A Year Between Heaven and Earth

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This year marks the eighth anniversary of the martyrdom of the missionary Moscow priest Daniel Sysoev, who was shot in the church he built by a Muslim who was angered by Fr. Daniel’s ability to convert followers of Islam, on the evening of November 19, 2009. He died in the hospital early the following morning.

Matushka Julia, Fr. Daniel’s wife, has agreed to share her memories of her husband. Her words here are a frank monologue, a canvas woven from her personal diary.

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Julia Sysoeva at the funeral of Fr. Daniel. Photo patriarchia.ru

 

“I will no longer accept condolences. I accept only congratulations.”

Memories of the events a year ago are very hard. The wounds remain, and my heart feels the pain. I remember that evening almost minute by minute—even what I bought in the store, what I was thinking about, when I got home, my last call to him, and his last words: “About forty minutes.” And forty minutes later, the cold dial tone on the line—he didn’t answer anymore. I called him a few minutes after he was shot. Then that first horrible night: the church, the police perimeter, the interrogation, the scarlet puddle of blood on the floor. His unfinished tea in his office, the open laptop. The sleepless night, sunrise, and further—the real horror. Here are excerpts from my journal—memorials of those sorrowful days.

“A year has passed and I have realized one thing that I was unable to accept and understand—in the ancient Church they congratulated you with martyrdom. I have felt with all my heart how good it is for Fr. Daniel there!—how he has enormous possibilities for work incommensurate with our earthly standards. Then I understood and realized that I will no longer accept condolences. I accept only congratulations. …”

“A priest once wrote these words in his last book: “The best end, which only a Christian can imagine, is a martyric death.” These words were written by the murdered priest Daniel Sysoev.”

“November 22, 2009

We stopped by the deserted apartment for a couple of hours. The whole night I was at his grave and at the early Liturgy.

I found the leftovers from our last dinner in the fridge. I had made sushi, and for some reason it hadn’t gone bad. Wednesday was the last time we had dinner together. Late, almost 12:00.

He didn’t come to dinner on Thursday. If someone had called me from the church immediately after it happened, I would have reached him alive! He lived—and it’s a miracle—almost an hour after being shot in the neck and right through his head. But no one called me!!! Why? I have more questions than answers. These days are lost time—it is continuous pain and sorrow.

It was a joy, almost like Pascha, when after vesting him in the morgue, they let me see his face. It was a miracle that, despite the perforating wound, the Lord preserved his face unharmed, without any bruising, as if alive.”

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Fr. Daniel’s pectoral cross, washed in his blood

For the rest of the diary, go here

For more articles and interviews about Daniel Sysoev of Blessed Memory, go here 

Also, “WHEN THEY KILL ME, DON’T CRY FOR ME, BUT PRAY FOR ME”

Remembrances of Fr. Daniel Sysoev by Archimandrite Melchisedek (Artiukhin)

By Matushka Julia Sysoeva

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Drunk on Delusion, Sober in Despair

Paris Massacre’s “Act of War” and Islam’s New Martyrs’ ‘Army’

 In Memoriam  —  A Video, Liturgic Chant and Iconography Tribute

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In the darkness of the Paris tragedy,  May God give rest to all the victims! Comfort to their families! Mercy to the killers! Repentance for the assassins before they depart this earth! Saints Denis, Genevieve, and Maria of Paris, Irenaios of Lyons, Martin and Gregory of Tours, Prosper of Aquitaine, John Cassian the Roman, Caesarius of Arles, Hilary of Poitiers, and all the martyrs and saints of France, pray for the protection of the people of France and our world!

Litanie des saints de Paris

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRbtJi_U-BE&app=desktop

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A Letter from the People of the Cross to ISIS

The world is talking about you
Your apocalyptic dreams and spectacular sins
Are now awakening the middle east
In your holy war, come to holy ground
Come children of Abraham come
The people of the cross gathers at your gates with a message

Love is coming after you.
Like a rush of wind grazing over the pacific
From hills of the mount of olives to the desert winds of Jordan
From the cedars of lebanon to the silk roads of the East
An army comes. With no tanks or soldiers
But an army of martyrs faithful unto death
Carrying a message of life
The people of the cross  
Comes to die at your gates. 
If you wont hear our message with words
Then we will show you with our lives
Laid down.

