Since the Great Feast of the Nativity is fast approaching, it is my duty to thank you for the contributions you have made and to share my all pastoral activities from this year. The Lord Jesus Christ came for the Universal Salvation without discrimination among poor and rich. Salvation for the sinners, the sick, the needy, the poor, the orphans, the widows, the outcast and the marginalized.
In the environment where the Orthodox Mission is working, we face all sorts of problems; but through your great encouragement our mission is growing. St.Paul says that he can do everything because Christ is with him. Our motto is the same because Christ is with us through you as we are one in Christ.
Dear friends, the year which is passing we have constructed a community center with two rooms and two washrooms in the church compound at Wazirabad. This building will be used to conduct different seminars, Bible study, youth camps, catechism and moral classes for young girls so that they become strong to save themselves from brutal men. This building is ready but we need furniture etc.
As you know that we are facing faith problems, three years back one of our faithful was in the jail but by the grace of God and through your financial help he is out from behind the bars. I really appreciate your support because this is the first case of court which we won. God bless Pakistan.
The sewing center has now operated for 5 years, where we train young girls in stitching, as well as to save them from the bad society where they are abducted by people of other faiths. We help them in different ways like providing them legal support by hiring lawyers. In January 2017 we will offer beauty parlor training at our center so that they can become self-supporting for their family. The teacher is ready who has been trained through your great support.
For this training we need your assistance so we must save our girls who also are the daughters of Abraham and Jacob.
A few months before we distributed two hundred Holy Bibles to enrich our faithful in spirituality. We performed the Holy Sacraments of Baptism, Chrismation and marriage.
Since the Orthodox Mission was founded we are helping the school, college and university students. We cannot do much as our resources are limited therefore we are always in the requesting position before friends and donors.
Often we distribute food, but due to limited resources we cannot do much. We appeal you to share your table with the needy and hungry.
We tried our best to help the sick people through medicines and hospitalization. From January I myself have not been so well so I had to go through some medical tests but thank God I did not lose my hope and the mission work was not stopped. A few other Orthodox were having problems so we tried to cope with them. Recently Semion an Orthodox faithful underwent a gallbladder surgery and by the grace of God after being two months in the hospital he is healed.
Dear friends, I want to request you to pray for Presbytera Rosy who is not well and is undergoing medical tests. Your prayers are very much needed. You know that she is highly qualified in Theology, Scripture and Counselling, so she will start different conferences in the coming year so her health is very strongly needed.
At the end I want to thank each and every one of you who so eagerly are at our back to support us in all spheres of life.
United in Christ,
Fr.John Tanveer and the orthodox community in Pakistan
Please consider making a Christmas donation to help Fr. John & the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan.
We hope this newsletter finds you well. Fr John and Presvytera Rosy continue to labor for the Church under difficult circumstances, strengthening, supporting and comforting the Orthodox faithful in their daily lives. We’ve included here a few highlights of recent activities. Each time we speak with Fr John, he emphasizes how much he is encouraged and strengthened by the support and prayers of Orthodox brethren around the world. Please continue to keep them in your prayers. And please help us spread the word about Fr John and the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan, by sharing this email with your fellow parishioners and friends.
On Sunday, March 27, a suicide bomb blast in a park in Lahore killed more than 70 people, many of them Christians who were celebrating Easter. The park is less than 1 kilometer from Fr John’s home. He heard the blast and ran to the scene that day, witnessing the “horrible situation.” Recently, Fr John and Presvytera Rosy carried out a food distribution, providing sacks of flour, sugar and tea to families who were affected by the bombing.
OMP Support to Girls and Women
When we speak with Fr John, he always mentions his special concern for girls and young women, especially those who have been the victims of kidnappings and rape. Unfortunately, these crimes are not uncommon against Christian teens and women, who are often then disowned by their families out of shame. Fr John wants to create a shelter for these teenagers and young women and provide skills training to them, so that they can provide for themselves. Recently he helped to return three kidnapped teenagers and women to the community.
Fr John Interviewed by NY Radio Program
On March 31, Fr John was interviewed by WIBX 950AM, a talk radio program in Utica, NY. In the interview, Fr John talks about the persecution faced by Christians in Pakistan, their struggles and needs. Listen to the interview here on YouTube.
Fr. John’s Prayer Requests
“There are so many seekers here,” says Fr John. “But due to the situation, they are in fear so they cannot openly proclaim. So pray for them and for me and Rosy also. Pray for our Metropolitan (His Eminence Konstantinos) and our community and the people of Pakistan and for peace in this country.”
Consider Becoming a Monthly Donor!
Please consider becoming a monthly donor. No amount is too small. Even $10 a month makes a real difference to OMP! Monthly donations give Fr John more stability and enable him to plan the assistance he provides to the Orthodox community. It’s easy to do – follow the steps here on our website.
Click here to learn more about the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan, and to make a convenient donation online.
The priest from Pakistan: Hearing the blast, I immediately ran to the place of tragedy
Yesterday we were with my mother at the liturgy in our church. When we returned home in the evening, I went out into the yard and heard the noise, both from the Big Bang, because my house is not far from the park, Gulshan-e-Iqbal in Lahore, where the tragedy occurred. We were separated less than one kilometer.
I immediately went down the street, saw people running. People on the day was very much in Pakistan celebrated Easter. I have seen the bodies of dead and wounded, it is now known that killed more than 70 and wounded more than 300 people. Many are in a critical situation in a hospital. We already know that most of the dead and injured were Christians: Protestants, and Orthodox (although there were not many) were in the park that day. Day in Pakistan is very hot, most families went for a walk with the children is in the evening, and then tragedy struck.
Unfortunately, I do not think that the Christian Church in Pakistan will be able to help people with something other than prayers and visits to the wounded in the hospital. Yesterday I celebrated the Liturgy. If we talk about the Orthodox Church, I – the only Orthodox priest in Lahore. Of course, I’ll do everything I can, I will visit people in the hospital, but my options are limited. I am very sorry that we can not do more!
The situation in the region – a critical, Christianophobia and discrimination is very strong. I was in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, to refer to the European Union and the international community on this issue. I am very glad that this will write “Pravmir”, maybe it will draw attention to the issue of the persecution of Christians in the region. I am glad that people are at least concerned about the situation.
During my last visit to Moscow, I already told you that we are in some dire straits. I have no way to help, but I have to be with their parishioners, with his people. My house is right next to the place of the tragedy, I’ll probably have to think about how to move to a safer place, but in Pakistan, such a place may simply not be the pressure on Christians is felt everywhere.
In St. Petersburg, I met with Patriarch Kirill, which heard me – “strong man,” I serve time in this region. But I – not a strong man, my strength – in your support, the support of the faithful, and I’m not talking about money! We have the cross that we must bear every day. This – the main thing I want to say. Of course, we need the support – is in very short supply of medicines, many people are just hungry … People here are not very well educated, but they have a sincere faith in God. We are oppressed, but we know that they are able to do anything until the Lord with us.
If you would like to make a contribution to help with the difficult but critical work being done by Fr. John in Pakistan, please visit our donation page.
Lord God is great who always looks after us.
Last Saturday, at midnight while we were sleeping, 25 to 30 people came to attack us. They broke our main door, damaged our vehicle and windows. Then the situation became very odd because they were slandering our faith.We survived, but a lot of destruction has been done. We are thankful for our neighbors who supported us and threw them out. Now we are planning to move somewhere else. Even in this situation I will never stop strengthening our faith. This much I can say to you, that God surely is with us.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.