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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Please pray for father Cyril Amer he is Persecuted for his Missionary Work

Please keep remember father Cyril Amer in your holy prayers he is persecuted for orthodox faith and preaching in non believers due to Father Cyril preaching many non believers embrace Christianity, because of his courage and passionate work religious fanatic behind him.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Lord have mercy!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Pakistan targets 3 Catholic nuns as part of campaign against foreigners

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — First, Pakistan nearly forced one of the world’s most recognized charities, Save the Children, to stop doing business in the country. Then, it announced that thousands of charities and international aid groups would have to follow strict new licensing procedures. Now, it has canceled the visas of three Philippine nuns, prompting a lawsuit from the Catholic Church.
In a case that highlights the Pakistani government’s growing suspicion of foreigners, the nuns were ordered last week to leave. They were accused of "engaging in employment in violation of their visa category,” the Express Tribune newspaper reported Wednesday.
The nuns, who have been working in Pakistan for about a decade, were told they must leave by the end of the month. One of them is the principal of Islamabad Convent School, one of 42 private schools operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi.
But the nuns and church officials are fighting back, a rare public stance by the Catholic Church in this overwhelmingly Muslim country. On Wednesday, the diocese filed a motion asking an Islamabad judge to block the expulsion.
Abid Nazir, an attorney for the church, said in an interview all the three nuns are “missionary workers” who have devoted their lives to educating and helping impoverished children in Pakistan. Nazir added that he fears Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has a personal vendetta against them and the school.
Nazir said Khan’s wife used to work as a teacher at the school but resigned in 2011 after a dispute with the principal.
“More than 4,000 students of Islamabad Convent School, who are Pakistani Nationals are made the scapegoat, just because of (a) personal liking or disliking,” the court filing states.  “If the missionary workers will be sent back then no proper replacement will be available for the proper taking care of the 4,000 children/students of our nation.”
The Interior Ministry did not return calls seeking comments. A judge has yet to rule on the case.
Still, the controversy is another example of how Pakistan is again taking a more aggressive stance toward some foreigners trying to work here.
Earlier this month, The Washington Post and other news outlets reported that Pakistan was not renewing the permits of nearly two dozen international aid organizations. On June 10, Pakistan announced the expulsion of Save the Children over what it called “anti-Pakistan activities.”
The State Department condemned the move, as did many local commentators, who noted that Save the Children employs about 2,000 Pakistanis. Last week, the government reversed its decision and said Save the Children could continue its operations.
But Khan announced Monday that thousands of international aid groups had six months to re-register with the government.
He also said that the government’s Economic Affairs Division would no longer oversee the groups. Instead, he said, the Interior Ministry would be tasked with it. That will put the charitable organizations under the same umbrella as police, which could result in even more scrutiny of humanitarian efforts.   Aid groups also are prohibited from working in certain areas of the country.
There has also been a sudden, noticeable shift in the government’s oversight of Western journalists and other foreign visitors. It’s now harder for foreigners to renew visas or get permission slips to travel outside the major cities of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
When The Post recently inquired about a months-old travel request, a communications officer said the matter was being held up by the Interior Ministry.
Over the past decade, there have been other times when Pakistan has adopted a stringent posture toward foreigners. After a U.S. military raid killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad in 2011, Pakistan effectively closed its door to American visitors for several months.
But what makes the latest crackdown so surprising is that there has been no known trigger for it.
Over the past year, both Pakistani and U.S. officials have been stressing that relations between their  countries have greatly improved. Pakistani political and military leaders also have been touting their country’s relationship with Russia, China and a host of European countries, which they hope to leverage into increased foreign investment to bolster the economy.
And with civilian deaths from terrorist attacks at an eight-year low, this year could have provided Pakistani leaders a real opportunity to pitch the country to outsiders. Instead, many Pakistani analysts worry that the government is harming the country’s reputation by getting into high-profile spats with groups such as Save the Children and the Catholic Church.
“All this brings is a bad name to the country,” Hasan Askari Rizvi, a Lahore-based political analyst, said in an interview.
Analysts note that Interior Ministry officials never explained what sort of “anti-Pakistan activities” Save the Children was alleged to have been a part of. But there is speculation that the order may have been linked to accusations — which Save the Children strongly denies — that the group had ties to a Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track bin Laden in 2011.
As for the three nuns, Nazir said their pending expulsion is particularly alarming because it comes one month after immigration authorities approved a two-year extension of their visas. But when they arrived at the school on June 17, they found a letter with the heading “cancellation of visas of Philippines missionary workers," Nazir said.
“They were just condemned and no explanation has ever been given,” he said. “What we are now trying to do is say, ‘No one should ever be condemned unheard’... and the church is very concerned by it.”

