The recent statement from the web site of the Patriarchate of Constantinople regarding Vassula Ryden and "True Life in God" has delighted her critics, but has also caused some confusion, leading, in some places, to erroneous newspaper columns. As I have said before, Vassula is under the Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Theodorus II. I was present with many others when he welcomed her to the Patriarchate palace. Here is the first part of a series of video segments in which we see the Patriarch welcoming her and inviting her to participate in the Paschal Liturgy. You will see me in these videos; I am using a walking stick because I had hurt myself in a bad fall shortly before going to Egypt for the Holy Week and Easter liturgy of that year. If you follow the link to Youtube you can see the other segments.
Some confusion has been caused because many in the West are not aware of Orthodox procedure, and there are surely questions to be asked if we are to understand what has happened. Also, the Patriarch of Constantinople, although having an honoured position as the Ecumenical Patriarch is not the Orthodox equivalent to the Pope of Rome. In fact not so long ago the Patriarch of Moscow said that he ought to be the Ecumenical Patriarch since Moscow considers itself to be the "third Rome" and the true expression of the Byzantine tradition. Constantinople is now Istanbul. After the fall of Constantinople, when many Byzantines fled to Russia (and after Moscow had already begun to regard the liturgy of Constantinople as less than it should be) the Russian Orthodox Church saw itself as the "third Rome". This is a long-standing tradition, and the Russian Church has a particular understanding regarding the status of the Patriarch of Istanbul. At the same time, as I noted before, it is clear that there is much disagreement amongst the Orthodox regarding ecumenism. This disagreement is part of the background to the statement issued against Vassula. She remains a communicating member of the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria and All Africa.