I think that one of the most important problems facing the Orthodox Church in Russia, and even beyond its borders, is the ideological rigor mortis of the Church. The Church is considered as a kind of dead body, it is thought to be frozen. According to some, nothing should be changed in it. It is understandable that we should not change dogmatics and Church Tradition, no one argues with that. However, the problem is that people try to preserve superstitions and false ideology, and, what is worse, they try to hang on to bad remnants of the Soviet period. I have travelled throughout the canonical territory of the MP, and I see one and the same picture everywhere. People do not know God, they think that their salvation is complete; and all of their time is taken with completely-unimportant matters such as the minutiae of this-or-that rite, the details of this-or-that church policy, or one regional view or another.Voices of Russia also has a biography entry on the martyred priest.
In my opinion, it is an enormous misfortune that people have lost their consciousness of Christianity. People have forgotten about the fact that we are, first of all, Christians, the children of God the Father, and that we must go to Christ for holiness and salvation. As a part of this, one sees a controversy over the frequent reception of Holy Communion, which connects us with the Lord. Some people do not consider Communion to be as important as it is to act in such a way as to “earn” one’s salvation. However, they do not realise that this is the heresy of Pelagius, that one can earn one’s salvation by one’s own efforts.
In other words, the standard of church life that they expound is sinful, pure and simple; it is a distortion of the real Church Tradition. For instance, one hears that Russians, because they are Russian, are already Orthodox. In one article that I read, I saw the assertion that even atheists are truly Orthodox, if they are a part of the Russian culture. This is nothing less than the displacing of faith with culture. Orthodoxy is God’s revelation, preserved for us in all purity from the times of the Apostles. One now sees efforts by some to replace the New Testament with national myths, including old ones that the Church has always fought against. They propagate heathen fables about the “mothers of the black soil” instead of seeing Christ as the basis of all culture.
Paganism often disguises itself in the Church under the mask of Christianity, and it is hidden under a façade of pietism rather than in overt exterior manifestations. People forget that their goal is to reach sanctity. Some of them believe it is a sin even to think of such a possibility, that they could reach sanctity, even though it is the fulfilment of a direct commandment of the Lord. We should spare no effort to overcome this problem. To overcome this, we must issue a new call for the people to return to holiness. For this, it is necessary for us to revive catechesis throughout the entire Church. Even those who are already baptised should study the faith. People must know in Whom they believe, in what they should do in order to approach Him. People coming to church see it as an assembly-line of spiritual services. They are not offered any spiritual growth; therefore, they go to the sectarians.
People think, in error, that the sects are easier than the Orthodox. Recently, I had a chance to associate with Pentecostals. I learned that it is their practise to pray five hours during the day. What Orthodox Christian prays for five hours a day? Sectarianism is the consequence of the Church not informing people of the commandments of the Lord, commandments that our Lord Christ expects us to fulfil. The Gospel is seen as nothing but a collection of pious sayings; it is not seen as a means of real contact with God. We so fear being seduced by the world that we end by doing nothing. This is a terrible spiritual problem. If we do not overcome it, very many Christians shall be ruined. It is an ideology of rigor mortis. It is not conservatism; rather, it is the murder of the Church.
Below is one of several You Tube videos of Batushka Daniil noted from the Moscow Times report of his death.
Here is the You Tube Channel with what is said to be Fr Daniil's final sermon.
May his memory be eternal.