Wednesday, March 23, 2011
March 24 -- Feast of Saint Tikhon of Moscow
I should probably look east more often. Vasily Ivanovich Bellavin had the (mis)fortune of having risen from being Bishop of Alaska to being the Patriarch of Moscow. It was the biggest gig of the Russian Orthodox Church, and one of the biggest in the whole Orthodox world. The misfortune about it was that he got the top job in 1917, the same year that the Bolsheviks took over Russia. As you know, the Reds subscribed to the error that religion is the opiate of the masses. I subscribe to the truth that Bolshevism is the opiate of the asses.
For protesting the execution of the Tsar and his family, as well as protesting the seizure of Church property, he was jailed as an enemy of the state. I'm a big fan of Calvin Coolidge, but since Tikhon had become an American citizen while serving as the Bishop of Alaska and North America, I would have expected our State Department to do more to free him. He was eventually freed, but only after writing a letter to the Orthodox congregation declaring that he was "no longer an enemy to the Soviet power." I think he confirmed that he had stopped beating his wife, children, and dog in the same letter.
He had already been deposed by Soviet authorities, who had a puppet patriarch as head of something they called the "Living Church." It can boil the blood to think about all the bullshit folks have forgotten about now that the Cold War's been over for a generation. But that's not what I'm writing about. The point is, the Orthodox faithful knew who the Patriarch was no matter what the Reds said.
Tikhon had one famous shot at the Bolshis before he joined the Church Triumphant in 1925. Lenin's Mausoleum was hastily built, and the sewer underneath it broke open. Quipped the True Patriarch: "The balm accords with the relics."
Posted by Tom Major at 8:24 PM