The Holy Patriarch Tikhon: Without guile and svetosila

Vasily Ivanovich Belavin, the future of the Russian Martyr Patriarch Tikhon. About the identity of St. Tikhon and his decisions has been much debated. What was it and why was indeed worthy of canonization in our material.

  • Patriarch Tikhon the eyes of foreign countries
  • Patriarch Tikhon against the Soviets From a sword will perish yourselves who take the sword
  • Someone anathematical Patriarch Tikhon, or whether to believe the promises of the Communists?

“He’s a no.”

The Council of bishops, 9-11 October 1989, held in the Moscow Danilov monastery, was dedicated to the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the Patriarchate in the Russian Church. On this Cathedral, it was decided on the canonization of the Patriarch job, the first Russian Patriarch, who was elected in 1589, Patriarch Tikhon, the first Patriarch after the restoration of the Patriarchate the local Council of 1917 /18.

For most believers of the Soviet Union, the canonization of Patriarch Tikhon was an act of daring and extremely progressive. If the identity of the Patriarch job, for most Soviet citizens was at that time little known “ancient history”, the figure of Patriarch Tikhon was, in General, are widely known. And canonization it was a step, as they say, “politically incorrect”.

The magazine “Red village”, 1923, the publication of Patriarch Tikhon

“The canonization of Patriarch produced the people a striking impression, — says Sergey Belyaev (archaeologist, historian, member of the Institute of General history, Russian Academy of Sciences, with the participation of which was found the Holy relics of Patriarch Tikhon). — We must remember that the basis of the population of the Soviet Union was made up of people who all their adult life lived in the era of rebellion. When the question was raised about the canonization of Patriarch Tikhon, even in the Church community were heard shouting fears: “Yes you that! He is anti-Soviet!”

According to Sergei Belyaev, back in the late 1980-ies, to those who believe the canonization of Patriarch Tikhon, of course, gave hope for Russia’s return to its historical roots:

“He was a sign of old Russia; old in the sense of living gospel Testament is kindness, decency, honesty, love for people and for the Fatherland. And for that generation, for those people who had seen it all and survived, for their canonization – it was something wonderful, something unexpected, like a gift of God.”

At the same time, for many Orthodox people, especially for those who knew the details of the Bolshevik persecution of the Church, this holiday was tinged with sadness. The canonization of Patriarch Tikhon as the canonization of the new martyrs, began in the Russian Orthodox Church too late. Despite the fact that information about suffered for their faith under the Soviet regime began collecting the local Council of 1917/18 years after the first massacres of believers began immediately after the October revolution, with the murder in Kyiv of St. Vladimir Bogoyavlensky, until the end of the Soviet period, none of the martyrs were not “aloud” glorified by the Church.

Nearly 60 years after the reconstruction of the Moscow Patriarchy in 1944, the Church hierarchy has publicly rejected the existence of persecution for their faith in the USSR. In this sense, the canonization of Patriarch Tikhon was the belated, but honest step towards historical truth.

“All hee-hee, ha-ha and stroking the cat”

The personality of Patriarch Tikhon does not fit into the traditional hagiographic style. The image of the Saint is not smooth and susalnosti inherent in many pre-revolutionary bishops. The Patriarch came from the clergy – that is, was a priest not in the first and not the second generation, however, many of the surviving evidence about him, in stark contrast with stories of the “caste” of clergy in old Russia. The expression of Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), used in relation to the ascetic faith of our century, — “unholy Holy man” — could well be attributed to St. Tikhon.

One of the first images of St. Tikhon in the dignity of Patriarch. Photo:

According to a contemporary, from childhood Tikhon was “God-fearing no guile, and svetosila”. His classmate, later Archpriest Konstantin Tiles, missionary in South America, thought about it:

“During the whole academic course he was secular and nothing special did not show his monastic inclinations. His monastic life after graduation so many of his comrades was a complete surprise”.

It is known that in communication Tikhon was simple and affordable.

“Recently I took it upon myself to visit His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, and was it adopted without much preliminary trouble and obstacles, — wrote the correspondent of the Kharkiv newspaper in 1918. — … His Holiness blessed me and invited to sit down and fleetingly looked at me. Look quiet good… at the same time, as if shy. The Patriarch spoke… the Voice of a simple, quiet, ordinary, I’d say “narrow-minded””…

His Holiness was not alien to secular culture, read fiction. Doctor Emilia Bakunin, watching him in the last days of life, says:

“When he felt better, a lot of reading, sitting in a chair by the bed. Read Turgenev, Goncharov, and “Letters to Pobedonostsev,”.

