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For Martyrs, Death is a Joy
By Archpriest Arkady Shatov (Now Bishop Panteleimon)
Nov 19, 2010, 10:00
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On November,19, 2010 is one year since the murder of Fr. Daniel Sysoyev.

 

 

 

Source: Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Washington, DC

 

 

 

When I was little, I very much feared death, and thought that to die meant to completely vanish. It is a very good thing that believers do not have such fear.  While we are alive on earth, our bodies interfere with our seeing God, for God is Spirit, but when we die, our soul encounters God.  People of faith of course also fear death, but it is a different kind of fear.  It is not a fear of  vanishing, of no longer being, it is not a fear that your life, everything good that you possess, everything will come to an end, and no longer exist.  Rather, it is the fear of God's Judgment, fear that God will judge us for everything we have done.  And today, praying for Fr. Daniel, we ask God that this Judgment of God over Fr. Daniel will be a merciful one.

 

Like everyone else, Fr. Daniel was a sinful person, but he possessed amazing zeal; he greatly desired that all people should learn about Christ.  He had a great desire to tell about Christ to those who did not yet know about Him.  He wanted to share with others the joy of his faith.  And the fact that the Lord blessed him with such a martyric death is a sign of God's mercy towards man.  While the Saints were being taken away to be martyred, they rejoiced that they could suffer for Christ's sake, to suffer for the One Who died for us on the Cross, Who suffered for us. Thus, for the Saints, it was a joy to have a martyr's death, and we always celebrate the day of their death as a great Feast.

 

 

In our school, there are girls who are afraid of revealing their faith in Christ, who are afraid that others will find out that they are Orthodox, who are embarrassed by the fact that they do not smoke and do not commit the sins that others do.  Some of the children are embarrassed that they do not have  social network pages, that they don't own a good cell phone.  Yet, is that a cause for embarrassment?!  Is that so important?  Is that what one needs?  What is important for man is to be with God, to be with Christ.  And of course, to be embarrassed by what is the main joy of our life, to be embarrassed by what the Lord has given us, not according to our merits, but because he has chosen us that is a great sin.

 

Our being chosen should be a source of joy, about which we should speak; how can it be an embarrassment?  Even if as a result we are betrayed unto torture and  death.  Such a death will be an encounter with God, Whom we seek here on earth but quite often cannot find. With that God, Who is the greatest Joy, for Whose sake one can give up everything, including life itself.

 

Those who murdered Fr. Daniel know not what they did.  When good on earth is destroyed in this manner, the good  becomes very powerful!  Those who crucified Christ saw that he was preaching something quite different from what they believed , and they wanted to put an end to that preaching, wanted to force  Him to be silent, for he was denouncing lying, hypocritical, evil, greedy people, people who served the devil.  They did not know how to accomplish their goal, so they decided to put Him to death.  And what happened?  Did they win?  Stupid people.  Christ is Risen! And the Faith in Christ has spread throughout the entire world.  Although we are living today far from the place where Christ suffered, although we are living centuries after his death, we know of Christ. It is impossible to kill good. It cannot be destroyed.  It is impossible to kill the truth, for it remains victorious.  It is impossible to kill life itself, for the soul was created by immortal God.  When people act as they have here, they help good to become firmly established, with ever greater power.

 

In the past century, many people were murdered and tortured to death, and what was the result?  The Faith was triumphant! Look at how many churches are being opened, at how many people are coming to God.  Have the murderers won?  It was the martyrs who were victorious! Today is the day of commemoration of Hieromartyr Kirill of Kazan, of Fr. Tavrion, who spent 30 years in exile.  It was they who were victorious.  And of course, Fr. Daniel is victorious. Because it is impossible to destroy good. Those whom he called to faith, those to whom he preached Christ, will now become even stronger in that faith.  Of course, we should all follow along that path.  We must not be afraid to bear witness to the Faith in Christ.

 

Of course, as we are not privy to God's Judgment, we must pray for the soul of Fr. Daniel.  Yet, it is our hope that if the Lord granted him such a martyric death, he will also take him to himself into the Heavenly Dwellings, and will grant him rest with the Saints.  Let us pray for that, with both hope and joy!

 

Let us also pray for his wife.  He left three children, for whom life now is very difficult.  We must help them.

 

 

 

Please also read about Fr. Daniel:

 

 

Fr. Daniel's Autobiography and the Interview with Him on the Occasion of the Opening of the Missionary Centre 

 

On the Murder of Father Daniil Sysoev

 

Father Daniil Has Gone from us to God as a Confessor

 

As I find you, So Shall I Judge You

 

Priest Daniel Sysoev: Even Provincial Imams Come to our Church

 

 

 

 

 


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