He refused a Christianity of a particular place, people, or time for a Faith kept in safety for all time by the prayers of the Mother of God.
The man who became a saint, Patriarch Tikhon, was a professor in a seminary. This is a job that rarely produces saints, but Tikhon could not be bought by the state or bent by intellectual trendiness. He wanted the truth and vowed death to the world, the flesh, and the devils.
He became a monk and then was sent to the spiritual wilderness called North America. He traveled the continent ministering to a scattered flock of immigrants of many nationalities and First Peoples. If the United States forgot the education of the first residents of Alaska after we bought the huge territory, Orthodox Russia never did. The Aleut people kept a pride of place in the very title of his diocese. Bishop Tikhon served the many peoples of his continental parish without favor. He built churches like Saint Nicholas in New York and a monastery in Pennsylvania.
This saint, blessed by God, made saints, including an American priest who had come from Syria: Saint Raphael of Brooklyn. His was a global vision, rooted in deep time, and he brought that gift to America, a land that he loved and served.
Tikhon returned to Russia and helped restore, after hundreds of years, the Patriarchate to Moscow just in time for the rise of antichrist in the Bolshevik Revolution. Patriarch Tikhon did what he could to serve Russia, supported anything positive the tyrants did, appealed for aid to his famine stricken homeland. Bishop Tikhon was not selling a product or an ideology and so could not change his brand when things went badly. He had seen the True Light and wanted everyone to have that joyous experience:
“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.”
Tikhon, old and battered, was still a threat to the Marxists. They believed they were the future, but a holy man like Tikhon was a problem. He could not be bought. He was unmoved from ancient Truth, but was no reactionary. He was a servant of the people of God. The Marxists began to scheme, plot, plan. How could they kill the patriarch? Could they somehow end or at least capture the patriarchy?
They increased the pressure, told lies, narrowed his ministry. They had national public radio, the papers, and the intellectual class. Tikhon only had God. He grew ill and ended up going to the hospital, leaving to serve the people of God, and returning. Finally, the Marxists made sure his visits to the hospital ended. A million people risked coming to his funeral, because his last words summed up all our lives: “Glory to Thee O Lord, Glory to Thee.”
All God’s children stand before the Triune God equal: sinners and saints. We abandon lies for truth, brutality for beauty, and ideology for the Spirit. We are not afraid. Why? At the moment of his death: The good God was the friend of the Patriarch.
Pope or patriarch it is often fashionable to kill church leaders: