Life of Priest-Martyr Daniel Sysoyev
Birth and Childhood

Father Daniel (Daniel Alekseevich Sysoev) was born in Moscow on January 12 , 1974. His parents, Aleksey Nikolaevich Sysoev and Anna Midhatovna Amirova, who were art teachers, were baptized after Daniel's birth. The boy himself was baptized in 1977 because his grandmother, a devoted communist, tried to prevent this from happening and threatened the parents in various ways. Knowing the dangers of the religious persecution in the atheistic USSR, little Daniel's baptism had to be postponed.

For quite a long time the parents were attending church without their child, but, at age three, Daniel became seriously ill. The illness was so serious they started to be afraid for Daniel's life and so they decided to baptize the child despite the risk. (At that time they already knew that no one may enter the Kingdom of God) unless 'born of water and of the Spirit'. Daniel was found worthy of baptism on October 31, 1977 in the Church of Holy Trinity on Vorobievy Hill (Moscow) by Father Eugene.

From his early childhood Daniel had an idea of becoming a priest someday so instead of playing ordinary games he loved to imagine himself preaching and doing other things connected with priesthood. At the same time the whole family were regular parishioners of the Church of St. Nicholas in Kuznetsky Sloboda but sometimes they attended the small cathedral of the Donskoi Monastery, the Church of the Deposition of the Robe in Shabolovka. When his father eventually started to serve as an acolyte in the church dedicated to the Beheading of St. John the Baptist in Afineyevo village (near Moscow), Daniel had a chance to help him in the altar and to sing in the church choir.

More than any other activities young Daniel loved to listen to the lives of the saints and to draw paint pictures (the latter was not surprising for he had grown up in the family of artists). He used to draw paint beautiful, paradise-like pictures of fantastic landscapes: nature, mountains, animals, sky, along religious processions and villages with lots of temples in them. The sky in his paintings was always filled with glorious light. He also loved to draw cross processions.