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Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow


Nov. 10, 1917 to April 7, 1925; b. Toropets, in Pskov, Russia, Jan. 19, 1865; d. Moscow. The son of a Russian Orthodox priest, Vasily Ivanovich Bellavin studied in the Pskov Ecclesiastical Seminary and the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, was ordained, taught theology in the Pskov Seminary (188891), and in 1891 became a monk, exchanging his baptismal name Vasily for that of Tikhon (Tychon). He served in various administrative posts, first as inspector, then rector of the seminaries in Kazan and Kholm. In 1897 he became bishop of Lublin. From 1898 to 1907 he was in the United States organizing the Russian Church of North America. Made an archbishop in 1905, he was appointed to the Russian Sees of Jaroslaw (1907) and Vilna (1913). In Vilna he was noted for his tact in harmonizing relationships between the Polish Roman Catholics and the Russian Orthodox. Invading Germans forced him to flee his see during World War I. In 1917 he was elected archbishop of Moscow, and soon after given the title of metropolitan. He organized the Pan-Russian synod that met in Moscow on Aug. 15, 1917, and reestablished the patriarchal dignity suppressed by Peter the Great. After Tikhon was elected patriarch, his clash with the Bolshevik regime over its secularization of marriage, nationalization of schools, confiscation of Church property, and desecration of churches and monasteries caused his imprisonment (May 1922June 1923). He was released after formally recognizing the legitimacy of the Soviet regime in the hope of mitigating the persecution of his Church. After this he directed his efforts against the conformist "Living Church" rather than against the government, and sought to consolidate ecclesiastical administration amid internal conflicts and severe external oppression.

Bibliography: f. mccullagh, The Bolshevik Persecution of Christianity (London 1924). g. maceÓin, The Communist War on Religion (New York 1951). m. spinka, The Church in Soviet Russia (New York 1956).

[g. a. maloney]

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