Continuation Nordic Countries 2017
Greenland, Norway, Finland & Sweden
Wednesday, June 7
On Wednesday, June 7, we arrived from Iceland to Nuuk, the Capital of Greenland, with a population of seventeen thousand people. We arrived a little after 6:00 pm, and regardless of the time it was as bright as 10:00 a.m. in the morning on a summer day. The sun never sets here. This was Vassula’s and True Life in God’s first visit to this virgin territory. This was now as far north as True life in God’s messages have ever reached within the vicinity of the Arctic region. In fact, I know that I am the first Orthodox priest to set foot on Greenland and offer Orthodox devotions.
As stated in the Holy Scriptures, John 8:3: “the wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." And in the TLIG messages Jesus tells us: “My Holy Spirit of Grace is being sent out to the four corners of the earth to teach you to be holy and raise you up again into divine beings;” (TLIG Messages, April 22, 1990)
While flying over Greenland, we remarked on how stark the terrain was, with only ice and stones to be seen. There was nothing green there at all. It was for me a desert of ice and I imagined what it was like for Christ in the deserts of the Holy land seeking the voice of God. It was never on my bucket list of things-to-do to visit this special plot of God’s creation. However, God has his plan for each of us and we must flow with the ebb-and-tide of life’s sea. Clearly, God is guiding us here to bring these messages of True life in God to the people that are isolated and remote from what we consider first world conveniences and opportunities. This was truly a journey into the wild among a very gentle, docile and spiritually hungry native Inuit people.
At the rather primitive airport, our propeller engine plane seating 20 people landed on snowy terrain. After exiting the plane, we walked four steps before entering the wooden three-room building that was the airport. We were greeted happily and with a broad smile by Jacob Schultz Andersen who explained that our host, Bula Larsen, was in another part of the country and on her way back from her government assigned task. Jacob, who is devoted to TLIG, originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, lives in the rectory of the only Catholic Church in Nuuk. He escorted us to our hotel situated in the center of Nuuk.
Thursday, June 8
On Thursday, June 8, the host chairlady, Bula Larsen received us in the morning, along with Jacob, so as to pay a visit to the oldest church in Greenland named Annaassisita Oqaluffia, which is a Lutheran landmark. We also visited the small Catholic Church that serves the needs of the 50 Roman Catholics in the area. A small TLIG prayer group composed mainly of Inuit natives passed along the word about Vassula’s witness event that would take place at 6:30 in the evening at the community hall Katersortarfik. Jacob related to us that the native community’s major social ills are pervasive alcoholism, numerous suicides and depression due to climatic severity and isolation. It should be noted here that to get from any part of one city to another, one can travel only by a small vessel or small airplane. There are no roads between the cities which dot only the Greenland coasts and whose entire population is fifty thousand. I believe these True Life in God messages are a hope to the people as well as a healing message.
The meeting began at 7:00 p.m. with a prescribed program schedule. Some Inuit natives actually flew to Nuuk from their remote villages, whereas the locals came on foot. The total number of attendees was 42--men and women eager to hear the revelations of True life in God while seeking spiritual inspiration to bolster their personal religious life. Most of the participants were first time recipients of the TLIG messages and of Vassula, who was transmitting this love Hymn to them. Bula was tasked to interpret Vassula’s English speech into the Inuit language; however, ultimately, the interpretation was not necessary, since everyone understood English. This facilitated everyone’s more direct comprehension of the messages. The average age of the attendees was early 30’s, with a good mixture of male and female participants.
After the talk, I asked a few participants to give testimony of what the encounter meant for them. Here are a few responses:
Paul Erik Andersen confessed he felt total forgiveness for everything in his life, and he was overwhelmingly filled with love.
Ebba Birtha Rasmusen declared that she will pray for others and that her heart was trembling and touched by the Holy Spirit during the speech.