Friday, June 19, 2015

Orthodox Church of Pakistan's Official Website - http://ocpak.com/index.php


Thanks Giving prayer

“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:10-11)
It is a common Orthodox practice for the faithful to give thanks to God in prayer for positive outcomes in their lives. One of the Mission’s parishioners, Angelina Rashida, invited Father Cyril to perform a thanksgiving prayer service with his family. Her mother Rehmat Bibi recently recovered from a long illness and the family wanted to give thanks. Father Cyril presented a homily and explains the importance of thanks giving.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

History Of Orthodox Church in Pakistan,

History Of Orthodox Church in 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 thenation
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.
St Michael the Archangel Orthodox Mission
The Mission in Pakistan came into existence after great 
efforts of 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 preachingOrthodoxy 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
 Russian 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
Russian 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 mission now has two priests,
First Hierarch of the ROCOR ordained clergy for Pakistan in January 2013 in Sri Lanka,
 as Pakistani citizens were unable to travel to Australia due to extreme shortage of funds
 and visa issue. Fr Cyril and St Michael the Archangel Mission,
is tirelessly working all over Pakistan. various parishes under the umbrella of
 St Michael which namely are, 
St Sergious Orthodox Church, Sargodha, 

St Anthony Orthodox Church, Hyderabad, 
St John Chrysostom Orthodox Church in Islamabad 
have community in Bhalwal city as well.
 Fr Cyril believes in passive evangelisation and example. 
He is working for the upliftment of poor Pakistanis especially 
Pakistani children, especially those who are involved in 
human trafficking. He hopes to rescue them, house them,
 teach them a trade and help them become responsible citizens of Pakistan 
The situation of Christians in Pakistan is one that is under constant threat due to
 discriminatory laws and the mission is involved in passive evangelization.
 The target is to build a school, which will include an orphanage and a chapel in 
Sargodha and Bhalwal, to pay salaries of the priests and help unfortunate 
Christians and also Muslims who live well below the poverty line in Pakistan. 
Through acts of Christian love and charity, we hope to house, 
educate and nurture the unfortunate children in Pakistan, 
especially those who are victims of Terrorism.


History of Russian Orthodox Church

History of Russian Orthodox Church

The Russian Orthodox Church is more than one thousand years old. According to tradition, St. Andrew the First Called, while preaching the gospel, stopped at the Kievan hills to bless the future city of Kiev. The fact that Russia had among her neighbors a powerful Christian state, the Byzantine Empire, very much contributed to the spread of Christianity in it. The south of Russia was blessed with the work of Sts Cyril and Methodius Equal to the Apostles, the Illuminators of the Slavs. In 954 Princess Olga of Kiev was baptized. All this paved the way for the greatest events in the history of the Russian people, namely, the baptism of Prince Vladimir In the pre-Tartar period of its history The Russian Church was one of the metropolitanates of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The metropolitan at the head of the Church was appointed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople from among the Greeks, but in 1051 Russian-born Metropolitan Illarion, one of the most educated men of his time, was installed to the primatial see.

Majestic churches began to be built in the 10th century. Monasteries began to develop in the 11th century. St. Anthony of the Caves brought the traditions of Athonian monasticism to Russia in 1051. He founded the famous Monastery of the Caves in Kiev which was to become the center of religious life in Old Russia. Monasteries played a tremendous role in Russia. The greatest service they did to the Russian people, apart from their purely spiritual work, was that they were major centers of education. In particular, monasteries recorded in their chronicles all the major historical events in the life of the Russian people. Flourishing in monasteries were icon-painting and literary art. They were also those who translated into Russian various theological, historical and literary works.

