This blog was created for the spiritual enhancement of members of the Fellowship of Orthodox Christian University Students (F.O.C.U.S) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. It will allow members and fellow Orthodox Christians around the world to share their experiences of the Orthodox faith. May God be with all of us!
"This is the generation of those who seek the Lord" Psalm 24:6
“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. One year ago yesterday, 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 God through Orthodox Christianity, the ancient Christian faith of the apostles. He would try to use reason to debate 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 the souls of those inflicted with this spiritual cancer and fought hard to bring those people to God, and for his troubles was killed for it. But being the eternal optimists that Christians are, Fr.Daniil’s martyrdom was both tragic and triumphant. He had won his martyrs crown and died in the noblest way possible: for Christ, fearless, in the face of Muslim terrorist Beksultan Karykbekov.
Interfax states that in Russia in the last 15 years, 2 million ethnic Muslims have converted to Orthodox Christianity while only 2,500 Christians have converted to Islam. Also, after the Beslan siege back in 2004 (where Muslims took a school of children hostage, eventually killing almost 400 kids and teachers and injuring almost 800), it appears as though Muslims have decreased in North Ossetia by 30% and in Beslan itself by about 50%. These terrorists did more harm to their own religion than to the Christians they so hate.
The fact that Russia and the world is still seeing people being martyred for their faith (including almost 400 innocent children in one day) is quite a sad thing indeed. However, it is refreshing to see that after 2,000+ years, people are still willing to die for truth, love and Christ.