Tikhon, Archbishop And Hieromartyr Of Voronezh And Those With Him

Archbishop Tikhon, in the world Basil Varsonufyevich Nikanorov, was born on January 30, 1855 in the family of a reader of the Novgorod diocese. In 1877 he graduated from Novgorod theological seminary, and in 1881 - from the St. Petersburg theological academy. On August 1, 1881, he became assistant supervisor of the Beloozersk school, and on April 25, 1884 - the inspector of the Novgorod theological seminary. On July 15, 1884, he was tonsured into monasticism, on July 8 was ordained a deacon, and on July 10 - a priest. On December 6, 1888 he was raised to the rank of igumen, and on December 25, 1890 - to the rank of archimandrite and rector of the Novgorod theological seminary. On January 21, 1891, he became rector of the Novgorod Antoniev monastery. On February 2, 1892, he was consecrated Bishop of Mozhaisk, a vicariate of the Moscow diocese, by Metropolitan Leontius of Moscow, Bishop Nestor, Bishop Alexander of Dmitrov and Bishop Christopher, the rector of the monastery of New Jerusalem. On August 20, 1899 he was made bishop of Polotsk and Vitebsk, and on June 4, 1902 - bishop of Penza and Saransk. From July 25, 1907, he lived in retirement in the monastery of New Jerusalem as its rector. On June 25, 1912, he became bishop of Kaluga and Borovsk. On May 13/26, 1913, he became archbishop of Voronezh and Zadonsk. He took part in the All-Russian Local Church Council in 1917-18.

Archbishop Tikhon was a very kind man who gave simple and easily understandable sermons. He was killed in Voronezh on December 27, 1918 / January 9, 1919, together with 160 of his priests. After the retreat of the White Army from the city, they, following the example of their archpastor, did not want to leave their flocks and were all vouchsafed the martyr's crown. Some of the clergy who fled with the White Army later returned to take up their posts, and were shot. One of them, Fr. Metrophanes Devitsky, was seized before he reached his home and shot in the sight of his parents, wife and children. The old bishop himself was hung by the Bolsheviks on the royal gates in the church of the monastery of St. Metrophanes. Along with him in that very monastery seven nuns were killed; they were thrown by the murderers into a vat of boiling tar.

Archimandrite Demetrius was killed in 1918 after he had been scalped.

Hieromonk Nectarius (Ivanov) was a graduate of the Moscow Theological Academy. He became a teacher in the Voronezh theological seminary. In 1918 he was killed after all manner of the cruellest tortures: he was dragged by his feet, his arms and legs were broken, wooden nails were driven into him, and he was given "communion" with molten pewter. The martyr prayed:

"Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace."

Fr. George Snesarev was the priest of the hospital church of the Sign of the Mother of God in Voronezh. He was scalped, and received 63 wounds on his body. Nails and pins were thrust under his nails. He was so mutilated as to be almost unrecognizable. His relatives recognized him only by his hands.

This took place in 1919.

In 1919, as the White retreated and the Reds entered the city of Voronezh, seven nuns of the St. Metrophanes monastery were arrested for having taken part in a moleben for the Whites and were burned alive in a cauldron full of tar.

(Sources: M.E. Gubonin, Akty Svyatejshego Tikhona, Patriarkha Moskovskogo i Vseya Rossii, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1994, pp. 898-99, 919; Metropolitan Manuil, Die Russischen Orthodoxen Bischofe von 1893-1965, vol. VI, Erlangen, 1989, pp. 302-303; Russkiye Pravoslavnye Ierarkhi, Paris: YMCA Press, 1986; Orthodox Life, N 1, 1987, p. 26; Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, The New Martyrs of Russia, Montreal: Monastery Press, 1972, pp. 102-103; Noviye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1957, part 2, p. 186)

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