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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Christmas and Islam’s New Martyrs

“Is Christianity in trouble?  Is it in danger of becoming extinct?  I don’t believe so…” (1)

 

“The gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18)

 

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New Martyr Father Daniil Sysoev of Moscow
Confessor and Defender of Orthodoxy, and Apostle to the Muslims
†Nov. 19, 2009

“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held” (Revelation 6:9)

“And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” (Revelation 6:11)

 

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May 13, 2001 — the martyric death of Priest Igor Rozin on the feast day of St. Ignatius, Bishop of the Caucasus, in the city of Tyrnyauz in the North Caucasus.

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† New Martyr Evgeny Rodionov of Chechnya (May 23) http://facingislam.blogspot.gr/2013/05/new-martyr-evgeny-rodionov-of-chechnya.html

 

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Without specifically mentioning Islam, over a millennium of Muslim persecution of Christians, the genocide against Christians today, or the theological jihad of the tawhidists, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, in less than 350 words, conveys the depth of the mystery, paradox and irony of the Incarnation:

[The Word of God] sees a world in bondage to the forces of evil and He submits Himself to that evil in order to destroy it forever.

 

 

It is because Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word and Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, voluntarily “submits” (the meaning of the word, “Islam”) Himself to the forces of evil, that His extreme humility, His kenotic sacrifice, destroys that evil forever.

This is why the forces of Islam “rage against the Lord and against His Christ” (cf. Psalm 2), for they know that they have been defeated by Him Who is pure, holy, humble, and meek, Who becomes man and sacrifices Himself to restore all mankind to the Father.

Through His meekness, the proud are humbled.

Through His submission, those who try to force submission from others are overthrown.

Through His forgiveness from the Cross, even His persecutors can be converted and inherit the Kingdom!

We shall have to endure much to enter the Kingdom, but as His Beatitude and Bishop Paul remind us, Christ has already won the victory through His Incarnation, His sufferings, His crucifixion, and His Resurrection. Let us walk as Children of Light, and confess Him faithfully, so that we shall not be ashamed at His Second and Glorious Coming! (2)

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21 Coptic Martyrs of Libya http://facingislam.blogspot.gr/search/label/Coptic%20Martyrs

 “…Truly, “Great are the works of the Lord!”
 
He sees a world filled with suffering and He Himself voluntarily suffers to make a path to healing.
 
He sees a world dying and He Himself dies to bring resurrection and unending life.
 
He sees a world in darkness and He Himself enters that darkness to bring a divine light that can never be extinguished.
 
He sees a world in bondage to the forces of evil and He submits Himself to that evil in order to destroy it forever. …” (3)

 

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† 4 November 2014
Pakistani New Martyrs Shahzad and Shama, killed by a Muslim mob

Christian couple lynched for blasphemy: the police accused of negligence http://facingislam.blogspot.gr/2015/10/pakistani-new-martyrs-shahzad-and-shama.htm

 

“And war broke out in heaven:  Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.  So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.  Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them!  Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea!  For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.’”(Revelation 12:7-12)

 

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New-Martyr Mary the Copt

Friday, March 28, 2014

Killed by a Muslim Mob who saw the Cross hanging from her rearview mirror.http://facingislam.blogspot.gr/2015/07/new-martyr-mary-copt.html

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New Martyr Helen the Accountant

†March 15, 2013

Killed by her Muslim husband for converting to Christ.

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New Martyr Fr. Ragheed Ganni of Iraq, 

Heroic Chaldean Confessor and Witness for Christ

New Martyr Fr. Ragheed Ganni and his Three Sub-Deacons (†2007)

“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands” (Revelation 20:4)

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” (  Tertullian’s  famous quote)

 

Dedicated to our Church’s most choice children, the faithful martyrs, who guarantee its ongoing life, especially amidst its most glorious eras, those of persecution.
(1) For the full Nativity message of His Grace, Bishop Paul, in light of the genocide against Christians is occurring in the Middle East,  go to http://midwestdiocese.org/news_151221_2.html
 
 
See also Paris Massacre: An Act of war and the Army of Islam’s New Martyrs at https://orthodoxcityhermit.com/2015/11/14/paris-massacre-an-act-of-war-and-the-army-of-islams-new-martyrs/

New Martyrs. New Mob. New Hollow Men.

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“One of the women looked up and seemed to be almost smiling as she said, ‘Jesus!'” (1)

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They are the “new martyrs” and sadly, we are the “new mob”, “we are the hollow men”.

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“I’ve learnt something important from the horrors of the last few weeks. As I pray for the Christians in Mosul, it becomes clear to me that I need their prayers more than they need mine. … I thank God for the humbling gift of allowing me to witness these new martyrs walking on their way to salvation before my very eyes. … We are witnessing the birth of holiness; we are part of a miracle.” (2)

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The Hollow Men by T. S. Eliot

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We are the hollow men

… Alas!

Our dried voices, when

We whisper together

Are quiet and meaningless

As …

rats’ feet over broken glass

In our dry cellar…

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This is the way the world ends
 (3)

Not with a bang but a whimper.

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Watch Marlon Brando legendary reading of “The Hollow Men” in Francis Ford Coppola’s and Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking classic Apocalypse Now (1979) at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPeHO1r8paU and also listen to T. S. Eliot himself reading it in his own unforgettable manner at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fu8awT5Jzs

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(1) http://www.christiantoday.com/article/isis.executes.12.christiansincluding.boy.and.2.women.who.were.raped.in.public.and.beheadedfor.refusing.to.renounce.jesus/66532.htm

(2) For the full article “NEW MARTYRS. NEW MOB” go to Father Seraphim’s last year blog entry at http://www.mullmonastery.com/uncategorized/new-martyrs-new-mob/, ” still timely, with the ever-rising wave of genocidal persecution of Christians by Muslims.

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