Guardian of the Family

Fr. Daniel Sysoev Through the Eyes of His Wife

Ten years have passed since the martyric death of the greatly-revered missionary Fr. Daniel Sysoev. In his honor, we publish the recollections of his widow, Matushka Julia Sysoeva.

Fr. Daniel with his family Fr. Daniel with his family     

The daring crime had a great impact. Fr. Daniel was known all over the world and hasn’t been forgotten to this day, because he was a talented preacher and brilliant missionary. His words and homilies have spread all over the world. He was known as a priest, kind, sympathetic, and attentive to everyone who came to him. He was interested in every soul, in every person. He was attracted to the non-Orthodox—people of every religion and belief, former sectarians and atheists, and many acquired a living faith and received Baptism. How did he do it? He valued all people. He believed that if someone came to him, he had to receive him as Christ Himself.

How did he have enough strength and energy for everyone? It’s amazing, but the fact is that he had enough and even more than enough. Only his family, his beloved children remained in the shadows. But this shadow was illusory. He was very busy with his parish duties, often arriving late when the children were sleeping, and leaving early when they were still sleeping. There were rare weekends that he tried to completely devote to the children.

Can he be called a bad father and a bad husband for that? Certainly not! It’s amazing, but he managed to love his family. He managed to give warmth and care to his children. How did he do it with such a crazy job?

God gave Fr. Daniel and I three daughters; three daughters, all very different, which was probably emblematic for a father like him; three daughters who were born about five years apart. Fr. Daniel knew a lot about each of them, as if he saw the future: their characters, talents, abilities, and particular features. He spoke with each of them about how their futures would go, as though he had a premonition that he wouldn’t see any of them as adults. And we believe that he has not left us but is present in our lives, continuing to invisibly guide their fates. After all, we believe in the immortality of the soul. He greatly treasured his children. He would often go to them in their room while they were sleeping and admire them as they slept.

“I’m so moved by them,” he would say in such moments. In the silence and the darkness, he would sit by their beds and pray. Only God knows what he would say to Him in these secret quiet moments of life.


He desired one thing for all of them: to become worthy Christians. Therefore, he didn’t choose just any names for them, but the names of his beloved saints, holy women.

He greatly revered Sts. Cyprian and Justina. He loved this wonderful story when the terrible and powerful sorcerer was unable to defeat the weak, delicate girl, after which he understood that the demons he was serving were incredibly weak and could do nothing. This is what turned the sorcerer to the true God. Our first daughter was named Justina in honor of St. Justina.

We named our second daughter by drawing lots. We had heated arguments about it. I was against such an unusual name like Dorothea, but Fr. Daniel said that the martyr Dorothea triumphed over the pagans, because God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. God gave Dorothea a great miracle for her faith, sending her tormentors apples and roses from the Garden of Eden by her prayers. Of course, Fr. Daniel won out in the drawing of lots, because he named our daughter not according to how the name would sound to people, but according to the life of his beloved saint.

With our third daughter, it was again by lots, again with fights about the name. It fell to Angelina, in honor of the Empress Angelina of Serbia—again an example of a true Christian, endowed with power and wealth and fulfilling the commandments of the Lord.


Fr. Daniel was very strict, but at the same time, merciful to all who came to him, in relation to life in a Christian marriage. He was irreconcilable to open relationships, considering them unacceptable for anyone who considered themselves believers and belonging to the bosom of the Church.

He really loved to celebrate weddings. I was at several weddings of our friends who wanted to be crowned particularly by him. Then he would baptize their children and himself became their Godfather several times. I hope his Godchildren don’t forget their Godfather and remember him in their prayers.

Once he became the Godfather when he baptized our friends’ newborn in the ICU. There was no time to choose Godparents then. We dropped everything and rushed along the winter road in the snow to the hospital outside of Moscow. In such situations, Fr. Daniel wouldn’t allow even the slightest delay.

He always rejoiced like a child when they brought him those children whom he himself had baptized in the ICU or in a hospital, especially when these children would walk to church on their own two feet. Once he told me how a little girl whom he had baptized in the premature birth ward came to church. She weighed only twenty-one ounces and the doctors didn’t make any kind of prognosis. After her Baptism, she quickly recovered. And a year later, she came to see him with her happy mother and even asked him to pick her up.

He always taught his pregnant parishioners and their husbands to know the formula for an emergency lay Baptism. He always advised pregnant women to have Unction before birth and also as soon as they found out they were pregnant. He believed that pregnancy is a special gift, and therefore it’s necessary to devote as much time as possible to prayers for your future baby. He even advised pregnant women to sing prayers aloud more often so the child, who hears everything, would get accustomed to hearing prayers from his mother’s womb. And he was very indignant about abortion. He was an ardent opponent of all manifestations of this evil. There is even a famous photo where Fr. Daniel is walking with his seven-mile rapid steps in front of a banner with the words, “Stop killing!” He fought against this evil as hard as he could. He always blessed me to write articles against abortion.

Photo: Photo:     

There was another miracle when he baptized a four-year-old child who had been hopelessly ill with chronic pneumonia for a long time. Immediately after the Baptism, the child’s temperature fell for the first time in months, and he quietly fell asleep. In such moments, Batiushka himself turned into a child and nearly leapt for joy, his face and eyes shining with happiness for these people and from the happiness of having touched God.

