POSTAGE STAMP DEDICATED TO PATRIARCH TIKHON ISSUED IN UNITED STATES

The envelope is stamped with the date and the words

Royal Russia – Paul Gilbert – 27/2/16

A postage stamp depicting Patriarch Tikhon (1865-1925) has been issued in the United States. It honours the memory of Patriarch Tikhon who in 1898 was appointed Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska. During his ten years in the United States he helped translate many Orthodox Christian books into English. On 22 May 1901, he blessed the cornerstone for St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York (fundraising for which had begun in 1894 and to which Emperor Nicholas II contributed 7,500 Rubles in 1900) in a great ceremony, and later opened the first Orthodox seminary in Minneapolis in 1905.

The presentation and cancellation of the stamp took place on 25th February at the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in New York City. 5,000 copies of the stamp were issued. The event was attended by diplomats, journalists and Bishop John, head of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchal Parishes in the US.

The stamp was originally issued in Russia on 5th November 2015, marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Patriarch Tikhon. The stamp depicts a portrait of Patriarch Tikhon with silhouettes of churches in the background.

Tikhon (born Vasily Ivanovich Bellavin) was the first Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia after the Russian Patriarchate was reinstated (1917-1925) in the Soviet Union.

Patriarch Tikhon managed to preserve Orthodoxy amid revolution, civil war and the turmoil that overwhelmed Russia. He made important steps to normalize relations between the Church and the state, called for an end to bloodshed, opposed decrees on separation of Church and state and on the nationalization of Church property. He openly condemned the killing of Emperor Nicholas II and his family in 1918, and protested against the violent attacks by the Bolsheviks on the Church.

In 1923 Patriarch Tikhon was “deposed” by a Soviet-sponsored council of the so-called Living Church, which decreed that he was “henceforth a simple citizen—Vasily Bellavin.” This deposition has never been recognized as an act of the Russian Orthodox Church, and is therefore considered invalid by both the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Russian Federation.

In 1924 the Patriarch fell ill and was hospitalized. On 5 April 1925, he served his last Divine Liturgy, and died two days later, 7 April (O.S. 25 March), the Feast of the Annunciation. He was buried on 12 April in the winter church of Donskoy Monastery in Moscow.

Patriarch Tikhon was canonized a saint by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) on 1 November (O.S. 19 October) 1981. He was later glorified by the Moscow Patriarchate during the Bishop’s Council of 9-11 October 1989. The day of glorification of Saint Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, is celebrated on 9 October. The relics of the prelate are kept in the great cathedral of Donskoy Monastery.

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