Voices from Russia

Monday, 23 November 2009

Farewells and Memorials to Fr Daniil Sysoev

A scene from the funeral of the murdered Fr Daniil… is he a New Martyr and Confessor of Russia… is he the last of that line as Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev was the first?

Last Saturday, hundreds of people came to St Thomas church in Moscow to say goodbye to Fr Daniil Sysoev, shot and murdered in that very church. As reported by our Interfax-Religion correspondent, the coffin with Fr Daniil’s body was brought from the morgue to the church in the afternoon. Many of those who came to pay their respects were dressed in black and weeping. There was a Pannikhida for the slain priest served in the church and it was broadcast through loudspeakers for the crowds gathered outside the church on the street. A queue formed for the funeral bouquets by a vendor’s tent set up near the Kantemirovskaya metro stop. Flowers surrounded the fences and walls of the church, as people constantly came and placed new bouquets in memory of Fr Daniil.

On Saturday, several hundred Orthodox activists carried out a procession in the centre of Moscow in memory of the slain Fr Daniil Sysoev. As they told our Interfax-Religion correspondent, participants of the event went from Assumption of the Virgin church in Putinki to Pushkin Square. As they marched, they carried photos of Fr Daniil. After the procession ended, Fr Aleksei Gomonov, the rector of Assumption of the Virgin parish and Hieromonk Roman Koshelev of the Optina Pustyn monastery served Pannikhida for the repose of Fr Daniil’s soul. Kirill Frolov, the head of the Association of Orthodox Experts and friend of Fr Daniil, participated in the procession, and he said to our correspondent, “It seems that someone wants to paint the Russian Church into a corner, to scare our Orthodox missionaries so that they would run away and hide behind the fences of our churches. To this, we, who are marching today, answer in Stolypin’s words, ‘We won’t be intimidated!’” He expressed the hope that the death of Fr Daniil, and the fame of his missionary zeal, “would awaken those who are still asleep, and would goad many priests and lay missionaries into zealous action”.

On Monday, at 10.00 MSK (07.00 UTC 02.00 EST 23.00 Sunday 22 November PST), the funeral of Orthodox priest Fr Daniil Sysoev was at Ss Peter and Paul church took place in the Moscow district of Yasenevo. “Archbishop Arseny Epifanov of Istra, a Vicar Bishop of the Diocese of Moscow, will serve the funeral as the delegate of Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias. Towards the end of the funeral proper, at about noon, Patriarch Kirill shall come to the church and serve a Litiya for Fr Daniil”, Deacon Aleksandr Volkov, a spokesman for the Patriarchal press service told Interfax-Religion earlier. Then, he said, Fr Daniil’s burial would follow at Kuntsevo Cemetery.

Fr Daniil Sysoev (1974-2009)

On Monday morning, more than two thousand people gathered in the courtyard of Ss Peter and Paul church in the Yasenevo district of Moscow for the funeral service of the assassinated priest, Fr Daniel Sysoev, according to our Interfax-Religion correspondent. Archbishop Arseny Epifanov of Istra served the funeral service for Fr Daniil, and several dozen Moscow clergy concelebrated wearing white vestments. From the very beginning of the Pannikhida, there was no space left for more people in the church, so, a dense crowd of believers gathered in the courtyard in front of a large video monitor carrying a simultaneous broadcast of the service. Most brought bouquets of flowers, many brought their young children to the funeral. At the end of the service proper, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias arrived. He went to the altar of the church, then, from the pulpit, he spoke to the family and friends of Fr Daniil, as well as giving all present a pastoral talk.

Patriarch Kirill called on all believers to think about the importance of the missionary podvig in the lives of all people in connection with the murder of Fr Daniil Sysoev. “Fr Daniil did much to uphold God’s truth. He participated in various debates and discussions, defending the truth to the best of his ability. However, the strongest word he uttered is what we see here today”, His Holiness said standing before the coffin of Fr Daniil after the funeral service in Ss Peter and Paul church. According to Patriarch Kirill, “If a man is killed for the sake of God’s truth, then, if the people accept this truth and admit it, it has vast power”. Vladyki Kirill reminded us that over the two thousand years of Christian history, those who hated the truth shed the blood of the martyrs many times. “Both in the past and today, all too often, human malice was poured out against those who testify to God’s truth, even to the point of violence. This is nothing new in human history”, he said. However, “every new drop of blood shed for Christ abundantly sows the seeds of faith. This podvig of the life and death of Fr Daniil is a great, very great seed, which, having been planted in fertile soil shall bring forth its fruit”, Patriarch Kirill considered. In his words, the death of Fr Daniil should encourage all believers to think deeply “about the importance of serving God, so that every word reaches the heart and mind of every listener. He was faithful to Him (God) even unto death, and an eternal prayer in memory of the murdered Servant of God, the Priest Daniil, will remain in our hearts”, Patriarch Kirill said.

The burial of Fr Daniil Sysoev, shot by an unknown assailant on 19 November in southern Moscow, took place at Kuntsevo Cemetery. Archpriest Georgi Studenov, Dean of the Mikailovsky District of Moscow, served the Burial Service. After the lowering of the coffin into the grave, the choir sang, “Christ is Risen!” The clergy and the people greeted each other with the Easter greeting. The grave of Fr Daniel is located behind the altar of the church of the Saviour, an area that also contains the graves of other well-known priests. A blanket of colourful flowers covered the path from the cemetery entrance to the grave. Hundreds of people attended the funeral, including parishioners from St Thomas church, where Fr Daniil was the rector, and Orthodox Christians from other parishes who had converted to the Orthodox faith because of his preaching.

