Father Tikhon is considered in Russia to be President Vladimir Putin’s confessor. The trend of having spiritual guides caught on among the country’s nouveau riche last decade, but no one garners more attention than this one. priest who studied film but he ended up in a monastery because of a spiritualism session. He has known the president since 1999, when he was director del FSBthe successor intelligence service to the KGB.
Tikhon Shevkunov is back on paper these days. He will become metropolitan of Simferopol and Crimea. Until now he was in charge of the northern diocese of Pskov and before that he was abbot of the Sretensky monastery in Moscow. In recent years, several of the monk’s concerns have been reflected in laws, such as limits on the sale of alcohol in stores. Many call him the bishop of the FSB or even the president’s Rasputin.
Although Metropolitan Tikhon is often branded as Putin’s confessor, the priest has never wanted to confirm this honor, although he always avoids denying it. “Putin practices confession, communion and is aware of his enormous responsibility before God,” Tijon explained to a Greek newspaper a few years ago. A decade ago, his book profane saintsexceeded one million copies sold.
In that book he says that he embraced faith almost by accident. The young Georgy Shevkunov, as the famous Tikhon was then called, had a seance with friends in which they believed they were speaking with Napoleon and even with his own Stalin. But they ended up scared to death and seeking help from a priest when the supposed spirit of the writer Nikolai Gogol He urged them to commit suicide as a group. The religious recommended they get baptized and in 1982 Tijon made his debut as a Christian in an officially atheist country.
Since Putin’s return to the Kremlin in 2012, Russian political power has relied like never before on the country’s most enduring institution to reaffirm its leadership over society. Now Tijon travels to an increasingly disputed occupied territory. The large-scale invasion of Ukraine has broken the enchantment over that peninsula, annexed in 2014 by Russia but which had been left out of the fighting in the Donbas war until last year. During the last year he has suffered missile and drone attacks. His connection to mainland Russia is occasionally under fire, but Putin – who agreed to redeployments in the southern Ukrainian regions, Zaporizhia y Kherson– cannot give up an inch of Crimea, whose faith he now reinforces with the presence of his favorite priest.