In the 12th century, the period of feudal divisions, the Russian Church remained the only bearer of the idea of unity of the Russian people, resisting the centrifugal aspirations and feudal strife among Russian princes. Even the Tartar invasion, this greatest ever misfortune that struck Russia in the 13th century, failed to break the Russian Church. The Church managed to survive as a real force and was the comforter of the people in their plight. It made a great spiritual, material and moral contribution to the restoration of the political unity of Russia as a guarantee of its future victory over the invaders.

Divided Russian principalities began to unite around Moscow in the 14th century. The Russian Orthodox Church continued to play an important role in the revival of unified Russia. Outstanding Russian bishops acted as spiritual guides and assistants to the Princes of Moscow. St. Metropolitan Alexis (1354-1378) educated Prince Dimitry Donskoy. He, just as St. Metropolitan Jonas (1448-1471) later, by the power of his authority helped the Prince of Moscow to put an end to the feudal discords and preserve the unity of the state. St. Sergius of Radonezh, a great ascetic of the Russian Church, gave his blessing to Prince Dimitry Donskoy to fight the Kulikovo Battle which made the beginning of the liberation of Russia from the invaders.

Monasteries made a great contribution to the preservation of the Russian national self-consciousness and identity during the Tatar yoke and in the times of Western influences. The 13th century saw the foundation of the Pochayev Laura. This monastery and its holy abbot Ioann (Zhelezo) did much to assert Orthodoxy in western Russian lands. Some 180 new monasteries were founded in the period from the 14th to the mid-15th century in Russia. Among major events in the history of old Russian monasticism was the foundation of the Trinity Monastery by St. Sergius of Radonezh (c. 1334). It is in this glorious monastery that St. Andrew Rublev developed his marvelous talent at icon-painting.

Liberating itself from the invaders, the Russian state gathered strength and so did the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1448, not long before the Byzantine Empire collapsed, the Russian Church became independent from the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Metropolitan Jonas, installed by the Council of Russian bishops in 1448, was given the title of Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia.

The growing might of the Russian state contributed also to the growing authority of the Autocephalous Russian Church. In 1589 Metropolitan Job of Moscow became the first Russian patriarch. Eastern patriarchs recognized the Russian patriarch as the fifth in honor.

The beginning of the 17th century proved to be a hard time for Russia. The Poles and Swedes invaded Russia from the west. At this time of trouble the Russian Church fulfilled its patriotic duty before the people with honor, as it did before. Patriarch Germogen (1606-1612), an ardent patriot of Russia who was to be tortured to death by the invaders, was the spiritual leaders of the mass levy led by Minin and Pozharsky. The heroic defense of St. Sergius' Monastery of the Trinity from the Swedes and Poles between 1608-1610 has been inscribed for ever in the chronicle of the Russian state and the Russian Church.

In the period after the invaders were driven away from Russia, the Russian Church was engaged in one of the most important of its internal tasks, namely, introducing corrections into its service books and rites. A great contribution to this was made by Patriarch Nikon, a bright personality and outstanding church reformer. Some clergymen and lay people did not understand and did not accept the liturgical reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon and refused to obey the church authority. This was how the Old Believers' schism emerged.

The beginning of the 18th century in Russia was marked by radical reforms carried out by Peter I. The reforms did not leave the Russian Church untouched as after the death of Patriarch Adrian in 1700 Peter I delayed the election of the new Primate of the Church and established in 1721 a collective supreme administration in the Church known as the Holy and Governing Synod. The Synod remained the supreme church body in the Russian Church for almost two centuries.

In the Synodal period of its history from 1721 to 1917, the Russian Church paid a special attention to the development of religious education and mission in provinces. Old churches were restored and new churches were built. The beginning of the 19th century was marked by the work of brilliant theologians. Russian theologians also did much to develop such sciences as history, linguistics and Oriental studies.

