over the whole universe; and to this day the orthodox Catholic œcumenical faith, confirmed by the seven œcumenical Councils, is preserved unchanged in its original purity in the ancient Churches of the East, and in such as agree with them, as does by God's grace the Church of Russia.

274. Why is the Church called Apostolic?

Because she has from the Apostles, without break or change, both her doctrine and the succession of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, through the laying on of consecrated, hands. In the same sense the Church is called also Orthodox, or Rightly-believing.

Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, and are built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone. (Eph. ii. 19, 20.)

275. What does the Creed teach us, when it calls the Church Apostolic?

It teaches us to hold fast the Apostolical doctrine and tradition, and eschew such doctrine and such teachers as are not warranted by the doctrine of the Apostles.

The Apostle Paul says: Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle. (2 Thess. ii. 15.) A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition reject. (Titus iii. 10.) For there are many unruly, vain talkers and deceivers, especially they of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped; who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. (Titus i. 10, 11. ) But if thy brother neglect to hear the Church, let him be to thee as a heathen man and a publican. (Matt. xviii. 17.)

276. What ecclesiastical institution is there through which the succession of the Apostolical ministry is preserved?

The ecclesiastical Hierarchy.

277. Whence originates the Hierarchy of the Orthodox Christian Church?

From Jesus Christ Himself, and from the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles; from which time it is continued, in unbroken succession, through the laying on of hands, in the Sacrament of Orders. And He gave some, Apostles; and some, Prophets; and some, Evangelists; and some, Pastors and Teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ. (Eph. iv. 11, 12.)

278. What hierarchical authority is there which can extend its sphere of action over the whole Catholic Church?

An œcumenical Council.

279. Under what hierarchical authority are the chief divisions of the Catholic Church?

Under the Orthodox Patriarchs and the Most Holy Synod.

280. Under what ecclesiastical authority are lesser orthodox provinces and cities?

Under Metropolitans, Archbishops, and Bishops.

281. What rank in the Hierarchy is held by the Most Holy Russian Synod?

The same rank with the Most Holy Orthodox Patriarchs. (See the Letters of the M. H. Patriarchs on the institution of the M. H. Synod.)

282. If any one desire to fulfill his duty of obedience to the Church, how may he learn what she requires of her children?

This may be learned from holy Scripture, from the canons of the holy Apostles, the holy œcumenical and provincial Councils, and the holy Fathers, and from the books of Ecclesiastical Rules and Rubrics.