Magdaline Therkelsena said she was filled with joyful happiness during the encounter with Vassula and that she felt that God the Father was speaking directly to her.
Marie Louise Brandt was amazed that she saw the face of Jesus overshadowing the face of Vassula. She felt the need for love and to pray for others.
Martha R. Berglund, who had just lost her 18 yr. old son in a boat fishing accident, was suddenly overcome with love and peace in the loss of her son. This gift of solace comes from God the Father and God the Son.
Jenseerag Olsen spoke of the love of God, and she envisioned peace coming closer and becoming more personal to all people.
John Nathansen also saw the face of Vassula changing many times: seeing the face ‘of a Holy Monk’ speaking through her.
Annemarie Petersen was overcome with a sense of weeping with her tears washing away so much in her soul.
Sarine Egede confessed with joy the peace that enveloped her because God heard her prayer.
Rebekka Didriksen, who had lost her sister 4 months ago, felt that she had at last accepted her sister’s passing through the peace of Jesus’ message through Vassula.
The book display was well attended, as the Messages were available in English. The crowds gathered around to pick-up the volumes that interested them. Clearly one could see that the Holy Spirit touched these people as they eagerly sought out the books that interested them. With daylight lasting 22 hours a day, there is plenty of time to read.
The Inuit people were very grateful for our presence, for having travelled many thousands of miles in inclement weather to visit this remote area. The solemnity of their greeting changed to broad smiles and embraces upon our departure. On their lips was the prayer “Do not forget us and come back again.” The Holy Spirit’s presence ignited a flame that is being fanned through the breath of the prayers of the faithful. For me, this was a very special encounter with an ancient people whose language, culture and history was totally unknown to me.
I am indeed grateful to God who extended this opportunity to increase my experience in mission outreach to a people I had no idea even existed. I would hope that conversely they felt the same about me, since this was their first encounter with an Orthodox Christian priest from Greece. This was a modern day ecumenical bonding of two distinct and ancient peoples: Greek and Inuit.
Friday, June 9
The next day Friday, June 9, upon departing from Nuuk on our way to Copenhagen, Denmark, we had to fly from the international airport of Kangerlussuaq, which was a one hour flight from Nuuk over the glacier to the international airport. From here we flew to Copenhagen for an overnight connection to Norway. We were greeted by the TLIG people in Denmark. We shared with them the experiences we encountered in Iceland and Greenland, which were revelations to them, and they shared our excitement of the mission.
Saturday, June 10
On Saturday, June 10, we arrived in Oslo, Norway and were greeted excitedly by Nena and Jochen, who were elated about our three-day sojourn in their country. When we arrived at the hotel where we were scheduled to stay, we were greeted by a few more of the organizers, Solveig, Cate, Kari Sissel and Anette.
In the evening at 6:00 p.m., the public meeting began at The Litteraturhuset in the Wergeland room, where approximately 60 guests attended. There was Lutheran Christian worship music playing, which was played by Siri and Dag Tofteng. They are a married couple with two small children and are devoted to TLIG. Solveig Rannestad did the welcoming in the Norwegian language and was leading the meeting, and Kari Sissel Andresen lead the prayer at the end of the meeting.
I read the introduction of Vassula’s mission in English which did not need interpretation. The audience was multi-national mostly Norwegians with some people from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Turkey. The predominant faith of those members in attendance was Lutheran and Catholics, - half/half. The predominant faith in Norway is the Evangelical Lutheran faith.
This particular meeting was well-organized and proved to be most effective, as witnessed by the audience’s exuberant response to the many challenges to faith revealed by Jesus’ message, transmitted by Vassula to the people. Evidence of this is revealed in the living testimonies which follow:
Susan Kolcer from Turkey expressed that she felt God was present with everyone in the audience because His presence was alive in the messages. But, she continued to say, some people’s hearts are not completely open to the message of TLIG. God is nonetheless working through them to reveal the truth.