For every throat you slit and every woman you rape
For every man you burn and every child you turn to dust
There is blood on your hands brother

But Come Brothers Come

Come with your bloodstained hands,
Come with your eyes full of murder for the people of the Cross,
Come lay your guns and your knives at the foot of the cross
A love that is overdue and overwhelming
Breathes through your cities

Though your sins are like scarlet
They can be washed white as snow
Though you call yourselves servants
He will make you into Sons
Where can you run from His love?
Even the darkness cannot hide you

Come Brothers Come
There is the sound of a rushing rain
To remove your sins and bind your wounds
You die for your god but our God died for us 
The King of Kings comes to be the sacrificial lamb
Slain on the altar where we should have been
Jesus Christ, Isa Al Masih
Walks through the Middle East

There is forgiveness tonight oh brother
There is healing for your sins oh brother
We are no different.
Apart from Christ, we are no better than the worst jihadist
Christ has been crucified once. and for All.
To make sinners like you and me into brothers
Even you.
Even now.

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Who Would Dare to Love ISIS? (A Letter from the People of the Cross)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSv4vBcFyvo

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Paris terror attacks: a night of carnage in France’s capital–Friday November 13

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” 

“It still remains unclear how the situation developed inside the concert hall. According to witnesses, the attackers stormed the venue as a California rock group ‘Eagles of Death Metal’ was performing on the stage. A Europe 1 journalist, who was inside the Bataclan, said the men were unmasked and carried what he recognized as Kalashnikov-type guns. “The assailants had time to reload at least three times. They were not masked, masters of themselves. They were very young,” the reporter Julian Pearce said, according to the Liberation newspaper. People who managed to flee the theater reported seeing between six and eight shooters inside were killing those who remained in the concert hall “one by one”. One of the gunmen at Bataclan reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar!” meaning, “God is [the] greatest” in Arabic.

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In 1714, just before Easter, Constantin Brancoveanu – the Christian ruler of the Romanian Kingdom for 26 years – was taken to Istanbul and imprisoned. His four sons were imprisoned with him. In a typical gesture, the Muslim rulers of the Ottoman Empire gave them the well-known choice: convert to Islam or die. Because they refused to deny Christ, on August 15th (the Dormition Feast), they were all decapitated – first the Christian king’s councillor was beheaded, then all his sons (Matthew, the youngest of them, was 11 years old). The King, his wife and daughters, were forced to witness the public executions. Western diplomats were present; the official representatives of France, England and Russia (among others) felt they could not refuse the Muslim ruler’s invitation. In the end, after the killing of all his sons, the King himself was publicly executed – it was his 60th birthday. Their heads were carried and displayed through Istanbul; their bodies were thrown in the Bosphorus. Today, they are all commemorated as Martyrs.

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The Glorification of 1241 New Martyrs of Naousa

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Central photograph of St. Philoumenos the New Righteous Hieromartyr, the Cypriot, at Jacob’s Well where Christ spoke with St. Photini. Surrounding are other pictures and icons of St. Philoumenos and associated scenes. He was martyred on November 16th/29th 1979

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St. Philoumenos the New Hieromartyr of Jacob’s Well

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Holy New-Martyrs of Jasenovac

St. Jacob of Hamatoura - Martyrdom copy

St. Jacob of Hamatoura

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Synaxis of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia

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… Three centuries later; we see Muslim children carrying the heads of the people their fundamentalist parents have murdered. We hear these children calling for more executions. The only difference is that, this time, Western journalists are also killed.

The West may be in shock, but Eastern Europe isn’t. For us, this is just the return of a very recent nightmare. Less than a century ago, the Ottoman Empire was still present here, in our countries. Think about that!