Fr Vsevolod Chaplin (1968- ), Head of the Synodal Department for Cooperation of Church and Society (created from the DECR on 31 March 2009). He is one of the closest intellectual confrères of Patriarch Kirill and a friend of V V Putin. Note well that the konvertsy know nothing about this powerful and important clergyman, who, probably, wields much more influence than their hero, the Boy Wonder, Hilarion Alfeyev, does.

Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, the Head of the Synodal Department for Cooperation of Church and Society, called on believers to build a new church in the south of Moscow according to the plans of the late Fr Daniil Sysoev. “The best memorial we could give the late priest Daniil would be to carry out his dream… to build a large and imposing church in Kantemirov, the place where he carried out his ministry”, Fr Vsevolod told Interfax-Religion on Monday. He noted that many Orthodox Christians lived where Fr Daniil served as priest, and that one of the works of Fr Daniil was the erection of a temporary wooden church dedicated to the Apostle Thomas. “He zealously served and patiently endured everything so that he could give himself entirely over to the strengthening of God, the Church, and the people. Nearby, there is a place where you can build a new church that would accommodate very many people. I am convinced that to properly memorialise Fr Daniil, Orthodox Christians from all over the world must help to build this church”, Fr Vsevolod added.

In Moscow, Orthodox activists are gathering signatures for an appeal to Patriarch Kirill to continue the missionary works of the late Fr Daniil Sysoev. “We ask you to ensure the continuation of the Orthodox mission that was initiated by Fr Daniil”, the appeal said. The authors consider it important to carry out one of the most recent petitions of Fr Daniil… assigning missionary status to his parish, stressing that after the tragic murder of Fr Daniil occurred here, this place was a “newly-revealed Orthodox holy site of the city of Moscow”. In addition, supporters of the late priest now advocate the continuation of his missionary schools and ask His Holiness to transform them into a missionary institute, according to the stated wishes of Fr Daniil. Finally, they consider it necessary to expedite the construction of the planned church complex dedicated to the Holy Prophet Daniel, where the late Fr Daniil wanted to create an Orthodox missionary centre. The authors also request the Patriarch, in his role as the ruling archpastor of the city of Moscow, to name a new rector of St Thomas parish from one of the disciples of Fr Daniil, so that his missionary cause can continue in future and bear further fruit. Furthermore, both the parish community of St Thomas and the family of Fr Daniil believe, “Since this was the place of the murdered Fr Daniil’s martyric podvig, in future, it should be his place of burial”.

The Council of Muftis of Russia said that, in the light of the murder of Fr Daniil Sysoev, there was a need to maintain the present friendly relations between Muslims and Orthodox Christians. “We must resist any attempt to turn this crime into an opportunity to worsen relations between Muslims and Orthodox Christians in Russia”, said a statement of the Council of Muftis, published on their official website. The Muftis emphasised, “Islam forbids killing any innocent person, and it equates such to the killing of all mankind. Muslims and Orthodox Christians must redouble their efforts and do everything possible to maintain their friendship and partnership”, the statement said.

23 November 2009












Experts say a Professional Killer May Have Shot Fr Daniil Sysoev

Filed under: Christian,Moscow Patriarchate,Orthodox life,religious,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Fr Daniil Sysoev (1974-2009)

Experts do not rule out the possibility that a professional killer may have shot Fr Daniel Sysoev. They came to that conclusion after examining the facts surrounding his death, the website Life.ru wrote. Firstly, the assassin’s bullet struck him almost precisely in the heart. Experts believe that only a professional marksman could make such a shot in a dark church from a distance of six metres (19.685 feet). A detail in favour of this version is the fact that the shooter made the shot reflexively, almost without taking aim. The killer broke into the church, shouted, “Where is Sysoev?”, and immediately pulled the trigger. Such a hit from a distance of 6 metres in the region of the heart without striking the cross on his chest was not an easy task, said FSO Major-General Boris Ratnikov, a former presidential advisor on security, according to a report from Rosbalt.

22 November 2009

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

If the assassin was a pro, the chances of it being a Muslim hit are very slim. If this scenario is correct, the most plausible conclusion is that the perp was a marksman under contract to one of the Western special services trying to foment trouble and strife between Orthodox and Muslims in Russia. Note well that witnesses say that the gunman had a heavy accent… hmm… that smells like an American or Western European, for a Central Asian or Caucasian would have a better command of Russian. As the facts roll in, it looks less and less like a Muslim “revenge killing”. Ask yourself the question, “Cui bono?” I have… one of the answers makes me ashamed to be an American citizen.


Video: Памяти иерея Даниила Сысоева (In Memoriam: Fr Daniil Sysoev)

This video in honour of Fr Daniil is backed by a male chorus singing Russian Orthodox chant.

Video: Прощание с о.Даниилом Сысоевым (Farewell to Fr Daniil Sysoev)

Filed under: Christian,Moscow Patriarchate,Orthodox life,religious,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Ignore the music track in this… it’s taken from live Russian TV coverage of the farewell to Fr Daniil Sysoev. Many thanks to Sasha Ressetar for providing this link.

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