Saturday, November 30, 2013

Obama administration snubs Vatican with embassy downgrade

This applies to Orthodoxy also. As the article below states, 
Why the snub? Simple: anti-family groups hate the Vatican. On the international stage, the Vatican is a fierce proponent of religious freedom, the dignity of all human life, and the traditional family. And the Holy See has vigorously opposed the pro-abortion imperialism pushed by Planned Parenthood and others for decades...
The Obama administration is doing all it can to diminish traditional Christian influence in America and the world:
“It’s another manifestation of the antipathy of this administration both to Catholics and to the Vatican – and to Christians in the Middle East." — Former Ambassador to the Vatican James Nicholson

Obama administration snubs Vatican with embassy downgrade
CatholicVote — 11/26/2013

We have been quietly following this story for weeks. And now reporter John Allen has broken the news.

The Obama administration has decided that the free-standing American embassy to the Holy See will soon be closed, and the offices for the Ambassador to the Vatican will be moved inside of our Italian Embassy.

As a part of the security reviews that followed the attacks on our embassy in Benghazi last year, State Department officials are now claiming that the current U.S. Embassy to the Holy See is no longer safe.

If their assessment is correct, then why not bolster security or simply move the Embassy to a new location instead of shutting it down? Are all ‘unsafe’ embassies being shut down too?

An unmistakable slap in the face

Moving our Ambassador to the Vatican inside of our Italian Embassy sends a clear message: the diplomatic post doesn’t matter much to the United States.

Syrian Priest: Mass Christian Exodus Following Jihadi Invasion

Another essential 'on the ground' report, this from a priest in Syria. 

International Christian Concern (ICC) — 11/29/2013

ICC Note: The influx of Islamic militants who have flooded Syria with the stated goal of establishing an Islamic state has driven many of the country’s Christians to flee the country. In the midst of the ongoing civil war there have been multiple incidents of Christians being targeted across Syria as a result of their faith and unwillingness to conform to the extremist agenda of these fighters.

11/29/13 Syria (MidEast Christian News) - Foreign jihadist armed groups are targeting Christian villages north of Damascus, said Fr. George Louis, Greek Catholic parish priest of the San Michele Church in the town of Qara, 100 km north of the Syrian.

"Qara has been burned and devastated, and foreign jihadist militants apply the same model in the villages of Maalula, Sednaya, Sadad, Qara, Deir Atieh, and Nebek, all located north of Damascus, where they target the village, then invade it, kill people, destroy and burn it," he told the Vatican's Fides agency on Thursday.

"More than three thousand Sunni jihadists from the Lebanese village of Arsal, a stronghold of armed groups located about 122 km from Beirut, entered Syria on November 16 through Lebanon. They stormed Qara and turned it into a battlefield. This prompted the members of the Free Syrian Army to withdraw. About 600,000 people fled immediately to the neighboring towns and villages," Father Louis added.

The priest said the Christian community of Qara, who gathered in the historic center, did not want to move. Nearly 35 Christian families took refuge in the church to pray, and soon the gate of the church was hit by armed insurgents, he added.

VIDEO: Syrian school, "Infidels must be slaughtered."

Muslims fomenting slaughter of Christians using verses from the Koran.

MEMRI — 11/26/2013

"Al-Qaeda in Syrian School: Infidels Must Be Slaughtered; Obama, World Leaders Are Infidels"

Following are excerpts from a video featuring an ISIS operative at a Syrian school, which was posted on the Internet on November 26, 2013:

Al-Qaeda operative: The mujahideen are coming here, to Syria. They come from Egypt, from Chechnya, from Morocco, from the U.S., from Belgium, from China, from Russia, from Cameroon... Who unites them?

School children: Allah.

Al-Qaeda operative: Why did they gather here?

School children: For the sake of Islam.

Al-Qaeda operative: Islam unites everyone under one word, with no distinction between skin color, nationality, or anything. The entire Earth belongs to Allah. Islam elevates the Muslims and humiliates the infidels. The "Crusaders" – who are the Christians – are they Muslims or infidels?

School children: They are infidels.

Al-Qaeda operative: Allah said: "Those who say that Jesus son of Mary is God have disbelieved." Allah said: "Those who say that God is the third of three have disbelieved." They cross themselves like this. Allah said:"Those who say that God is the third of three have disbelieved." Whoever says that God is three is an infidel.

[From Koran 5:72-3.]

Whoever says that God is two and that Jesus is His son is an infidel as well. Whoever says that Jesus is God is also an infidel.

Supreme Court of Greece delivers judgment referring to Sharia Law

Pravoslavie — 11/26/2013

The will of a Muslim, which was made in accordance with the Greek civil code, has been nullified by the Greek Supreme court because it did not correspond with sharia norms, reports

The Muslim man, Demetr Simeonidu, who lived in Thrace, left all his fortune in his will to his wife and prepared respective documents. However, his sister contested the will because, according to the sharia law, a Muslim cannot fully bequeath his fortune at his own discretion and it should be distributed in accordance with the Muslim regulations.

The judgment of the Supreme court contradicts the traditional right of Greek Muslims in Thrace to draw up a will in accordance with the civil code, rather than Muslim religious rights; Muslims of Thrace have enjoyed this right since 1946.

This precedent may affect the whole traditional judicial practice in Greece and, thus, relatives of Muslims will probably be able to dispute the official order of distribution of fortunes.

According to the Treaty of Lausanne, signed in 1923 by Greece and Turkey, among other countries, Imams in Western Thrace have a right to decide cases of the civil jurisdiction, first of all of the family code. In 2011, sharia courts in Thrace were condemned by the Commissioner of the Council of Europe as discriminatory against women.

Patriarch Kirill expresses concerns for the drastic decrease of Christian presence in Iraq...

... says Christian population has collapsed from 1.5 million to 150,000.

Pravmir — 11/27/2013

On 26 November 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with H.E. Ismail Shafeeq Mohsen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Iraq to the Russian Federation.

They were joined in the meeting, which took place at the Patriarchal resident in St. Daniel’s Monastery, by Mr. Monadel Akef Hammoudi, counsellor of the Iraqi Embassy, and by archpriest Sergiy Zvonarev, DECR secretary for far abroad countries.

The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church said that Russia and Iraq had a good and long history of relations, which ‘have been intensively developing since 1958 after certain changes, also in historical science, which is close to me and to people having the similar philosophy of life. I recall expeditions from the Russian Academy of Sciences to Mesopotamia, the place of the dawn of civilization linked with the Biblical history. An agreement between our states signed in 1972 has provided legal background for successful development of our relations.’

