Mission in Romania
Vassula visits Timisoara and Bocsa
May 21-24, 2010
MESSAGE FOR ROMANIA
"My Cross shall be erected again on every church, do you see?* a universal peace is soon to come, Peace is about to be born, pray for this birth of Peace and Love; today the earth feels the beginning of its birth-pangs...I am the Master of heaven and earth, and I shall with my power demonstrate to every nation that I am all-powerful, I have said that I shall overthrow with My Breath all those who reduced you to slavery, let your nations realize that everything is subject to My Power, and what I did with one breath is for My Glory, no man is able to efface My Law; let the nations realize that it is I, the Lord, who came to free these captives from prison and lift them to Me, it is I who reduced your enemies to everlasting shame..."
*I saw in an inner vision the roof of a church, and 2-3 men on it, struggling to put in the right place a heavy Cross, back again in its place.
"...do not weep little one, for I the Lord shall rebuild your ruins and I shall increase you to bear witness on My Name, I shall make you see great things under My Name; free at last! free to come to Me your Saviour and live in My Sacred Heart, I shall pursue your enemies who are My enemies too with My Light, do not weep for your children that are no more, because today I tell you that I have placed each one of them in the depths of My Heart ..." Message for Romania, 24 December 1989
The situation in Romania for all the churches, notably the Orthodox and Greek Catholic churches, was extremely difficult for many years during the communist regime. Oppressed, the churches were obliged to collaborate with the state for survival, eventually forcing the Greek Catholic church to go underground. The clergy and faithful were persecuted and made to suffer in the regime's effort to de-christianize and control Romania. We heard tales of atrocities and horror which forced many Romanians to leave their country in the 70's. The aftermath of the fall of communism saw this nation among others striving to rise once again to its feet, and as in Vassula's vision, to a spiritual resurrection. Today, each church still struggles to rebuild itself.
VASSULA'S PAST VISITS
Vassula recalled her first visit to Romania in 1994 which brought her to Iasi in Moldava to speak at the World Council of Churches Congress on "Christian Spirituality for Our Times". There, she met His Beatitude, the Patriarch Theoctist of Romania, and Archbishop Daniel, the Metropolitan of Moldava, who is the Patriarch of Romania today. She was also warmly welcomed by Professor of Orthodox Theology, and former Director of the Unity and Renewal Section of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, the late Fr. Ion Bria. During her visit in 1998, Vassula was invited by Fr. Galeriu, Romania's spiritual father, to speak in his church in Bucharest on Pentecost Sunday. In 1999, Vassula witnessed the historic meeting between the Romanian Patriarch Theoctist and Pope John Paul II, and was part of the enthusiastic crowd cheering "Unitate! Unitate!" www.tlig.org/en/churchunity/ecumenicalpatriarch/
THE POPE AND THE PATRIARCH MEET IN 1999
This was the first time a Pope visited a predominantly Eastern Orthodox (87%) country since the Great Schism of 1054, the event that separated Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Catholicism. On the momentous occasion of Pope John Paul II's visit, Patriarch Teoctist stated: "The second millennium of Christian history began with a painful wounding of the Unity of the Church, the end of this millennium has seen a real commitment to restoring Christian Unity." On May 9, 1999, the Pope and the Patriarch each attended an Orthodox Liturgy and a Catholic Mass respectively conducted by the other. A crowd of hundreds of thousands attended these worship services held in the open air. The Holy Spirit opened a path to Christian Unity, and in spite of obstacles until today from some of the hierarchy, we know Unity will be achieved as the Lord says in True Life in God.
VASSULA IN TIMISOARA, May 21-22, 2010
The Messages from Jesus and Our Blessed Mother to Romania had touched the hearts of many Romanians who had fled overseas from the repressive communist regime. This was the case of the first translator of the books to the Romanian language years ago, and now of Gina Sampalean and her family. After attending the TLIG International Pilgrimage in 2009, and after having just returned from Canada to their native Romania a year ago, TLIG Romania organizers Gina Sampalean, her daughter Julia and husband Dan Calinescu endeavored to revive the flame of the Messages in their country. With the help of some faithful local TLIG readers and the TLIG Canada Association, they set out on this project to invite Vassula once again to Romania, this time to Timisoara which is one of the largest cities and the capital of the Banat region in the western part of Romania. Their zeal for True Life in God and Unity drove them to undertake this work in a city they were only beginning to know. With hearts burning to share the Messages with their people, Gina, Julia, and Dan worked hard to revise the Romanian translation of the True Life in God books, publishing the first revised volume, the TLIG Prayer Meeting Guidelines, and the booklet of the Ten Commandments in time for Vassula's much-awaited arrival.
