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Part 1


fr-daniel-portrait2-217x300The wind (The Spirit) blows wherever he wants to and He is truth and life. The Gospel is not a story, and Jesus Christ is not a mythological person; He is the word of truth, and Jesus Christ is the true God. And He reveals Himself to everyone who is searching for Him devotedly, with a pure heart. This can be proved by the venerable person of Archimandrite Daniel Biantoro from Indonesia (the largest Moslem country in the world), to whom The Lord revealed in a marvellous way

and he believed in Him with all of his heart as in the one true God and decided to follow Him. Until almost thirty years ago there was not a single Orthodox Christian and not a single Orthodox Church in Indonesia. Father Daniel was the first to convert to Orthodoxy. Since then the word of truth started to be sown on Indonesian ground. During a single service there happened the same that what was happening in the first centuries with the Apostles and the first Christians: During a service held by father Daniel as many as 2000 people converted into Orthodoxy. About all of this and about his personality we will be told by father Daniel himself, with whom we have made this interview with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, first hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

– I was still a theology student when I first heard and read about you from Fr. Jovan Takovski, our distinguished professor and spiritual father. When he read about you in one, I think it was French magazine, he was inspired immediately to translate the text for us. Please, tell us something about you and your conversion into Orthodoxy.

1) My Childhood Religious background

I am an Indonesian and was born into an Islamic family in the island of Java , Indonesia. My grandfather was a devout Muslim, and I was educated to live religiously as religion was very important in my family. I was sent to the mosque to learn the Arabic of the Qur’an since the age of 5 years, even though, like many non Arab Muslims, none of us were able to speak Arabic. I was taught to perform Islamic prayer 5 times a day, to fast for a month during the Fasting Month of Ramadhan, and to do whatever I was to do in accordance to my religious beliefs.

2) My Islamic Education

I was taught that Islam is the original religion of mankind as he was originally created by God (Qur’an 30:30). All the Prophets ( Muslims are obliged to know 25 Prophets by name), such as : Adam, Syits (Seth), Idris (Henoch), Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Ishaq (Isaac), Ya’qub (Jacob) , Yusuf (Joseph), Musa (Moses), Harun (Aaron), Dawud (David), Sulayman (Solomon), Ilyas (Elijah), Ilyasa (Elisha), Ayyub (Job), Zakaria (Zecharia), Yahya (John the Baptist) etc , including Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and the Twelve Disciples were all believed to be Muslims ( Qur’an 3:52, 5:111). No religion will be accepted by God except Islam (Qur’an 3:19, 85), therefore the Christians who distorted the religion of the Prophet Jesus will be punished in hell and are forbidden to enter into heaven. Because they created a false religion contrary to the Islamic religion of the prophet Jesus by making Him into a god (Qur’an 5: 72), and making one God into Three (Qur’an 5:73, 4:171), and making Mary as part of the Triad of Gods (Qur’an 5: 75, 4:171) and claiming that the prophet Jesus was crucified while in fact according to the Qur’an he was not (Qur’an 4:157). Therefore Muhammad was sent by God as the “Seal of the Prophet” ( Qur’an 33: 40) that is the Last and the Most Perfect Prophet,  in order to correct the error of the Christians, but also to call all mankind to believe in Islam. He was the one whose coming was prayed for by the Prophet Ibrahim ( Qur’an 2: 126-129), was prophesied by both the Torah and the Gospel ( Qur’an 7:157), and was also predicted by the Prophet Jesus Christ himself (Qur’an 6:61).

I was also taught that the Jews and the Christians have erased all those truth from their Scriptures, even though the Scriptures given to the Jews and the Christians were originally revealed by God, but they have been tampered with by the Jews and the Christians (Qur’an 2: 75-80). Therefore those previous Scriptures are no longer valid and have become obsolete with the coming of the Qur’an as the last and the most perfect revelation.

