|Home||Catholic Church Position||Greek Orthodox Church Position||Who is Vassula and what is TLIG||Negative Elements||F.A.Q.|
A critical website on Vassula Ryden & True Life in God
Did the Patriarchate of Moscow endorse Vassula?
TLIG Pilgrimage to Russia 2017
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.
Short report of
the meeting in the Russian Department for External Church Relations, by
Vassula Rydén (September 2017)