His Holiness noted that the events in Iraq occurred after foreign intervention caused pain to the Russian Orthodox Church. ‘I visited Iraq not long before it and had an opportunity to get acquainted with religious life in the country in Baghdad and Mosul. I remember that one million and a half Christians lived in Iraq at that time, while now, as far as I know, there are only 150,000.’

Friday, November 29, 2013

Iran victorious: "The Islamic nuclear republic"

A picture paints a thousand words:

Robert Spencer posted this over at Jihad Watch on Nov. 24th:
Iran is in full celebration mode over the West's capitulation to its nuclear program. Phillip Smyth says of the above image: "This was *just* posted on some Shi'a militia pages. 'The Islamic nuclear republic'"

Iran: White House Lying About Details of Nuke Deal

Iranian officials say White House fact sheet is ‘invalid’

by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon — 11/26/2013

Iranian officials say that the White House is misleading the public about the details of an interim nuclear agreement reached over the weekend in Geneva.

Iran and Western nations including the United States came to an agreement on the framework for an interim deal late Saturday night in Geneva. The deal has yet to be implemented.

The White House released a multi-page fact sheet containing details of the draft agreement shortly after the deal was announced.

However, Iranian foreign ministry official on Tuesday rejected the White House’s version of the deal as “invalid” and accused Washington of releasing a factually inaccurate primer that misleads the American public.

[Who would ever imagine the Obama administration might try to mislead the American public on any issue, let alone on something so important as national security?!]

“What has been released by the website of the White House as a fact sheet is a one-sided interpretation of the agreed text in Geneva and some of the explanations and words in the sheet contradict the text of the Joint Plan of Action, and this fact sheet has unfortunately been translated and released in the name of the Geneva agreement by certain media, which is not true,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham told the Iranian press on Tuesday.

Afkham and officials said that the White House has “modified” key details of the deal and released their own version of the agreement in the fact sheet.

Iran’s right to enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, is fully recognized under the draft released by Tehran.

Extremist Shoppers wreak violence on Black Friday as retailers usher in start of holiday shopping season

'Moderate' Consumers say nothing, do not protest or denounce the violent acts committed by their co-shoppers.

Why, the parallels to Muslims seem to be uncanny.

To wit, would we say there are "extremist" shoppers and "moderate" shoppers?  Should we not rather consider that all persons so committed to worldly consumerism that they launch themselves into the Black Friday mayhem in order to get the best deals, are "extremist"?

Then there are the "Cyber-Shoppers" who troll for deals online, and lastly the rest of us who typically purchase what we need, with a moderate number of discretionary purchases along the way.

But ultimately, consumers all subscribe at some level to the same philosophy, the same worldview, that we need "things," we need entertainment, we need ever more "stuff" in order to live fulfilling lives and be happy.

Forced Islamisation of Armenians raises questions about today's Turkey

by NAT da Polis, AsiaNews — 11/26/2013

Ethnic and religious cleansing accompanied the genocide perpetrated by the Young Turks and the construction of Ataturk's new Turkey. Millions of Turks are related to Armenians. Crypto-Armenians and Crypto-Christians are now breaking their silence.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - Turks are getting ready for a hot election in March when they will cast their ballot to elect a new parliament and, for the first time, a new president. Almost certainly, Sunni ethics will certainly inform the debate. Not much coverage has gone to a conference held in early November on the forced islamisation of Armenians before and after the 1915 genocide.

Organised by Istanbul's Boğaziçi University and the Hrant Dink Foundation, which is named after Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, the editor of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos. He was assassinated in 2007 by Turkish nationalists with the tolerance of elements within the Turkish state.

Although some 600 people from around the world attended the conference, the Turkish media failed to give the event the attention it deserved.

In their presentations, various speakers noted that forced Islamisation was not visited only on individual children and women survivors but on entire families forced to convert in order to survive in the new Turkey born out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.

Constantinople: Monastery of Stoudios Converting to a Mosque

I've been documenting this trend in rapidly re-Islamizing Turkey since launching this blog in 2011. Each conversion of a former church or monastery into a mosque proves the supremacist goal of Islam to dominate Christians and all non-Muslims, and to wipe away every last vestige of Christian culture and history. This is a form of civilizational jihad, and bodes ill for the future. Project this trend and the persecution of Kosovo Serbs and Macedonian Christians into the future, and imagine Turkey, Greece, Serbia and the Balkans one hundred years from now. Imagine a new dark ages.

Constantinople: Monastery of Stoudios Converting to a Mosque
Greek Reporter via Pravmir — 11/28/2013
by Nikoleta Kalmouki

The Turkish government plans to turn the Monastery of Stoudios into a mosque. The monastery is one of the most important Byzantine monuments of Constantinople.

The restoration of the building will end in 2014, and then it will be converted into a mosque. The monastery would be used as a museum but the Turkish government has already declassified the monument.

During the last years many byzantine churches in Turkey, have turned into mosques, such as Agia Sofia in Nikaia and the byzantine church in Trapezounta; there has been recent pressure for the operation of Agia Sofia in Constantinople as a mosque.

Divine Liturgy and the Great Thanksgiving

There is no need to preface this article with any "comparative theology." The beauty, truth, grace and love of God for us, and our loving response in thanksgiving, is quite fully expressed by Gabe Martini here. 

Ultimately, there can be no comparison of Orthodox Christianity with the religions of the nations, for they lack the Truth. The Truth is a person. Jesus Christ is the Way, He is the Truth, He is the Life. 

"This is the True God and Eternal Life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen." (1 JN 5:21)

The Divine Liturgy. Photo: M.Rodionov / Expo.Pravoslavie.Ru

by Gabe Martini, via Pravoslavie — 11/28/2013

Some of the most profound words of the Divine Liturgy are rarely heard.

Standing at the south corner of the altar, the deacon quietly utters to the presiding priest: “It is time for the Lord to act.”

This phrase sets the tone for everything in our worship. We are not performing some sort of magical act that assuages the deity in our favor, but are rather joining in with the liturgy of eternity; the liturgy of his own actions in our favor; the liturgy which has, and is, and ever shall be taking place; the liturgy which is the great thanksgiving—the great Eucharist—of God.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving ≠ 'Allahu Akbar

As Thanksgiving Day draws to a close, I'm reminded of Senator John McCain's epic misstatement this past Summer, when he assured Americans that the Syrian Rebels were moderates, and that the Muslim jihad cry of "Allahu akbar" is equivalent to an American saying "Thank God."

Here's what I wrote back on September 3, followed by a re-post from JihadWatch:

McCain equates Syrian jihadists shouting "Allahu akbar" to Christians saying "Thank God"
Breathtaking ignorance and unworthy of an American leader. This is "religious equivalence fallacy" of the very worst kind, for it elevates the bloodthirsty jihad doctrine of Islam to the level of evcharistia, which is the Greek word for "thanksgiving." Senator John McCain has thus implicitly equated the Holy Eucharist with Islam's 1400 years of violent jihad against Christianity, and in so doing he defiles Christianity, crucifying the Son of God all over again. Father forgive them...