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New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke

We all – West and East – have so much to learn from each other. The world needs to look at its past – its common past. The West needs to understand that what happens in other parts of the world will one day (very soon, it seems) happen at home, in its own back-yard.

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The 1241 New Martyrs of Naousa who were brutally massacred 

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 The 21 New Martyrs of Egypt & Libya

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Saint Ephraim the Newly-Revealed Wonderworker of Nea Makri

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Holy New Martyrs Emmanuel, Anezina, George and Maria, The Four Crypto-Christians New Martyrs

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The 100,000 Holy Martyrs of Tbilisi

When one visits the thousands of Orthodox monasteries in Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, one must learn how to see beyond their exterior beauty and exoticism. All these places are built on harrowing pain and horror, yet they remain living prayers for the peace and salvation of the whole world; for centuries, they’ve held on to a holy stubbornness to not let go of hope, to not let go of love, to not allow hate to win and take over our hearts.

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New Martyrs Raphael, Nikolaos, Eirini

If that happened, if we let go of love and embraced the hatred, we’d be denying Christ; we’d be losing the real battle, the battle these old and new Christian martyrs died for.

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Hell Is Empty and All the Devils Are Here: a quote from the first act of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest

Source:  http://www.mullmonastery.com/uncategorized/1714-2014-love-and-hate-not-much-has-changed/ . Read also http://myocn.net/an-orthodox-christian-response-to-beheading-by-muslims/

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“As the world reels from the horrors we have read and talked about since Thursday, our only recourse remains that which is the most powerful: prayer.” (Ryan Hunter)

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“The Muslim threat will not be neutralized, and Muslims will not come to see the falsehood of their own faith, – which, after all, must be our hope and the only real solution to the problem – until and unless the Christians stop appeasing them through their anti-Christian ecumenism and debauchery, demonstrating in their own lives what it is to be a real Christian. The present confrontation between Western ecumenism and Muslim terrorism is providential … a final appeal to the conscience of Western Christians to cast off their indifference and acquire zeal for the one true faith, which is Christianity.” http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/articles/690/islamic-terrorism-western-ecumenism/

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The Blood of the Lamb

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Fr Daniil Sysoev (1974-2009)

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“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11)

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With the rising wave of genocidal persecution of Christians by Muslims, we can properly begin speaking of the ‘New Martyrs of the 21st Century under the Sword of Islam’. One of the most important of these New Martyrs, if not the pre-eminent, is the righteous Priest-Martyr Fr. Daniil Sysoev of Moscow (1974 -2009), who was killed by a masked Muslim gunman in front of the altar at the church he founded. Sysoev’s murder was claimed by a militant Islamic group based in the North Caucasus. According to a statement made by Russian Islamists “One of our brothers who has never been to the Caucases took up the oath of (former independent Chechen president Doku Umarov) and expressed his desire to execute the damned Sysoyev.”

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Fr Daniil was not any ordinary casualty of Islam’s renewed war on Christians in the early third millennium after Christ’s First Coming in the Flesh. He was a towering figure in the Russian Orthodox Church, a theologian, writer, evangelist and missionary, extending his endeavours to all Muslims, neo-Pagans, Jews, Protestants, excluding none.. He particularly engaged in open debate with Muslims, and converted scores of them from Islam to the Orthodox Gospel, including a number of Wahhabi extremists. In the Islamic space of Russia he had earned the nickname “Russian Salman Rushdie”.

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For his profound faith and tireless efforts, he has earned the titles of Confessor, Evangelist, Apostle to the Muslims, and Pillar of Orthodoxy in the 21st Century. That his zealous but loving and peaceful missionary work among Muslims enraged some of them to resort to murder in order to silence him, proves the strength and validity of his witness to Christ, and seals his life’s work with the pure blood of holy martyrdom.

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The purpose of this page is to provide a representative collection of essential resources on New Martyr Fr. Daniil Sysoev, to promote the veneration of Father Daniil as a Saint of the Church, and to inspire others to follow his example, take up their crosses, and labour for our Lord Jesus Christ.

