Ninety eight years ago, on April 7, 1925, passed away Patriarch St. Tychon, the first Patriarch of Moscow after a two hundred years hiatus when the Church without a Patriarch was under control of the secular government. Patriarch Tychon was elevated to his See in November of 1917, with the cannon roar at the background, as the Bolsheviks were storming the Moscow Kremlin, setting seventy more years of the godless rule over the nation.
On that day, Patriarch Kirill held a prayer service in the Donskoy monastery in Moscow over the sepulcher of Patriarch St. Tychon and delivered a heartfelt sermon, relating his personal experience, that of a schoolboy back in the 1950es and of the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church at the present time:
I was a good student, and then the time came when I had to take one of the two roads… I was told: “You have to join the Young Communist League”. “I am ready to join, – said I, – any time, even now, but under one little condition: every Sunday I will come to church with a red tie and take Holy Communion. Do you agree to my condition?” – And they left me alone.
…At that time one had to give up God for a successful career.
His Holiness went on to recall St. Tychon stance in his resistance to the godless power which implemented the Church schism, just like today in the long-suffering Ukrainian land:
His Holiness Tychon, whom we commemorate this day, accepted his duty of Patriarchal ministry at the most difficult time in our national history… Those who seized power a century ago aimed at reformatting the consciousness and soul of the Russian Christian nation. With all his humility and modesty, Patriarch Tychon did not break down, nor did he go along with those who offered him an easy life under the godless government. Patriarch Tychon refused communion to the “Renovation” schismatics, remaining on the side of God's truth, which meant martyrdom.
These times are gone for our nation, – said Patriarch Kirill, – and God grant that they never return, but His Holiness Tychon is an example for all faithful Christians who live in our relatively prosperous times. In him we saw the power of faith, the power of trust in the Lord, the power of true piety and resistance to evil.
Please watch this video with the full sermon of Patriarch Kirill; make sure to turn on the subtitles with the translation into a language of your choice.