Spiritual children.

815_85The other week I heard a wonderful story about St. Tikhon.

As many of you know, St. Tikhon was the ruling bishop of the North American mission diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church in the early part of the last century, and much of what we have today is directly related to his tireless work across Canada. Ordaining clergy, consecrating Churches, and ministering to vast number of new Canadians from Ukraine, Russia, Romania, and the middle east.

His time here bore witness of his willingness to serve and not be served (Mk 10:43), ultimately bringing him to the leadership of the Church in Russia during the upheaval of the Bolshevik revolution and its persecutions, until to his death on this day (Mar. 25th OS April 7th NS) in 1921.

Father Orest Olekshy (former rector of Holy Resurrection in Saskatoon) related this story to me, that during one of his visits to Alberta, St. Tikhon was staying at his grandparents (Theodore and Anna Fuhr) during harvest time. As this work involved the whole family, Anna Fuhr was needed in the fields. St. Tikhon offered to baby sit their children (including Fr. Orest’s mother) as the family was out in the fields.

Not that this is remarkable, but when one thinks of saints, those glorified by the Lord for their lives of faith and work, one thinks of bedazzled bishops priests and monastics, arrayed in fine vestments and  clothing, building churches, preaching the Gospel, defending the faith, and working miracles. Not necessary baby sitting.

Yet here was this saint who indeed built churches, preached the Gospel, and defended the faith (with his life!), playing with children, feeding them, singing, and talking with them.  What better icon of a saint could one have (Lk 18:15-17).

Our Church today might not have the issues today as existed a hundred years ago for St. Tikhon, (we have our own), but in the same way that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8) so is the love and mercy of His saints.

That as St. Tikhon cared for those children, so he cares for us, his spiritual children. Encouraging us as a loving father, to be heirs in Christ Jesus, of his labours in this country.

Holy Saint Tikhon pray to God for us!