†Nov. 19, 2009

Give rest, O Lord, to the soul of thy servant

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Special Resource Page

You Wish to See Many Miracles? – You Should Become a Missionary or a Martyr!

Fr. Daniel’s Autobiography and the Interview with Him on the Occasion of the Opening of the Missionary Centre

http://facingislam.blogspot.gr/2013/11/you-wish-to-see-many-miracles-you.html

http://www.pravmir.com/article_793.html

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Writings of Fr. Daniel Sysoev now available in English

http://facingislam.blogspot.gr/2015/02/new-martyr-fr-daniel-sysoevs-writings.html

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New online store for book ordering, plus digital publication on the ISSUU platform, bring Fr. Daniel’s works to the English-speaking world. Numerous titles available with many more to follow. More info with links here.

http://facingislam.blogspot.com/2015/02/new-martyr-fr-daniel-sysoevs-writings.html

https://lessonsfromamonastery.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/book-review-catechetical-talks-by-new-martyr-daniel-sysoev/

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Fr. Peter Alban Heers: Podcasts on New Martyr Fr. Daniil Sysoev

Three audio podcasts from 2011…

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Orthodox Word #268, ‘The Blood of the Martyrs is the Seed of the Church’

The Life and Martyric Death of the Righteous Missionary, Father Daniel Sysoev

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http://facingislam.blogspot.gr/2013/11/fr-daniil-sysoevs-last-sermon-video.html

Fr. Daniel Sysoev’s Last Sermon (VIDEO)

With English subtitles. A message on Christian love and concord, full of scriptural references and spiritual truths.

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Priest-Martyr Fr. Daniil Sysoev with His Family, Video

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2009/11/priest-marty-fr-daniil-sysoev-with-his.html

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Interview with Fr Daniil

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2009/11/interview-with-fr-daniil-sysoyev-on-his.html

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ON THE DEATH OF MY HUSBAND: THE MATUSHKA OF THE MARTYRED PRIEST DANIEL SPEAKS AND REVEALS THAT A PROPHECY HAS BEEN FULFILLED

Fr Daniel had already foreseen his death several years before it happened. He had always wanted to be worthy of a martyr’s crown. … He used to say that they would kill him. I would ask him who would look after us. Me and the three children. He would answer that he would put us in safe hands. ‘I‘ll give you to the Mother of God. She’ll take care of you’. Read her full, moving testimony at http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/32818.htm

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Can One Consider the Death of Fr. Daniel Sysoev to be a Martyrdom? by Hieromonk Job Gumerov

Death is the last event in a person’s earthly life. For a missionary, death is the last homily, the last message preached, the last witness for Christ, Whom the missionary loved with complete readiness to sacrifice his or her life for the sake of the triumph of the Faith. Father Daniel Sysoev[1] had prepared himself for this sacrifice long before…  Read the full article.

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Serbian Conversations, Part 1 – An Interview with Fr. Daniil Sysoev and Dcn. Yuri Maximov

To shortly describe Fr. Daniel, he walked before God. … He walked with a light step, like a person who knows where he is going and why, one who is calm in the present and that does not worry about the future because he has entrusted all his cares to the Lord, Who is as close to him as a Loving Father. Read the full article and interview.

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Serbian Conversations, Part 2 – An Interview with Fr. Daniil Sysoev and Dcn. Yuri Maximov

“True Christianity is having pity for the perishing people. Fear to be punished by the Lord for burying one’s talent and desire to receive great reward in heaven-these are what must move a missionary. We should walk with God as the Lord said of Enoch, Enoch walked with God and…God took him (Gen. 5:24). Just that walking with God is the root of missions. “Read the full interview…

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Orthodox Priest Murdered in Moscow for his anti-Muslim stance

(Pravda, Moscow, 11/20/2009) Orthodox Priest Daniil Sysoyev was assassinated in Moscow on the night of November 19. … The unidentified assassin was wearing a doctor’s mask when he attacked the priest, Interfax reports. The criminal entered Holy Apostle Thomas Church in the south of Moscow on Thursday night, at about 10:40 p.m. …The man rushed into the church and shouted: “Who is Sysoyev here?” The 35-year-old priest came forward, the attacker pulled out a gun with a silencer, and shot him in the neck and in the head. … Read the full article.

