August 2015 update

Dear Friend,

Thank you for  your faithful prayers and financial support, the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan continues to grow both in size and in maturity. This newsletter will bring you up to date on a number of recent developments. We are are pleased to present to you an update on Father John Tanveer’s recent trip to Russia, a request for prayer for the people of Pakistan, and good news of an Orthodox man recently released from prison.

Fr John and daughter Nabigha Rose (on the right) in St Petersburg.
Fr John and daughter Nabigha Rose (on the right) in St Petersburg.

In June, Fr John had the great blessing to travel to Russia for 10 days. The trip was arranged by a Russian filmmaker who has been working on a documentary about Fr John and the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan. Fr John attended a screening of the documentary in St Petersburg, with hundreds of priests, bishops, archbishops and laity in attendance. The film was very well received. Fr John was honored to be invited to offer remarks after the film’s showing. He implored the large audience to give of their abundance to their struggling Orthodox brethren in Pakistan.

Fr John meets Patriarch Kirill.
Fr John meets Patriarch Kirill.

The trip coincided with the 25thanniversary celebration of the canonization of St John of Kronstadt. Fr John took a long pilgrimage from St Petersburg, traveling two nights by train to Sura, Russia, the birthplace of St John. He visited many churches and saw the famous “White Nights” (nearly round-the-clock daylight). The highlight of his trip to Sura was the opportunity—unplanned—to meet Patriarch Kirill, who also was in Sura at the same time. The two were introduced, and Fr John was overjoyed to realize that the Patriarch was already well familiar with Fr John and the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan. Fr John was greatly encouraged by the Patriarch’s words of support and praise for Fr John and the mission.

Fr John and rose

 

Fr John was greatly blessed by the trip, which he called a privilege. His faith was strengthened and he was greatly heartened by the reception that he received everywhere he went in Russia. “Although I’m a sinner priest”, he told us, the media in Russia were very interested in him and he granted many interviews. As he was preparing to depart Russia, faithful gave him chocolate as a parting gift – more than 50 lbs worth! Never before had he received such honor and respect as during his 10 days in Russia, and he returned to Pakistan encouraged and strengthened.

Prayers for Pakistan
Pakistan suffered intense heat waves earlier this summer, with more than 1,000 fatalities as a result. Now it is the rainy season, and Fr John tells us he’s very concerned about flooding. They are working to build a road to the church (shown in the picture below), which would help prevent flooding. Some parts of the country have already experienced mudslides. Let us pray for temperate seasons for the people of Pakistan.

The current status of the road to the church.
The current status of the road to the church.

Very Good News!
Fr John notified us that a young Orthodox man who spent nearly three years in prison on blasphemy charges (accused of insulting Islam) was recently released! It is not uncommon for Christians to be accused of blasphemy, which is a charge punishable by death. Sadly Christians also suffer vigilante justice – being murdered by their accusers before they can stand trial. Needless to say, Fr John is overjoyed that this young man was released and thanks everyone for their prayers.

The Orthodox Mission in Pakistan needs your support!
In order to continue serving the people of Pakistan, OMP needs our prayers and our financial support. We hope that you will consider giving your time in prayer and your financial support to further the work of the Church for the people of Pakistan. Please visit our donation page and consider supporting OMP financially.

Fr John passes out chocolate and peaches, gifted to the community by a church in St Petersburg, after a recent Divine Liturgy.
Fr John passes out chocolate and peaches, gifted to the community by a church in St Petersburg, after a recent Divine Liturgy.

 

January 2015 – Fr. John Tavneer Appeals for Help

consecration-3Christ is born!

We are thankful to God who is always with us and encourages us in our Mission.

Now the First Orthodox church is almost completed and we are trying our best to beautify the house of God. The Altar is ready and red carpet is put on the floor inside the church. The faithful are strengthening their faith day by day.

There are many things which are in need to strengthen Orthodoxy here in Pakistan.

Your moral support which makes us brave and healthy in awful situation.

We are Pakistani and we have motto of bringing peace in our country. In these days a big operation is going on against terrorists and a new law has come to deal with them strictly. Our communities are not safe but we ask you to remember us in your prayers that God may bring peace in Pakistan.

We have to work according to the signs of time. That is why we are trying to have good relations with everyone like the good Samaritan. This is the way to promote Orthodox faith in our country.

Your financial support is very much important.

We have to spend for food, utility bills, children`s school high fee, house maintenance , medication, transport etc.

Pastoral travelling

We need a small van which could be beneficial for my pastoral activities like visiting the sick in the hospital, visiting communities in different areas.

A request

I request you please, try to understand me and my situation. To look after the flock is not so easy. I have to see my own family and the family which is given to me by God in Pakistan.

I am very much afraid that I cannot fulfill the needs of my family because of my limited resources.

I appeal you kindly, do some thing for the promotion of Orthodox Mission in Pakistan. Church is extending day by day. Your penny is valuable for OMP

First Orthodox Church in Pakistan Consecrated

On February 6. 2014 the first consecration of an Orthodox Church occured in Lahore, Pakistan. Fr. John Tanveer is the priest who founded and built the parish.

Attending the Consecration were:

Metr. Konstantinos of Singapore and Fr. Martin Ritzi, Executive Director of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), who secured an anonymous donation that made the land acquisition and building construction possible.

Many Orthodox faithful were in attendance, as well as a number of diplomats from Orthodox countries, and even local Muslim officials.

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First Service in the First Orthodox in Pakistan Held on Christmas Day

First Service in the First Orthodox Church in Pakistan on Christmas Day

With thanksgiving to God for His gracious blessing and protection, the first service in the first Orthodox Church in Pakistan was held yesterday. The Church is not yet furnished for Divine Liturgy, but Fr. John gathered the faithful there for a time of prayer and thanksgiving. As you can see, they were not reluctant to proclaim the joy of the season to their neighborhood! Glory to God for all things!

Fr. John sends this message of greeting to us: “People are happy and praying for all of you in the world, that Lord Jesus Christ bring peace, love, unity and truth in the world.”

First Service in the First Orthodox Church in Pakistan on Christmas DayFirst Service in the First Orthodox Church in Pakistan on Christmas Day
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Heartfelt Thank You from Fr. John Tanveer

Fr. John Tanveer
Fr. John Tanveer
My heartiest thanks to you who are always on our side not to let us be in despair. Thanks for your love, kindness and concern.

Life is such that being humans many times we lose hope and are discouraged because of enormous problems. The fact is this that God lets us feel so to assure us that He is with us to the end of the world.

Our prayers continue to rise before God Almighty for all who love us and who are a means for our survival. May the Good Lord fill you with abundant blessings and grant you all that you need to spread His Kingdom.

Through these few words I want to thank the donors who painstakingly think of the Orthodox Mission Pakistan to continue the work of spreading the Word of God.

God bless you.

Fr.John

More News about the Pakistani Riots

pak-3On Saturday, March 9, 2013 a crowd of Muslim Pakistanis attacked a small Christian neighborhood known as the St. Joseph Colony in the city of Lahore, Pakistan. This was shortly after an incident earlier in the week, when one Muslim resident had accused another Christian resident of blasphemy against Muhammad after the two had engaged in a dispute. The police arrested the Christian accused of blasphemy on Friday, and the mob action took place the next day.

The secular press (including the New York Times) reported this incident, using Pakistani government supplied figures of 178 houses, 18 shops, and 2 churches damaged by the fires that the mob started. Some news reports carried estimates of the mob size as approximately 2,000 to 3,000. What they failed to report – obviously because the government did not supply these figures – is much more disturbing.

Fr. John Tanveer is a Pakistani Eastern Orthodox priest who lives in Lahore. While he does not live in the St. Joseph Colony, a few of his parishioners do, and they lost their homes. He visited the area the next day, and has been returning almost daily to try to bring some comfort and aid to those affected. His reports are based on his own personal observation, as well as many interviews with the residents of the Colony about what they experienced. Here are some of the facts that he has reported.

  • The number of homes destroyed is at least 350, or about twice the size of the government estimate.
  • The residents estimated the crowd at over 5,000, again approximately double the numbers used by the press.
  • Residents stated that the entire operation was very well planned and deliberate, not a case of a peaceful demonstration getting out of hand.
  • Residents report that chemicals of some sort (perhaps gasoline?) were used to start and fuel the fires. If you look at the photos, you will notice that the structures in the Colony are all brick and stone. Thus, a single fire or a few fires would not have spread to decimate hundreds of buildings without the widespread use of artificial accelerants.
  • The police told residents in the Colony the previous day (Friday) that they should leave the area. This clearly indicates that the government was aware of the planned mob action, and wanted to minimize the loss of life.
  • During the mob violence, the police were present in small numbers, and took no action to stop the rampage.

The St. Joseph Colony is located on land near a number of industrial sites including steel and iron-making plants. It is well-known that these industries would like more land to expand their operations, and many residents believe that is why the entire incident took place – to force the Colony residents to abandon their homes leave the area.

Fr. John states that neither the government nor any of the large international humanitarian NGO’s have responded with any significant aid. He has been preparing and bringing food to the St. Joseph Colony every day, but his parish does not have the funds and resources to give the sort of aid that will be needed to care for these displaced residents and help them rebuild.

Please consider making a tax deductible contribution to help. This is an all-volunteer effort so there are no administrative costs – every dollar sent goes straight to Fr. John who will use it to provide food and other assistance to the St. Joseph Colony residents. Donations may be made by mail or Paypal as stated on the website. Please pray for these displaced fellow believers, and please pray for Fr. John, his wife Rosy, and their three children as they minister in the name of Christ.

Please forward the link to this article to others you know that may be willing to pray for and consider assisting these fellow Christians in their time of great need.

Pictures from Fr. John

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