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Tikhon of Zadonsk

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August 13

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Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk was born in 1724 into a very poor family of the Novgorod province, and was named Timothy in holy Baptism. In his youth he was sent to seminary in Novgorod where he received a good education and later taught Greek and other subjects. Having received the monastic tonsure with the name Tikhon, in the same year he was ordained deacon and priest, and appointed two years later as rector of the Seminary in Tver. In 1761 he was consecrated Bishop of Kexholm and Ladoga, and in 1763 nominated Bishop of Voronezh, a difficult diocese to administer because of its large size and transient population, which included many schismatics. Feeling the burden of the episcopacy to be beyond his strength, the Saint resigned in 1767, retiring first to the Monastery of Tolshevo, and later to the monastery at Zadonsk, where he remained until his blessed repose. In retirement, he devoted all his time to fervent prayer and the writing of books. His treasury of books earned him the title of "the Russian Chrysostom", whose writings he employed extensively; simple in style, replete with quotes from the Holy Scriptures, they treat mostly of the duties of Christians, with many parables taken from daily life. In them the Christian is taught how to oppose the passions and cultivate the virtues. A large collection of the Saint's letters are included in his works, and these give a wealth of spiritual guidance directed both to the laity and monastics. Saint Tikhon reposed in peace in 1783, at the age of fifty-nine. Over sixty years later, in 1845, when a new church was built in Zadonsk in place of the church where he was buried, it was necessary to remove his body. Although interred in a damp place, his relics were found to be whole and incorrupt; even his vestments were untouched by decay. Many miracles were worked by Saint Tikhon after his death, and some three hundred thousand pilgrims attended his glorification on August 13, 1863. He is one of the most beloved Russian Saints, and is invoked particularly for the protection and upbringing of children.