While gassing up his vehicle on Tuesday morning, Russian Orthodox priest Abbot Tryphon, who resides at the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery, was wantonly and brutally attacked by a stranger.
Speaking to local reporters, Tryphon stated, “I have never been hit as hard.” The priest still suffers ringing in his ear and hearing loss.
He explained the man “zeroed in on my cross, because when he started coming my direction, he had this look of anger.”
The leader of the Vashon monks said the man who struck him first asked, “How’s Trump?” When Abbot Tryphon answered, “I have no idea, that’s when he hit me.”
So, before delivering a blow that in some circumstances, could have killed the man, this evil and angry hater associated the priest with a presidential supporter?
Is the vicious attack being called a hate crime against Christians or Trump supporters?
Not according to any reports.
Local outlet KIRO7 reported:
On Wednesday afternoon, the King County Sheriff’s Office released surveillance video recorded at the gas station, hoping that someone will help identify the man.
In the video, it is difficult to see what happened on the other side of the priest’s van. However, multiple people witnessed the assault and called 911, according to Sgt. Ryan Abbott.
— AMY CLANCY (@ClancyKIRO7) April 17, 2019
“You can see him swing and the priest went down to the ground,” Abbott said. “He was wearing all of his priest gear, including a cross.”
One day later, Abbot Tryphon explained he believes that for some reason, the cross on his chest angered the man. “When the man saw the cross, he went insane.”
“He got this insane look and that’s when he punched me.” When asked by KIRO 7 whether religion might have been a motive, Abbot Tryphon said, “I think it was the whole attire.
I think he saw me as a conservative Christian, which I am, and I think he, for whatever reason, whether it’s political or psychological in nature, the man reacted.”
Abbot Tryphon added, “I’m not a political person. People don’t know my political persuasion or how I vote.”
If identified, the suspect could be charged with felony assault, but as it stands, not a hate crime.
The priest is still willing to offer forgiveness, fulfilling the instructions of Christ.
He wants to see the man arrested, because “I want to go to the jail and I want to sit in the cell with him, alone, and I want to tell him that I forgive him, that I love him and that God loves him. That’s what I want to do.”
Police are asking residents to help them hunt down the man, and have instructed others to contact the King County Sheriff’s Office with information.