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Jordanville, NY: Priest Joseph Farooq delivers Presentation at Holy Trinity Seminary

On Friday evening, February 3, with the blessing of His Grace, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Luke of Syracuse, Priest Joseph Farooq (rector of St. Michael the Archangel Mission in Sargodha, Pakistan) delivered a presentation on the life of the Pakistan Mission to students of Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY.

Fr. Joseph showed pictures of his missionary efforts in Pakistan, giving an overview of his tireless labors, such as the constant traveling he has to undertake for the missionary stations throughout Punjab. He named those missionary stations after great evangelical saints, such as the Holy Hierarchs Nicholas of Japan, Innocent of Moscow and Alaska, and John of Shanghai & San Francisco.

Fr. Joseph stressed the importance of not only the spiritual work being done at the Mission, but also the practical aspects involved. For instance, many women in Pakistan do not have access to education or work. The Mission features an educational center under the name of Blessed Matrona of Moscow, that teaches women valuable skills in Pakistan, such as sewing and knitting. While they learn these tasks, the Faith is also taught to them. He stressed the importance of the use of the local language, since almost all parishioners only speak Urdu. He mentioned how joyful the people are to be visited by a priest and how often after a great feast outside of the church they will express their joy with singing and dancing.

Fr. Joseph also spoke the seminarians about his own journey to Orthodoxy, as well as the trials that many people who were not natives had before him getting started in Pakistan. He spoke about the relationship he has formed with the other Christian communities, but also how he maintains Orthodox integrity by not allowing services between the two. These relationships are important: for instance, because of them, he is able to procure wine from Roman Catholic nuns for use at Divine Liturgy.

The Church in Pakistan has a very particular mission because of the constraints of the government. The Pakistani government has allowed for religious freedom with some restrictions. Christians can only evangelize and convert non-Muslims; attempting to convert a Muslim can result in the death penalty under the constitution of Pakistan. Many young women or Christian slaves ("bonded laborers") to Muslim landlords are often pressured to become Muslim. This is often resisted and Jesus as God is aggressively defended by the pious.

Fr. Joseph spoke about the main goal being the construction of a proper Orthodox temple for the faithful to gather together. The Orthodox are poor there and need both spiritual and financial support. Financial support allows him to do all the work that is already a lot for one man. He especially highlighted the help provided for many years by the Fund for Assistance to ROCOR and encouraged the seminarians (and others they may speak with) to donate through the FFA.

Finally, he noted that he has translated several important texts into Urdu, including the Divine Liturgy, the Jordanville Prayer Book, and the Orthodox catechism. He has many other translations planned.

Father was a schoolteacher for 15 years, became a full-time priest in 2016 (three years after ordination). Born Roman Catholic, he is married with children, and his Matushka is also a teacher.

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Eastern American Diocese | Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia