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Did the Patriarchate of Moscow endorse Vassula?

TLIG Pilgrimage to Russia 2017

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We've received several mails regarding the True Life in God (TLIG) pilgrimage to Russia, which took place from 2 to 10 September 2017, in particular regarding a meeting at the Patriarchate of Moscow. You will find hereunder a summary of the information available at the time of writing.

 

TLIG pilgrimage participants: no representative of the Russian Orthodox Church

The TLIG pilgrimage assembled 720 participants from 60 countries, including 120 members of clergy from different Christian denominations, as well as several Muslim and Buddhist representatives. The highest ranking clergy member was as usual the Catholic Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo from Ranchi, India. The list of speakers can be consulted here: http://www.tlig.net/russia/talks.html. For pictures of the pilgrimage, see: http://www.vassula.org/russ2017D.htm

Although the pilgrimage's official title was "Honouring Russian Orthodoxy", no representative of the Russian Orthodox Church is mentioned.

 

Metropolitan Hilarion grants a meeting to an "ecumenical group from Lebanon"

Right after the pilgrimage, Vassula wrote a short report regarding a meeting at the Department of External Church Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow. You will find the complete text at the bottom of this page.

During preparations for the pilgrimage, Yolla Bechara, a very active promoter of Vassula of Lebanese origine, wrote to the Patriarchate of Moscow requesting an audience for the "Eastern Church clergy". The text of her letter has not been made public.

Her letter was answered by the Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion. This letter can be read on-line at http://www.tlig.net/russia/PatriarchateLetter.pdf .

Metropolitan Hilarion writes that he is granting the meeting to an "ecumenical group from Lebanon" because of the Russian Church's "brotherly feelings towards Christians of the Middle East", wishing to devote "special attention to them in their current difficult situation".

It does strike as odd that Metropolitan Hilarion's letter doesn't mention Vassula nor TLIG. He seems to believe that his Department will be meeting with a group of Middle Eastern Christians from Lebanon.

 

The meeting at the Patriarchate

On September 6 Vassula, the clergy participating in the TLIG pilgrimage and their cameraman meet Archimandrite Philaret, Vice-Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations. After presenting his Department, Archimandrite Philaret asked if there were questions. Cardinal Toppo then presented Vassula and TLIG. Archimandrite Philaret didn't seem particularly interested. At the end of the meeting, Vassula is filmed while she gives him copies of her books in Russian. That video is not available on the Internet at the time of writing.

Vassula concludes her report by stating that it was "an honour for our TLIG pilgrimage to have had some contact with the Russian Church" and thanks "Metropolitan Hilarion for welcoming the TLIG group on behalf of Patriarch Kirill", although Metropolitan Hilarion did not participate in the meeting.

 

Is it an endorsement of TLIG by the Patriarchate of Moscow? The answer is no.

It is difficult to conclude that this is an endorsement of Vassula by the Patriarchate of Moscow. The content of Metropolitan Hilarion's letter raises some questions regarding his awareness of whom he was granting the meeting to. The description he gives of the group does not correspond to the description of the TLIG international pilgrimage group, which isn't even mentioned.

It remains unclear why the meeting was requested by Mrs. Bechara and not Vassula, considering that she wrote in her report that she personally knew Metropolitan Hilarion. She did in fact meet him during a previous trip to Moscow in 1999, that is before the Patriarchate of Constantinople's document accusing her of heresy. This might be the reason why Vassula and TLIG were not clearly mentioned: for fear of a refusal.

In fact, Metropolitan Hilarion was not in Moscow during the TLIG pilgrimage because he was touring the Eastern Mediterranean region, in an effort to strengthen relations with several Orthodox Patriarchs and Archbishops, including the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, as well as the Orthodox Church of Greece and the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, authors of documents denouncing Vassula and which Metropolitan Hilarion visited during his trip.

It was unlikely that Metropolitan Hilarion would have knowingly granted a meeting to a Greek-Orthodox seer who is in such a grave conflict with her Church authorities. He might not have recognized her, but it was risky.

However, even if Metropolitan Hilarion knew who Vassula was, as she asserts in her report (although the documentation does not support this hypothesis), he was careful not to mention her in his letter. And this is a clear message. It is becoming increasingly difficult for Vassula to find support in Orthodox and Catholic settings.

 

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Short report of the meeting in the Russian Department for External Church Relations, by Vassula Rydén (September 2017)

Yolla Bechara obviously asked that Department to have a meeting with Metropolitan Hilarion with the Eastern Church clergy. You will notice they write to her, although she had sent all the VIP list to them for a general meeting [underlined in the original]. So they knew whom we had with us, that is why they came along to that meeting. The letter of invitation was originally written in Russian signed by Metropolitan Hilarion who was in Athens while we were in Russia but translated by them in English. It came from the Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relation.

It is an honour for our TLIG pilgrimage to have had some contact with the Russian Church, coming from this Department and especially by Metropolitan Hilarion who wrote the letter signing it. We have to understand especially the first line that says, “On behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia” etc. And second paragraph, “His Holiness welcomes the visit” etc.

Metropolitan Hilarion is the second man in Russia after the Patriarch. I had met him privately years back at a private audience.

Metropolitan Hilarion asked his Assistant Archimandrite Fr. Philaret, who is vice-chairman of that Department to meet us there during his absence. Fr. Philaret spoke first about that Department and somewhat about the Church of Russia. Then he asked if we had any questions. Cardinal Toppo wanted first to speak about the reason of our visit to Russia. Then he introduced me and TLIG. He had actually no questions. Then others spoke as well, but Fr. Eugene [a member of Vassula's group] spoke clearly about the importance of unifying the dates of Easter, which was very good. In the end I spoke briefly, as time was short, about my calling, and of the Messages of 32 years, and about the reason of our pilgrimage, giving Fr. Philaret the translated version of the Russian Prophecies in booklets and the One Book in English as he spoke perfectly well English. I gave the same copies for Metropolitan Hilarion, which I dedicated to both.

Valantis, the cameraman videoed our meeting.

Fr. Philaret recognised Yolla and Theodora who had previously met him during the time of preparation of the pilgrimage and had befriended him some weeks back. He seemed delighted to recognise them and hugged both of them.

That meeting went well, and we really thank Metropolitan Hilarion for welcoming the TLIG group on behalf of Patriarch Kirill.

In Christ,
Vassula​