June 16, 2018

Saint Tikhon of Lukh in Kostroma (+ 1503)

St. Tikhon of Lukh (Feast Day - June 16)

Saint Tikhon of Lukh in Kostroma was born in the middle of the fifteenth century in Lithuania and baptized with the name Timothy. His pious and wealthy parents gave him a good education and raised him to revere his Orthodox faith. When he came of age he served in the military in Vilnius.

Because of the increased persecution of Orthodox Christians by the Grand Duke of Lithuania Casimir IV, and not wanting to accept Uniatism, Timothy, along with the Orthodox Prince Theodore Belsky, the great-grandson of Prince Olgerd, left for Moscow in 1483. The Saint gave away everything that he had, accepted monastic tonsure in a monastery in Moscow with the name Tikhon, and settled in the Kostroma diocese in the Lukh region. The city of Lukh was at that time given to Prince Theodore Belsky, with whom Saint Tikhon had come from Lithuania. On the banks of the boundary of the Kopitovka, Saint Tikhon built his cell. When two monks, Photius and Gerasimus, came to him in the wilderness, Tikhon moved three versts from the Koptovka to a more satisfactory location.

The monks earned their living by the work of their hands. Saint Tikhon copied books with skill, and was a fine lathe turner. Out of humility he did not become a priest. "Poverty and work are the direct path to salvation" he would say. Saint Tikhon died on the feast of his patron saint on June 16, 1503 in such poverty that his disciples did not know how they would bury him. But to their comfort the Archbishop of Suzdal sent a monastic burial shroud, in which to bury him. Soon after his death, at the place of his labors, a monastery was built in honor of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker.

In 1569 there were healings of the sick at the grave of Saint Tikhon, and his relics were found to be incorrupt. But the abbot Constantine, who uncovered the relics, was struck blind. After repenting and then recovering his eyesight, he placed the relics of Saint Tikhon back into the ground. Saint Tikhov was canonized in 1570. His Life and an account of 70 posthumous miracles was compiled in the year 1649.