BOSTON – Abbot Tryphon of the All-Merciful Saviour Orthodox Monastery on Vashon Island in Washington State was assaulted at a Mobil Gas station in Burien, WA by an unknown man who in all probability is not Christian, as is suspected in all accounts released at the writing of this article.
Abbot Tryphon and his monastery belong to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia which is known as ROCOR and today is an Independent Entity of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow.
In a telephone interview with The National Herald Abbot Tryphon said, “I was gassing up at a gas station in Burien in Washington which is a little South of Seattle, and Fr. Mark, a monk who was with me, saw a man crossing from the parking lot area towards the convenience store at the gas station. And he said that as the man was walking he looked toward me and that he had an angry look on his face. When the man came up to me he said ‘how is Trump?’ And I said ‘I have no idea’ and I thought he was going to ask me what I was. At that point I turned because I heard the click sound and I saw that the gas was already pumped, so I started to turn. Fr. Mark saw that the man looked at my cross and then went from being angry into a rage and he punched me in face. The video cameras of the gas station showed him hitting me and me falling to the ground. He just walked off and Fr. Mark said he sounded like he had an accent. He went into the convenience store and bought something, and cameras took a perfect look at him. The Police see this as a hate crime and they are determined to find this man.”
Asked about his condition, his health, Fr. Tryphon said, “Well I am 73 years old, my hearing is off; I have buzzing in the left ear and bubbles in my right ear. I am on medication until next week, ear drops. I don’t know – I am waiting and will see. I pray that my hearing be restored but as of right now it is up in the air. When I drive it sounds like I am in an aircraft with a loud noise from the pavement and I have a problem hearing my monks so they raise their voices to talk to me.”
He added that, “I reported these things to the police. When I was down on the ground I was hearing people calling 911. Fr. Mark also called 911. It turned out there was a shooting in the neighborhood and the police and the medics took more time than normal to get to me. The medics checked me out and helped me. They asked if I wanted to be transported to the Hospital and I said no. I have a heart problem and I have been to the hospital so many times the last thing I want to do is go to another hospital.”
During all the years that Fr. Tryphon was an Orthodox clergyman he never had any problems wearing his clerical garments in public. He said, “never before did I have any problem. I do believe that I was targeted, because I am sure the man knew I was an Orthodox priest. I had the monastic Greek skoufo (monastic hat) on my head and I was wearing the cross. The anger and the rage that he had when he approached me and he saw the cross tells me that he knew. One of the monks sent the photograph to a friend of his who is a monk in Kosovo, Serbia and they believed he is Muslim. Fr. Mark thinks he had an accent so he might be a Muslim from Croatia or one of those countries.”
When we asked him how he feels about his attacker, Fr. Tryphon said, “I told the Sheriff’s Department when they apprehend him to call me to go there. I want to sit in the cell with him and ask him why he did this to me, and tell him I forgive him and that God Loves him. They promised me that I will be able to do that.”
Fr. Typhon told TNH that, “We have five monks at the monastery and two novices.” He also explained, “We are ROCOR, the Russian Orthodox Church abroad, which is an independent part of the Patriarchate of Moscow; we are directly under Metropolitan Kirill of San Francisco. By the way, I consider the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco a friend. In fact, when I was in San Francisco recently I went over and I saw his Cathedral which is under construction and it looks like Hagia Sophia.”
Asked about how the monastery is sustained financially, he said, “we make homemade soaps and we have our own coffee company. Those are the two major things which sustain us, and we receive donations.”