McCain defends Syrian jihadists's shouting "Allahu akbar," assures the world that they're moderates — by Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch — 9/3/2013 
Allahu akbar does not mean “thank God,” as McCain seems to have affirmed when he said, “That’s what they’re saying.” Allahu akbar means “Allah is greater” – not, as it is often translated, “God is great.” The significance of this is enormous, as it is essentially a proclamation of superiority and supremacism. Allah is greater – than any of the gods of the infidels, and Islam is superior to all other religions. states this obliquely: “Allahu akbar implies that God is superior to all tangible and intangible, temporal and celestial beings.” This may seem to be an innocuous theological statement until one recalls that Islam has always had a political aspect, and Islamic jihadists always shout “Allahu akbar” when attacking infidels. It is a declaration of the superiority of their god and their way of life over those of their victims. 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta also stated that it was meant to make the infidels afraid. He wrote instructions to jihadists that were found in his baggage: “Shout, ‘Allahu Akbar,’ because this strikes fear in the hearts of the non-believers.”

And McCain guarantees that the Syrian rebels are moderates? This is the John McCain who, according to Lebanon’s Daily Star, “was unwittingly photographed with a known affiliate of the rebel group responsible for the kidnapping of 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims one year ago, during a brief and highly publicized visit inside Syria” in May. He has already proven that he wouldn't know a "moderate" if he were slitting the venerable Senator's throat.

"John McCain Blasts Fox News Over 'Allahu Akbar' Criticism (VIDEO)," from the Huffington Post, September 3 (thanks to Pamela Geller):
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) blasted Fox News' Brian Kilmeade on Tuesday for questioning members of a Syrian opposition groups' use of the phrase "Allahu Akbar" after what Kilmeade said "looks like a fighter jet being shot out of the sky." 
“I have a problem helping those people screaming that after a hit,” Kilmeade said. 
McCain criticized Kilmeade for his skepticism of the phrase, which means "God is greater" or "God is the greatest" in Arabic.  
“Would you have a problem with an American person saying ‘Thank God? Thank God?'" McCain said. “That’s what they're saying. Come on! Of course they're Muslims, but they're moderates and I guarantee you they are moderates.”  
McCain said on NBC's "Today" show he would support President Barack Obama's request for action, but didn't agree with the president that any military force should "be designed to be limited in duration and scope." McCain said he's hoping for resolution of intervention that includes authority to degrade Syria's air defenses.

For Thanksgiving - Thoughts on Martyrdom, and the 'Akathist Hymn: Glory to God for All Things!'

New Martyrs of Russia
For the American Feast of Thanksgiving, as Christians we might wish to look beyond merely giving thanks for whatever material blessings we may have, for good health, family, and the like, and raise our minds above, from where we may find grace to give thanks in all things, even in the midst of profound suffering, whether in the agony of Gethsemane or the crucifixion of Golgotha.

Our Christian brothers and sisters in Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria, Sudan, and throughout the Islamic world are suffering the bloody ascent of a modern Golgotha, something which may soon envelope the entire globe, something which has already been described as 'apocalyptic', eclipsing the Roman persecutions of the Church during her first three centuries.

Here in the United States, we Christians increasingly find ourselves under assault by a totalitarian central government demanding our tax and tacit support of death and depravity, and a toxic culture of "diversity" and "inclusion," which seeks to exclude truth, love, beauty and holiness. More and more writers are drawing attention to the escalating persecution of Christians in the West and the U.S.A. While we were once attacked "more by sneer than by spear," now the Army, Homeland Security, Department of Justice and other agencies are defining Christians as extremists and potential terrorists and enemies of the State. Ominous signs indeed.

Darkness is falling in America this Thanksgiving. Are we even aware? How will we respond to the final collapse of Christian culture, and the resulting overt persecution? Are we preparing at all for what lies ahead?

Towards the end of my book, Facing Islam, I turn to the martyrs and confessors of the Church to guide us:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Moscow, Russia: Group of 15 Muslims arrested with Korans, weapons, explosives

RT — 11/27/2013

Moscow police have arrested 15 members of Takfir Wal-Hijra, an extremist organization. The cell had a stash of weapons and explosives, which was seized in the police raid.

The cell was exposed and busted thanks to ongoing investigations into crimes not related to terrorism, the Interior Ministry reported. Members of the group were involved in various acts of crime to fund their activity.

Fourteen radicals were arrested overnight in the east of the city, while another was apprehended hours later at a different location.

Police seized three improvised explosive devices complete with detonators. One of the bombs was designed to be belt-stripped.

Among other items discovered were bomb components, handguns, grenades, ammo and extremist literature, the ministry statement said.

Materials seized in the raid. Image courtesy of the Interior Ministry.

Takfir Wal-Hijra is a radical Islamist organization, which was formed in Egypt in the 1970s.

Members of the group adhere to one of the most fundamental forms of Islam and observe very strict rules, including a ban on being photographed, documented and often even talked to by non-members.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Flight of Iraq Christians resumes amid surge in unrest

by Prashant Rao, Yahoo News — 11/20/2013

Baghdad (AFP) - Awshalim Benjamin is desperate to leave Iraq, where a sack of faded photographs is all that remains of the happy life he and his ancient, dwindling Christian community once knew.

The 74-year-old waits by the phone for the call that will tell him he can finally depart Baghdad to join his family in the United States -- and leave behind a 2,000-year-old community that has shrunk by more than half since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

The patriarch of the Iraq-based Chaldean church, due to join other Middle Eastern Christian leaders at a meeting with Pope Francis this week, has urged Christians to stay and spoken out against Western countries offering visas to the rapidly shrinking minority.

But many still say they have no choice, as their tenuous optimism after a brief improvement in security starting in 2008 has been dashed by a surge in bloodshed this year.

Syria’s Christians Flee Kidnappings, Rape, Executions

By Jamie Dettmer, The Daily Beast — 11/19/2013

Running from assault, abduction, and assassination at the hands of jihadists and FSA rebels, Syria’s ancient Christian community fears a religious pogrom is set to erupt.

Traumatized by what they have endured inside Syria and fearful for their future, Christians fleeing the 32-month-long civil war say the persecution of Christians is worsening in rebel-held territories in the country’s north—and that the kidnapping, rape and executions of Christians aren’t just being carried out by jihadist groups, but also by other Sunni Muslim rebels, including those affiliated with the Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Photo by Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty

Christian refugees who have recently arrived in southeast Turkey—many of whom are retreading the steps of their forebears, who fled persecution in southern Turkey during the last century—say Christians are being seen as fair game by an assortment of jihadists and Islamist rebels, including FSA-affiliated fighters and others with the Army of Islam. Most of the targeting of Syrian Christians has been blamed on al Qaeda affiliates Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Syria and Sham (ISIS), but refugees like 45-year-old school director Rahel say the picture inside is more confused.

