vasili belavin) (1866-1925. Patriarch of Moscow. Born near Pskov, he trained for the priesthood in St. Petersburg and subsequently became bishop of Lublin before going to North America, where he held various posts (1899-1907) and was finally archbishop. He returned to Russia,* and after holding two more posts became in 1917 metropolitan of Moscow, then patriarch (the first holder of that post since 1700). When the Bolsheviks commandeered church land, withdrew church subsidies, decreed civil marriage only, and took over schools, Tikhon pronounced the anathema on the country's new rulers and their supporters. Four days later, church and state were officially separated, giving the signal for priests and congregations to be attacked.
During the famine in 1922 the government declared confiscation of all church treasures to relieve the hungry, though Tikhon had already called for all unconsecrated objects of value to be disposed of for this purpose. Priests who resisted the plundering were murdered or jailed. Tikhon himself was taken into custody, and released only because of the pressure of international opinion in 1923. During his imprisonment he concluded from Romans 13 that since the Soviet government was now the divinely sanctioned government, the church owed it secular obedience-an exegesis approved even by the Communists. His viewpoint was not shared by a section of his clergy, and his last years saw a division and the increased difficulty of a so-called Living Church Movement with more than a dash of socialism about it which the conservative Tikhon resisted.