interesting new document has recently been made known regarding Mrs Ryden's standing with
Greek Orthodox authorities of Rhodes where Mrs Ryden owns a property - prior to the Patriarchate of Constantinople's condemnation of her
writings earlier this year.
May 22, 2011, Fr. John Abberton - a prominent figure among the few Catholic clergy who
continue to defend Vassula Ryden in spite of the warnings issued by the Vatican -
published on his blog the text of an undated document signed by Mrs Ryden and titled "Confession of
Orthodox Faith". The document is mainly an
auto-defense of her writings and practices, in particular intercommunion, which
she insists are in accordance with Orthodox doctrine and canon law.
states that she wrote the confession of faith "in response to the recent prohibition imposed on [her] by His
Eminence Kyrillos, Metropolitan of Rhodes, forbidding [her] to receive the Holy Eucharist
and participate in the Sacrament of Baptism as godmother to a relative".
Metropolitan's prohibition is based on the 2001 decision of the Committee on Heresies of
the Holy Synod, which states that Vassula has cut herself off from the Orthodox Church
(for details see: http://www.pseudomystica.info/tliggreekorthodox.htm).
Abberton introduces Vassula's letter which was probably written during the first
half of 2010 as follows:
do not believe this statemen of faith which also answers some accusations
has ever been published. Vassula received a message from the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of
Rhodos that if she acquired a 'seal' on two statements of faith he would 'defend her'. On
the contrary, when these statements and the seals were offered, he rejected them. Vassula
was offered no explanation."
copy herunder the text of the document as published on Fr. Abberton's blog (highlights
of Orthodox Faith
Based on Christs
One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church
the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Thus, a Christian is wholly devoted in Christ and
thinks as Christ, and cares for Christs interests and mediates and lives and moves
in Christ, and breaths and carries Christ
and longs only for Christ; that is his only profit,
according to St. Paul.
(St. Simeon of Thessaloniki d. 1429).
I, Vassiliki Ryden, daughter of George and Maria Pendaki, in
response to the recent prohibition imposed on me by His Eminence Kyrillos, Metropolitan of
Rhodes , forbidding me to receive the Holy Eucharist and participate in the Sacrament of
Baptism as godmother to a relative,
and in order to dissipate any misunderstandings and restore the truth about me, I hereby
make this confession of my Orthodox faith and my dedication to the Holy Church of Christ.
Before God and for His own Glory and before every human
being, clergy or lay-person, I confess with humility and full knowledge of the truth, that
do not believe in anything different or contrary to the teachings of the Orthodox Church
and Orthodox Doctrine
as formulated, expressed and safeguarded in the Holy Bible, the Sacraments and by the Holy
Fathers of the Church, the Holy Tradition and the 7 Ecumenical Synods. There is no other
salvation than through faith in the Resurrected Lord, Our God, Jesus Christ, the second
person of the Holy Consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity, founder of the One Holy,
Catholic and Apostolic Church which has been guided by the Holy Spirit throughout the
centuries. It was delivered over to the Holy Apostles and supported by the Holy Fathers
and the Ecumenical Councils so that the Kingdom of Heaven would be established all over
the earth and the will of God the Father would be accepted in the hearts of men. I honour
and venerate our Holy Virgin Mary as well as all the Saints of the Church throughout the
centuries. I confess that I am a legitimate and true child of the Greek Orthodox Church
and my only concern is to remind people about the Word of God, especially in this
de-christianised society, and to work tirelessly in His vineyard in order for
the faith of the lukewarm to revive, and for the hearts of those indifferent to His Word
to be inflamed by love for God.
regard to the prohibition, imposed on me by His Eminence Kyrillos, it is based on the encyclical issued by Fr. Kyriakos Tsouros,
secretary to the Synodical Committee for Heresies of the Greek Orthodox Church, which says
that I have fallen away from the Orthodox faith.