They visited the hierarchy of the different Christian denominations in Timisoara, and were warmly received by the Orthodox Metropolitan of Timisoara, His Excellency Nicolas Corneanu, known to be open to ecumenism. They invited him to the Meetings, but he was not well and very graciously sent his priest to represent him and deliver his greetings. Julia of TLIG Romania shared: "Meeting him was so uplifting and so encouraging. He was so open and though he couldn't make any commitments- he is of frail age and health- he promised to have the Orthodox priest from the area involved." Clergy from Gina's own Greek Catholic church were invited together with Romanian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Roman Catholic priests, and Romanian Baptist pastors to attend a special Clergy Meeting to listen to Vassula speak on True Life in God and Christian Unity.
Friday, May 21 Clergy Meeting, Sofia Hotel Conference Room
At the Meeting with Clergy, most of the Greek Catholic priests and their wives, and the Roman Catholic priests had read the True Life in God books in Romanian, and were eager to hear Vassula speak. They told her of a disconcerting incident two years ago when the Metropolitan of Timisoara, moved by the Spirit, dared to make no distinction and receive the Eucharist at a Greek Catholic Divine Liturgy celebration during an ecumenical event. This caused an uproar in the Church of Romania, and the Metropolitan was fiercely criticized, persecuted and chastised by some of the clergy for this brotherly deed. In this atmosphere of confusion and incredulity, Vassula's presentation of her mission and of the Holy Spirit's Call today for Unity was timely. To this, Vassula said, "...when there are disagreements among the shepherds, who of the flock will take them seriously if they remain divided?"
On living Unity
She informed her listeners of the success of the many TLIG International Ecumenical Pilgrimages which bring together Cardinals, Archbishops, Metropolitans, Bishops, Archimandrites, Pastors, priests and laypeople of varied Christian denominations. This consoled and reminded them of the Holy Spirit's power and action in the world today for Unity. Vassula urged them to continue together towards Reconciliation and Unity, encouraging them with her words "There is a fear of openness, a mistrust among the denominations. Do not fear, Unity is the Lord's Wish! The first Christians were not afraid to die in the arena, they gave their lives not fearing the lions, death, or crucifixion! Don't be afraid for we are doing God's Will. ... If we are not courageous, Unity will take long in coming, but Unity will come!...but in which way? Will it come by peaceful means...or by fire?...If we ignore God's Calls for Unity, His Justice will hold us accountable."
"Consolidate My Church", the Lord asks in the Messages, and gave Vassula the vision of the 3 iron bars representing the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches. Vassula explained, "As long as the heads on these iron bars do not bend using the keys of Humility and Love, the division remains ... Christ asks us to unify the dates of Easter, He is offended that celebrations are done on 2 different dates. Unity is not a matter of pen and paper, not done in an intellectual way. Dialog is good, but without action is not good. Unity will not be achieved in a signed treaty, but will be done in a spiritual way, in the heart. An Orthodox will not become Catholic, nor is there a need for a Catholic to become Orthodox. We are asked not to differentiate among us, but to respect each other's traditions and celebrate around one altar. The Eucharist must be shared by all."
In a Message Our Lady said,"Jesus never urged you to divide yourselves, this division in His Church was no desire of His; I implore My children to unite in heart and voice and rebuild My Son's primitive Church in their heart; I am saying My Son's primitive Church, since that Church was constructed on Love, Simplicity, Humility and Faith; I do not mean you to reconstruct a new edifice, I mean you to reconstruct an edifice inside your heart, I mean you to knock down the old bricks inside your heart, bricks of disunion, intolerance, unfaithfulness, unforgiveness, lack of love, and reconstruct My Son's Church by reconciling; you need intense poverty of the spirit and an overflow of wealth of generosity, and not until you understand that you will have to bend, will you be able to unite." 23 September 1991
On our Apostasy
To understand the Church's situation today, Vassula spoke of the two signs of the End of Times: the Great Apostasy foretold by St. Paul, and the Spirit of Rebellion, by the prophet Ezekiel. Vassula explained, "Apostasy always existed in different times in history, but we are living in evil times where the rejection of God and the Truth is generalized. The values that are good are considered bad, and vice versa. Churches are turned into restaurants, discotheques, and even sold to non-Christians. Where the Perpetual Sacrifice would take place in these churches, on the altars we now find billiard tables, bars, etc. This is the Disastrous Abomination in Daniel's prophecy. ...and nations are going against God's commandments, e.g. Thou shalt not kill, by their laws that legalize abortion. The Rebel sits on God's Throne, the Spirit of Rebellion fights the Church."
