Hieromartyr Tikhon, Patriarch Of Moscow And All Russia 3 of 3

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The monastery was closed in 1927, and it was rumoured that the monks had hidden the relics to protect them from the communists. In May, 1991, after a fire that damaged the church, a search commenced for the relics of the Patriarch. Hearts sank when, after hours of digging beneath the marble slab bearing the Patriarch's name, they finally uncovered a burial vault only to find it contained nothing but cobwebs. Closer inspection, however, revealed that this chamber was but part of the underground heating system. They also noticed that the heating ducts directly beneath the assumed burial place were firmly secured with cement and not limestone as elsewhere in the system. More significantly, this part of the system lay not on the ground but on top of a massive cement slab. The care with which it was all arranged made it doubtful that this was the work of chekists. Two more days of intense digging - and the real sepulchre was uncovered. It may have been that this was the plan from the first, which would explain why only a few hierarchs were admitted into the church for the actual burial.

The relics, which were almost entirely incorrupt in spite of the extreme dampness of the vault, were discovered on February 19, 1992 (according to another source, February 22). On March 23 / April 5, 1992, 50 patriarchal bishops solemnly transferred the relics of Patriarch Tikhon to the monastery's main church. Witnesses, who included Catacomb Christians, reported that "it was even possible to recognize the face of the Patriarch from his incorrupt visage, and his mantia and mitre were also preserved in complete incorruption. Witnesses also speak about a beautiful fragrance and an unusual feeling of reverential peace at that moment. But then, as some patriarchal clerics confirm, on contact with the air the relics crumbled, or - as the Catacomb Christians remark - the relics were not given into the hands of the Moscow Patriarchate. Then they buried them in plaster - a blasphemous act from an Orthodox point of view..."

At the reliquary there is an icon in which the Saint is depicted holding a scroll with the words: "My children, stray not from the path of the Cross, which has been sent to us by God."

(Sources: M.E. Gubonin, Akty Svyateishago Patriarkha Tikhona, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1994; Metropolitan Manuel, Russkie Pravoslavnije Ierarkhi, Kuibyshev, 1966, reprinted Erlangen, 1989, vol. 6; Jane Swan, A Biography of Patriarch Tikhon, Jordanville, N.Y.: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1964; Protopresbyter Mikhail Polsky, The New Martyrs of Russia, Montreal: The Monastery Press, 1972; I.M. Andreyev, Russia's Catacomb Saints, Platina, Ca.: St. Herman of Alaska Press, 1982, pp. 56-57; Fr. Epiphanius Chernov, Tserkov' Katakombnaya na Zemlye Rossijskoj (MS); Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, Collins, 1974, vol. I; Fr. Demetrius Serfes, The Life and Works of St. Tikhon the Confessor, Patriarch of Moscow, vol. I, Old Forge, PA, pp. 37-38; Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky), Zhizneopisaniye Blazhenneishago Antoniya, Mitropolita Kievskago i Galistskago, Montreal, 1960, vol. VI, p. 114; "Vospominaniya Skhiepiskopa Pyotra [Ladygina]", Tserkovnaya Zhizn', NN 3-4, March-April, 1985, p. 78 and NN 5-6, May-June, 1985, p. 148; Moskovskij Paterik, Moscow: "Stolitsa", 1991; "Patriarch Tikhon's Relics Discovered", Orthodox America, March-April/May-June, 1992, p. 11; "Zhizneopisaniye Svyashchenomuchenika O. Sergiya Mechova, sostavlennoye ego dukhovnymi chadami", Nadezhda, 16, Basel-Moscow, 1993, p. 125; Eugene Polyakov, personal communication; Bishop Gregory (Grabbe), Zavet Svyatogo Patriarkha, Moscow, 1996; V. Petrenko, "Sv. Patriarkh Vserossijskij Tikhon", Vestnik I.P.Ts., N 1 (11), 1998, pp. 24-27; M.B. Danilushkin (ed.), Istoria Russkoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi, 1917-1970, St. Petersburg: Voskreseniye, 1997, p. 201)

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