Sometimes Tikhon easier to find a common language with secular people than with the monk. Released in 2007 by the publishing house pstgu two volumes of “the Contemporaries of the Patriarch Tikhon” contains many testimonies of how the Holy easily establish contact even with those people who knew little of Church etiquette and was a little afraid of the hierarchy. So, I. Wasilewski talks about the spiritual concert, which was supposed to be a secular actress O. L. Knipper-Chekhov.

Olga Leonardovna was very nervous, as to be had in the temple, and among those present were the Patriarch himself. The organizer of the concert found the Holy before and spoke about how nervous actress, asked his permission to submit it. The Patriarch agreed, and when the actress came to his Holiness, he is “having blessed, he said to her immediately, without preamble: “Well, say, you scared us. Do not be alarmed. We’re not too bad. Calm down, everything will be fine” — and he talks dragged her into the hall, where he offered her a place beside him so that she was sitting next to the Patriarch and he talked with him, listened to all the first part of the concert”.

There is evidence that Patriarch Tikhon was an avid “cat owner.”

“But from the internal chambers out of the Episcopal… a big grey cat lies on the carpet and purring, makes the most carefree posture. Relieved us from the heart, for the thought that even if the Pets feel in the chambers of the lords safely, especially around him, and he encountered people had to feel the same.

So, with all the gentle Lord, and we have nothing to fear wasting it. Indeed, the Lord released to us following the said animals, at a cost to all of us sweetly, kindly, simply and kindly, attentive and sympathetic listening to requests,” — recalled the Prelate , Archpriest Nikolai Knyazev.

Secular style of communication of Patriarch Tikhon, his penchant for humor and sometimes even irritated conservative monasticism. So, Archbishop Theodore (Pozdeevsky), after an audience with Patriarch Tikhon, was unhappy with the “lack of seriousness” of his Holiness. “All hee-hee, ha-ha and stroked the cat,” replied he to one of his followers on the question of how he found the Patriarch.

Patriarch Tikhon is a prayer from Nicholas gate, Moscow, 1918. Photo:

His Holiness, in turn, he teased cunning brethren. Sergei Volkov left a curious sketch of how he went to the Patriarch to plead about the structure of the academic Church:

“— That you ask the father in Eugene priors. But now your temple parish, the rector had to baptize and marry, and father Eugene is unlikely to know how to do it. He sits with the books, so that Liturgy, they say, just recently learned how to make. How you going to get?

I said that after the closure of the laurels of many monks come to us in the temple, serve in it, they will help my father Eugene to make required.

— Well, well, — said his Holiness and smiled as if he remembered something funny. Oh I have these monks! Not only did they marry themselves to get married ready!”

“Archipastoral” and “pastoral”

One of the most difficult moments in the understanding of the person of Patriarch Tikhon (and that often put him in the guilt of the Church writers), is his so-called “Testamentary letter”. It was published a week after the death of the Patriarch, April 15, 1925, in the Newspapers “Pravda” and “Izvestia”. Religious journalism has long made it the text in quotes:

— “we call on all beloved children of God-protected Russian Church in this critical time of the construction of the General welfare of the people to merge with us in fervent prayer to the Almighty for sending aid workers and peasants government in its work for the good of the whole people”;

— “now we beseech you with a clear conscience, without fear of sin against the Holy faith, to obey the Soviet authorities not out of fear but out of conscience”

— “not to hope for the return of the monarchy and to assure that the Soviet government really is the people’s workers ‘and peasants’ power, and therefore strong and unshakable”…

The text of the “Message” hurts the eyes and the Soviet orthography (writing the words “CHURCH” “GOD” with lowercase letters, and “worker-PEASANT”, “SOVIET”, etc. — with a capital), and a mix of Synod and the Bolshevik kantselyarizmami. But the main thing — in this text, clearly stated his Holiness conciliatory attitude toward the Soviet power, the willingness to obey it is “not out of fear but out of conscience”.

The letter calls the Soviet government not only given by God, but “genuinely welcomed” the Patriarch. Speaks of offering prayers “of the Lord’s benediction” to the Soviet regime. The clergy and laity involved in any anti-Soviet activities, is strongly condemned in this text and are called to repentance.