Prophecies and Visions
Vassula related the calamities and disasters of our times to the hardness of men's hearts and the Apostasy. She spoke of the prophesies of the 9/11 Towers and the Tsunami, "...because of the division in the Church, because of no reconciliation, the Tsunami came ... Why does God punish us, the good and the bad as in Scriptures, in Siloan? Because there is no cry of repentance!...all economic crises, the ash from volcanoes, and the threatening murmurs of the other Iceland Volcano Katla are all due to Apostasy and Division. Something must happen because the Church and the world cannot continue like this! ...God is always giving the world many possibilities to change the heart. This is why the Holy Spirit is the Hope and puts souls aflame to testify to the love of God and raises apostles as our lay people today who form Prayer Groups of the Divine Mercy, Padre Pio, Medjugorje, etc. to pray."
Vassula spoke of the visions where the Lord made her see Russia as a woman lying dead, and heard Him speak of her like she was His daughter. Vassula had felt His Heart very sorrowful and filled with much love, and this made Vassula start to weep. He said, "Daughter do not weep, I am near Russia now, I am near her cold heart, I will resurrect her, I will transfigure her as I was transfigured." Vassula said the day this Message was given was the Orthodox feast of the Transfiguration in Russia. Russia will glorify God more than any other, she feels Russia will be spiritually above many nations. Vassula's view is that maybe Russia will make the first step to Unity with the Roman Catholic Church, how else will she glorify God? Recently, Patriarch Kyrill of Russia extended an invitation to Pope Benedict XVI for a visit to Russia.
Some Questions and Answers
Vassula spoke of many more topics and during the Question & Answer session, she was asked:
What is the message for priests? She answered, "Jesus asks for the priests to imitate Him, to walk in His bloodstained footprints. If you love Him and embrace Him, you embrace His Cross. He needs sacrificial love, acts of reparation, giving one's self more and more, being God's slave, having no limits in serving God. Christ wants mercy and compassion, He wants all our hearts. All Scripture is to be good, and LOVE, just like a child."
In the Messages, is the Unity spiritual? Under the Holy Father? Vassula replied, "It is spiritual. The Holy Father must be accepted as Peter. The Pope does not expect them to change their rites, tradition, etc.. All must accept and give the Eucharist from each other."
After other questions, Vassula ended her talk saying,"If we truly love Christ there will be no problem of Unity. This will be the triumph of the Church!" The audience of clergy were delighted with Vassula's talk and requested her to pray over them. One could feel the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit as they came forward like children to ask for the Lord's healing and give their thanks.
Saturday, May 22 Timisoara Radio Interviews
Vassula's Timisoara Meeting was publicized throughout the city by strategically placing TLIG posters at city bus stops, at university bulletin boards, etc. A great effort was made in every way, including two radio interviews. Vassula accorded a first interview to Radio Timisoara. The reporter was so fascinated with Vassula's mystical experiences with her Angel and the Lord that the 10 minute Interview foreseen stretched to a whole hour! The Interview with Radio Maria of Romania followed, and both were aired in the succeeding days.
Afternoon Public Meeting in Timisoara Colosseum
At this Meeting, we were happy to see some of the priests who attended the Clergy Meeting the evening before, their presence in the assembly of 250 manifested their enthusiasm for True Life in God's message of Unity. Their presence in the assembly of 250 manifested their enthusiasm for True Life in God's message of Unity. Our TLIG Romania organizers made a strong effort and were able to gather an audience composed of Orthodox, Greek Catholics, Roman Catholics and Protestants, including the former Roman Catholic Vicar of Timisoara. Their music ministry was composed of young Evangelical Christians who were happy to render their own songs of praise and Orthodox hymns. Dan's Introduction of Vassula was followed by Metropolitan Corneanus's address delivered by his representative, Fr. Adriano.
"Why is God speaking in our times?...Are we doing God's Will in our lives? Have we reconciled? Do we love one another?" Vassula asked these questions to prepare her audience for the powerful themes of True Life in God to be shared with them that afternoon. "True Life in God is a call to the transfiguration of the soul, to abandonment to God to turn our lives into an unceasing prayer. To pray without ceasing is when your heart speaks, when your heart desires, longs and thirsts for God all day long. If you do this, you follow the greatest commandment of all, to love God with all your heart and soul, with all your being."
