Father Daniil Sysoyev: Three years later
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”, said Tertullian over 1,800 years ago. He was of course referring to the massive waves of Christian persecutions facing the small Christian communities at the time. One would think that this quote is irrelevant today, as surely in the 21st century we are past the days where Christians are murdered for their belief.
But alas we are not. Three years ago today, Father Daniil Sysoyev was murdered by a Muslim in the church of St.Thomas in Moscow, Russia. He was known for his missionary work and having brought Muslims, Protestants, pagans and others to know Christ in the ancient faith of the apostles. He used reason and love to persuade extremists, and when they couldn’t respond to his sharp mind, he was gunned down inside a church, in broad daylight.
This man knew the threat that Islam posed for souls, and fought hard to bring those people to Christ, and for his troubles he was killed. But being the eternal optimists that Christians are, Fr.Daniil’s martyrdom was both tragic and triumphant. He won his martyr’s crown and died in the noblest way possible: for Christ, fearless, in the face of the rage of Beksultan Karykbekov.
Now, three years later, Fr Daniil’s colleague, fellow missionary Father Oleg Stenyaev reports that many Muslims were baptized following Fr Daniil’s martyrdom.
Interfax states that in Russia in the last 15 years, 2 million ethnic Muslims have converted to Orthodox Christianity. Also, since the Beslan siege in 2004 (where Muslims took a school of children hostage, eventually killing almost 400 students and teachers, and injuring almost 800), it appears that Muslims have decreased in North Ossetia by 30% and in Beslan itself by almost 50%. These terrorists did more harm to their own religion than to the Christians they so hate.
The fact that the world is still seeing people being martyred for their faith (including almost 400 innocent children in one day) is a sad thing indeed. However, it is refreshing to see that after 2,000 years, people are still willing to die for truth, for love and for Christ.
Fr. Daniil, Holy Martyr of God, pray for us!