3) My First Encounter with a Christian

During my high school days I met a former primary school teacher of mine, who was a Muslim and converted to Christianity. He invited me to his house, and he tried to evangelize me, by explaining the incarnation of Jesus Christ in such a way that I could understand it. Upon realizing that he was a Christian, I left his house in horror, since I was told by my grandfather that I should not received any food and drink given by Christians, because he believed, of course it is his personal belief not part of the official teaching of Islam, that the food and the drink of the Christians were polluted by magical water to make non-Christians interested in Christianity and go to hell with them. And they offered me a full dinner that evening. I told my grandfather on what happened he was shocked and asked me to pray to Allah that I might be protected from the power of the magical water given by this infidel. That night I asked God to protect me, so that I would not be dragged by the magic to become an infidel, I wanted to die as a Muslim, nothing else.

4) A Vision of Christ

Few weeks later this teacher visited my house. We engaged in a debate, I won the debate. He was not able to explain to me logically the doctrine of the Trinity and the Incarnation. I told him never to come to my house again bringing this demonic teaching. I was convinced that my Islamic religion was the best, and the teaching of Christianity was really a mumble-jumble. I was convinced that my grandfather was right all along in warning me against the evil of Christian teaching. With my encounter in life with a real person who was a Christian, I began to realize that nothing in the world would make me interested in such a illogical teaching.

Around three months after my meeting with this teacher, something happened that turned my world upside down. I saw a vision of Christ for three evenings in a row while praying an Islamic evening, where I saw my whole room was flooded with light, and Christ appeared in the form of light in a robed human shape. He told me if I wanted to be saved I had to follow him, and when I asked him who he was, he told me that he was indeed Jesus Christ. When I asked him about the Prophet Muhammad he did not give me any answer , he was just saying to me to follow him if I wanted to be saved. I was confused with what I saw, and began to question which one is the true one, Islam or Christianity.

5) My Conversion and my Understanding of Christ and the Holy Trinity

holytrinity_350x433_7013ab2b9e7f543103d8868d1f6473b2I decided to fast for several days asking the answer from God. But I did not see nor hear anything. But in random I opened my Qur’an and my eyes fell on Qur’an 3:45, in which Jesus Christ is described as “kalimat minhu” (Word from Him/God). I began to think that someone’s word is one within the person, if Jesus is God’s Word (Qur’an 4:171), he must be one within God. If so, then, God and His Word are not two Gods, but One. Before anyone utters his own word, that word is contained within the mind of the person, therefore the mind is pregnant with words, and that words contained in the mind was born out of the mouth, begotten of the mind. Therefore the words is the child of the mind because it is begotten of the mind. Since Jesus is the Word of God, he must be one within God, hence God is pregnant with His Own Word.   This Word of God is then uttered by God, begotten from within God, born out of “God’s mouth”, so to say. Since He is begotten out of God, therefore the Word is rightly to be called as the Child, that is, the Son of God.  As God is one, therefore His Word is one also, and this Word of God is called the Son. Hence, God has only One Son,  that is why The Word of God is called the Only Son of God.  Therefore God being the origin of the Word which is called the Son, He is rightly to be called as the “Father”. Therefore “the Father” (the One God), and “the Son”  (the Word of the One God who is eternally resides within God) are not two gods, but One God. A person cannot have words if he is dead, therefore only a living person can have words. The sign of being alive is that the person has a spirit within himself. Therefore a man,  his word, and his spirit, does not turn him into three men, but still one man. God is living God, therefore He has Spirit within Himself, and this Sprit of God resides within God eternally, in the same way the spirit of man is within man (I Corinthians 2:10-11). If that is so, therefore God/Father, His Word/Son, and His Spirit are not three gods but One God. I was shocked with my own finding, that indeed I discovered that Christianity does not believe in three gods, but One God.

If knowing a person cannot be done without an exchange of words, that is if the person does not speak out his mind to the other person, so the other person will never know who that person is. Since God is a personal God, I could not possibly know Him if I didn’t know His Word, and according to the Qur’an that I read the Word of God is Jesus Christ, therefore I had to believe in Jesus Christ in order to know this One God. That night I decided to believe in Jesus Christ.


This interview was conducted by:

Fr. Gabriel Galev

Abbot of the monastery “St. Clement of Ohrid”,

Kinglake, Melbourne, Australia

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