"Heaven's Cry today is Repentance! There is a need for repentance, repent from your heart. Sacrificial love, go out of your way to serve. If you love Jesus, you embrace His Cross. ...There is a great Apostasy in the world, this is why God speaks. This Apostasy has turned the Church into a vast graveyard. The Lord, in His Compassion, sends His Holy Spirit to renew His Church - we are the Church. Unity in the Church is needed, it will be consolidated through Unity. The Divider wants the Church to lose its power by keeping it divided. ...Sin is when our hearts are filled with hostility, being hostile, arrogant, with lack of forgiveness, prejudices, hardness of heart, with uncharitable gestures. Forgive! The more you forgive, the more God forgives you."
"True Repentance brings tears to your eyes because we see our wretchedness. It brings us closer to God after a moment of rebellion. Give space to the Holy Spirit, He will shatter all your iniquities. The less we repent, the less we will have the Holy Spirit's Light to do God's Will. Ego blocks the Church from going forward to Unity."
Vassula's talk was powerful as always, and the fruits were many. Julia reports: "The owner of the wedding hall was so touched by what happened that he was almost in tears by the end of the event. And we know for sure that that wasn't the only soul that was touched since many others told us how inspiring and uplifting the conference was. In fact, even the Greek Catholic catechist/theologian who was overall quite negative about TLIG ended saying that it was one of the most wonderful and edifying conferences he had attended!"
Vassula thanked the TLIG Romania organizers for the hard work they put into lighting the flame for True Life in God in Timisoara. We all appreciated the atmosphere filled with songs and prayers. The audience was inspired by Vassula's faith experience and ran to get the TLIG books after. People flocked to give their names for the TLIG Register, and to eventually start TLIG Prayer Groups.
VASSULA IN BOCSA, May 23 - 24, 2010
At the invitation of Fr. Rolf Philip Schoenenberg, Vassula's next visit in Romania was to a town 80 kilometers from Timisoara where Fr. Rolf has been engaged for many years in The Triumph of the Heart Foundation project for poor children. This involvement gave Fr. Rolf the opportunity to meet many open-hearted Romanian laypeople and clergy. In Bocsa, his Romanian Orthodox parish priest friend had read True Life in God and immediately opened his church to Vassula upon hearing of her planned visit. We were amazed at the warm hospitality extended to us throughout our short but unforgettable stay.
Sunday, May 23 Pentecost Sunday Divine Liturgy in Bocsa Mantana Parish
Not only was Rev. Fr. Daniel Crecan inspired to ask Vassula to speak to his congregation after the Divine Liturgy on the great feast of Pentecost Sunday.
Fr. Daniel, the parish priest of this church shares his perspective on the events of this wonderful day:
"On the day of Pentecost was the feast day for our church and many people came to attend the Holy Liturgy. That day in our community we received many special guests who came from many parts of the world: one Greek born in Egypt, one from Switzerland, and one from the Philippines. That was wonderful and very special for us because we had never before had so many nationalities in our church. It does not matter if our Orthodox community is small, but it is our joy to minister together with believers from other countries and different churches. The Swiss man is my good friend and brother in Christ, a Roman-Catholic priest. It was great, wonderful, divine ... .just like the teachings of our Saviour Christ, "MAY THEY ALL BE ONE!". Communion in the Eucharist is the sign of unity in the Holy Spirit. It was definitely a divine sign given by the Holy Spirit, of full communion in the love of Jesus Christ. But this is not all....we had a lot of people who were singing, praying together and giving glory to our God. The presence of many Greek-Catholics in the same church and sharing the Liturgy was indeed another sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the middle of our community. No words can ever tell the joy of what it is like to have full communion in truth, in unity with the Holy Spirit."
Vassula gave a short talk to introduce the Messages of True Life in God to Fr. Daniel's parishioners. She read a Message on the Eucharist and talked about how Jesus invites us to receive Him often. "We should not think we have to be good to approach the altar to receive Him, for only God is Good. We should not think we have to be perfect to come to receive him, for only God is Perfect! He wants us to come as we are and He will transform us through His Holy Spirit. We must come and receive Him in the Eucharist, His holy Body and Blood so He can transform us into the bone of His Bone, the flesh of His Flesh."
Fr. Daniel continued: "I had the great pleasure and spiritual joy to have in our midst Vassula Ryden and sister Cecilia Lutz. The intensity of the word of God that Vassula transmitted to us was so special that it filled our hearts with the spirit of brotherhood and absolute warmth. The Message of unity from Christ through the Holy Spirit can fully be achieved through joint efforts, giving up the spirit of pride through self-denial and a continuous struggle for the ecclesiastical body of God's Church to restore the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church to fulfill the prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ: "May they all be one!" This is what Christ wants us to do ensuring us that only through His Holy Spirit Unity is achieved; then others will know that we are His disciples if we have love between us. We all felt the Holy Spirit in the day's celebration, and the joy of Christ for Unity of all Christians."
