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Vassula had been the object of a prohibition to receive the Eucharist a year before the Patriarchate's announcement

The measure was taken by the Metropolitan of Rhodes and based on the 2001 decree of the Committee on Heresies of the Holy Synod (Greece)

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An 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.

On 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.

Vassula 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".  

The 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).

Fr. Abberton introduces Vassula's letter – which was probably written during the first half of 2010 – as follows:

"I 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."

I copy herunder the text of the document as published on Fr. Abberton's blog (highlights added):


Confession of Orthodox Faith
Based on Christ’s
One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church

In 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 Christ’s 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 I 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.

With 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 Lord’s desire that we may all “..be one”. The matter of “Inter-Communion” that happened spontaneously and is embraced by all the clergy and lay-people present occurred by exception and by “oikonomia. It 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 respect.

In 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 clarification.

With due respect,

In Christ,
Vassiliki Ryden

(Source: (http://yorkshireshepherd.blogspot.com/2011/05/statement-from-vassula.html).


Some Comments

1.      "Certificates of Orthodoxy" and the document's date

In 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).

The 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.

Fr. Abberton believes that these two archbishops are referred to in the Ecumenical Patriarchate's announcement of March 16, 2011, which states in its last paragraph:

"We 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 Orthodoxy." (http://www.pseudomystica.info/tliggreekorthodox.htm)

This 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.


2.    Intercommunion and oikonomia

When 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 exceptional circumstances.

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 Catholic faithful.

With 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. (for 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)

With 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.

So, can Vassula justify intercommunion in her pilgrimages and retreats on the basis of oikonomia? It seems highly improbable for two reasons:

1.      Her 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 Orthodox Liturgy.

2.      The 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).

Even 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.


Finally, 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. The recent condemnation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate instead maintains that her teachings deviate from Orthodoxy and all promotion of them should cease immediately.

Maria Laura Pio

July 2011



(1) The following articles were consulted on the subject of oikonomia:

"In search of the meaning of oikonomia: report on a convention", Ladislas ORSY. S.J., Theological Studies 43, number 2, June 1982, pp. 312-319.

"The boundaries of the Church: an Orthodox debate", Rev. Emmanuel CLAPSIS, Greek Orthodox Theological Review, vol. 35, no. 2, 1990, pp.113-27.

"The 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.