"If only I could depict a positive holy figure ... Tikhon, whom long ago I received with great delight into my heart." Thus wrote Dostoevsky to his friend the poet Maikov. Like so many others, Dostoevsky felt the power of Tikhon's sanctity. Yet it is difficult to analyze and to categorize this sanctity, so elusive remains the personality of that eighteenth-century bishop and ascetic. Again in the words of Dostoevsky, "The most important thing about Tikhon is Tikhon." This definitive biography explores St. Tikhon's life and writings to reveal the man himself: sensitive, retiring, fond of children, familiar with the writings of the Western pietists, but above all rooted in the Bible, the Fathers and the Church's sacramental life. At the same time St. Tikhon's uniquely positive love for God and his fellow man shines through. In the midst of a spiritual desert Tikhon was a reformer, but not in the usual sense of that word. He was not content simply to criticize, nor did he elaborate one-sided panaceas for society. Rather, he was the embodiment of the ideal Christian pastor, a source of wholeness and healing for others. In the words of the author, he was "a living reply to the anti-religious ideas generated in eighteenth-century Russia." Book jacket.