Sunday, 10 April 2011

Vassula and her patriarch

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.


  1. She looks really well and obviously at ease with her patriarch! I couldn't spot you though Father?

  2. Social Communications4511 April 2011 at 00:27

    Thank you for this.
    In view of the possible response from others "Stella Maris" might be interested in checking the link below relating to a Vatican event on May 2 posted on Youtube.
    You might know of charitable bloggers like yourself who would be interested in participating.

    Are you a blogger? The Vatican...

  3. I have heard about the Vatican blog event, but I cannot go because of other commitments. I am also quite worried by the response of one or two others who seem to be wanting to set up an alternative meeting for what they are now calling "taliban Catholics" (using this, jokingly no doubt, about themselves). I can see the fun element in all this, but I am also worried about what appears to be a Catholic "sub culture" developing in some way (can't think of another teerm to use) in the midst of some blogs - a sort of self-righteousness that seems to be saying something like, "we are the real Catholics". Though I would certainly want to class myself as orthodox, I have always been wary of the term "conservative" though I am certainly NOT a "liberal". However, there is a worrying trend now for some who style themselves with these words to behave as though they have all the truth and others hardly have any. I see that as a bit frightening. Just recently I saw a blog post which spoke of criticisms being levelled against Pope Benedict because of the announced Assisi meeting. What is really worrying about this kind of thing is the presumption, made by some, that the Pope could not possibly have a sound explanation for this. There seems to be hardly any allowance for the "benefit of the doubt". It is ultimately this attitude that is so worrying, and I have thought once or twice about closing down my blog and simply not being part of it any more. On the other hand, there are blogs which are so "liberal" that they cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be called "Catholic" just as there are excellent Anglican-Catholic blogs which are both well-reasoned and deeply spiritual. I suppose all this just reflects the present human condition in the end, but it makes blogging a sometimes stressful activity (not to ignore my own weaknesses!)

  4. I have reason to believe there will be guidelines after this research.
    In the meantime the advice is not to rise to the bait of those who do not pay you the compliment of commenting on your blog directly.
    Even a blog stats counter can be by-passed so a blog may be receiving more visits than you think.

    Most offenders seem to be from the "traditional" wing which is unforunate, gives a poor impression to others and grist to the liberal/academic mill.

    The RC blogosphere should be prepared to discuss all viewpoints without sarcasm or censorship. Aggression show fear and perhaps an element of doubt?

    Please continue.

  5. It is tempting for us all to become skeptical of each other. I can get very stressed and unchristian even, in some of my comp[laints, God forgive me.However, just stay close to Jesus, or if we do move away from Him, as soon as we realise He is getting out of our sight, race after Him, or run back to wherever we last met with Him. I was talking to a priest after Mass today, he was talking about hearing troubles. I mentioned my own tinnitus and just before we finished speaking, he offered to pray over my ears!! He clasped them in his hands and blessed them, calling me God's beautiful daughter! That's my kind of catholicism. Hear,hear! (if you'll pardon the pun). Pray for his ears too please Father. He's a retired priest at St Mary's Cathedral, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Father John.
    As for the blogging picnics, we'll have to arrange one over here in the UK, for 'give way to one another' bloggers. Only loving picknickers need apply!

  6. I would agree that the Catholic culture today is one that is based solely on an intellectual spirituality, which is an illusory one and not spirituality at all.

    When we have the Love of Christ, we have the truth, I've seen people who are poor and uneducated in the faith and yet practicing the five stones of Our Lady in Medugorje gets them by and they have more love and joy in their hearts than I do. Dont get me wrong there are people who are educated intellectually in the faith and their will retains this prayer life and love also, but when studying theology we should look out for this danger of which I am often a victim. For the devil is knowledge and cannot love. So when love is missing in our blog posts we must ask for the grace to see it and return to ''living'' the Gospel as well as ''reading'' it.

    In relation to our beloved Vassula, I wouldnt worry about it all too much. Have our say and pray because as she said herself that all this contending and vicious attacks upon her will last to the very end.

    Thoxa Sto Christo
    Pax et bonum
    God bless