He can rightly be called a guardian of the family. He very often reconciled quarreling spouses and did everything to prevent divorce and the collapse of a family. Sometimes he even sat spouses at a table across from one another and told them to write their complaints on a piece of paper and then analyze every grievance separately, and by the end of the conversation, the people had often reconciled and realized that their quarrels and insults were actually contrived and meaningless. Fr. Daniel was very sad when families fell apart, when couples fled to different rooms, when they lost understanding. He believed any misunderstanding could be solved by a frank discussion, and, of course, prayer. He would always say that spouses should pray for one another and for their children, because a family is labor. Love is a long and hard work. Marriage is a fire that you have to add logs to, otherwise it will go out. If you forget about it, there will come a cool down, boredom, and fatigue, and you’ll start to search for an illusory happiness elsewhere.


He knew about every family in his parish. Many people say that his advice regarding saving or creating a family always hit the nail on the head. Sometimes he would give such unexpected advice that the person could leave discouraged, because he expected to hear something else from a priest, something he was used to hearing. Later it would turn out that his advice was precisely what was needed in the situation the person brought to him.

Once there was a young man who was head over heels in love with a girl. He was going to marry her, but something was always bothering him. Fr. Daniel offered to serve a moleben to Sts. Peter and Fevronia with him. He said to him: If the problem passes, then get married, but if you start to cool off, then it’ll be clear—don’t get married. They served the moleben and they prayed. Later the young man reported that literally the next day he woke up and realized that it wasn’t his fate and he shouldn’t get married to her. As it turned out later, the girl had specifically mesmerized the guy with sorcery. This man still thanks Fr. Daniel and the Lord for this decision. He later got married and his happy in his marriage.

Fr. Daniel always said that any question should be asked of the Lord and no decision should be made without prayer and faith.

He could weep with the weeping and rejoice with the rejoicing. He could lay people’s pain and misery on his shoulders, to ease their sorrow and misfortune.

Therefore, on the tenth anniversary of his departure to the Lord, we ask for fervent prayers for the repose of his soul. We believe that he prays for all of us in Heaven in the mansions of the Heavenly Father, for Whom his thirsting soul so longed.

Julia Sysoeva
Translated by Jesse Dominick


See also
Fr. Daniel Sysoev, Priest, Missionary, and Martyr Fr. Daniel Sysoev, Priest, Missionary, and Martyr
From “The Blood of the Martyrs Is the Seed of the Church”
Fr. Daniel Sysoev, Priest, Missionary, and Martyr Fr. Daniel Sysoev, Priest, Missionary, and Martyr
Fr. Daniel was on fire with love for God from an early age, and maintained this ardent faith unremittingly until his death.
“When They Kill Me, Don’t Cry For Me, But Pray For Me” “When They Kill Me, Don’t Cry For Me, But Pray For Me”
Archimandrite Melchisedek (Artiukhin)
“When They Kill Me, Don’t Cry For Me, But Pray For Me” “When They Kill Me, Don’t Cry For Me, But Pray For Me”
Remembrances of Fr. Daniel Sysoev
Archimandrite Melchisedek (Artiukhin)
Not long before his death Fr. Daniel told his daughter, “When they kill me, don’t cry for me, but pray for me.” We know that when we pray for sinful people, the Lord hears our prayers and gives them His merciful aid and strength. When we pray for the righteous, this prayer returns to us—our love returns to us.
Father Daniel Sisoyev’s Posthumous Mission: Three Stories Father Daniel Sisoyev’s Posthumous Mission: Three Stories
Deacon Giorgi Maximov
Father Daniel Sisoyev’s Posthumous Mission: Three Stories Father Daniel Sisoyev’s Posthumous Mission: Three Stories
Deacon Giorgi Maximov
On November 19, 2009, priest Daniel Sisoyev was killed. He was a missionary, a preacher, and a talented orator, whose word both spoken and written roused people from their spiritual torpor and led them to Christ. Fr. Daniel’s followers speak different languages, live in various countries, and have varying experience in preaching, but they are all united by one thing—they know that it is their duty to spread to as many people as possible the truth of these words: “there is no salvation outside the Church”.
ROGER (SERAFIM) Thomas11/23/2019 6:23 pm
I received a miracle from Fr. Daniel. I asked him to pray for me, a sinner. 2 days later, to my surprise, I REC'D IN the mail, a beautiful prayerbook from Father DANIEL'S Mission. However, the prayerbook was in Russian. I only speak English. I knew then that Fr. Daniel heard and answered my pray. I gave the book to a Russian lady at church who was more than happy to receive it. She told me there was a certain prayer in the book she had been looking for for years. MEMORY ETERNAL TO HOLY MARTYR DANIEL !
Lana Kokayeff11/21/2019 5:17 pm
I have read several of Father Daniel's books more than once each. He was a real treasure of Orthodoxy in today's confusing and orally corrupt world. Thank you for publishing them!
Silouan11/20/2019 8:17 pm
Lord bless and keep your Saints; may Fr. Daniel pray for us all. Thank you, Julia, memory eternal. He did the Lord's work, and I hope more of his writings are made available in English.
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