MARCH 29, 2021
The Birobidzhan District Court of the Jewish Autonomous Region will soon announce its verdict in the case involving Sister Irina Lokhvitskaya. * The prosecutor has yet to request a potential sentence.
Born: 1962 (Izvestkovoye)
Biography: Her father died when she was six years old. As a child, was active in dance, theater, knitting, basketball, and volleyball
The Bible’s hope of the resurrection of the dead touched her heart. Was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1993. Her husband died seven months after her baptism, leaving her to raise her seven-year-old son, Artur, alone
On February 6, 2020, Sister Irina Lokhvitskaya was among six sisters charged by Russian authorities in Birobidzhan for “extremist” activity. A total of 19 cases were initiated against 22 Witnesses in the region, including Irina’s son, Artur, and his wife, Anna.
Irina’s hearings have been closed to the public, including the media and her relatives. Her petitions to have open hearings and to return the case to the prosecutor were denied.
Irina’s ongoing difficulties have affected her physical and emotional health. But a spiritual routine has helped her to endure. She relates: “Jehovah helped me to establish good habits. Not just reading the Bible, but digging into it.” When anxieties began to affect her spiritual routine, Irina took positive action. She says: “I began to pray intensely, and I set the goal of returning to my usual routine. Jehovah has taught me to think not just about myself but about others more.”
Irina focuses on those who need greater support and encouragement than she does. These include interested ones and her Christian brothers and sisters. She explains: “When you think about others, you have no time to pity yourself or to worry excessively.”
The congregation has also strengthened Irina, particularly the elders. She explains: “Despite facing persecution themselves, they are a comfort to me, and they always find the right words to encourage me. Also, they always make themselves available when I need them, and for that I’m grateful.”
As Irina continues to endure this trial, we share her confidence that Jehovah will provide all she needs. She says: “When I read about persecution, I always wanted to know how I would conduct myself in that situation. Would I rely on Jehovah? I found out. Of course, with his help, I will rely on him. Just like all his faithful servants, I will stand firm and Jehovah will hold me by the right hand.”—Isaiah 41:10.
^ par. 3 Advance notice of the verdict date is not always available.