Bishop of Jerusalem Patriarchate expresses support for Metropolitan Jonathan
The Exarch of the Holy Sepulcher noted that he “watches with sorrow the insults, abuse and persecution” which the hierarchs, clergy and flock of the UOC are subjected to.
The hierarch of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, Exarch of the Holy Sepulcher in Cyprus, Metropolitan Timotheos of Vostra expressed support for Metropolitan Jonathan of Tulchyn and Bratslav, who was sentenced to prison, and the entire persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The letter of Metropolitan Timotheos addressed to the UOC bishop was published on the website of the Tulchyn Eparchy.
“With deep sorrow, I have been watching all this time the insults, abuse and persecution that the hierarchs, clergy and people of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are subjected to by the state and those church and other representatives who support its decisions and actions,” writes Metropolitan Timotheos.
He notes that "persecution is nothing new in the life of the Church."
"We have known about this for two thousand years and more, and Your Eminence, you have personally experienced it during the atheist regime. This is a situation about which the Divine Founder warned us, saying: 'If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you' (John 15:20) – and, joining the ranks of the clergy, we have accepted this. Going through this difficult trial, do not forget the words of the Lord who said, ‘Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me' (Luke 21:8-13). With their false accusations, inevitable confiscation of property, and your personal imprisonment for five years, as reported by the media, they are bringing you closer to Christ," the letter states.
According to Metropolitan Timotheos, he remembers his time studying together with Bishop Jonathan at the Theological Academy and his "dedication to the Church when it was condemned by the godless Soviet state."
"Your courage in taking monastic vows and ordination, your zeal in ministry, your remarkable achievements in church music and composition, and your sufferings are signs of Christ's love. I am convinced that you personally, like many other brethren in Ukraine undergoing relentless persecution, possess deep faith, patience, courage, and valor and will follow the example of many holy confessors and hierarchs-new martyrs whom our Holy Church rightfully commemorates. Moreover, we know that 'we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come' (Hebrews 13:14), where the Lord will reward every struggler of faith with the 'crown of life' and grant them the opportunity to taste His Divine glory," the Jerusalem hierarch emphasizes.
He assures Metropolitan Jonathan of his prayerful support.
"I assure you that in the days when I will be in the Holy City of Jerusalem, I will pray that the Most Holy Theotokos, whose Dormition we celebrate, may comfort you in your sorrows and trials, strengthen you spiritually and physically, so that you may joyfully endure injustice, mockery, and humiliations, and transition from difficulties to spiritual renewal and ascension, just as the Lord granted us Resurrection through His Cross and the Lord's Sepulcher," Metropolitan Timotheos wrote.
Earlier, the UOJ reported that the Primate of the Albanian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios, expressed his support for Metropolitan Jonathan.