The 20th century produced the great models of Russian sanctity, such as St. Seraphim of Sarov and the Starets of the Optina and Glinsky Hermitages.

Early in the 20th century the Russian Church began preparations for convening an All-Russian Council. But it was to be convened only after the 1917 Revolution. Among its major actions was the restoration of the patriarchal office in the Russian Church. The Council elected Metropolitan Tikhon of Moscow Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (1917-1925).

St. Tikhon of Moscow exerted every effort to calm the destructive passions kindled up by the revolution. The Message of the Holy Council issued on 11 November 1917 says in particular, "Instead of a new social order promised by the false teachers we see a bloody strife among the builders, instead of peace and brotherhood among the peoples - a confusion of languages and a bitter hatred among brothers. People who have forgotten God are attacking one another like hungry wolves... Abandon the senseless and godless dream of the false teachers who call to realize universal brotherhood through universal strife! Come back to the way of Christ!"

For Bolsheviks who came to power in 1917 the Russian Orthodox Church was an ideological enemy a priori, as being an institutional part of tsarist Russia it resolutely defended the old regime also after the October revolution. This is why so many bishops, thousands of clergymen, monks and nuns as well as lay people were subjected to repression up to execution and murder striking in its brutality.

When in 1921-1922 the Soviet government demanded that church valuables be given in aid to the population starving because of the failure of crops in 1921, a fateful conflict erupted between the Church and the new authorities who decided to use this situation to demolish the Church to the end. By the beginning of World War II the church structure was almost completely destroyed throughout the country. There were only a few bishops who remained free and who could perform their duties. Some bishops managed to survive in remote parts or under the disguise of priests. Only a few hundred churches were opened for services throughout the Soviet Union. Most of the clergy were either imprisoned in concentration camps where many of them perished or hid in catacombs, while thousands of priests changed occupation.

The catastrophic course of combat in the beginning of World War II forced Stalin to mobilize all the national resources for defense, including the Russian Orthodox Church as the people's moral force. Without delay churches were opened for services, and clergy including bishops were released from prisons. The Russian Church did not limit itself to giving spiritual and moral support to the motherland in danger. It also rendered material aid by providing funds for all kinds of things up to army uniform. Its greatest contribution, however, was expressed in financing the St. Dimitry Donskoy Tank Column and the St. Alexander Nevsky Squadron.

This process, which can be described as a rapprochement between Church and state in a "patriotic union", culminated in Stalin's receiving on September 4, 1943 Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan Sergiy Stragorodsky and Metropolitan Alexy Simansky and Nikolay Yarushevich.

Since that historic moment a "thaw" began in relations between church and state. The Church, however, remained always under state control and any attempts to spread its work outside its walls were met with a strong rebuff including administrative sanctions.

The Russian Orthodox Church was in a hard situation during the so called 'Khrushchev's thaw" as well when thousands of churches throughout the Soviet Union were closed "for ideological reasons".

The celebrations devoted to the Millennium of the Baptism of Russia, which acquired a national importance, gave a fresh impetus to church-state relations and compelled the powers that be to begin a dialogue with the Church, building these relations on the basis of recognition of the great historical role it had played in the fortunes of the Motherland and its contribution to the formation of the nation's moral traditions.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pakistan executes Christian death row inmate

