Priest Daniel Sysoiev murdered
Letter of Matushka Julia Sysoieva
Nov 14/27 2009 25th Friday after Pentecost
Fr Peter Perekrestov (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
On Thursday, November 19, 2009 35 year old Fr Daniel Sisoev, a very active and straightforward missionary priest in Moscow, was gunned down by a masked gunman inside the St. Thomas Church.
PS We are collecting funds for Matushka Julia and her three girls which I hope to personally deliver to her during my next trip to Russia. If you would like to help out, please send a check (payable to Holy Virgin Cathedral
and earmarked: FOR FR DANIEL’s FAMILY) to my address:
Rev. Peter Perekrestov
475 26th Avenue, #2, San Francisco, CA 94121 USA
News about this murder:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20091120/wl_nm/us_russia_priest_murder_2 (part of the text is below)
A masked gunman entered a church and murdered a Russian Orthodox priest who had received death threats for converting Muslims to Christianity and criticizing Islam, prosecutors and church officials said Friday. …
Fr Daniel preached against the Muslim religion, received death threats and has been murdered. Whether this murder was by a Muslim or not, it is clear to anyone with a brain that there is an extremist element among Muslims that is enabled by the content of their religion, that kills those it disagrees with.
To preach against Muslims is dangerous, not matter what our (US) government and the even more wishy-washy governments of Europe tries to tell us. We are in a cultural war with Islam, and Christians are losing because for the most part, they are no longer Christian (in way of life, if not in self-identification).
It is quite possible that when we look at the picture, above, we are looking into the eyes of a martyr. We will serve a panakhida for Fr Deniil Saturday before Vigil, and add him and his family to our parish dyptichs. We will also have a collection for his widow and children this Sunday. We must honor his courage and sacrifice, realizing that someday we may be called upon to walk in his footsteps. (p seraphim)
Dear brothers and sisters, thank you for your support and prayers. This is the pain which cannot be expressed in words. This is the pain experienced by those who stood at the Cross of the Saviour. This is the joy which cannot be expressed in words, this is the joy experienced by those who came to the empty Tomb.
O death, where is thy sting?
Fr Daniel had already foreseen his death several years before it happened. He had always wanted to be worthy of a martyr’s crown. Those who shot him wanted, as usual, to spit in the face of the Church, as once before they spat in the face of Christ. They have not achieved their goal, because it is impossible to spit in the face of the Church. Fr Daniel went up to his Golgotha in the very church which he had built, the church to which he gave up all his time and all his strength. They killed him like the prophet of old – between the temple and the altar and he was indeed found worthy of a martyr’s calling. He died for Christ, Whom he served with all his strength.
Very often he would say to me that he was frightened of not having enough time, time to do everything. He was in a hurry. Sometimes, as a human-being he exaggerated, he got things wrong, he tripped up and made mistakes, but he made no mistake about the main thing, his life was entirely dedicated to HIM.
I did not understand why he was in a hurry. The last three years he was busy serving, never taking days off or taking holidays. I moaned, just now and again I wanted simple happiness, that my husband and my children’s father would be with my children and me. But another path had been prepared for him.
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’.
These words were forgotten too soon. He told us which vestments to bury him in. Then I joked that there was no need to speak about that, we still did not know who would bury who. He said that I would bury him. Once our conversation turned to funerals, I don’t remember the details but I did say that I had never been to a priest’s funeral. And he answered that it did not matter because I would be at his funeral.
Now I remember many words which have gained a meaning. Now my doubts have dissolved, the misunderstandings have gone.
We did not say goodbye in this life, we did not ask each other forgiveness, we did not embrace one another. It was just another day: in the morning he went to the liturgy and I did not see him again. Why didn’t I go to the church that day to meet him? I had thought of it, but I decided I had better get the evening meal ready and put the children to bed. It was because of the children that I did not go there. There was a hand that did not let me go. But the evening before I had gone to the church and met him. I had felt as if dark clouds were gathering over us. And in the last few days I had tried to spend more time with him. Over the last week I had thought only about death and about life after death. I couldn’t get my head around either the first or the second. That day my head was spinning with the words: ‘Death is standing right behind you’. The last week everything was so hard, as if a huge load had been emptied out on top of me. I am not broken. He is supporting me, I feel as if he is standing by me. Then we said so many affectionate words, which we had never said to each other in our whole life before. Only now do I understand how much we loved each other.
The memorial service for the forty days of Fr Daniel takes place on the eve of his names day and the patronal feast of the future church, 29 December, and 30 December is the feast of the holy prophet Daniel. According to the prophecy of an elder, the church would be built but Fr Daniel would not serve in it. The second part of the prophecy has already been fulfilled.
Matushka Julia Sysoieva (translated by Fr Andrew Phillips)
Priest Seraphim Holland 2009. St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas
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