Mohammed Afzal Innstrand was born in Norway. His origin is Pakistani Muslim. When questioned about what he witnessed, he confessed his Muslim origins and how the message was one of love, unity and perfection. He was amazed to see many Muslims and Muslim leaders in the Ecumenical and Inter-Faith Pilgrimages video film presentation that was shown, indicating that everybody is one of God’s people. And God wants us all to be brothers and sisters as Christians, Muslims, Jews and non-believers. God loves the non-believers too.
Mehret Nagassi (Eritrean Orthodox) was moved and excited to see an Ethiopian Orthodox priest in the same film presentation; it reminded her of home. She truly wants Vassula to return to Ethiopia with the True life in God messages and asks why not go to Eritrea as well? During the meeting, she felt God was speaking to her and was in her presence. She was informed about the meeting through a co-worker at the hospital where she is employed. She said that she has read the Messages and her response to them is “Wow.”
Irene Opdahl from Norway felt a surge of energy at about 2:00 in the afternoon (before the meeting), encouraging her to attend and find peace.
Lidetu Tesfemichael and Meri Tesfemichael (Eritrean Orthodox) are both from the same family. Like many other Eriterean Orthodox, they have found asylum in Norway. They asked to be prayed over.
Margareth Ellen Hagen Espeseth, who is Norwegian, was talking about the canvas of Jesus in Gethsemane that Vassula had painted. She evidenced feeling Jesus’ pain while she was looking at it. Jesus is full of pain because he personally takes all of our pain upon himself. She asked me to offer a prayer for her health in hearing and seeing.
In addition to the denominations already presented, there were Mormons from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints present among us.
A Mormon lady spokesperson who requested to remain anonymous expressed how much God loves all of His children (you and me); He wants us to come to him and help other people feel His love. She was excited about the prospects of uniting the dates of Easter among Christians.
The display of paintings and books in the Norwegian language were flying-off the shelves, in high demand.
The entire evening wrapped itself in beautiful, sacred music by Siri and Dag Tofteng, from the Lutheran Christian hymnal, gracing an outpouring of spiritual renaissance.
Sunday, June 11
The next day, Sunday, June 11, the entire host TLIG committee of approximately 20 people escorted us to St. Olav's Roman Catholic Cathedral of Oslo for the 10:00 a.m. English Mass. The church was filled to capacity with Filipino Americans and English speaking black African nationals. All are employed in Norway. The Catholic priest, Fr. Vince Rogers, was energetic and ecumenical . We had a small meeting with him after the Mass, and met with much success. He blessed us for our mission across Scandinavia. During Mass, he announced the ecumenical nature of the Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) feast which was to be celebrated the following Sunday with the Lutheran cathedral’s, the Roman Catholic cathedral’s and the two Orthodox Church’s clergy and parishioners in the area celebrating Christian unity in the main plaza.
Jesus reminds us in a message from October 5, 1994: “today, any delicacy from the part of My creatures to restore My tottering House touches Me profoundly; any step towards unity, all heaven rejoices; any prayer offered for the restoration of My Body, My Father's wrath diminishes; any gathering in My Name for unity, My blessings are poured out on those sharing these meetings;” (TLIG Messages, October 5, 1994)
In the afternoon at 2:00, we were hosted at the Lovisenberg Diakonale Gjestehus, which is a retreat house and teaching facility dating back to the last century. There, Vassula had an interview with the Christian National newspaper called Vårt Land (click here). The reporter, who is a professed Christian, was aware of Vassula and her writings from Jesus. We shared with him a one and one-half hour dialogue on prophecy in the modern age. The dialogue focused on the received locutions, the handwriting, and the suggestion of a prophetic view of the future.
An interior locution is a mystical concept used by various religions, including the Roman Catholic Church. In an interior locution, a person reportedly receives a set of ideas (usually auditory), thoughts, or imaginations from an outside spiritual source (for more information click here).