"The day continued in the same Spirit of Christ over lunch at my house, where all the guests were invited. Lunch was full of joy. We shared each other's spiritual experiences and of the Church's mission in general, as well as our work and contribution for Unity. We agreed to accomplish all that is necessary and obey the Holy Spirit who asks us to work continuously for the Unity of the Church to take place as soon as possible according to the Lord Jesus Christ's intentions.
Our distinguished guests with their vast experiences helped me to understand the urgent need to find ways of communicating with all Christians through Christ's Spirit of love. I could also try to find new ways of approaching relations, communication, and social-Christian works by being frequently in contact with them so that this work, benefits the Church for Unity. Many of the issues discussed have been strongly emphasized and dealt with in my work as a priest in good relations with all religions: Roman-Catholic, Greek-Catholic, Calvinist and even Neo-Protestants. In the Spirit of Christ in the future I intend to intensify my work with all Christian denominations to achieve the dream of more than 1000 years of Christ's Church Unity in diversity."
Afternoon Meeting at the Triumph of the Heart Foundation, Bocsa
Nine years ago, on Our Lady's inspiration, Fr. Rolf set out to build The Triumph of the Heart Foundation which is dedicated to providing food and education for the many poor children of Bocsa. Classes for children of all ages are offered and nutritious food is shared daily with 35-100 children from the region. Fr. Rolf oversees the administration of this charitable work with the help of a generous Romanian couple, Dana and Gelu. Located in the same town, Fr. Daniel is also in close contact with the institute.
Fr. Rolf and his group organized a Meeting for his clergy friends from different parts of western Romania. He introduced Vassula to nuns and priests who already knew of her and were thankful for the chance to listen to her. Julia shared, "In the afternoon, about 7 priests, some coming from as far as 350 kms., and 75 laypeople gathered at Fr. Rolf's foundation to listen to Vassula once again. What was very special on this occasion was that after her talk, Vassula spent another 2-3 hours answering questions and discussing informally. That was something new for us and it was a real privilege. All the priests stayed to the very end."
Fr. Daniel added, "Many brothers were present, pastors from various denominations: 3 Orthodox priests, 2 Roman-Catholic and 3 Greek-Catholic (one of them came from Oradea town that is so far away). But I believe that the same Holy Spirit was the one that guided us to the conference, and the Church. Vassula was extraordinary! Praise God for the mission entrusted to her, who works so much for the benefit and the unity of the Church."
Monday, May 24, 2010 Farewell from Bocsa
On Monday morning, Fr. Rolf celebrated Holy Mass in the Foundation's beautiful chapel while Fr. Daniel celebrated the Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Holy Trinity in his church. Afterwards, we were happy to meet again but sad to bid each other farewell. Vassula's mission was continuing to her next destination, Slovakia. Her short stay in Romania brought the breath of the Holy Spirit which gathered many, filling them with hope and courage to persevere in their work for Unity.
From the TLIG Romania organizers: "We gratefully extend our thanks to Vassula, and to everyone who gave so generously and who prayed for this event. May God reward you a hundredfold. Over and beyond the actual help this provided, it was also a reminder of the love and solidarity that we Christians should have for one another. May we always continue to strengthen the bonds we share in the Love of Christ!"
Fr. Daniel expressed his thanks for Vassula's visit to Romania: "It was an extraordinary religious experience for us all and we left with the conviction that Unity of the Church will be achieved with the will of Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church, and through the holiness of all Christians. This experience was divine and we pray God always to be with Vassula who received the calling of God for the Unity of the Church. Finally, I thank God in the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen!
We convey our warmest thanks to Fr. Rolf and Fr. Daniel for working in the true spirit of Christian Unity. Together, they helped make the visit a great success by bringing Vassula and the Messages to their brothers in Christ. Our heartfelt gratitude extends to Gina, Julia and Dan, Viviana, Dana and Gelu, and others of TLIG Romania for their precious work and cooperation. Through their efforts, the Romanian translation goes on, the TLIG books and DVDs of Vassula's talks are now available, and a TLIG Prayer Group has already been formed in a Greek Catholic church in Timisoara. With God's Grace and in TLIG Romania's care, True Life in God will spread and prosper in their country, hopefully to bring us another step towards Christian Unity. May God be praised!
Prepared by: Cecilia Lutz