This encyclical, I
believe it is an article, not thoroughly studied,
as I was never interviewed in person and I was never given the opportunity to defend
myself and to explain any misunderstanding. Most importantly, no
evidence of erroneous belief was ever found,
nor is there any theological error in my writings,
which add nothing new but are only a reminder of the Scriptures. Specifically, the
18 points which were published in the magazine, Dialogos, by Fr. Kyriakos
Tsouros, (which he borrowed from the work of a Roman Catholic priest), were answered one
by one, quoting either from the Holy Bible, or from the Fathers of the Church, or from the
Holy Tradition, thus proving that the writings of True Life In God are in
accordance with Orthodox teachings and doctrine.
The only point now, on which Fr. Kyriakos Tsouros bases his
position that I am in communion with the Roman Catholics, is firstly, on the
witnessing I give in relation to True Life In God all over the world and,
secondly, on inter-communion. Here, I should clarify that we are dealing with
two different matters. First
is the matter of Inter-Communion during the last three pilgrimages of the
worldwide friends of True Life In God.
These pilgrimages are organised every two years and are usually around one week in
duration. They are attended by faithful of all Christian denominations who get together in
order to know each other better and to grow in love for each other by uniting their
prayers and their common wish to fulfil Our Lords desire that we may all ..be
matter of Inter-Communion that happened spontaneously and is embraced by all
the clergy and lay-people present occurred by exception and by oikonomia.
is only a foretaste of the full communion of the Body of Christ that will finally lead us,
in the fullness of time, to the Common Cup. It
is not at all in violation of the Holy Canon Laws of our Church which I honour and
regards to the other matter, that is, my participation to the Holy Eucharist with the
Roman Catholics, it happened in the Island of Rhodes, where I reside, and refers to a
period of time during which, some Orthodox priests, through television and from the
pulpit, have accused me repetitively of being a heretic,
ex-communicated by the Church, and even a Satanist, and that I supposedly offered
sacrifices to Satan. These calumnies had a negative influence on people and created a
hostile atmosphere against me. As a result, only my presence in the Holy Mass would
provoke discomfort and even the anger of some people. On certain occasions, I was in
danger of being jeered. Then, Fr. Rossi, a
Catholic priest, accepted me at his church and allowed me to receive Holy Communion. And
in this case, since I was not welcomed in the Greek Orthodox Church, again by exception
and by oikonomia, I received Holy Eucharist in the
Roman Catholic Church.
I hope that this Confession will be acceptable and will
help to establish the truth. I remain at your disposal for any further information or
of Orthodoxy" and the document's date
a second posting on his blog (http://yorkshireshepherd.blogspot.com/2011/05/vassula-and-archbishops-seraphim-and.html),
Fr. Abberton also provided the letters written by two Orthodox archbishops, which were
joined to Vassula's "confession of faith" as "seals" of orthodoxy. The
letters were signed by Archbishop
Seraphim of Johannesburg and Pretoria (Patriarchate of Alexandria and All
Africa) and by Archbishop
Jeremias Ferens of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of South America in Curitiba (Brazil).
Both are are long-time supporters of Mrs Ryden and their testimonies in her favour appear
in the TLIG main website (http://www.tlig.org/en/testimonies/churchpos).
archbishops' letters are dated respectively May 16 and June 14, 2010.
On this basis, it is reasonable to consider Vassula's "confession of faith" as
having been written during the first half of 2010.
Abberton believes that these two archbishops are referred to in the Ecumenical
March 16, 2011, which states in its last paragraph:
express, lastly, the profound sorrow of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the acts of some -
fortunately few - clergy of the Orthodox Church to be found at talks of the said
"Vassula" and give to her a "certificate of
would mean that the decision taken by the Patriarchate of Constantinople was the result of
a series of events set in motion by Vassula herself.