Vassula explained that prophecy is a clarion call from God for His people to return to His all encompassing embrace of love, intimacy and reconciliation; and it is not a magic, fortune-telling crystal ball. The article was due to be published upon our departure from Norway. The artice was published in September and included also an interview of Ingfrid Garder Lillerud, one of the two ladies who started the TLIG work in Norway for 30 years ago.
As Jesus reminds us in the TLIG messages, “I still have musical melodies to set in My Messages for this generation, prophetic sayings and Byzantine lectures;” (TLIG Messages, January 14, 2014)
After the interview which proved to be congenial and inspirational, the 25 person of the prayer groups had a dinner. Inspirational hymns and personal testimonies of how the True life in God messages has changed the direction of so many lives for the better were shared. This fellowship culminated our mission in Norway.
Monday, June 12
On Monday, June 12, we arrived in Helsinki Finland. We were greeted by Rev. Niklas Bonde who organized Vassula’s witness meeting.
Some delegation members, primarily Christina, a University of Helsinki faculty and TLIG prayer group member, escorted us to Johannes Church: a major nineteenth century historically famous Lutheran Church.
A focal point of this visit in Finland, which was set up by Fr. Niklas was to meet with the Finnish Orthodox Metropolitan of Helsinki, His Eminence Ambrosius. This meeting occurred at the Finnish Orthodox church’s Sofia Ecumenical Cultural Center. This major complex with dormitories, lecture halls, a theatre, classrooms, chapels and a museum is the seat of the Metropolis of Helsinki. Metroplitian Ambrosius was overtly animated with the True Life in God delegation of five people who travelled deep into the lakeside forest of Finland to make this pilgrimage. Everyone in the delegation was impressed with the serene sanctity of this monastic enclosure. His Eminence Metropolitan Ambrosius indicated his knowledge of the True Life in God journey over the past 20 years. He had read the True Life in God messages prior to our encounter.
He voiced his openness, clear vision, and excited mobility for the growth of the apostolate at the two-hour meeting with tea and refreshments served by the monastics in residence. His paramount hospitality renewed a spark of energy for those of us who had travelled so far to be there.
When the dialogue shifted to Jesus’ request for a common Easter date which the messages reiterate, the Orthodox Hierarch smiled and admittedly professed that Finland has already subscribed to God’s will by following the Easter observance through the western Gregorian calendar; therefore, Pascha is in harmony with the major Christian body, the Lutheran Church of Finland.
Jesus tells us in the TLIG messages; “have you not heard that I shall settle for one date?" (TLIG Messages, October 24, 1994) Through this passage, I understood that Christ was referring to all of His messages for Unity, calling us all to unify the dates of Easter. This alone seems to ‘settle' Him and satisfy His thirst for Unity. Christ promised us that if we unify the dates of Easter, He will do the rest: unifying the churches in their diversity and sharing one Cup and one Bread. (cf. TLIG Messages, October 24, 1994)
The Orthodox Church, the second official Church of Finland, under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, numbering approximately 1.1% of the population, has bent to God’s will by displaying Unity in the face of diversity. The key to intimacy with God is submission to His will. As Jesus mentions in the Messages, the keys to Unity are love and humility (cf. TLIG Messages, Sept 23, 1991), which the church here has employed by unifying the Easter date for ALL Finnish Christians. This movement has been ongoing for many decades through the light of the Holy Spirit that has directed them. As a departing gesture, Vassula and Metropolitan Archbishop Ambrosius exchanged books. Vassula gave him the recently published Finnish translation of Heaven is Real but So is Hell, and he gave her an immense volume and pictorial review of the world famous Finnish Orthodox Vaalam Monastery which is the seat of the Finnish Orthodox Church.
