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Vassula and her group took over the Catholic church of Rhodes during the 2010 TLIG retreat

Holy Mass was celebrated in the parish church of St. Mary by Archbishop Argüelles regardless of the Vicar General's vehement protests

A critical website on Vassula Rydén and the True Life in God messages.

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From 23 to 27 September 2010, a TLIG retreat took place in Rhodes (Greece), where Vassula owns a property. According to the retreat report in Spanish (1), some 330 persons from 34 countries participated, including two Archbishops, one Catholic (Mgr Argüelles from the Philippines) and the other Orthodox, and 20 priests, among which Mgr. René Laurentin.  

The theme of the conference was the Devil's way of working. According to Vassula, Rhodes was chosen as the venue because: "Maybe 20 years ago (…) when Jesus spoke about this island, he said: 'This island is the haven of Satan'. Not "heaven", but "haven" of Satan. (…) I found out that many many Greek people practice magic, here in Rhodos especially. (…) In places like this, which are small (…) and everything is known, [people] do practice evil things. This is an island that really needs to be healed and delivered. This is why I have made also this retreat, because with our prayers it might help somehow."(2) 

The TLIG report mentions that Saturday evening, Holy Mass was "providentially" celebrated in the Catholic church of St Mary of the Victory: "The third day we had a Mass in the Catholic church of Our Lady of the Victory. It is a small church and it was completely occupied by our group. (…) The Mass, as was the case on the first day, was presided by Mgr Argüelles and concelebrated by all the Catholic priests. The Orthodox priests were present at the altar.  (…) The celebration of the Mass in the church of St Mary of the Victory seemed providential: We are persecuted, misunderstood, fought against, but at the end victory awaits us". (1) 

What the report fails to mention, is that this Mass was not authorized by the local Catholic authorities and that Vassula's group "took over" the church and celebrated the Eucharist regardless of the protests of the parish priest, who is also the Vicar General. 

According to an eyewitness, about half an hour before the Saturday Vigil Mass of 7pm, a very large group of people arrived at the Church, including Catholic and seemingly Orthodox priests as well as a Catholic bishop, and occupied the whole church, which is rather small. The parish priest had not been informed of the intention of the goupr to celebrate Mass and when he arrived, he clearly told them that they could not do so,  in particular because he had to celebrate the 7pm Mass. Despite his protests, the Mass was celebrated and presided by the bishop.   

As a consequence, the parish's 7pm Mass had to be delayed and Vespers that were sang before Mass were cancelled. Much confusion reigned outside the church, in particular because many tourists had come for the 7pm Mass. Parishioners who were present that day were shocked by the disrespectful and scornful way the Vicar General was treated, and by the way Mrs Ryden and the members of the clergy accompanying her disregarded the requests to renounce celebrating the unauthorized Eucharistic liturgy.  

The following week, an announcement in several languages was posted on the church's notice board (translation from the German version of the notice): 

We, the members of the Parish Pastoral Council of the Catholic Church in Rhodes would like to draw attention to the liturgy, held at Santa Maria Church on Saturday evening 25th September 2010 at about 18:30 hours by the followers of the Vassula Ryden phenomenon, which was celebrated without permission, consent nor authorization of the archbishop and his vicar general. 

The Catholic Episcopal Conference of Greece notified all Catholic churches and monasteries in 2004 and 2005, that the followers of the Vassula Ryden phenomenon were not allowed to use Catholic churches or facilities, nor should such meetings be encouraged. 

Moreover, Cardinal Levada, head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a notification in 2007 clearly stating that it was not appropriate for Catholics to attend any prayer groups arranged by Vassula Ryden or her supporters. 

Signed: Parish Pastoral Council of the Catholic Church, Rhodes.


According to local sources, the Catholic and Orthodox parishes of Rhodes have had continuous problems with Mrs Ryden, her local TLIG association and with foreign TLIG followers who visit her in Rhodes.  It is necessary to point out that, if it were not for the good relationship existing between the Orthodox Church of Rhodes and the local Catholic community, an incident like the one described above could have meant serious problems with the Orthodox Metropolitan of Rhodes, who earlier that year had prohibited Vassula from receiving the Eucharist in Orthodox churches. (3) 

The reader will also note that the official report of the retreat carefully avoids mentioning what really happened at St Mary's parish, leaving the impression that everything went smoothly in "providential" circumstances. This is why a sound scepticism must always be exercised when dealing with information provided by TLIG sources. 

Maria Laura Pio

July 2011



(1) Reporte del retiro de la Verdadera Vida en dios, Rodas, Grecia, 23 a 27 de septiembre de 2010, by José Luis López de San Román, sent by email to all the subscribers of the TLIG e-Newsletter in Spanish, October 12, 2010. The report also mentions that Mass and Divine Liturgy (=Orthodox Mass) were also celebrated in the conference room of the Hotel where the retreat took place.

(2) Complete text of Vassula's talk at the Rhodes Retreat, September 2010, available at: http://www.tlig.org/en/spirituality/pilgrimages/rhodes2010/vassula-speech-2/

(3) Vassula had already been the object of a prohibition to receive the Eucharist a year before the Patriarchate's announcement, by M.L.Pio, July 2011, available at: http://www.pseudomystica.info/rhodesmetrop.htm


More on the Rhodes retreat:

-           Fr. Abberton's puzzling letter to the American TLIG Newsletter readers (December 2010)

-           Vassula had already been the object of a prohibition to receive the Eucharist a year before the Patriarchate's announcement (July 2011)