By Metropolitan Nektarios (Antonopoulos) of Argos
In the early years of his ministry in Crimea, Archbishop Luke had as a precious friend, supporter and spiritual father Archimandrite Tikhon Bogoslavets, who was a man of great spirituality and discernment. He was one of the few starets left.
Archimandrite Tikhon was born in 1859 and was from a poor family. After an elementary education he studied in the technical schools. He served his term in the Navy as a seaman and travelled to several places both within and outside the country. From childhood he was distinguished for his kindness, temperance and purity.
He never ate meat. Among the sailors he was distinguished for his spiritual gifts. The officers loved him for his modesty, kindness, honesty and purity. Being a man of love and sacrifice, he was ready to minister to others and offer everything.
He had the special blessing from God to meet with the great Russian starets Ambrose of Optina, who became his spiritual father. Starets Ambrose was a decisive influence in his life and spiritual path.
When he completed his term in the Navy he settled in the Holy Inkerman Cave Monastery. There he was tonsured a monk and given the name Tikhon, and later he was elected to be the Abbot of the Monastery. After the Bolshevik Revolution the Monastery was forcibly closed and all the monks were expelled. Fr. Tikhon settled in Simferopol, but he always dreamed of returning to his Monastery. He was deeply honored throughout Crimea and Ukraine and many came to confess to him and receive his counsel from far away.
|Inkerman Cave Monastery|
At one point he became associated with Archbishop Luke, and Fr. Tikhon became his spiritual father. The Archbishop would not only go to him for confession, but he kept him near, to discuss matters with him and receive his advice to the problems he faced. They often celebrated the Divine Liturgy together, also with Fr. Hilarion Golopernikov who was with him in exile. They had so much devotion that every time they served the Divine Liturgy they had tears in their eyes. The old priest Fr. Leonid told us:
"I was close to Archbishop Luke and helped him during the liturgies, especially in his final years when he became blind. I would read the passage from the Gospel and the Archbishop preached the sermon. I will never forget how he liturgized. Every movement, every word, every pronunciation testified to his humility, reverence, faith and devotion. Tears would stream from his eyes. Indeed, when Fr. Tikhon and Fr. Hilarion were alive, the Divine Liturgy was a true mystagogy. They liturgized with tears. When the Creed was recited, the antimension was soaked from their tears!"
Archimandrite Tikhon reposed on 30 January 1950. When Archbishop Luke was informed, he ran to the church with tears in his eyes. He approached the coffin and with pain in his soul he said: "Elder, why have you left me alone? Indeed, I now lack an important co-worker and spiritual brother." On the first year anniversary of his repose, Archbishop Luke said among other things:
"I had the pleasure to have him as my friend and most precious and close counselor in the early years of my ministry as archbishop in Crimea. All his advice regarding the affairs and problems of the Church, which I needed, were not only always wise, but they were drenched with the spirit of Christ. He gave me advice that a true disciple of Jesus Christ would give."
The memory of Fr. Tikhon is kept in Crimea until today. The faithful have preserved many facts from his life and his prophecies.
Source: From Αρχιεπίσκοπος Λουκάς – Αρχιεπ. Λουκάς Βόινο-Γιασενέτσκι ένας άγιος ποιμένας και γιατρός χειρουργός (1877 – 1961), Εκδόσεις Ακρίτας, ‘Έκδοση Πρώτη, Ιανουάριος 1999. Translation by John Sanidopoulos.