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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(before taking monastic vows in 1891, Vasilii Ivanovich Belavin). Born Dec. 19 (31), 1865, in Toropets; died Apr. 7, 1925, in Moscow, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.

A graduate of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, Tikhon became a bishop in 1897. From 1898 to 1907 he served as an archbishop in North America. From 1907 to 1913 he was archbishop of Iaroslavl’ and Rostov and headed a local branch of the monarchist Black Hundreds organization League of the Russian People. In 1917 he became metropolitan of Moscow. On Nov. 5 (18), 1917, he was elected patriarch at the First All-Russian Local Council.

Tikhon condemned the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, and he attacked the Soviet decree on the separation of church and state. In his pronouncements he anathematized Soviet power and called on believers not to submit to it. He spoke out against the expropriation of church valuables to aid the starving.

Tikhon was prosecuted in May 1922 for counterrevolutionary activity and was placed under house arrest in the Don Monastery. The Second All-Russian Local Council, convoked amid church controversy by the renovationists in May 1923, divested him of the title of patriarch. With the backing of his sympathizers, however, he refused to recognize his removal as legitimate. Eventually, Tikhon was persuaded that an open struggle against the new social order, which enjoyed the support of the entire people, would destroy the influence of the church among the population. In a letter of June 16, 1923, to the Supreme Court of the RSFSR, he acknowledged his guilt, disassociated himself from counterrevolution, and requested a pardon. His case was dismissed by a decree of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR on Mar. 21, 1924.

In his will Tikhon urged believers to cooperate with Soviet power. Soon after Tikhon’s death, the metropolitan Sergius became locum tenens of the patriarchate.


Plaksin, R. Iu. Krakh tserkovnoi kontrrevoliutsii, 1917–1923 gg. Moscow, 1968.
Chertkov, A. B. Krakh. Moscow, 1968.
Shishkin, A. A. Sushchnost’ i kriticheskaia otsenka’obnovlencheskogo” raskola russkoi pravoslavnoi iserkvi. Kazan, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
During these days, we venerated the relics of the Patriarch Confessor St Tikhon of Moscow, and visited the graves of the martyred Metropolitan Benjamin of St Petersburg, and of other clergy, monastics and laity who were killed by the Bolsheviks early in this century.