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The last Sunday sermon of Fr. Daniel Sisoev before his martyric death

12 Φεβρουαρίου 2010

The last Sunday sermon of Fr. Daniel Sisoev before his martyric death


The text of the sermon can also be read here.

A Biography of Fr Daniil Alekseyevich Sysoev

Born: 12 January 1974 Moscow

Died: 20 November 2009 Moscow

  • Biography

In his own words, he is “half Russian, half Tatar”. His father is a priest, Fr Aleksei Sysoev. Fr Aleksei is rector of the church of St John the Divine at the Yasenevo Orthodox classical gymnasium and a clergyman of the Ss Peter and Paul church in Yasenevo. His mother, Anna Midhatovna Amirov, teaches Orthodox catechism at the same school.

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He graduated from the Moscow Theological Academy in 2000 with a Kandidatura in Theology. {Editor’s note: Literally, a kandidat is a “candidate member of the Russian Academy of Sciences”, equivalent to a Western PhD, but, perhaps, a bit more stringent in requirements and more rigorous.} His thesis was entitled, The Anthropology of the Seventh Day Adventists and the Watchtower Society and its Analysis.

His career as a cleric began in 1994, when he became a reader. In 1995, he received ordination as a deacon, and in 2001, as a priest. He is married and has three daughters. Fr Daniil Sysoev actively engaged in missionary work among Muslims, and converted many to the Orthodox faith. He held a conservative stance towards yoga exercises, karate, Latin American dance, and belly dancing, urging Christians not to attend these classes. Rev Sysoev was critical of the Darwinian theory of evolution

Fr Daniil was the rector of St Thomas parish; he developed an active missionary movement, which included training Orthodox “street missionaries”, whose task was to attract people to Orthodoxy by appealing to passers-by on the street.

On 19 November 2009, D. A. Sysoev was mortally wounded in St Thomas church by two shots from a pistol (other sources say that four shots were fired). The masked assailant managed to escape. At 00.20 Moscow Standard Time on 20 November 2009 (21.20 UTC 16.20 EST 13.20 PST, all of these 19 November), Fr Daniil died on the operating table.

At present, detectives believe that the most plausible explanation for the crime is that the murderer had a religious motivation for the killing. Earlier, members of various extremist groups repeatedly threatened Rev Sysoev. “Fr Daniil was a prominent figure amongst the Moscow clergy, creative and vigorous, and a true preacher and missionary. I think that he was murdered because of his strong views”, said Fr Vladimir Vigilyansky, a spokesman for the MP. Indeed, Rev Sysoev himself stated that he had received death threats on 14 separate occasions.

  • Church of the Apostle Thomas

In 2005, the Moscow city government allocated the community led by Fr Daniil Sysoev 0.5 hectares (a little under 1.25 acres) of land near the Kantemirovskaya metro stop on the Zamoskvoretskaya Line for the construction of a stone church dedicated to the prophet Daniel. By November 2006, the parishioners had cleared all of the undergrowth and debris on the site and erected a temporary wooden church dedicated to the Apostle Thomas. The parish runs missionary courses, singing lessons, iconography classes, and a scout group. In 2009, four years after the allocation of land, the Moscow City Department of Environmental Management believed that the community was in violation of environmental legislation, although many use the floodplain of the Chertanovka River as a dump for construction debris. The Department stated that the land at this location should be a park and nature reserve, and the construction of a church would result in irreparable harm to the unique natural habitat. In August 2009, deputy prefect of YuVAO stated he approved in principle for the construction of a church in Kantemirov district, and, during public hearings on the new Master Plan of Moscow, residents demanded that a church be part of the draft General Plan.

  • Criticism

In 2007, Mufti Nafigulla Ashirov, Co-chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia, sued in court [against Fr Daniil] for his book Marriage to a Muslim, which, he said, contained expressions offensive to Muslims. Journalist Khalida Khamidulina accused Fr Daniil of inciting hatred of Islam in his publications and filed a suit in court against him. At the same time, Neo-Nazi groups expressed their displeasure with the Fr Daniil’s views and ultra-rightwing Orthodox publications criticised him for his anti-monarchist position. In addition, some spokesmen for Old Ritualists {Editor’s note: These are mistakenly called “Old Believers” in Western circles… all too many of them are nothing but Protestants in Orthodox drag.} expressed a negative assessment of D. A. Sysoev. They believed that he attacked their faith, considering his publications on Old Ritualists as “slander against the Old Orthodox Church”. {Editor’s note: The so-called Old Orthodox Church is not in communion with any of the recognised Orthodox Local Churches. It is a sect of popovtsy (“priested”) Old Ritualists, in opposition to the sort known as bezpopovtsy (“unpriested”). The latter are literally what their Russian name indicates… they are priestless. The former have a hierarchy ordained by a renegade Orthodox bishop in the old Hapsburg Empire. Neither group is in the Church, as I said above, no Local Church considers them Orthodox. Neophytes should best avoid both sorts. Don’t be fooled by their icons and chanting… they are nothing but Protestants who reject the Church.} They accused him of poor reasoning, faulty judgement, and distortion of historical facts.

  • Works
  1. Прогулка протестанта по православному храму (A Walk from the Protestant to the Orthodox Church) (Moscow, 2003, 144 pages) ISBN 5-94264-009-2 {Editor’s note: “Church” in this case is khram, not tserk, so, the meaning is “church building”, not “Church”.}
  2. Брак с мусульманином (Marriage to a Muslim) (Moscow, 2006) ISBN 5-98988-007-3

Wikipedia (in Russian)

  • Saturday, 21 November 2009