We do not know much about Christianity in Pakistan as information about it usually comes from news reports and often comes down to number of killed and injured missionaries and local residents who adopted religion, which is not traditional for the country. Orthodox priest Gennady Moroz told Interfax-Religion correspondent Yelena Verevkina how the things go on in the country on closer examination as from now on he would celebrate services in it.
- What did you feel when you learned about your appointment to Pakistan? Were you scared?
- It wasn't a sudden decision. Before my appointment on the initiative of Russian Ambassador Andrey Budnik we discussed the situation and a possibility of providing spiritual support to embassy staff as they work in rather tense atmosphere.
- Will you have security or bear some means of personal protection?
- No, I don't have any protection means! I believe there's no need in such protection. I have to bring all necessary things for divine services with me. I have never seen any negative reaction on these absolutely evident attributes: books, icons, crosses. Pakistanians work in the territory of the embassy and their attitude to me is respectful. I can tell you that in India where it is believed that Christians are also treated badly, I often wear an inner cassock with cross and when I come in some kind of office, attendants stand up. Their attitude is very friendly.
- How will you schedule your ministry?
- I will come several times a year, for sure on the Feast of Protection of the Mother of God as the community is named after this feast and on Easter.
- Only embassy workers make your our flock, don't they?
- Yes, but I would like to say that many of them come to services, confess, take communion, and not only staff of our embassy, but there are people from other embassies, about 75 people usually attend the service. People have desire to pray and it gives me strength to travelling.
- Do you plan to start missionary work among local residents?
- I don't have such plans. Our objective is to give our people spiritual rest, give them a chance not to forget their faith, their history far from their Motherland. We are ready to communicate with others and to tell them about our faith, our values, to be a particle of Russia for everyone who wants to get acquainted with it. Now we have a legalized parish of the Moscow Patriarchate in India, we have a status of a standing parish, it's really very important. Then we have to search for some opportunities, I believe, the Lord will send us these opportunities and people to acquire land for building a church, it will be the first Orthodox church in India.
- Do you think that Pakistanians can be interested in Orthodoxy?
- It is difficult for me to assess possibilities and prospects. I think they will be interested. People who got their education in Russia always speak very kindly about the time spent there. Their attitude to Russians is very friendly. Moreover, we don't impose ourselves. Catholics and Protestants are a little bit imposing, our policy is different. We make friends with people, and when they see that we are not aggressive they also behave without aggression. Protestants, Catholics have different methods and I believe that people oppose to their methods and not to Christianity.
- What do you think about the idea to set up territorial enclave for Christian minority in the country? Protestant and Catholic leaders spoke against such an idea, but Pakistan Christians see a chance to be protected in it...
- I believe it is not secure. If there are some special quarters there always are disorders in them provoked by the other side, and usually not by political forces, but by ordinary hooligans. Besides if Christians behave themselves with dignity, communicate with people and not insult their faith and traditions then their example has positive influence. God's law is in heart of every person, it always works. Certainly, everything can happen, but Protestants and Catholics have such methods that I believe people oppose to their methods not to Christianity.
- Their sermon is too aggressive, isn't it?
- They are often imposing and even aggressive, they try to set up special privileges to Christians, if a person agrees to adopt Christianity, they pay his debts. There is such a practice. Local residents told me. So I don't think that Pakistanians fight against Christianity.