Most historians, including representatives of the Church, tend to believe that the text of Patriarch Tikhon wrote under pressure from the authorities. That such a step Patriarch Tikhon went out for the salvation of the flock entrusted to him from persecution by the Bolsheviks. Thus the famous “Declaration” of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) of 1927, welcoming the Soviet government on behalf of the Church (“her success is our success”), is regarded as “the continuation of the line of Patriarch Tikhon” in terms of Church-state relations.

And yet in Soviet Newspapers published the text of a lot of what makes us think that it belongs to the Patriarch. Particularly noteworthy is the spelling of the words: “archipastoral”, “pastoral”… Could this text be made churchgoer, not to mention the Patriarch?

The question of the authenticity of the “Epistle” of Patriarch Tikhon has dealt in detail the modern Church historian Dmitry Safonov (in 2004 he defended his thesis under the title of “Patriarch Tikhon and the Soviet government: the problem of Church-state relations in 1922-1925 gg.”). He argues convincingly that the text of the “Epistle”, published in Soviet Newspapers, was signed by Patriarch Tikhon.

The Patriarch shortly before his death and actually wrote a letter to the congregation, but in the investigation it has not been preserved. That the true message of Tikhon was really, shows its characteristic, made by one of the employees of GPU, may, by by E. Tuchkova, which is sewn to the case. Judging by the retelling Tikhon’s text, which is contained in this characteristic, he had very little in common with the document on behalf of the Patriarch was published on 15 April 1925.

So, the General meaning of the first part of the Patriarchal message expressed by the employee of GPU in the following way: “the Soviet Government tolerated only as the allowance of God”. In the published version of this provision is missing. Further, according to the characteristics of the GPU, the original text of the Patriarch were the words, which were “artistically, artistically subtle hints mentioned the lowered state of the Church, with the king reigning, and now compared with all societies, the members of which “can believe in anything””. Moreover, the employee of the GPU noted: “Intentionally vulgar relations here shade intolerant contemptuous attitude to the very spirit of the Owls. Power and sovrima”. Obviously, in the published version “the Message” nothing of the kind.

Also, according to the characteristics of the GPU, in the true Patriarchal text quite differently interpreted position of the Patriarch in relation to the parish councils. According to the published text of the “Message” in the composition of parish councils, the Patriarch advised to choose people “sincerely located to the Soviet government”. At the same time, according to the characteristic of the GPU, Tikhon wrote about the people who truly configured not to allow any compromise in the areas of internal Church life. Thus, in this issue of the Patriarchal text was replaced with text that is favorable to the authorities.

Overall, according to the author of characteristics in the true “Message” Tikhon had shown “contemptuous intolerance of the very spirit of Owls. Power and sovrima”. Naturally, the authentic message of the Patriarch deliberately not been filed in the case, as was proof that the message of 7 April was not signed by Tikhon.

It is known that in the last days of the Holy Tuchkov was desperately trying to persuade him to sign favorable to the Soviet authorities for the text. Tuchkova negotiations with the Patriarch occurred during visits Tuchkova in the hospital, and with the mediation of the Metropolitan Peter (Polyansky). The doctor Bakunin reported that before visiting Tuchkov who had a few the Patriarch was nervous, but tried to joke, said: “tomorrow come to me “someone” grey”… Only the unexpected news of the death of the Patriarch did the work of Tuchkov in “processing” Tikhon unnecessary and allowed the GPU to run in print is not consistent with the Patriarch the option of “Message”.

Apparently, the text that was published in Newspapers after the death of Tikhon, was shown him, and, most likely, Metropolitan Peter. However, as shown by Dmitry Safonov, the Patriarch of this text is strongly rejected. So, in case you have a copy of “the Message”, which has very minor differences with published on April 15. The text made the edit pencil, and the same hand, the text is crossed out cross-crosswise.

“It should be noted that, according to the documents of the 6th branch, nor the cloud, nor any of the employees of the GPU is not used a pencil to correct the documents, — says Dmitry Safonov, so pencil the edit could not belong to these individuals. Pencil edit, apparently, belonged to the Patriarch or Metropolitan Peter, the strikeout text means its rejection. It is likely that this document went to Metropolitan Peter to the Patriarch.”

In the authenticity of the published papers of the “Message” of the Patriarch did not believe his contemporaries.

“Emphatically no one in Moscow wanted to believe that the Patriarch signed it voluntarily and personally — says a doctor Emilia Bakunin — the text was written not by him, but the authenticity of the signature of the newspaper insisted”. In the memories Bakunin contains a characteristic observation: “it was Strange that a newspaper under the signature was a note “Donskoy monastery” and the other “Ostozhenka””.

This conflict also allowed historians. So, according to Dmitry Safonov, the original message was written in the period from 2 to 4 March 1925, i.e. after the release of the Patriarch from the hospital. The text was composed in the Donskoy monastery, where the Patriarch lived in these days and where he performed daily worship, respectively, this monastery was listed in the signature. With this signature, the GPU was made a facsimile copy, she was placed in several Newspapers under the fictitious “Message” of 7 April, when the Patriarch, as we know, was in the hospital on Ostozhenka.

Boots from working

Perhaps the most poignant memories of Patriarch Tikhon compiled those of his contemporaries who was not privy to the intricacies of Church-state relations in those years and I saw his Holiness the persecuted pastor of the Church of Christ.

Anastasia Tsvetaeva in his memoirs (“On the miracles and wonderful”) already in 1990, recalled how he and his son went to Donskoy monastery to support the prisoner of Patriarch Tikhon.

“Then Patriarch Tikhon was in the Donskoy monastery (Moscow), writes Anastasia Tsvetaeva — is not entirely clear to his congregation position, but at certain hours of the day he took a walk down a long hill above the courtyard, and the faithful who came to see him, he was going over the top blessed. Here I am with my then ten or eleven-year-old son and I went to the Donskoy monastery.

We (the Muscovites) did not know how the Patriarch fed, and who tried to bring something to him: years in the country was difficult, after the civil war, the revolution and the devastation began, must be the NEP (new economic policy introduced by Lenin after the famine). Because I (after years, when my son ate dried potatoes long live vegetables were unattainable delicacy) got like 400 grams of sugar.

And yet, not knowing how the Patriarch lives there, does he have the icons, I took color on cardboard — 30 x 20 inches, the icon of the Mother of God with child, Her shoulder was dal and finely — Calvary, 3 cross, illumed by the light. The yard was full of people. I gave the icon along with a bag of sugar, rejoicing in his joy this icon. But… the frustration, the disappointment! I returned the icon. But in an instant the sorrow became happiness! On the back, on the cardboard was written: “BLESS. Patriarch Tikhon“.

Son Andrew dragged the icon to my. I was kissed, kissed me and son. He was holding an icon, to us were the people and, one by one, in turn, people were put under the signature, and looked at the icon of the Mother of God, which kept the boy with children’s bangs brown hair, grey big eyes, regular features and joy on her face. It was similar to the boy Bartholomew (with pictures of Nesterov), who had a vision of an angel in the image of man. The icon that was I got a hour before my arrest in 1937″.

The Holy Patriarch Tikhon imprisoned in Donskoy monastery. Source:

The doctor Bakunin tells us that when the Patriarch was in the hospital Ostozhenka, believers from all over Moscow expressed its support for:

“The office was always a crowd that had to convince to give the patient rest. Twice came to him a deputation of the workers of the factories of the former Prokhorov and some other. Brought him gifts. The workers who presented him with a good pair of Morocco boots with white rabbit fur, in which later he always went to the Church services and which is very proud of. Cold winter these boots was for him to do salvation. From other work of the deputation he received vestments”.

According to the doctor, for the death of Tikhon employees of GPU was seized from his room numerous gifts from the faithful:

“When the body of the Patriarch was taken away, his room was sealed. A few days later came the cloud and in the presence of the administration of the hospitals and Metropolitan Peter made an inventory of things.

Among the things found was 4,000 rubles, which Tuchkov took with the words: “They’ll come in handy”. It was money collected by parishioners and given to the Patriarch. They lay in the basket beside the bed, and the Patriarch told me about them: “I want the congregation to give me a house, raised money. And then in the monastery of the room a low, cramped and very uncomfortable. They’re a lot of people to breathe.“ Favorite boots of the Patriarch, gift working, took Metropolitan Peter”.

