After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY


St. Tikhon's Election to Patriarch

from his original 1st edition biography (J. Swan, 1964) which is serialized in Orthodox Life magazine 1964–1965:

...On October 31st, nominations of candidates took place after the decision had been made that the election of the Patriarch was to follow the historical pattern used in the 17th century.  On the first ballot, Archbishop Anthony of Kharkov received 101 votes.  Archbishop Arseny of Novgorod was second with 27 votes and Metropolitan Tikhon was third with 23 votes.  On the second ballot only the top three contenders were considered.  Archbishop Antony got 159 votes four more than needed for nomination, while Archbishop Arseny got 148 votes and Metropolitan Tikhon received 125 votes.  On the third ballot Arseny received enough votes for nomination and it was not till the fourth ballot that Tikhon got the necessary number to be one of the nominees.

The names of the three officially nominated candidates were placed on separate slips of paper, set in a blessed urn, and put before the most famous of all Russian icons, the St Vladimir Virgin.  The icon had been especially moved from its usual spot in the Cathedral of the Assumption to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior for this ceremony.  All night the urn remained before the icon dimly lit by flickering candles.  The following morning a long and solemn liturgy was celebrated by Metropolitan Vladimir before the icon; and then by a prearranged choice a saintly starez, Alexis of Zossimov monastery, drew out one of the names.  Turning to Metropolitan Vladimir, he handed him the slip and the Metropolitan crossing himself rad aloud, "Tikhon, Metropolitan of Moscow, Axios!"  Like a spark igniting dry wood, the entire church was filled with shouts of "Axios, Axios!"  Above it all the choir intoned, "We praise Thee, O Lord."

At the end of the service, amid pandemonium, the bishops filed out of the church.  Suddenly from among the milling crowds part of which were obviously hostile to the event, which had just taken place, a half insane woman with long flowing hair rushed up to Bishop Eulogius and shouted:

"Not long, not long will you celebrate!  Soon your bishop will be murdered."  

(This was related by Bishop Eulogius who also spoke of the extreme difficulty the churchmen had moving the icon from the Uspensky Cathedral to Christ the Savior Cathedral, путь моей жизни Paris, 1947.)

During the actual drawing of the name, Tikhon had remained at the Holy Trinity Monastery hostel in Moscow and a delegation headed by Metropolitan Vladimir was sent to inform him that he had been chosen Patriarch of all Russia.  On hearing the news, Tikhon at once took a binding vow to defend the Holy Orthodox  Russian Church until his death.  there is a very clear picture of Tikhon, the man, in his informal acceptance speech to the delegation, and fortunately a copy of this still exists.  It is one of Tikhon's very few recorded talks, for he seldom wrote out his speeches, preferring to speak extemporaneously, and left no dogmatic writings or papers other than a few official documents.  Here it is;–

Beloved in Christ,
I have just uttered the prescribed words: "I thank and accept and say nothing against".  Of course, enormous is my gratitude to the Lord for he mercy bestowed on me.  Great also is my gratitude to the members of the Holy all-Russian Sobor for the high honor of my election into the members of candidates for the Patriarchate.  But arguing, as a man, I could say a lot against my present election.  Your news about my election for the Patriarchate is to me that scroll on which was written, "Weeping, sighing, and sorrow", which scroll had to be eaten by the prophet Ezekiel (2:10, 3:1):

     "And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without; and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe."
     Moreover he said unto me, son of Man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel."

How many tears will I have to swallow or how many sighs emit in my forthcoming Patriarchal office and especially in the present woeful year.  Like the ancient leader of the Jews, Moses, I shall have to say to the Lord:

     "And Moses said unto the Lord, wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not count favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?
     Have I conceived all this people?  Have I begotten them, that Thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?
     Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat.
     I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me" (Numbers 11:11-14).

From now on I am entrusted with the care for all the Russian churches, and what awaits me is the gradual dying for them all my days.  Who is content with this even amongst those who are firmer than I?  But let the will of the Lord be done, I am strengthened by the fact that I have not sought this election.  It came to me without my wish, even without the wish of men, according to the lot of God.  I trust that the Lord who had called me will make it a light burden.  Let it be a comfort and encouragement for me that my election occurs not without the wish of the blessed Virgin.  Twice she, by the coming of her holy icon of Vladimir in the church of Christ the Savior, is present at my election. This time the lot itself has been taken from her miracle-working icon.  It is as if I were placing myself under her high protection.  May she, the all powerful, stretch out to me, who is so weak, the hand of her support and may she deliver this town and the whole Russian land from all need and sorrow.

Throughout his whole life, Tikhon, Tikhon made frequent references to his veneration for the Virgin Mary and felt that he had placed himself in her keeping.  In this acceptance speech based on quotations from Ezekiel and Numbers, he very sincerely mourned that he had been elected, feeling that he had not the strength to bear such a cross, but then, with a "God's will be done", he referred to the twofold intervention of the Virgin Mary in his life through the miraculous icon of St. Vladimir.  The original elevation of Tikhon to Metropolitan of Moscow, done by the revolutionary method of election rather than by the synod appointment, had been done before the Vladimir icon in the Cathedral of the Assumption.  Now again, when the actual patriarchal lot had been drawn as it were from the icon itself, he was again chosen by his own personal will, so he viewed it as divine intervention and humbly bowed to the will of God.

The author, Jane Swan adds this:

That Tikhon should take such a view of the situation is not surprising, for certainly the original voting would seem to indicate that the Sobor had desired the strength and fighting qualities of a man like Archbishop Antony or even Arseny, while Tikhon was quite obviously viewed as too mild and retiring for such a controversial position.  Nevertheless, the election of Tikhon was accepted by all.*  (After the installation ceremony, telegrams poured in from all over Russia, congratulating both the new Patriarch and the Sobor.  Curtis, The Russian Church and The Soviet State, p. 39.)

1 comment:

Joanna said...

Original book

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