Vatican Radio) Pakistan on Wednesday executed a Christian death row convict despite repeated calls for clemency from rights groups and Church leaders. A spokesman for Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), a law firm specializing in death row cases, confirmed that Aftab Bahadur Masih was hanged at Kot Lakhpat Jail in the eastern city of Lahore in the early hours of Wednesday.
Bahadur was arrested in 1992 in a case involving the murder of a woman, Sabiha Bari and her two sons. He was tried and convicted in a speedy trial. Critics say the verdict was based on tainted evidence and forced confessions, and witnesses in the case now say Bahadur is innocent.
Bahadur was only 15 years old at the time of his arrest — too young to face the death penalty, argued critics including the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), a legal rights organisation representing Bahadur, and British rights group Reprieve.
They also argue he was tortured into confessing to the crimes, as were two of the witnesses against him, who have both since retracted their statements. One witness and co-accused in the crime, Ghulam Mustafa, a plumber with whom Aftab worked as a plumber's apprentice, was arrested early in the morning of 6th September 1992, and the police reportedly used torture to force him to implicate Aftab.
Ghulam has recently stated that Aftab had nothing to do with the crime, for which there was only one other eyewitness. He has also made a statement before a religious figure saying he lied, and that he was not even there and did not see Aftab commit the crime.
Ghulam Mustafa, the co-accused who also maintains his innocence was not hanged as scheduled on Wednesday, after reportedly reaching a settlement with the victim's family.
"This is a truly shameful day for Pakistan's justice system," Maya Foa, director of Reprieve's death penalty team, said in a statement. "Aftab was subjected to almost every injustice conceivable. Just 15 years old when he was arrested, tortured and sentenced to death, he spent 23 years languishing on death row for a crime he didn’t commit before being executed in the early hours of this morning," she said in a statement.
"To the last, Pakistan refused even to grant his lawyers the few days needed to present evidence which would have proved his innocence. This is a travesty of justice and (a) tragedy for all those who knew Aftab."
On Tuesday, jail authorities defied a Lahore High Court order that allowed JPP access to Mustafa, the co-accused, in order to obtain a signed affidavit of him declaring Bahadur's innocence, JPP lawyers told Al Jazeera.
Earlier, Pakistani authorities granted a fourth last-minute stay of execution to Shafqat Hussain, due to be hanged on Tuesday, who rights groups also claim was a minor who was tortured into confessing to a murder in 2004.
"Dual punishment of a single crime"
Speaking to Al Jazeera in February, Bahadur had said he felt it was "unjust" for him to have been imprisoned for such a duration.
"I have spent 23 years in jail and it is more painful than a life sentence. I feel this is unfair and unjust to keep us in such a situation that we are forced to bear dual punishment of a single crime," he said.
"During the last 23 years of my imprisonment, I have received death warrants so many times that I can't remember the exact number.
"Obviously, it feels horrible whenever the warrant had been issued. We start to count down [to our execution] which itself is painful and shackles our nerves," Bahadur told Al Jazeera at the time.
"In fact, we die many times before our death. In my personal experience, nothing is more dreadful that waiting to die."
Bahadur, who was a Christian, said that he and fellow non-Muslim inmates at Kot Lakhpat Jail faced threats from other prisoners based on their faith.
Dozens of activists and relatives of Bahadur held a protest on Tuesday outside the Lahore press club demanding the execution be stopped, while Church leaders had also appealed to the president for a reprieve.
“It is unfortunate that authorities have gone ahead with the execution of Aftab Bahadur,” Cecil Chaudhry, executive director of the National Commission of Justice and Peace, a human rights body of the Catholic Church, told ucanews.com on Wednesday.
“Justice demands that if there is an iota of doubt, there should be an inquiry. In the Aftab Bahadur case, there was strong evidence to suggest that he was a juvenile at the time of his conviction,” Chaudhry said. “Two witnesses also retracted their statements and said Aftab was innocent.”
Chaudhry said that President Mamnoon Hussain could have considered the fact that Bahadur had already spent 23 years behind bars. Before the execution, the NCJP had pleaded with President Hussain to grant clemency. The Archbishop of Karachi, Joseph Coutts, had also written to the president, asking for the execution to be stopped.
Pakistan lifted a six-year moratorium on executions in December after the massacre of 132 children at a military-run school in Peshawar.
Last week, Pakistan’s independent human rights commission said that more than 130 people have been executed in 2015, the highest for any year in a decade.
The commission has demanded the government re-impose the moratorium on capital punishment and abolish the death penalty.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Persecuted Christians in Pakistan

It is sad to inform you all that police continue arresting Christian young boys from Youhanabad everyday through the source they print out the pictures and rate their homes and arrested them. Please keep pray for them and stand with brother Watson gill who prepared the petition for them.