Intercommunion and oikonomia
reading Mrs Ryden's "confession of faith", an uninformed reader remains with the
impression that intercommunion only ocurred exceptionaly and unexpectedly in three
occasions, and that Mrs Ryden only received communion in a Catholic Church of Rhodes in
reality, Mrs Ryden has been participating for years in Catholic Masses all over the world
and she has publicly stated that on those occasions she receives the Holy Communion. The Catholic priest to which
Vassula refers was a follower of hers and is no longer in Rhodes (the events
she refers to seem to have taken place several years ago). According to local sources, the
Catholic Church of Greece does its best to make sur the Sacraments are only given to the
regards to intercommunion during Mrs Ryden's interreligious events, its practice is based
on her teachings on unity. Mrs Ryden affirms that "Jesus" revealed to her that
the Eucharist has to be the means to attain unity, and that is why intercommunion is part
of the experience of unity lived during her pilgrimages and retreats.
detailed examples and quotes, see: http://www.pseudomystica.info/tligcrecan.htm).
On this point, Mrs. Ryden
is in disunity with both the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, who on the basis of Scripture and Tradition, agree that the
Eucharist cannot be used as the "means" to attain unity, but is and must be the
visible sign of this unity, once it is fully achieved (see: http://www.pseudomystica.info/tligfaq.htm#mayvassula)
the development of the ecumenical mouvement, the question of exceptional intercommunion
between Christians of different denominations has been raised. In the Orthodox Church, the
matter has been examined as an exception by oikonomia
- a Greek word for "household management" which indicates a certain
flexibility in the application or interpretation of the Canons in the everyday life of the
Church. However the only
exceptions broadly accepted of intercommunion
by oikonomia are for Christians residing in a
country or region where there is no priest of their denomination. The cases of
intercommunion outside this exception are generally considered a wrong application of oikonomia.
can Vassula justify intercommunion in her pilgrimages and retreats on the basis of oikonomia?
It seems highly improbable for two reasons:
pilgrimages are attended by Orthodox priests who can celebrate and deliver the Sacraments
to the Orthodox faithful. There is nothing that objectively impedes a daily Celebration of
reason why she encourages intercommunion is not based on an Orthodox understanding of
Scripture, but on the teachings of her messages which contradict Orthodox (and Catholic)
doctrine on this point.
Moreover, oikonomia is not left to the personal judgment of
individuals - lay persons or priests - but can only be decided by bishops in their
dioceses or gathered in synods at various levels (provincial, patriarchal,
and ecumenical) depending on the importance of the issue (1).
if Vassula believed that intercommunion was right, she should have stopped practicing and
encouraging it when she was clearly told in 2001
that it was contrary to Orthodox doctrine.
the reader will notice that in this document, Mrs
Ryden refers to her own answers as "proof" of the orthodoxy of her writings. Already in 2004, this same recourse was used when
she wrongly affirmed that her answers to the 5 questions of the the Catholic Church
demonstrated that her messages contained no doctrinal errors (denied by the CDF in its
letter of January 2007 confirming the negative doctrinal judgment of the Notification). In
this new document, Mrs Ryden declares that she answered all the doctrinal matters raised
by the Holy Synod "proving" that her writings are faithful to Orthodox doctrine.
recent condemnation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
instead maintains that her teachings deviate from Orthodoxy
all promotion of them should cease immediately.
The following articles were consulted on the subject of oikonomia:
search of the meaning of oikonomia: report on a convention",
Ladislas ORSY. S.J., Theological Studies 43, number 2, June 1982, pp. 312-319.
boundaries of the Church: an Orthodox debate",
Rev. Emmanuel CLAPSIS, Greek Orthodox Theological Review, vol. 35, no. 2, 1990, pp.113-27.
Orthodox Principle of Economy, and its exercise",
Canon J.A. DOUGLAS, The Christian East, 1932, 13:3, 4; pp. 91-98.
Read also: 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 Arguelles regardless of the Vicar General's vehement protests.