Today the church remembers Tikhon, Patriarch of Russia, Confessor and Ecumenist, 1925.Born as Vasily Ivanovich Belavin, Tikhon spent his early years with the church as a lay leader. Educated at St. Petersburg Theological Academy, he was an instructor of moral and dogmatic theology at Pskov Seminary. At age twenty-six, in 1891, Belavin took monastic vows and became known as Tikhon. He was ordained as bishop in 1897, becoming the Archbishop of the Aleutians and Alaska and head of the Russian Orthodox Church in America in 1898. In this role, he developed warm friendships with Episcopalians in the United States. Tikhon attended the ordination of the Bishop of Fond du Lac in 1900, and was prepared to take part in the laying on of hands, but the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops forbade this. Tikhon returned to Russia in 1907. Ten years later, he was elected Patriarch of Moscow, amidst a time of great political and social tumult. He condemned the killing of the Tsar and his family in 1918 and publicly opposed the nationalization of church property. In his later years, statements were issued in his name, renouncing his antigovernment positions. However, the authenticity of these statements is questioned, and the Russian Orthodox Church considers him to have remained loyal. Exhausted from his work and imprisoned for more than a year by the Soviets, Tikhon died on April 7, 1925, a martyr for his faith. One of his most widely acclaimed quotations captures his zeal and his hope. It our prayer this day. 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. Amen.
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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 unto ages of ages. Amen.