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Τετάρτη, 27 Ιουνίου 2018

Priest-Martyr Daniel Sysoev. An Ideal Death vs. An Awful Death.



Now, what kind of death is best? For a Christian, the best death is to be martyred for the sake of Christ the Savior. This is the best possible way for man to die. Some people sent condolences to Optina Hermitage after the murder of three monks ( on Pascha, 1993 ), but for a Christian, that kind of death is a very great joy. In the ancient Church, they would never send their condolences when someone somewhere was killed. All of the churches would immediately send out congratulations. Imagine, to congratulate them with having a new defender in the Heavens! A martyrs death washes away all sins except for heresy and schism. All other sins--fornication, murder, adultery--are washed away. Heresy is distortion of the teachings of the Church, a distortion not made out of ignorance, but a conscious distortion, going against the will of God. Is that not so? Schism is an organized rebellion against the Church. All other sins are washed away. Remember the martyr St. Boniface!

The Slavic language is always letting us down. Ever since the Slavs mistranslated the word "martyr", we have always misunderstood it. We should not read the word "martyr" as commonly understood ( one who has been tortured ). A martyr is a witness, a term Arabs correctly render as "shaheed." Except that the shaheed is a witness to evil, the spirit-Allah, while for us, a martyr witnesses that Christ is good, and that He conquered death. Thus, a martyr is one who by his death has borne witness that Christ conquered death, that He rose from the dead. That is the meaning of the word "martyr", a witness, not someone who was tortured. We have martyrs who died natural deaths. Take the example of the Protomartyr St. Thecla, who had a natural repose, but is still a martyr. Other examples are the martyrs St. Golindukha and St. Shushanika. We know that although they endured torture, they died natural deaths. Yet, they are martyrs, for they bore witness to the Word of God with their lives and their deaths.

Now; of course, we pray always. I think that when each of us signs himself with the sign of the Cross and makes a prostration at the prayer asking for "a Christian ending to our life, painless, blameless, peaceful, and a good defense at the Dread Judgement of Christ," , it is a heartfelt and sincere plea. I hope that each of us sincerely desires these things. It is interesting to consider that when talking about the end of life, of all the possible ways for life to end, the best death is one we can anticipate. For this reason being ill with cancer is often thought to be a kind of mercy from God, for  one knows that in several  months , he will die. He can prepare, he can become reconciled to others, he can somehow correct himself, and can prepare himself for eternity.

The most awful death that can befall a Christian is a sudden death, for then he goes off into eternity unprepared.

--So you should not pursue medical treatment?
--You should pursue treatment. Who says you should not? Under current law, a physician who conceals the diagnosis from the patient is a criminal, and is subject to incarceration for, I believe, up to three years, which is a fair sentence. The doctor is required to tell not the relatives, but the patient himself. I believe that this was enacted in 1995, following the example of the West.

--What do you do if the relatives won't disclose the patient's condition to him?
--They are criminals. If one knows that death is approaching, but conceals the fact, he is a criminal; he is an awful person. It is not good to lie, especially in such circumstances. AIDS is a punishment from God, one that can bring about a person's correcting himself. What is the cause of 90% of the cases of AIDS? Narcotics or homosexuality. Only 3% of those infected with AIDS are children,  90%, or some say 95%, from drug addiction and depravity.

Instructions For The Immortal / Or What To Do, If You Still Die
pg 27-30

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