She says jihadists weren’t in her predominantly Christian hamlet of al-Yakubiye in Syria’s northwest province of Idlib. FSA fighters from neighboring Sunni Muslim villages were the problem.

Back in February, the news agency AFP wrote about al-Yakubiye, noting that although one of the three churches had been looted, relations between Syrian Sunni Muslims and local Christians were cordial. But in the intervening months, nearly all Christians have fled after half a dozen were executed with their heads chopped off and about 20 more were kidnapped. The evacuation of al-Yakubiye has added to a Christian exodus which is prompting fears that the civil war could spell the doom of Syrian Christianity.

‘Muslim’ Jesus Demands Sharia Law and Jizya Tribute

by Raymond Ibrahim — 11/25/2013

Time and again, Muslims, especially those in Egypt, project Islamic thinking onto Christians: thus the Coptic church has been accused of smuggling and storing weapons in its churches to take over the nation (when in fact mosques are regularly exposed housing illegal weapons for the jihad); of kidnapping and torturing Coptic girls who convert to Islam (when in fact Muslim converts to Christianity—apostates—are regularly beat, imprisoned, and sometimes killed); and even of supporting suicide-attacks when the church speaks of Copts being martyred (because in Islam being “martyred” so often means actively sacrificing one’s life in “holy war”).

Now a well know cleric in Egypt—the same who insists that Muslim husbands must hate their non-Muslim wives—has just proclaimed that Jesus was against the idea of separation of church and state and that he supported the idea of jizya, the Koran-mandated tribute conquered non-Muslims, or dhimmis, are required to pay their overlords, “with willing submission,” per Koran 9:29.

Angola denies it banned Islam, destroyed mosques

Update on this story...

Jihad Watch — 11/25/2013

I doubted the accuracy of this report from the beginning, and sure enough, it turns out to be false. That is all to the good -- banning an entire belief system would just embroil Angola in an ongoing resistance and would become a serious human rights issue. Banning Islam in particular would engulf it in a more energetic jihad than is being waged against it now. And no one who is committed to the freedom of conscience can support such a ban, although the Angolans and everyone else are certainly within their rights to ban and work against elements of Sharia (or any other system) that contradict universal principles of human rights.

More on this story. "Angola Denies It Banned Islam, Destroyed Mosques," by Connor Adams Sheets for International Business Times, November 25:

Angola became a hot topic in the international media over the weekend, as news outlets around the world wrote about reports that the Southwest African nation had banned Islam and had begun to dismantle mosques.

But an official at the Angolan Embassy in Washington, D.C., who did not want to be identified while discussing the sensitive matter, said that there is no such ban, and that the reports are erroneous.

“The Republic of Angola … it’s a country that does not interfere in religion,” the official said via telephone Monday afternoon. “We have a lot of religions there. It is freedom of religion. We have Catholic, Protestants, Baptists, Muslims and evangelical people.”


"The criminals or criminal left graffiti on the walls in Arabic..."

Pravoslavie — 11/25/2013

Cases of vandalism in churches of Heraklion and graffiti in Arabic left by criminals, which have become more frequent, are causing the authorities and the Archdiocese of Crete serious concern, reports, citing the Greek agency Romphea.

Another crime of this kind has been committed in a very small church of St. Marina not far from the village of Avgenika.

As it was in the previous cases, the criminals or criminal acted in the same way. The icons inside the church were removed from the walls, stacked on the altar, then doused with an inflammable liquid and set on fire, reports the Patris newspaper.

Moreover, the criminals or criminal left graffiti on the walls in Arabic or in some other Oriental language.

The vandal attack happened at noon. The crime was discovered by the village residents, who saw smoke from the burning icons pouring out of the church windows. They also reported that they had seen a strange car moving near Avgenika.

Over 60 Churches and Monasteries Destroyed in Syria

Pravoslavie — 11/23/2013

Militants in Syria have destroyed over 60 Christian churches and monasteries, and more than 70 thousand Orthodox residents of Homs, and more than a half the Christians of Aleppo have left their homes, reports Interfax.

Controversial Nun Says Jihadists Could End Christianity in Syria

Charisma News — 11/22/2013

An outspoken Catholic nun living in Syria has denied suggestions that she believes the toppling of President Bashar al-Assad would bring an end to Christianity in Syria.

Instead, Mother Agnes-Mariam says that could be the consequence if religious extremists were to seize on a power vacuum left by his deposition.

The Lebanese-born nun, who is Mother Superior of the monastery of St. James the Mutilated—the oldest monastery in the Qalamoun area of Syria—is part of the Syria Solidarity Movement and has recently finished a speaking tour in the US.

Now in the U.K., Mother Agnes-Mariam told the BBC Thursday that supporting Assad is not her goal; rather, she said, it is to bring peace to Syria and to find a viable alternative to the current government before any attempts are made to overthrow the beleaguered dictator.

“It’s not about Assad; it’s about the Syrian population and the fate of a whole country,” she said. “If you have a tumor, you do not kill the patient; you have to bypass the problem to be able to give the good answer, and now the good answer is a peaceful process.

“It will be the end of the civilized world today in Syria, where the alternative is the fundamentalist and extremist jihadists that are throwing violence and terror everywhere.”

Monday, November 25, 2013

Angola reportedly bans Islam, destroys mosques

Jihad Watch — 11/24/2013

Destruction of an Angolan minaret

This is extraordinarily strange news, given that the world is racing in the other direction, to accommodate and appease Islam. It will be interesting to see, if these reports turn out to be accurate, how the mainstream media and Islamic supremacist groups will find a way to accuse the Angolans of "racism." In any case, clearly this is a national security issue, with Islamic supremacists and jihadists wreaking havoc in Nigeria and spreading elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa. There is no way in Angola any more than there is anywhere else to distinguish jihadis in Angola from the peaceful Muslims among whom they move, organize and recruit, and clearly this measure is designed to stop that activity. However, censure from the UN and the world "human rights" community will probably soon compel Angola to change its stance, and allow the jihadis free rein.

"Angola Bans Islam, Destroys Mosques," 
from OnIslam, November 24:

LUANDA – According to several Angolan newspapers, Angola has become the first country in the world to ban Islam and Muslims, taking first measures by destroying mosques in the country.

“The process of legalization of Islam has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, their mosques would be closed until further notice,” Rosa Cruz e Silva, the Angolan Minister of Culture, was quoted by Agence Ecofin on Friday, November 22.

