Petar (Zimonjić) of Dabar-Bosna

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Saint Hieromartyr Metropolitan Petar of Dabar-Bosna (Свети Свештеномученик Петар Дабробосански) was the son of a nobleman ("vojvoda") and priest Bogdan Zimonjić (Богдан Зимоњић). He was born in Grahovo, on June 24, 1866. He completed the Seminary in Reljevo (1883-1887), and graduated from the Theological Faculty in Cernovice (1887-1893). Petar took monastic vows on September 6, 1895. He was ordained deacon on September 7 and presbyter on September 8, 1895. In October 1893, Petar was appointed assistant professor in the Reljevo Seminary, and a year later he was appointed professor. He became a consistorial advisor in Sarajevo in 1901. In that period he was elected the Bishop of Zahumlje and Herzegovina. On June 9, 1903, Petar was ordained and enthroned in Mostar. After the death of the Metropolitan of Dabro-Bosnia, Evgenije (Letica), Bishop Petar was appointed the Metropolitan of this Diocese by a royal chart dated November 7, 1920.

Martyrdom

After World War II had broken out, Metropolitan Petar was advised to move to Serbia or Montenegro. He replied saying: "I am people's shepherd, which means that I am bound to stay here and share evil with these people, as I used to share good with them; thus I have to share the destiny of my people and stay where I am supposed to be". He defended consistently the Orthodox faith in front of German Gestapo, by insisting on the using of the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet. Roman Catholic priest Bozidar Bral, an adherent of the Ustase in charge of Bosnia and Herzegovina, had a decisive role in this severe attack, namely forbiddance of the usage of the Cyrillic alphabet. Metropolitan Petar was arrested on May 12, 1941. He was first imprisoned in the "Beledija" prison, and on May 15 of the same year he was transported to the "Kerestinac" prison where he got the number 29781. He was shaved there and all the bishop's insignia were taken away from him. After awful torturing he was taken to Koprivnica and then to Jasenovac (or Gospic). According to the testimonies of Jovo Furtula and Jovo Lubura from the Sarajevo District, Metropolitan was killed in Jasenovac and his corpse was cast in the fiery furnace for brick making. However, there is another version stating that Metropolitan Petar was taken to Gospic, namely Jadovno, where he was killed in a monstrous manner.

At the regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1998, Dabro-Bosnian Metropolitan Petar was canonized and his name was added to the list of other saints of the Serbian people and of Christian-Orthodox faith.

The Serbian Church marks the memory of him in the third week of September.

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