We will tell about the residence in Russia of the one and only in the whole Pakistan Russian Orthodox ROCOR priest Joseph Farooq.
It’s no secret that if it seems that you are on a hiding at nothing and only a miracle can help you, through your prayers that Miracle will happen!
Father Joseph Farooq from Pakistan for long time had been dreaming about visit to Russia, bit due to limited financial resources could not afford this trip…
He had a fascination for Russia in an effort to know how Russian people lived on their native soil. He loves and holds Russians in high respect. We cannot imagine how Christians much less Orthodox Christians have to live in utter humiliation in an Islamic country where nobody would give a pinch of snuff for the life of a Christian. We, Russians, like to rail against our Russia, and it does not occur to us that the place that we blaspheme, for the popular majority of humanity, residents of emerging states, is a hopeless dream. We can go to the Orthodox churches, the priests in our country are the most respectable persons, and we just cannot understand what it means to die for Christ’s sake, give life for Faith. Pakistani Christians know it firsthand. The more important is a testimony about Faith of a person who follows up – the Priest.
Father Joseph came to Russia at the invitation of the leadership of Orthodox Russia group http://pravoslavnajarossia.ru and stayed almost two weeks here. For his journey, there were collected donations to the amount of 54,000 rubles, all together another 200,000 rubles were contributed by me. We also managed to collect 47,000 rubles for clerical vestments, icons and other necessary for the Orthodox community things. When the question about the possibility of visiting Russia came up and it felt like unrealizable, I promised Fr. Joseph that he would come to us. No matter how many donations would be collected. All we needed was praying to God and believing that the prayers would come true! Fr. Joseph believed and his dream came true!
When I was meeting him in the Moscow airport I could not imagine what trial had prepared the Lord for me. His plane landed. First passengers got off the plane. Then the passengers from that flight came in flocks but in spite of all my attempts to look out for the face which I knew from photos, I could not see him. Al last my phone rang. I answered in English, however, it was not Fr. Joseph. A lady who presented herself as an airport security officer began to inquire whom I was meeting, who and what I was, where I lived… And only having satisfied her curiosity she announced that if I invited Fr. Joseph to Russia, I had to fill in the official form the guarantee for the entire period of his stay in Russia. Father Joseph is an honest man, and although he came on a tourist and not a visitor visa, he told Russian frontier guards not the things he had to tell but the words put into his mouth by his soul. Thus I became official security. For a man who is my senior. For an Orthodox priest. For my great friend priest Joseph Farooq.
Faith is capable to work wonders, and the visit of the poor Pakistani from a potty little town at a distance of more than 10,000 km is the evidence par excellence!
You have no money?! You have no connections?! Nobody has invited you?! You are chosen by the Lord for His service! You can move heaven and earth!
When he and I came to the Patriarchal Epiphany Cathedral in Yelokhovo to pay our respects to holy sites, that priest for a long time humbly waited for confession letting more impatient people go by. And he was last to go to confession. Pursuant to his request to me to translate (Father does not know Russian), as I was a parishioner of that church, the confessor archpriest Boris, who in olden times consecrated my car, remarked with a humorous undertone that on the eve of the Pentecost to him as a priest understanding of any language was accessible, he, lackaday, did not know English. Father Joseph made his confession thoroughly, in a gentle voice and humbly the same as he queued up for the confession. In English! Father Boris heard him and granted absolution. When 3 days later he saw both of us in the chancel surrounded by clergy he said: What men! He apparently remembered the confession! Once I made confession in the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Vienna (Austria). Having waited for my turn I repentantly in Russian told about my sins. Though it is embarrassing to admit but I told the priest everything. In response, the priest looking very much like Russian priests listened to me attentively, smiled and said: I don’t understand! The Lord only knows whether he understood Russian, but the kindness sounding in his voice I remembered once and for all.
The priesthood are not ordinary people. They who harbor within their hearts the God’ grace of servicing the Truth that chose them for the sake of weaker brethren. Father Joseph on the advice which gave me my spiritual father archpriest Mikhail begged for the blessing of the hegumen of the Epiphany Cathedral archpriest Alexander to take the evening service. It emerged that Fr. Alexander knew many priests of ROCOR by name and the conversation before service about the phone number of ROCOR in the clerical office of bishop Hilarion, the ROCOR beneficiary, looked quite matter-of-factly. Whereas it was not an ordinary service. It was Saturday’s evening. The liturgical Low Sunday Feast was beginning. In the same way that once the Apostle Thomas fell down before the Lord, the priest from far Pakistan held a feast rite in the Patriarchal Cathedral. Divine Providence!
When two days later we fell down before relics of St. Venerable Peter and Fevronia in Murom, Father Joseph was blessed to officiate. The office was excellent! Sisters of Charity were singing so heartily and profoundly that my mission opened up to me – to help the poor ones, serve the priests, defend the feeble ones, tilt at wrongs, stand for the Truth without regard to my own life… And you know, it is well worth it! When a miracle came into your life, you’ll never remain the same!
Father Joseph in the course of stay in Russia hit upon one fascinating idea — the thing you put your faith in will come true!
So let Russia always shine in his heart with kindness and sincerity of Russian Orthodox Christians, his brothers and sisters!