Obama Administration Leaves Christian Pastor Behind in Iran 'Deal'

by Katie Pavlich, — 11/25/2013

American Christian pastor Saeed Abedini has been sitting in a filthy Iranian prison for more than a year. He's been tortured and beaten for practicing his faith, but that wasn't enough for the Obama administration to bother negotiating his release as part of the deal reached with Iran over the weekend.

"It's devastating," the pastor's wife Naghmeh Abedini told Fox News Radio.  
She said her children were praying to have him home for the holidays. "It's unbearable," she said, "to think of another Christmas without him and see my kids not have him home for Christmas."  
After the nuclear deal announced over the weekend, Abedini said she doesn't see "any more leverage left."  
"Iran has no incentive for them to release him. I don't think we have any more leverage," she said. "We now have to consider other avenues and having other countries speak out because our country when we could have used our leverage chose to stay silent."

More background:

ACLJ, the legal organization representing Saeed Abedini and his wife, did not mince words in reaction to the non-negotiation with Iran.

On the night of November 23, 2013, the President of the United States left an American pastor, Saeed Abedini, behind. 
The "deal" with Iran announced tonight by President Obama, which allegedly halts "part" of Iran's nuclear program, allows Iran to enrich uranium and allows it to maintain a nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions and humanitarian relief. 
It is outrageous that the Obama Administration commenced these negotiations and concluded them without the release of Pastor Saeed – a U.S. citizen. In fact, the Administration has just confirmed that he was not even part of the negotiations, stating that “The P5+1 talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues.” 
The Obama Administration did not volunteer this information; it was revealed only after a specific inquiry from Fox News. 
For more than a year, Pastor Saeed has undergone torture at the hands of his Iranian captors, most recently being transferred to one of the most deadly prisons in the world. Yet instead of demanding the release of this innocent U.S. citizen as a precondition to any negotiations with Iran, the Obama Administration is relaxing sanctions and providing humanitarian relief, while getting nothing but more meaningless promises in return. 
Humanitarian relief? 
Iran has been in a state of armed conflict against the U.S. since 1979. It has taken American hostages, killed Americans directly through terror attacks, and has been a principal supplier of arms to our jihadist enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
In other words, Iran has American blood on its hands. 
Iran has been our enemy since the jihadist takeover in 1979, and it remains our enemy. It holds an American pastor -- torturing him in horrific prison conditions -- merely because it hates his Christian faith. 
Pastor Saeed entered Iran with the permission of the Iranian government to help construct an orphanage, a mission to help the most vulnerable in Iranian society. Once there, he was arrested, tried without even being allowed to be present for his entire trial, convicted of nothing more than his Christian faith, and held in appalling conditions. 
And we're giving Iran humanitarian relief? 
It is difficult to comprehend the level of betrayal. We have made "deals" with tyrants before. One of former President Bill Clinton's gifts to the world was the 1994 "agreed framework" that provided U.S. aid in exchange for an alleged halt in North Korea's nuclear program. The result? North Korea is now not only a nuclear power but also a nuclear proliferator that has worked with Iran. 
We have left Pastor Saeed behind in the vain hope that we can trust Iran. 
It is a dark, cold night in America.

The Obama administration leaving Americans behind? Typical. The Obama administration refusing to stand up for persecuted Christians in the Muslim world? Also typical.

If you want to help, you can sign a petition here urging for Pastor Saeed's release.

'Grounds for Impeachment': Forbes Op-Ed makes the case regarding Obama

Regular readers of my blog know that I strongly disagree with and criticize President Obama on an array of issues, concentrating especially on his support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (for which he has been charged with 'Crimes Against Humanity' at the International Criminal Court), Boko Haram in Nigeria, and Al Qaeda/Al-Nusra in Syria, his support of the genocidal persecution of Christians by Muslim extremist groups, and in general for his efforts to wipe away 1700 years of Christian civilization through actions designed to reverse St. Constantine's Edict of Milan.

Though I have weighed in on domestic and political issues before, I generally try to restrain myself, as that is not part of the specific purpose of this blog. However, the below editorial which recently ran in Forbes deserves to be widely shared and acted upon.

Obama's Disdain For The Constitution Means We Risk Losing Our Republic
Forbes Op/Ed by M. Northup Buechner — 11/19/2013

Since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, he has changed it five times. Most notably, he suspended the employer mandate last summer. This is widely known, but almost no one seems to have grasped its significance.

The Constitution authorizes the President to propose and veto legislation. It does not authorize him to change existing laws. The changes Mr. Obama ordered in Obamacare, therefore, are unconstitutional. This means that he does not accept some of the limitations that the Constitution places on his actions. We cannot know at this point what limitations, if any, he does accept.

By changing the law based solely on his wish, Mr. Obama acted on the principle that the President can rewrite laws and—since this is a principle—not just this law, but any law. After the crash of Obamacare, many Congressmen have implored the President to change the individual mandate the same way he had changed the employer mandate, that is, to violate the Constitution again.

The main responsibility the Constitution assigns to the President is to faithfully execute the Laws. If the President rejects this job, if instead he decides he can change or ignore laws he does not like, then what?

The time will come when Congress passes a law and the President ignores it. Or he may choose to enforce some parts and ignore others (as Mr. Obama is doing now). Or he may not wait for Congress and issue a decree (something Mr. Obama has done and has threatened to do again).

Mr. Obama has not been shy about pointing out his path. He has repeatedly made clear that he intends to act on his own authority. “I have the power and I will use it in defense of the middle class,” he has said. “We’re going to do everything we can, wherever we can, with or without Congress.” There are a number of names for the system Mr. Obama envisions, but representative government is not one of them.

Syrian Christians flee persecution as Patriarch urges them to stay in war-torn country

The fact that the actual possibility of the complete extinction of Christians in the Middle East is being openly discussed on the world stage is one of the most harrowing signs of our age. We are looking at what historians are calling genocide, apocalyptic, religious cleansing.

We are witnessing the resumption of Islam's 1400-year jihad against Christianity.

Syrian Christians flee persecution as Patriarch urges them to stay in war-torn country
RT via Pravmir — 11/24/2013

As some 450,000 Christians have fled Syria since a civil war erupted two years ago, the Syrian Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic church has called on Christians to stay in Syria and survive a “difficult” future.

“I say to my children, stay in your country, the future will  be difficult, but it will be better, God willing,” Syrian  Patriarch Gregory Laham told AFP in an interview.

On the eve of a trip to the Vatican for meetings with Pope  Francis, Laham urged European countries to not “encourage  Syrian Christians to emigrate.”

“I say to the European countries that want to help, help  people in difficulty, humanitarian cases but don’t encourage  people to emigrate,” he said.