Jesus tells us in the Messages about the book, Heaven is Real but So is Hell, "ah, Vassula, promoting My Message in this way as well glorifies Me;" (TLIG Messages, September 23, 2013)
The metropolitan was impressed by True Life in God’s global aspects through its pilgrimages and witness meetings. He commented on the fact that a global recognition, presence and movement evolved without any personal compensation for all this expended travel time and energy. All this unfolded in order to profess the voice of God. The metropolitan did say that the future of the Church must conform to doctrine, but at the same time must update its voice to the socially relevant upheavals and social changes on a global level. His simplicity and clarity in explaining himself was inspirational and phenomenal. The two-hour dialogue over tea proved to be beneficial and encouraging to everyone in the room. We invited His Eminence to Vassula’s witness meeting, but he was unable to attend as he was leaving for a meeting of the Synod of Orthodox Finnish Bishops in the center of the Country of Finland early in the morning the following day.
Tuesday, June 13
On Tuesday evening, June 13, the public (witness) meeting took place at the Lilla Roberts Hotel Auditorium. It was conducted in English with participants from Sweden, Finland and Russia. Attendance was sparse as it was not appropriately publicized. Those who attended included TLIG devotees from the local prayer group and a few newcomers. I was escorted with Vassula on stage andgave the introductory remarks. Despite the low attendance, Vassula’s delivery was exuberant, as always, as if she were speaking to a large crowd. Having a small crowd gave her the opportunity for face-to-face dialogue with many of the participants who relished this one-on-one encounter.
One significant depiction of how God moves and newly acquaints people to the TLIG messages was the sheer presence of three young charismatic evangelicals who learned about the meeting by reading an event poster on a street lamppost.
Jesus says in a message, "I am giving you My Lamp so that you place It on a lampstand and not under your beds;” (TLIG Messages, August 28, 1989)
They came with Bibles in hand and left thoroughly enthused; moved by the Holy Spirit upon hearing Jesus’ messages. The available literature assisted them towards telling others about their encounter. All three, one male and two females spoke with Vassula personally, giving their testimonies of faith and witnessing for Christ.
This meeting’s organizers were Fr. Niklas, a Lutheran pastor who is a devoted reader of the TLIG messages; and Christina and Martha, who did their best towards helping Fr. Niklas organize and produce the meeting.
Wednesday, June 14
Early afternoon on Wednesday, June 14, we arrived at the Stockholm Orlando airport and were met by Rev. Bo Westergaard, a Lutheran pastor who had invited Vassula.
We were soon transported to Sodertalje, a popular city for immigrants, migrant workers and refugees, approximately one hour away from Stockholm. Most of the people walking on the streets were evidently non-Swedes from all parts of the world. That evening, the TLIG organizers from Sweden hosted an informal reception at a designated Hotel. Vassula had the opportunity to meet and greet each organizer individually with no formal agenda. We were amazed at the host committee’s enthusiasm and its organization for this very first TLIG encounter in Sweden. Rev. Bo had asked Vassula to read and comment on the message to Scandinavia. You can view it here on YouTube.
Many attending this meeting were Assyrian Christians who have sought refuge in Sweden. These people are ancient Christians with Babylonian roots from Iran and Iraq whose liturgical language is Aramaic.
Thursday, June 15
In the early afternoon, Thursday, June 15, Vassula and the TLIG host committee was afforded an exciting opportunity to meet with Bishop Anders Arborelius, the Catholic Primate of Sweden who is a member of the Capuchin order. Bishop Anders indicated his familiarity with the TLIG messages and encouraged Vassula to continue her ministry worldwide. The hour and a half reception in his private office at the center of Stockholm was cordial and most informative; it centered on talk about congenial relations between the Roman Catholic Church of Sweden and the various Orthodox jurisdictions which are growing rapidly by immigrants from Eastern Europe. The Bishop stated that uniting the dates of Easter is a definite possibility and world leadership should not procrastinate on this issue. Incidentally, two weeks after this visit, on June 29, the feast of St.'s Peter & Paul and the patron holiday of the Chair of Peter, Bishop Anders was made a Cardinal in Rome by Pope Francis. We invited him to the ecumenical pilgrimage to Russia; however, his newly acquired pastoral assignments with his new title and role would not allow him to come. He wished us all much success for this historic venture. Vassula presented him the new volume of the TLIG messages in Swedish as a gift which he graciously received and placed in his library.
