Persecuted Ukrainian hierarch suffers a stroke

Tulchin, Vinnitsa Province, Ukraine, March 21, 2024

Photo: Photo: His Eminence Metropolitan Jonathan of Tulchin, one of several persecuted hierarchs of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, suffered a stroke this week.

The Tulchin Diocese reported on Tuesday, March 19, that he is undergoing treatment. “Vladyka hopes that he will see everyone soon in the strength of spirit and the power of God,” the diocese writes.

Of the hierarchs targeted by Ukrainian authorities, Met. Jonathan is thus far the only one to have been convicted, sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and confiscation of property in August after searches at his home and diocesan administration allegedly revealed evidence of justifying the war against Ukraine and inciting religious enmity—the same trumped-up charges brought against all UOC hierarchs and clerics who have come under suspicion.

His lawyers are appealing the conviction.

Met. Jonathan has generally been in poor health. A month after the searches, after having been officially notified of state suspicion against him, he had to undergo heart surgery.

Another UOC hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Longin of Bancheny, has also had a number of serious health scares under the pressure of state persecution. And His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod, the abbot of the Kiev Caves Lavra, who spent months under house arrest and detention, also had to have emergency heart surgery last summer.

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