According to the cleric, 450,000 Syrian Christians have been  forced from their homes by the civil strife that began in March  2011.

The religious leader said that between 1,000 and 1,200  Christians, both soldiers and civilians, had been killed.

Pope Francis also said the Catholic Church “will not resign” itself to a Middle East without Christians.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

‘Largest Massacre of Christians in Syria’ Ignored

by Raymond Ibrahim — 11/21/2013

The worst Christian massacre—complete with mass graves, tortured-to-death women and children, and destroyed churches—recently took place in Syria, at the hands of the U.S.-supported jihadi “rebels”; and the U.S. government and its “mainstream media” mouthpiece are, as usual, silent (that is, when not actively trying to minimize matters).

Images of three of the six family members tortured and thrown in a well by U.S.-supported Islamic terrorists.

The massacre took place in Sadad, an ancient Syriac Orthodox Christian habitation, so old as to be mentioned in the Old Testament.  Most of the region’s inhabitants are poor, as Sadad is situated in the remote desert between Homs and Damascus (desert regions, till now, apparently the only places Syria’s Christians could feel secure; 600 Christian families had earlier fled there for sanctuary from the jihad, only to be followed by it).

In late October, the U.S-supported “opposition” invaded and occupied Sadad for over a week, till ousted by the nation’s military.  Among other atrocities, 45 Christians—including women and children—were killed, several tortured to death; Sadat’s 14 churches, some ancient, were ransacked and destroyed; the bodies of six people from one family, ranging from ages 16 to 90, were found at the bottom of a well (an increasingly common fate for “subhuman” Christians).

The jihadis even made a graphic video (with English subtitles) of those whom they massacred, while shouting Islam’s victory-cry, “Allahu Akbar” (which John McCain equates to a Christian saying “thank God”).  Another video, made after Sadad was liberated shows more graphic atrocities.

Moscow Patriarchate hopes Putin’s Vatican visit will make Orthodox-Catholic ties stronger

Interfax via Pravmir — 11/22/2013

Moscow, November 22, Interfax – The Moscow Patriarchate expects Russian President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican to give an additional impetus to relations between Orthodox people and Catholics.

“We would like to hope that President Putin’s meeting with the Pope will help strengthen relations between Russia and the Vatican, as well as relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church,” a spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations told Interfax-Religion.

It will be a meeting of the leaders of two states, the spokesman said, adding that the two churches have been working directly to tackle many religious issues.

The Russian president and the pontiff are expected to meet during Putin’s visit to the Vatican on November 25. It will be the third visit of the Russian head of state to the Vatican after the establishment of full-scale diplomatic relations in December 2009. In the earlier period, Putin met with Pope John Paul II in 2000 and 2003 and with Pope Benedict XVI in 2007.

Putin to discuss Syrian peace process with pontiff

Interfax via Pravmir — 11/22/2013

Moscow, November 21, Interfax – Syrian settlement prospects will be an item on the agenda of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican on November 25.

“The issue will be touched upon at the audience with the Pontiff,” Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov said.

Pope Francis sent a message to Putin before the G20 St. Petersburg summit of September 2013 to laud Russia’s chairmanship in the Group of Twenty and to oppose the use of force in the settlement of the Syrian conflict.

“The message created a constructive background for the discussion of the Syrian crisis at the St. Petersburg meeting of the G20 leaders. Interesting and rather positive developments occurred later on, in the light of the initiatives put forward by our president,” the Kremlin representative observed.

There will be some other topical international issues on the meeting’s agenda, Ushakov said. “Special attention will be given to the protection of the Christian population in North Africa and the Middle East,” he said.

Friday, November 22, 2013

New Martyr Fr. Igor Rozin, in Orthodox Word #291

The new issue of the Orthodox Word, #291, July-August 2013, Vol. 49 No. 4, features the article, Ascent to the Summit: The Life and Martyric Death of Fr. Igor Rozin.

Available to order by individual issue, or subscribe from St Herman Press.

See also my earlier posts on New Martyr Fr. Igor Rozin:

The Feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple

Perhaps this unique and mystical feast of the Virgin Mary might be a portal through which Muslims might come to know Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. Because Muslims venerate Mary (Miriam), and retain awareness of the virgin birth of Jesus (Isa), they might be intrigued and drawn to learn the truth about Jesus and His Most Pure Mother, specifically, why the Virgin Birth is a sign of the divinity of Christ, as Isaiah says:

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

As the Evangelist Matthew tells us in his gospel (1:23), Immanuel means "God with us," and the meaning is clear. God becomes incarnate, taking on human nature, in the person of Jesus.

Regarding the Feast of the Entrance of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, into the Temple, this excerpt from an article by a monk at St Tikhon's Monastery (published in the book, These Truths We Hold) conveys some of the depth and fulfillment contained therein:

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple (Nov. 21) 
Soon after the beginning of the Nativity Fast (Advent), the Holy Church celebrates the Feast of the Entrance of the Most-Holy Theotokos [Birthgiver of God] into the Temple. Here we encounter the holiness of Mary a small child separated from the world, brought to live in the Temple a life set apart, consecrated, and in a state of intimacy with God something that all of us are called to be.  
We also see in this Feast a comparison between the Temple of stone and Mary, the Living Temple, the Temple of the Savior. For she will bear God the Word, the God-Man, in her womb, thus showing herself to be a holier Temple than that at Jerusalem. It is the Living Temple, the instrument of the Incarnation, which sanctifies the Temple built of stone... 

The Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-33, and Applying its Lessons to Today's Genocide against Christians in the Islamic World

From 1932 to 1933, Soviet leader Josef Stalin ordered the forced starvation of between 7 to 10 million Ukrainians. As per the statement below, this is one of the worst, if not the worst, acts of genocide ever committed against a people in history.

What is especially significant in the below statement, is that the Ukrainian Orthodox Bishops are applying the lessons of the Ukrainian Genocide to our age and all future times:

We will NOT allow their martyrdom to go without meaning.  We WILL remind the world’s political leaders that they no longer have unlimited and unquestioned power to destroy life.  We WILL remind mankind of the sanctity of life and the God-given rights of every individual human being.  We call to mind the words of Edmund Burke:  “Those who don’t know (or ignore – George Santayana) history are destined (condemned) to repeat it.”

For more on the Ukrainian Genocide, see this article by Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes, which documents the wider Orthodox Genocide of the 20th century, concluding that 50 million Orthodox Christians were targeted and killed, with editorial estimates to the article suggesting that number could be far too low by the tens of millions.

For further context, consider that by one carefully researched estimate, approximately 270 million have been killed by Muslims during the many waves of jihad since the early seventh century.


