On St. Tikhon of Moscow

Chosen for His People published by Holy Trinity Seminary Press

St. Tikhon of Moscow 1865-1925

Beloved in Christ, fathers and brethren,

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 the mercy bestowed on me. Great also is my gratitude to the members of the Sacred All-Russian Council 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 as Patriarch is for me that scroll on which was written: ‘Tears, groans and mourning.’ Such was the scroll that the Prophet Ezekiel had to eat. How many tears I shall have to swallow and how many groans let out in the patriarchal service that is set before me, and especially at such a terrible time! Like the ancient leader of the Hebrew people, Moses, I shall have to say to the Lord:

‘Why dost Thou torment Thy servant? And why haveI not found mercy before Thine eyes, that Thou shouldest lay upon me the burden of the whole of this people? Did I bear this people in my womb and give birth to it, that Thou shouldest say to me: bear it in your hands as a nanny bears a child? I alone cannot bear all this people, for it is heavy for me’ (Numbers 11.11-14).

From now on the care of all the Russian churches is laid upon me, and I must care for them every day. And who could be happy with that, even if he were among those who are stronger than me? But may the will of God be done! I find strength in the fact that I did not seek this election, and it came in spite of me and in spite of men, in accordance with the lot of God. I trust that the Lord Who has called me will Himself help me through His Almighty Grace to bear the burden laid upon me and will make it light. A consolation and encouragement for me is the fact that my election has not taken place without the will of the All-Pure Mother of God. Twice she, through the presence of her honourable Vladimir icon has been present in the cathedral of the Saviour at my election. This time the lot was drawn from her wonderworking image. I have as it were come under her honourable omophorion. May she the all-powerful one stretch out to me, the weak one, the hand of her help, and may she deliver this city and all the Russian land from every need and sorrow. (Chosen for His People, A Biography of Patriarch Tikhon by Jane Swan, pp. 15-16)