Our father among the saints, Hieromartyr Metropolitan Petar (Zimonjić) of Dabar-Bosna (Свети Свештеномученик Петар Дабробосански) was the Metropolitan of the diocese of Dabro-Bosnia in Yugoslavia for twenty years until early in World War II. He was martyred during the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia .
The future metropolitan Petar was the son of a nobleman ("vojvoda") and priest Bogdan Zimonjić (Богдан Зимоњић). He was born in Grahovo, on June 24, 1866. He attended the seminary in Reljevo between 1883 and 1887 and continued his education at the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Cernovice from 1887 until his graduation in 1893. In October 1893, Petar was appointed assistant professor at the Reljevo Seminary, and a year later he was appointed professor.
He received the name Petar when he took monastic vows on September 6, 1895. He was ordained deacon on September 7 and presbyter the next day. He became a consistorial advisor in Sarajevo in 1901. He was then elected the Metropolitan of Zahumlje and Herzegovina, and then on June 9, 1903, Petar was consecrated and enthroned in Mostar. After the retirement of Metropolitan of Dabro-Bosnia, Evgenije (Letica), Petar was appointed Metropolitan of the diocese by a royal charter dated November 7, 1920.
After World War II had broken out, Metr. Petar was advised to leave Bosnia and move to Serbia or Montenegro. He replied saying: “I am the 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 continuing use of the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet instead of changing to the Latin alphabet. A Roman Catholic priest, Bozidar Bral, an adherent of the Croatian Ustase in charge of Bosnia and Herzegovina, had a decisive role in this severe policy of forbidding use of the Cyrillic alphabet.
Metr. Petar was arrested on May 12, 1941. He was imprisoned first in the "Beledija" prison, and then three days later he was transported to the "Kerestinac" prison where he was assigned the number 29781. There, his beard and hair was shaved and all his bishop’s insignia were taken away from him. The circumstances of his death are inconsistent. After enduring severe torture, he was moved to Koprivnica and then to Jasenovac (or Gospic). According to the testimonies of Jovo Furtula and Jovo Lubura from the Sarajevo District, Metr. Petar was killed in Jasenovac. His corpse was then thrown in the fiery furnace used for brick making. However, another version states that Metr. Petar was taken to Gospic, namely Jadovno, where he was killed in a monstrous manner.
In 1998, during the regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church Metr. Petar was canonized and his name was added to the list of other saints of the Serbian people and of Orthodox Christian faith.
The Serbian Church marks the memory of him in the third week of September.
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|Metropolitan of Dabar-Bosna|