The priest from Pakistan is Fr. John Tanveer. On March 27 near the children’s section of the park, Gulshan-e-Iqbal in Lahore (the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab), an explosion occurred. The blast killed 70 and injured more than 300 people. Terrorist attack in Pakistan was directed against Christians. Orthodox priest from Lahore, and a witness of the tragedy, John Tanveer told “Pravmiru” of the attack and challenging ministry in a region where the faith can die at any moment.
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.
-Fr John Tanveer
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 website.