To the beloved clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches beyond the borders of Ukraine in North and South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the genocidal famine in Ukraine 1932-33.

Dearly beloved brothers and sisters,


Once again we have come to the annual commemoration of the victims of one of, if not the worst, acts of genocide ever committed against mankind – the purposefully created and perpetrated 1932-33 artificial and genocidal famine in Ukraine, masterminded by Josef Stalin himself and managed by those who devoted their lives to him and carried out every command – regardless of what the consequences were for not only the seven to ten million Ukrainian men, women and children who succumbed to the famine, but also for the countless thousands or even more millions of Ukrainians and others who dared to challenge the “plan” of the day – all throughout the Stalin era.  The famine was a part of the master plan to destroy the mind (intelligentsia), the soul (the church and her clergy) and the spirit (farmers and villagers, who embodied the national culture and ancient traditions) of the Ukrainian nation.

Greek Parliament Surrenders to Islam, Orthodox Bishop and Citizens oppose mosque in Athens

Greek Orthodox Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus said: "I want to emphasize that Athens is the only European capital that went through four centuries of slavery under Islam, and managed to free itself just 200 years ago by spilling rivers of blood." 
"Building a mosque would offend the martyrs who freed us," Seraphim said in a separate interview with the BBC. "We are not a multicultural country."

Bishop Seraphim is absolutely correct to oppose construction of a government-funded mosque, for precisely the reasons he mentions. The Greek government may collapse over this. Forcing taxpayer funding of a mosque is to commit civilizational suicide. It is payment of the Islamic jizya tax in hopes of appeasing the Muslim population in Greece. The Greek government has in effect declared its submission to Islam. If this mosque project goes forward, it will bode ill for Orthodox Christians in Greece, and may herald a new dark age of Muslim domination of Greece, with strife along the lines of what the Serbs have suffered.

Clash of Civilizations: Greeks Oppose Govt. Mosque Project
Fearing the Muslim-related tensions could spiral out of control, the Greek Parliament voted in September 2011 to move ahead with the plan to build a taxpayer-funded mosque.

by Soeren Kern — The Clarion Project — 11/20/2013

Muslim immigrants pray during Eid al-Adha in front of Athens university in 2010. Local residents threw eggs in protests of the illegal take-over of public space in a central square of the capital. (Photo: © Reuters)

The Greek government has awarded a tender to build the first taxpayer-funded mosque in Athens, one of the few remaining capitals in the European Union that lacks a state-funded mosque.

The Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks said on November 14 that it had finally chosen a consortium of four construction companies to build the mosque. Four previous tenders had failed due to a lack of interest amid mounting public opposition to the mosque.

Construction of the 600 square meter (6,500 square foot) mosque—which will cost Greek taxpayers at least €950,000 ($1.3 million)—is due to begin within the next two months. Once the contracts are signed, the tender calls for the project to be completed within six months.

The plan calls for renovating an existing government-owned building on a disused naval base in the industrial district of Votanikos near the center of Athens. The mosque—which will not have minarets—will have a capacity for around 500 worshippers. 

Yet, outside the planned site, residents — led by a local Greek Orthodox bishop named Seraphim [Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus] — have filed a motion against plans to build the mosque with the Council of State, the highest administrative court in Greece.

In an interview with the Greek newspaper Ekathimerini, Seraphim said: "I want to emphasize that Athens is the only European capital that went through four centuries of slavery under Islam, and managed to free itself just 200 years ago by spilling rivers of blood."

"Building a mosque would offend the martyrs who freed us," Seraphim said in a separate interview with the BBC. "We are not a multicultural country."

The mosque plan has also generated considerable controversy for economic reasons. Opponents of the mosque argue that Greek taxpayers should not be footing the bill for this project at a time when their massively indebted country is dependent upon foreign aid just to stay afloat.

According to the latest available statistics, the Greek economy—which has been struggling through six years of recession—contracted by another 3% during the third quarter of 2013. The unemployment rate now exceeds 27% (the jobless rate for those under 25 exceeds 60%) and analysts say the Greek economic crisis shows no signs of ending.

But the Greek government appears to be worried about thinly veiled threats of violence by thousands of Muslim residents in Athens who have been pressuring government ministers to meet their demands for a mosque or face an uprising.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Shot in the Head by Islamists for Refusing to Deny Christ

Stories like these about brave Christians refusing to deny Christ even under threat of torture and death are allowed by the Lord to strengthen us in our most holy faith. We should always ask ourselves, "How would I respond?" And sensing our own weakness, we should be humbled in our prayers to God, seeking His grace and strength.

ICC — 11/20/2013

ICC Note: This brave brother in Christ survived certain death to share his story of persecution and faith in Jesus. Pray for him and all those suffering the evil of Boko Haram in Nigeria.

11/20/2013 Nigeria (Codewit World News) - This man, Habila Adamu, was shot in his head after he refused to deny Christ by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria. But he survived and is here to share the love of Christ to the world.

Boko Haram is an Islamic jihadist militant organization based in the northeast Nigeria. The group came to Adamu because he is a Christian.

“They wanted me to deny Jesus. They want to ‘Islamitize’ Nigeria. That is why they are targeting Christians,” he said in a CBN video posted on YouTube.

"Agree to deny your faith you will be safe. If you don’t agree to do it, they will kill you,” he added.

And that is how he answered why he chose to stand his ground and refused to deny Christ.“What can separate us from the love of Christ? Is it hardship? Is it persecution? Is it sword? No. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ,” he said.

“Christ did something for me and all the people in the world. We are sinners! We are condemned criminals! We are supposed to die! But He took all these burdens! He paid for our debts! He died for us! Why can I not submit to Jesus? That is what I did. I stood for him!”

FBI Video Shows Al Qaeda in Kentucky Handling Heavy Weapons

by James Gordon Meek, ABC News, Nov 20, 2013

An al Qaeda-linked terrorist, who was resettled in the U.S. as an Iraq War refugee after allegedly killing American soldiers, was caught on camera in Kentucky handling heavy weapons that the FBI said he believed would be sent to insurgents back in Iraq.

The 2010 video, obtained exclusively by ABC News, was part of a broader ABC News investigation into the flawed refugee vetting program, which officials said may have let “dozens” of terrorists into the country.

In the video, Waad Ramadan Alwan is seen expertly field stripping what the FBI identified as a Russian PKM machine gun. Other still images provided by the FBI from hours-worth of surveillance footage show Alwan and an accomplice, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, handling a Stinger missile launcher and a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher.

An FBI agent assigned to the sting operation that captured the video told ABC News that Alwan had bragged to an informant about killing American soldiers in Iraq. “He said he had them ‘for lunch and dinner,’” FBI Louisville Supervisory Special Agent Tim Beam said.

