What Can the Saints Teach Us?

Tikhon of Moscow
Yesterday on the Church calendar was the remembrance of the Glorification of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Enlightener of North America. Now that is a cool title!
St. Tikhon came to America in 1898 as the Bishop of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska. He encouraged the use of English as the language of the Divine Liturgy and was one of the people who encouraged Isabel Hapgood in her translation of the Divine Liturgy into English. This translation is still in use by many today.
But what can his life teach us?
By all accounts Tikhon was a steadfast pastor visiting parishes located in far flung locations. Traveling under some harsh conditions he made it his goal to find Orthodox Communities in North America and bring them together. There is one story of him sleeping on the tundra in a tent on his journey around Alaska.
The real mettle of St. Tikhon would be tested upon his return to Russia on 1907. The aftermath of WWI was clearly being felt and he ministered too many who had been displaced by this war. Also, war fever was on the rise in Russia. He was elected Patriarch November 5, 1917 at a time of political disunity in Russia and disunity in the Church.
Church property has started to be confiscated by the new Bolshevik government and Tikhon was very outspoken on the confiscation as well as the murder of the Czar’s family in 1918. In 1922 Tikhon was imprisoned for his opposition to government programs. He entered into an agreement with the government to cease the violence if he would stop his opposition. Some have faulted him for this.
On April 5, 1925 Tikhon celebrated his final Divine Liturgy. Worn out by years of protest it is said he gave his life for the Church and was hailed as a martyr. He was glorified by the Church of Russia in 1989.

Tikhon stood up when he was needed.  He spoke what needed to be said, and he protected his flock when it needed protection!  He was not a perfect man, but when his flock needed him God gave him the strength for the journey.  That is what we can learn.  Although we are not perfect we can be used by God if we are willing to follow him.

Looking back at what was happening in Russia at the time, and looking at events of today and how Christians are being persecuted in places like Egypt and other Middle Eastern Countries as well as what seems to be a move towards Atheism in our own country, we can find many things is common.
St. Tikhon had this to say about the times and about the struggle: “Devote all your energy to preaching the word of God and the truth of Christ, especially today, when unbelief and atheism are audaciously attacking the Church of Christ.”
At a time when the fastest growing religion in America is “None of the Above” we who preach the gospel need to pay special attention to the words of St. Tikhon. We need to preach the truth and love of Christ and we need to do it without wavering or backing down or becoming politically correct!
May St. Tikhon guide us and may his example shine like a bright light that we can all follow.
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