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Thursday, January 1, 2015

About St Michael the Archangel Orthodox Mission in Pakistan

Something About Pakistan
Pakistan was formed after undivided India gained independence from the British in 1947. Hinduism had been the main religion since ancient times and the Muslims felt threatened and isolated due to discrimination. Mohammed Ali Jinnah who was a leader of the Muslim League along with Sir Alama Iqbal dreamt of the state of Pakistan which would be a safe haven for Muslims and where the Muslims could live with pride and self respect and practise their religion with no fear or discrimination. Qaid-e-Aazam (The leader) Mohammed Ali Jinnah who became the father of the nation dreamt and formed a Pakistan free of religious discrimination where all religions could dwell in harmony and brotherly love. However in 1956 Pakistan adopted a new constitution and hence became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.  Today Pakistan is the second largest Muslim country in the world second to Indonesia. It practises the Islamic Sharia law which includes laws of blasphemy and laws against proselytizing.
Christians in Pakistan are the largest minority being about 3.7% of the total population. Since ancient times in undivided India, people were mainly Hindus and later many of them became Muslims after the Islamic conquests. The present Christians are converts form Hinduism and Islam. They are 50% Catholics and 50% Protestant Christians. There has been a considerable drop in Christians attending churches for various reasons.
About St Michael the Archangel Orthodox Mission Start
The Mission in Pakistan came into existence after Cyril Amer Shahzad, a former seminarian, read about Orthodoxy and began his search. The Holy Spirit moved his heart and he started his communication with various Orthodox bodies. In the meanwhile he continued his home study and established a study centre for parting Orthodox information and preaching Orthodoxy in his hometown of Sargodha in the state of Punjab.
His search led him to the Russian Orthodox Church and His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, Metropolitan of New York and Eastern America and ruling Archbishop of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand, directed the Indian born Australian Orthodox priest the Reverend Adrian Augustus Rector of St Michael the Archangel Church in Blacktown to serve Pakistan under his spiritual direction.  With months of discussion and planning and after crossing many hurdles Fr. Adrian arrived in the city of Sargodha. There were a few altercations with the local police who feared for Fr Adrian’s safety in the area.
Fr. Adrian was warmly welcomed in Sargodha and admired the turnout of the people as to how patiently they waited for over 6 hours due to delays. Fr. Adrian preached and spoke for about two and a half hours under the watchful eyes of the authorities. People had travelled from far off villages and neighbouring cities.   Many people had arrived to listen to the Fr. Adrian’s sermon. Inspired by the truth and beauty in Orthodoxy and the Russian Church they asked to be received into the Orthodox Church.
A total of 174 people received were received into the Orthodox Church and St Michael the Archangel Orthodox Mission was born.
His Eminence Vladyka Hilarion was immensely pleased with the results in Pakistan and maintained constant contact with Fr. Adrian. He formally blessed the formation of the Mission under the canonical protection of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese of ROCOR. Cyril Amer Shazad has been appointed Director in a lay capacity and Fr Adrian Augustus as Spiritual Director.
The Future
With the acceptance and reception of 174 souls into Orthodox, this beautiful event places upon Orthodox Christians a joyous opportunity,  a prayerful and moral obligation to assist the Pakistani Russian Orthodox Community. With their acceptance of the Orthodox faith, many Orthodox Christians will now be deprived of few benefits they enjoyed with their former churches. There is an urgent need for clergy and we have many worthy candidates. Out of the few, we hope and plan that three will arrive in Australia for theological and practical training.
An Orphanage will later be formed to care for and house street children which are so many in Pakistan. The Mission is working closely with a non government organisation in running a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts. The Mission requests your assistance.  We  urgently  need  English  prayer  books,  study  material,   old  church vestments  including   altar  vestments,  chalice  and  paten   covers,   altar    vessels, unneeded  clergy vestments  etc and most of all your prayers.
The mission in Pakistan came into existence after Cyril Amer Shahzad, a candidate for the Catholic priesthood, read about Orthodoxy and began his search. The Holy Spirit moved his heart and he started to write to canonical and uneconomical Orthodox bodies all over the world. No canonical Orthodox bodies showed any interest however certain non canonical churches did attempt to invite Cyril to the United States of America but Cyril was refused a visa to study in the USA. Being let down he continued his home study and established Holy Cross of Jesus Orthodox Study Center in his hometown of Sargodha in the state of Punjab.
His search let him to His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion who directed the Indian born Australian Russian Orthodox priest the Reverend Adrian Augustus Rector of St. Michael the Archangel church in Black town to serve Pakistan under his spiritual direction. With months of discussion and planning after crossing many hurdles Fr. Adrian arrived in the city of Sargodha but wasn’t permitted to leave his hotel due to a tip off to the Inter Service Intelligence of Pakistan. They believed Fr. Adrian beings Indian born was in Pakistan to create unrest or was spy. The Intelligence released Fr.Adrian only after the Honourable Member of Parliament; Catholic born Tahir Naveed Chaudhary intervened and took personal guarantee for Fr. Adrian’s activities.
After the permission was granted Fr. Adrian was warmly welcomed at the venue and was welcomed by the people who patiently waited for over 6 hours due to the hotel arrest. Fr. Adrian preached and spoke for about two and half hours under the watchful eyes of the Intelligence who left half way through. People had traveled from far off villages and neighboring cities. Many peoples hand arrived only to listen to the Fr. Adrian homily but they say they were truly inspired by the truth in Orthodoxy and the Russian Church and after the homily, decided to receive Illumination.
A total of 174 people received Orthodox illumination and St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Mission was born. The converts were mostly Protestant and a former Roman Catholic priests,  the Rev. Farooq Joseph who expressed their desire to serve as Orthodox priests.
His eminence Vladyka Hilarion kept watch on the activities Pakistan and maintained constant contact with Fr. Adrian. He formally blessed the formation of the Mission under the Canonical protection of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese of ROCOR.
In Hyderabad, a former Roman Catholic Priest, Shamaoon, came across Cyril on social media through a common connection Waseem Issac. Both Waseem and Shamaoon (given the name Anthony) soon came to Holy Orthodoxy also.
In January of 2013, Metropolitan Hilarion travelled to Sri Lanka and ordained the three candiates to the priesthood (Fathers’ Cyril, Joseph and Anthony) to serve as Priests for the communities in Sarghoda, Hyderabad and Islamabad.
In May 2013, Father Adrian was assigned by the First Hierarch to serve as the Dean of the communities in Pakistan after acting as their Spiritual Director until that time. Regular services are held in Sarghoda and Hyderabad with monthly trips to the community in Islamabad to serve the faithful in the capital.
Parishes
Ruling Bishop
The Most Rev.Metropolitan HILARION
Eastern America and New York Diocese,FIRST HIERARCH of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
75 E. 93rd Str.,
New York, NY 10128
USA
Sargodha – St.Sergius Orthodox Church
The Reverend Cyril Amer
Assistant Priest
Sargodha, Punjab
Email :fr.cyril@rocpak.com

Islamabad – St. John Chrysostom Parish
The Reverend Cyril Amer
Visiting Priest
Email :fr.cyril@rocpak.com
For more information please contact:
Postal Address
Rev. Cyril Amer Shazad
St Michael the Archangel Orthodox Mission in Pakistan
P.O Box 140 G.P.O Sargodha, Punjab, Pakistan.
Email
Rev Cyril Amer: father.cyril@rocpak.com
info@rocpak.com

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https://www.facebook.com/pages/Orthodox-Church-of-Pakistan/1521076154772046?ref=hl