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Expositions of Christian Teaching; The Symbolical Books

THE INTERPRETATIONS of the Symbol of Faith, or the "Symbolic Guides" (from the Greek symballo, meaning "to unite"; symbolon, a uniting or conditional sign) of the Orthodox Faith, in the common meaning of this term, are those expositions of Christian faith which are given in the Book of Canons of the Holy Apostles, the Holy Local and Ecumenical Councils, and the Holy Fathers. The theology of the Russian Church also makes use, as symbolical books, of those two expositions of the Faith which in more recent times were evoked by the need to present the Orthodox Christian teaching against the teaching of the unorthodox confessions of the second millennium. These books are: The Confession of the Orthodox Faith compiled by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Dositheus, which was read and approved at the Council of Jerusalem in 1672 and, fifty years later, in answer to the inquiry received from the Anglican Church, was sent to that church in the name of all the Eastern Patriarchs and is therefore more widely known under the name of "The Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs on the Orthodox Faith." Also included in this category is The Orthodox Confession of Peter Mogila, Metropolitan of Kiev, which was examined and corrected at two local councils, that of Kiev in 1640 and Jassy in 1643, and then approved by four Ecumenical Patriarchs and the Russian Patriarchs Joachim and Adrian. The Orthodox Christian Catechism of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow enjoys a similar importance in the Russian Church, particularly the part which contains an exposition of the Symbol of Faith. This Catechism was "examined and approved by the Holy Synod and published for instruction in schools and for the use of all Orthodox Christians."

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