St Tikhon the Patriarch of Moscow, and Enlightener of North America
The American Orthodox Church was blessed to have as its bishop for 9 years, the recently glorified ST. TIKHON, PATRIARCH
OF MOSCOW (1865-1925). Throughout his life he was known for his simplicity, humility, kindness, uncompromising devotion to
Truth, and a boundless love for the Church and Her people. In 1898 the young Bishop Tikhon, named for St. Tikhon of Zadonsk,
arrived in America as the bishop of the one, united Orthodox Diocese. He did much for the Church in America. He established
a seminary in Minneapolis, a monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, dedicated to St. Tikhon, and the St. Nicholas Cathedral
in New York City. He consecrated 2 auxiliary bishops to serve Alaska and non-Slavic immigrants. With true spiritual vision,
he stressed the unique missionary nature of the American diocese, its need for multi-ethnic unity and its destiny to be self-governing.
After being recalled to Russia, he was elected Metropolitan of Moscow in 1917, and, in the middle of the Communist Revolution,
presided at the 1917-18 Council that re-established the Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was chosen by lot
to become the first Patriarch in 200 years. Under the Soviet regime, he defended the Church and its people and refused to
compromise the Faith, for which he was tortured and imprisoned. Even while in prison, his peacefulness, patience, humility,
compassion, strength and faith during great suffering were an example and inspiration to his people, then and now. He was
buried at the Donskoi Men's Monastery, and now his relics have been placed in a beautiful reliquary and transferred to the
main Cathedral of the monastery, up front, on the left, by the solea.
St. Ignatius Brianchaninov
St. Ignatius Brianchaninov was born Dimitri Alexandrovich Brianchaninov, on the February 15, 1807, in the province of Vologda,
the son of an aristocratic landowner. Intellectually gifted, peaceful and reflective by character, from early childhood he
was drawn to a life of prayer and stillness. However, his father planned a military career for Dimitri, and so, when Dimitri
was 15 years of age, his father enrolled him in the Imperial School of Military Engineers in St. Petersburg. There Dimitri
excelled, even attracting the attention of Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich, the future Tsar Nicholas I. Nonetheless, Dimtri
felt called to the monastic life (uncommon for a Russian aristocrat at that time), and he became deeply depressed at the seemingly
inevitable prospect of a career as a military officer.
In 1826, Dimitri fell gravely ill, but nonetheless graduated first among all candidates at the School of Engineers and
received his commission. Immediately, Dimitri attempted to resign this commission, but his resignation was refused on orders
of Tsar Nicholas. However, in 1827, Dimtri became critically ill once more, and this time his resignation was accepted by
the imperial authorities.
During the next four years, Dimitri lived as a novice in various monasteries, without settling permanently in any of them,
partly because of ill health, and partly because he failed to find a spiritual father in whom he could place unreserved trust.
For the remainder of his life, St. Ignatius would lament the scarcity of true spirit-bearing elders in his day. Finally, in
1831, Dimitri was professed monk by the ruling hierarch of his home province, Bishop Stephen of Vologda, and he received the
monastic name of "Ignatius." Shortly after that Monk Ignatius was ordained deacon, then priest. All this took place without
the approval of his parents. In 1832, Hieromonk Ignatius was appointed superior of a small monastery in the Vologda diocese.
However, the damp climate brought about ill-health which quickly forced his resignation.
Then, in autumn of 1833, the most unexpected thing happened. Tsar Nicholas, during a trip to the School of Military Engineers
in St. Petersburg, enquired into what had become of the promising student Dimitri Alexandrovich. Upon learning of his monastic
profession and hieratic ordination, the tsar ordered Hieromonk Ignatius to return to the imperial capital, where, aged 26,
he was raised to the rank of Archimandrite and made igumen of the St. Sergius Monastery, one of the most important in St.
Petersburg, and one which enjoyed great imperial patronage. Tsar Nicholas entrusted Archimandrite Ignatius with the task of
transforming this monastery into a model community, where visitors to the Imperial Court could see monasticism as it should
Over the next 24 years, and amid what was often taxing circumstances, Archimandrite Ignatius fulfilled his duties as igumen
of the St. Sergius Monastery, giving particular attention to the beauty of the Liturgy. During this time he was a prolific
author, writing much of the material in the five volumes of his collected works.
Finally, however, in 1857, and exhausted by his responsibilities as igumen, Archimandrite Ignatius was elevated to the
episcopacy, to serve as Bishop of the Caucasus and Black Sea—a vast, unorganized diocese, whose administrative burdens
were particularly difficult for someone afflicted with Bp. Ignatius' ill-health.
Thus, it was no surprise when, after four years of episcopal service, Bp. Ignatius submitted his resignation in 1861. The
resignation was accepted, and Bp. Ignatius was allowed to retire to spend the remaining six years of his life in seclusion
at the Nicolo-Babaevsky Monastery of the Kostroma diocese, where he devoted his time to writing and a wide correspondence
with spiritual children. He reposed in the Lord on April 30, 1867.
Bp. Ignatius was glorified as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1988, and is commemorated on April 30.