The hand of a mother…
Fr Daniil Sysoev, the rector of St Thomas church in Moscow, was killed on the evening of 19 November right inside his church. Fr Daniil was a well-known and active missionary in the MP. He established missionary courses in several Russian cities, which prepared Orthodox preachers to work amongst people of other beliefs such as Muslims and Protestants of various denominations. Recently, before his death, he conceived the idea of developing extensive missionary activity in Kyrgyzstan, which many regard as a “springboard” for the evangelisation of Central Asia and China.
The death of Fr Daniil Sysoev created a wide resonance within both the Church and society in general. “We must keep firmly in mind and know that confession, and, yes, even martyrdom, is always a possibility when we serve Christ and His Church. The tragic death of Fr Daniil should not plant fear and cowardice in our hearts or weaken our zeal to do God’s work“, said Patriarch Kirill’s statement on the death of Fr Daniil. On the eve of the funeral, on the day of his burial, and on the ninth day after his tragic death, there were processions in his memory held in different parts of the capital.
To date, the crime is still under investigation and the police still search for the killer of the priest. There are different speculations on what happened. Fr Daniil Sysoev had many enemies, both open and covert, because he spared no harsh words for, in his words, “heretics and schismatics”, when he referred to the heterodox in his blog on Live Journal. Neopagan fanatics could have pulled the trigger on Sysoev because he declared Russian Neopaganism evil, as it led to extreme nationalism. In his sermons, he fiercely denounced nationalism, as it is in conflict with the traditional values of Christianity, for in Christ there is “neither Hellene nor Jew”. A radical from the far-left of the political spectrum could have been the murderer. “Satanic envy is the root of all evil. Some hide it under the pretence of social justice”, he said in speaking of the fundamental values of some leftist ideologues.
However, the public believes the Islamists are the main suspects. Fr Daniil’s writings and his active preaching amongst Muslims irritated followers of Islam, both the non-violent and the more militant. Witness at least these lines, “The Word of God is mightier than the sword, as was shown by the tens of thousands of martyrs who revealed the insane teachings of Muhammad through their sufferings” (from the article, Can the Koran Claim that it is the Word of God?). Daniil Sysoev defended the truth of the faith as vehemently as if he had lived in the 7th century, during the time of St John of Damascus, even though the latter was very tolerant towards Islam and, at one point, even served as an advisor to the Caliph, earning universal esteem and respect. Sysoev also insulted the innermost feelings of Muslims, knowing what an emotional outburst even a cartoon of the Prophet caused in the modern world, not to mention the denial of the very foundations of Islam. He exhorted all to live the Gospel, but, he seemed to have forgotten the words of Scripture that he who sows the wind reaps the whirlwind.
30 December 2009
Независимая Газета (Nezavisimaya Gazeta: The Independent Newspaper)
As quoted in Interfax-Religion