THE HOLY BYZANTINE CATHOLIC ORTHODOX  CHURCH
Le Saint Église Bizantine Catholique Orthodoxe
La Santa Iglesia Bizantina Catolica Ortodoxa

A TRADITIONAL COMMUNITY

On May 22, 1901, he blessed the cornerstone for St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York, and was also involved
Brooklyn for the Syrian Orthodox immigrants. Two weeks later, he consecrated St. Nicholas Cathedral
in NY.

In 1905, the American Mission was made an Archdiocese, and St. Tikhon was elevated to the rank of
Archbishop. He had two vicar bishops: Bishop Innocent (Pustynsky) in Alaska, and St. Raphael
(Hawaweeny) in Brooklyn to assist him in administering his large, ethnically diverse diocese. In June of
1905, St. Tikhon gave his blessing for the establishment of St. Tikhon's Monastery.

In 1907, he returned to Russia, and was appointed to Yaroslavl, where he quickly won the affection of his
subordinates, never resorting to a peremptory or overbearing tone. When he had to reprimand someone, he
did so in a good-natured, sometimes joking manner, which encouraged the person to correct his mistakes.
When St. Tikhon was transferred to Lithuania on December 22, 1913, the people of Yaroslavl voted him an
In 1907, he returned to Russia, and was appointed to Yaroslavl, where he quickly won the affection of his
honorary citizen of their town. After his transfer to Vilnius, he did much in terms of material support for
flock. They came to love him as a friendly, communicative, and wise archpastor. He spoke simply to his
various charitable institutions. There too, his generous soul and love of people clearly manifested
themselves. World War I broke out when His Eminence was in Vilnius. He spared no effort to help
the poor residents of the Vilna region who were left without a roof over their heads or means of
subsistence as a result of the war with the Germans, and who flocked to their archpastor in droves.

After the February Revolution and formation of a new Synod, Saint Tikhon became one of its members.
On June 21, 1917, the Moscow Diocesan Congress of clergy and laity elected him as their ruling bishop.
He was a zealous and educated archpastor, widely known even outside his country.

On August 15, 1917, a local council was opened in Moscow, and Archbishop Tikhon was raised to the
dignity of Metropolitan, and then elected as chairman of the council. The council had as its aim to restore
the life of Russian Orthodox Church on strictly canonical principles, and its primary concern was the
restoration of the Patriarchate. All council members would select three candidates, and then a lot would
reveal the will of God. The council members chose three candidates: Archbishop Anthony of Kharkov, the
wisest, Archbishop Arseny of Novgorod, the strictest, and Metropolitan Tikhon of Moscow, the kindest of
the Russian hierarchs. On November 5, following the Divine Liturgy and a Molieben in the Cathedral of
Christ the Savior, a monk removed one of the three ballots from the ballot box, which stood before the
Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God. Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev announced Metropolitan Tikhon as
the newly elected Patriarch. Saint Tikhon did not change after becoming the primate of the Russian
Orthodox Church. In accepting the will of the council, Patriarch Tikhon referred to the scroll that the
Prophet Ezekiel had to eat, on which was written, "Lamentations, mourning, and woe." He foresaw that
his ministry would be filled with affliction and tears, but through all his suffering, he remained the same
accessible, unassuming, and kindly person.

All who met Saint Tikhon were surprised by his accessibility, simplicity and modesty. His gentle
disposition did not prevent him from showing firmness in Church matters, however, particularly when
he had to defend the Church from her enemies. He bore a very heavy cross. He had to administer and
direct the Church amidst wholesale church disorganization, without auxiliary administrative bodies, in
conditions of internal schisms and upheavals by various adherents of the Living Church, renovationists,
and autocephalists.

The situation was complicated by external circumstances: the change of the political system, by the
accession to power of the godless regime, by hunger, and civil war. This was a time when Church property
was being confiscated, when clergy were subjected to court trials and persecutions, and Christ's Church
endured repression. News of this came to the Patriarch from all ends of Russia. His exceptionally high
moral and religious authority helped him to unite the scattered and enfeebled flock. At a crucial time for
the church, his unblemished name was a bright beacon pointing the way to the truth of Orthodoxy.
In his messages, he called on people to fulfill the commandments of Christ, and to attain spiritual rebirth
through repentance. His irreproachable life was an example to all.