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On the Murder of Father Daniil Sysoev. By Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

http://www.pravmir.com/article_792.html

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For Daniel Sysoev’s biography .. «the good shepherd giveth his life…» John. 10,11…Read the full article at http://mission-center.com/en/daniil-sisoev

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Father Daniel, priest and martyr

“… His clerical colleagues called him the “Orthodox Wahhabi” for the fire gleaming in his eyes and his passionate speeches. …

The day he was assassinated was the 24th Sunday after Pentecost …I preached on Sunday in Mamelodi. And .. Father Daniel preached in Moscow. But he didn’t merely preach it, he lived it, and died for it.” Read the full interview at https://khanya.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/father-daniel-priest-and-martyr/

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Remembering Fr. Daniel Sysoev By ARCHPRIEST OLEG STENIAEV

…We met in the mid-1990s: I was a priest and he was still a deacon. … Thereafter we were in constant contact. …He felt no animosity towards people of other faiths. He himself mentions this in his lectures: “I love these people, but I do not share their faith and beliefs.” … They killed him out of fear. … I said to him: “They’re going to kill you!” To which he replied: “What are you talking about? I’m unworthy!” He felt that if he were killed for the faith he would become a martyr. There was no shadow of fear in him, only reverence before martyrdom. …Read the full interview at http://www.pravmir.com/remembering-fr-daniel-sysoev/

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Fr. Daniel Sysoev: “To Make the Whole World Love Christ”

He very much loved to preach about Christ; and I can say for myself that the greatest commandment that I received from my preceptor is this: “The purpose of a missionary is to make the whole world love Christ.” Read the full interview at

http://www.pravmir.com/daniel-sisoev-to-make-the-whole-world-love-christ/

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Seraphim Maamdi’s memories of Father Daniel

“My acquaintance with Fr. Daniel was God’s mercy toward me. … When I met him I was impressed by his burning faith and the brave spirit which he was able to share with those around him. … inspired me to go by the same path. ….Fr. Daniel told me to fear nothing, that the Muslims had threatened him personally fourteen times, saying that they would behead him — but should we hold back out of fear? The important thing, he said, is to firmly and bravely bear the Word of God, and to be witnesses of Christ … He often said spoke of martrydom, as if he knew that the Lord would glorify him in precisely this way. And behold, the Lord made him worthy of a martyr’s crown. The ancient Christians rejoiced in this situation, but we were saddened. .. I remember that when I learned of his death I was very grieved and thought, “If only he could have had a few more years.” But later I acknowledged that the will of God is in all things. Read the full article at http://www.pravmir.com/daniel-sisoev-to-make-the-whole-world-love-christ/

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MANY MUSLIMS WERE BAPTIZED AFTER THE DEATH OF FR. DANIEL SISOYEV

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/57085.htm

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Priest Daniel Sysoev: Even Provincial Imams Come to our Church … “Russian Salman Rushdie”

http://www.pravmir.com/priest-daniel-sysoev-even-provincial-imams-come-to-our-church/

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“DON’T BE AFRAID TO PREACH CHRIST”

Three men from the Caucasus region, Monk Madai (Maamdi), a Kurd Mikhail, a Kabardinian and Nectary Mikhaelyan, an Armenian recount how Fr. Daniel Sisoyev influenced their lives. Read the full article at http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/75392.htm

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FATHER DANIEL SISOYEV’S POSTHUMOUS MISSION: THREE STORIES: Aviv Saliu-Diallo (Switzerland), Stanoe Stankovic (Serbia), Oana Iftime (Romania). Read the full article at http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/57660.htm

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Sources:

http://facingislam.blogspot.gr/p/new-marty.html

Pravoslavie;  Pravmir

Edited and Updated