As Bakunin says in the day of the funeral of Patriarch Tikhon, despite the risk of persecution, an endless stream of people went to say goodbye to his Holiness, and among them were representatives of all classes:

“In the Donskoy monastery, where the body of the Patriarch was exposed for four days, day and night a crowd of people. Living place jammed all the don street. The day of the funeral the monastery was pouring a stream of admirers of the deceased, and was in the crowd of people of all classes and ages. The monastery was black with people: I was busy the whole yard, stairs, steps, niches of the walls.”

At the same time, according to Bakunin, the Soviet press presented an entirely opposite picture: “the Newspapers of the death of the Patriarch was printed small note with a petite chronicle among the rest. It was said that the funeral of Patriarch attracted little public, and struck by “the utter lack among this audience of workers and peasants””.

“The Sakkos Of Patriarch Tikhon”

Characteristically, despite the fact that for the Soviet people, Patriarch Tikhon was a man of the recent past, for many, is literally contemporary, the history of his life and death in the Soviet era there existed many misconceptions and rumors. About a great many things misconceptions was even the highest Church hierarchy.

For example, the question of the Holy relics of Patriarch at the Council in 1989 was not even raised — all the members of the Council were confident that no relics do not exist, as in the 1930-ies the Holy ashes were removed from the Donskoy monastery and destroyed.

“Everyone was confident, — says archaeologist Sergei Belyaev, – that place in the Small Cathedral of the Donskoy monastery is marked as the grave – is not that other, as just marking the spot where the Patriarch was once buried. Because there were witnesses in one of the winter nights in the early 30-ies of the Small Cathedral of the Donskoi monastery in the direction of the crematorium, I drove the sled with the coffin.”

The Church of St. Tikhon in the Donskoy monastery. Photo:

A related story about “the sakkos of Patriarch Tikhon”. So, 30 years on the shoulders of the Renovationist Metropolitan Alexander Vvedensky appeared green sakkos. Someone from the “Tihonova” suggested that this is the sakkos, in which he was buried, his Holiness Tikhon. Therefore, after the death of Vvedensky sakkos was purchased by his Holiness Patriarch Alexy I, restored and placed in the Church-archaeological Cabinet of the Moscow theological Academy. Membership of the vestments of Patriarch Tikhon confirmed the relevant inscription on the Museum showcase…

“The opinion that the body of the Patriarch is not in the grave, was so persistent that even the Metropolitan Nikolai Yarushevich, who served a memorial service at St. Tikhon in the Small Cathedral of Donskoy in 1948, said after the service: “We prayed now only over the grave of his Holiness, his body is not here,” — says Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov) (his story was published in the “Moscow Church Bulletin” in 1992, № 4 (70)).

The relics of St. Tikhon were uncovered only as a result of the accident. So, in 1991, in the Small Cathedral of the Donskoi monastery was thrown a bottle with an incendiary mix. The Cathedral was seriously burned, was opened a large part of the floor. Then at the bottom of three-meter tomb by archaeologists and was found an oak coffin with a marble plaque: “his Holiness Tikhon. Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.”

Patriarch Alexy II in the crypt with the relics of St. Tikhon. Photo:

“It happened on 17th February 1992, at 23.15, — says Sergey Belyaev. I called Patriarch Alexy. He was in the Net, where took place the session of the Holy Synod. Said that the tomb of Patriarch Tikhon in full safety is in place. He paused for quite a long time. Asked: “are You sure?” I said, “Yes, Your Holiness. You can also be sure, if you come“. Pause was already shorter. His Holiness said, “Good.” And at 00.15 Patriarch Alexy arrived. After he saw everything, he congratulated the brethren, thanked all who participated in the acquisition”.

The cell of Patriarch Tikhon in the Donskoy monastery

Currently, the reliquary of St. Tikhon is located in the Great Cathedral of the Donskoy monastery, to the left of the Royal doors. In a monastic cell where lived the Saint, has recently created a house Museum. It stores the remainder of the incorruptible vestments, in which he was buried by Patriarch Tikhon, as well as photographs, documents, personal belongings of the Patriarch.

Have you read the article the Holy Patriarch Tikhon: without guile and svetosila. See also:

9 years of Patriarch Tikhon under the Soviet regime

The Epistle of Patriarch Tikhon about the excesses that occurred during the seizure of Church property

Interview with Patriarch Tikhon: “Not so easy to overthrow the King of Heaven, as king of the earth”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.