Many Muslims were baptized after the death of Fr. Daniil Sysoev

Of course, for "The blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church."

Pravoslavie — 10/30/2012

The Funeral of New Martyr Fr. Daniil Sysoev
The reason for the murder of the priest Daniel Sysoev was the success of his mission among the Muslims, says his friend the famous missionary Father Oleg Stenyaev, according to the news agency Interfax-Religion.

"A man gets killed when he is feared, when his spiritual superiority is feared. Father Daniel was threatened 14 times. And even on the day of his murder, he received a threatening call demanding that he must stop preaching among the Muslims. After his assassination many Muslims were baptized, as priests of other Churches have told me. The murder produced the opposite effect," says Father Oleg in an article published by the Orthodox newspaper Krestovsky Bridge.

According to Stenayev, "When the warlord Said Buryatsky sentenced Father Daniel to death two ‘charges’ were announced—that Father Daniel conducted open debates with Muslims, and that he had them baptized.

"But the Muslims themselves initiated the debates. And the fact that they were coming to him to be baptized shows that something is lacking in Islam, that's why they came," said the author.

The priest emphasized that Father Daniel’s mission never had an aggressive nature, and the videos of those debates are proof of this.

"Unfortunately, the intermissions were not filmed. During the debates there were periods when everyone in the lobby started talking to each other. Many Muslims gathered around Father Daniel and asked him questions which he answered very amicably. He had no animosity towards people of other confessions and he spoke about it in his lectures: "I love these people but I do not share their faith and their beliefs," says the article.

Father Oleg considers his friend to be a saint.

Greek Nuns Pray To Father Daniil Sysoyev As Saint

Interfax via Mystagogy — 10/5/2010

Nuns of a large Greek Monastery are convinced that believers can pray to priest Daniil Sysoyev as to a saint.

"It' high time you prayed not for Father Daniil, but to Father Daniil," Sister Prosdoki from the Annunciation Monastery in Ormylia, Halkidiki Peninsula, told an Interfax-Religion correspondent.

She also wonders why Father Daniil is not widely venerated in Russia.

According to the nun, many Orthodox Greeks honor Father Daniil alongside with many Greek saints martyred for Orthodox faith by Turks.

The interviewee of the agency believes Father Daniil's tomb can become one of most beloved places for Greek pilgrims. Relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov have been such a shrine so far.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fr Peter Alban Heers: Podcasts on New Martyr Fr. Daniil Sysoev

In March 2011, Fr Peter Alban Heers devoted two of his podcasts, Postcards from Greece, on Ancient Faith Radio, to discussing Fr. Daniil Sysoev of Moscow and his dynamic missionary program. As a follow up to these talks, in April 2011 Fr. Peter responded to a question raised by a listener about saints in the Church. 

I have included the transcript for the third podcast below. If anyone is eager to help support the work of Ancient Faith Radio (and help spread the teachings and veneration of Fr Daniil Sysoev in the process), you can sponsor transcripts for the March 17 and March 23 podcasts. Just visit those pages and click on the Sponsor Transcript links to start the process. Costs are $13.50 and $20.25 respectively.


March 17, 2011 Length: 17:26
Father Peter spoke to a gathering of clergy and lay people in Athens recently and pointed to the witness of the new martyr of Moscow, the missionary priest Father Daniel Sysoev, as a model for mission work today. Father Daniel walked the "Royal Path" of the Church, avoiding two extremes, that of indifference to the person from the right and indifference to the Truth from the left.

Orthodox Word #268, 'The Blood of the Martyrs is the Seed of the Church'

The Life and Martyric Death of the Righteous Missionary, Father Daniel Sysoev
compiled by the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood

This back issue on Fr. Daniil Sysoev, published very soon after his martyric death in 2009, is still available from St Herman Press.

'You Wish to See Many Miracles? – You Should Become a Missionary or a Martyr!'

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

Pravmir — 11/25/2009 — h/t Mystagogy
"A missionary should be the one to start the conversation about God, or else he is no missionary at all. But at the same time, he must soberly evaluate his own knowledge and skills. He should know the answers to the basic questions his counterparts usually ask about Christianity. He should remember that attack is the best form of defense. He should never hesitate to say that you are right and they are wrong. It is not necessary to bow and scrape before each listener. But at the same time, he must not injure somebody's pride in order to prove his case. Christ died for everyone. One should remember that one should respect a person, not his delusions. There should be rejection of falsity, but love for man."  — Fr. Daniil Sysoev 

Autobiography of Fr. Daniel Sysoev

 “I, Priest Daniel Alekseevich Sysoev, was born on January 12, 1974, in Moscow to a family of teachers and artists. My father, Priest Aleksei Nikolaevich Sysoev, is now rector of the Church of St. John the Theologian at the ‘Iasenevo’ Orthodox Classical Orthodox Gymnasium, and is also a clergyman of the Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Iasenevo. My mother, Anna Midkhatovna Amirova, teaches catechism at the same school. 

Fr. Daniil Sysoev's Last Sermon (VIDEO)

With English subtitles. A message on Christian love and concord, full of scriptural references and spiritual truths.

Serbian Conversations: Interview with Fr. Daniil Sysoev, Pt 2

Continued from Part 1. This interview concentrates on Orthodox missionary work, and is exceptionally challenging.

Source: Incendiary — 5/7/2010

“O Lord, open Thou my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise”

Stanoje Stankovic: The first question: What do you think about missions in the world, that is, in Africa, in Russia, in Serbia, and in the Balkans?

Father Daniel: I think that the Lord has now created such a situation that almost the whole world is open for Orthodox missions. Truly, such was not the case 20 years ago. And regarding globalization-this is an act of God in order that the Gospel makes it to the ends of the world, so that the undistorted preaching of the Holy Apostles could reach every people of the earth. If we, Christians, do not use this chance then the Lord will demand an answer from us for the fact that we did not convert people to the light of Orthodoxy. Regarding missions, they are beginning to be revived. We know that there are active missions in the Russian Church and the Greek Church; the Orthodox Church of Alexandria actively preaches. Yuri Valeryevich can talk about that in more detail, and I will speak about Russia.

In Russia there are two types of missions: internal missions targeted at nominal Orthodox, more correctly called catechism, and missions targeted at those outside the Church. Unfortunately, external missions are less active, but it is also starting to intensify right now. Yuri Valeryevich and I, having studied the experience of a number of missionaries, came to the conclusion that it was necessary to create a missionary movement and we did that in the creation of the missionary movement of the Holy Prophet Daniel, where the a program based on the general experience of the Russian Orthodox Church, in a sense, exists. We have courses, over the course of a year, for training Orthodox missionaries which train people to preach on the streets, among sects, among those of other religions, as well as among average nominal Orthodox.