In order to save thousands of lives and to improve the general position of the church, the Patriarch took
measures to prevent clergy from making purely political statements. On September 25, 1919, when the civil
war was at its height, he issued a message to the clergy urging them to stay away from political struggle.

The summer of 1921 brought a severe famine to the Volga region. In August, Patriarch Tikhon issued a
message to the Russian people and to the people of the world, calling them to help famine victims. He gave
his blessing for voluntary donations of church valuables, which were not directly used in liturgical services.
However, on February 23, 1922, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee published a decree making
all valuables subject to confiscation. According to the 73rd Apostolic Canon, such actions were regarded as
sacrilege, and the Patriarch could not approve such total confiscation, especially since many doubted that
the valuables would be used to combat famine. This forcible confiscation aroused popular indignation
everywhere. Nearly two thousand trials were staged all over Russia, and more than ten thousand believers
were shot. The Patriarch's message was viewed as sabotage, for which he was imprisoned from April 1922
until June 1923.

His Holiness, Patriarch Tikhon did much on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church during the crucial
time of the so-called Renovationist schism. He showed himself to be a faithful servant and custodian of
the undistorted precepts of the true Orthodox Church. He was the living embodiment of Orthodoxy,
which was unconsciously recognized even by enemies of the church, who called its members "Tikhonites."

When Renovationist priests and hierarchs repented and returned to the church, they were met with
tenderness and love by Saint Tikhon. This, however, did not represent any deviation from his strictly
Orthodox policy. "I ask you to believe me that I will not come to agreement or make concessions which
could lead to the loss of the purity and strength of Orthodoxy," the Patriarch said in 1924.

Today, when unbelief and atheism are audaciously attacking the Church of Christ. May the God of peace
and love be with all of you!"

It was extremely painful and hard for the Patriarch's loving, responsive heart to endure all the Church's
misfortunes. Upheavals in and outside the church, the Renovationist schism, his primatial labors, his
concern for the organization and tranquility of Church life, sleepless nights and heavy thoughts, his
confinement that lasted more than a year, the spiteful and wicked baiting of his enemies, and the
unrelenting criticism sometimes even from the Orthodox, combined to undermine his strength and health.

In 1924, Patriarch Tikhon began to feel unwell. He checked into a hospital, but would leave it on Sundays
and Feast Days in order to conduct services. On Sunday, April 5, 1925, he served his last Liturgy, and died
two days later. On March 25/April 7, 1925 the Patriarch received Metropolitan Peter and had a long talk
with him. In the evening, the Patriarch slept a little, then he woke up and asked what time it was. When he
was told it was 11:45 P.M., he made the Sign of the Cross twice and said, "Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory to
Thee." He did not have time to cross himself a third time.

Almost a million people came to say farewell to the Patriarch. The large cathedral of the Donskoy
Monastery in Moscow could not contain the crowd, which overflowed the monastery property into the
square and adjacent streets. St. Tikhon, the eleventh Patriarch of Moscow, was primate of the Russian
Church for seven and a half years.

In October 1989, the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church glorified Patriarch Tikhon and
numbered him among the saints. For nearly seventy years, Saint Tikhon's relics were believed lost, but in
February 1992, they were discovered in a concealed place in the Donskoy Monastery.

It would be difficult to imagine the Russian Orthodox Church without Patriarch Tikhon during those years.
He did so much for the Church and for the strengthening of the Faith itself during those difficult years of
trial. Perhaps the saint's own words can best sum up his life: "May God teach every one of us to strive for
His truth, and for the good of the Holy Church, rather than something for our own sake."

Troparion to St. Tikhon

Rejoice, O Father Tikhon, enlightener of America, ardent follower of
the Apostolic  traditions, and good pastor of the Church of  Jesus Christ.
Who was elected by divine  providence, and laid down his life for his sheep.
Let us sing to him with faith and hope, and ask for his hierarchical
intercessions: Keep the church all over the world in tranquility, and
the church in America in peace. Gather her scattered children into one flock,
preserve our lands from civil strife, and entreat God's peace for all people!