Good day, and welcome to Communion of Saints from stjeromeschapel.org. I’m your host, Micah Jackson. Today is April 7th, 2009: the feast of Blessed Tikhon.
The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a watershed moment for the whole world. One institution that was particularly affected was the Russian Orthodox Church. As the Communists consolidated power, they often clashed with the Church, which was very powerful and had very different goals. In retrospect, a conflict was inevitable, as was the eventual result. But at the time, the continued existence of the Church seemed less of a sure thing, and the Patriarch of the Church at that time was the man we remember today, Blessed Tikhon.
Born in 1865, Tikhon went to seminary, and afterwards became a monk. By 1897 he was the Bishop of Liblun, eventually being translated to become Archbishop of the Aleutians and Alaska. During his time in Alaska he supervised the Orthodox Church in North America and forged many relationships with his brother bishops of other historic denominations, including the Episcopal Church. In 1917, just before the outbreak of revolution, the man whose nickname in the seminary was “Patriarch” became the Patriarch of Moscow.
As Patriarch, he struggled to steer the course of the Church through the danger. In 1921, during a severe famine, he ordered many of the Church’s treasures to be sold so that food could be bought for the hungry. His actions were criticized by both the Government and many within the Church. Eventually, however, the Church recognized that he had acted faithfully in a difficult time, and glorified Patriarch Tikhon, recognizing him as a saint of the Church.
Tikhon’s actions during the revolution and in the early days of Communist rule show that he was a man of great faith in “the long view.” He clearly understood well the words we read in the Second Letter of Peter, “For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ..” (2 Peter 1:3-11) May we always be inspired by Tikhon’s example to trust in God’s providence during a time of trial.
Let us pray: Holy God, holy and mighty, you call us together into one communion and fellowship: Open our eyes, we pray, as you opened the eyes of your servant Tikhon, that we may see the faithfulness of others as we strive to be steadfast in the faith delivered to us, that the world may see and know you, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be glory and praise until ages of ages. Amen.
Thank you for listening to Communion of Saints. Please join us on September 13th at stjeromeschapel.org for the feast of the Holy Cross. I’m Micah Jackson. May God be with you.
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