Later that evening, the public meeting was held at the Estrad Auditorium in Sodertalje with Rev. Sverker Tronet (a veteran TLIG devotee) as the Swedish interpreter. Present were approximately 250 attendees including Roman Catholic nuns, religious and many Assyrian Christians with their clergy. The Assyrian Christians who are very proud of their traditional liturgical language, Aramaic, were impressed that Vassula begins every meeting with the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic (to listen click here).
A flood of enthusiasm surfaced at the end of the meeting with the assembly approaching the stage to speak to Vassula individually. She focused her attention, in particular, on an elder charismatic Assyrian priest, Fr. Jacob Kasselia, from the northern area of Stockholm who dialogued with her on stage privately for over 20 minutes. He revealed to Vassula his success in converting many Muslims to Christ in Sweden, and his ongoing mission and salvation outreach to those embracing Christ. He is well-known as an employer of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The Assyrian Christians in Sweden revere him for his remarkable successes.
At the meeting's finality, the audience had the opportunity to browse and purchase the superbly displayed book tables and paintings. The displayed TLIG materials were comprehensive. Rev. Sverker Tronet was thanked for offering his impressive English to Swedish interpreting skills. . Rev. Bo Westergaard was also thanked for his organizational input and for the success of this inspirational meeting. Among many others who voluntarily added their time and energy to this meeting were Mariam and Charlie Sawma, an Assyrian Christian married couple whose assistance and escort in Sweden was appreciated and essential.
Stefanie Hoffmann hails from Finland, and confessed that she felt the presence of God the Father heavily upon her, encompassing her spirit.
Beril Roots who came all the way from Estonia finally understood the meaning of the words “One Church, One Christ, One Faith.”
Alar Kikas from Estonia saw himself in a vision during the speech kneeling in a church surrounded by many pastors. He said, “Many preachers will fall away because they are false; they are not real prophets.” He did see Jesus’ face overshadowing Vassula during the speech.
Tatiana Wilenius, who was visiting from Russia, felt exhausted as if the wind had been taken out of her, with heavy waves of sleep overcoming her; during the talk she was showered with a refreshing breeze and a warm feeling of gratitude. She felt Satan had been removed from her.
Christian Korkman, who travelled from Sweden, was dismayed that many more did not come to this monumental meeting; a great opportunity was missed by them.
Alexander Rothkopf, who travelled from Finland and has been reading and following the TLIG messages for 7 years, was overwhelmed with satisfaction and joy to meet Vassula for the first time in a live encounter.
Leena Suhonen from Finland, focused on Jesus’ message of suffering sacrifice and intended to employ this in her spiritual life.
Dolores Grondowska from Poland, who travelled a great distance for this personal encounter, is a Roman Catholic with a deep faith in the TLIG messages. Having suffered many family tragedies, including the murder and death of her mother and father, she was ecstatic about her personal encounter with Vassula and the acknowledgment that Jesus was directly speaking to her through Vassula’s words.
Lastly, an added feature was the presence of the many children of all ages who attended with their parents and grandparents; this indicates that Jesus’ TLIG messages are falling on the ears of the third generation.
As Jesus tells us in a message, “indeed I have made out of you My pen to pen My sayings; sayings that will be remembered in all future generations;” (TLIG Messages, April 24, 2006)
Serendipitously, while resting at a coffee shop, we inadvertently spotted a poster on a public park billboard across the street announcing the TLIG meeting event to the public.
Rev. Bo was instrumental in getting the event posted in various parts of the city.
Saturday, June 17
On Saturday, June 17, we departed Stockholm for Rhodes, which thus concluded Vassula’s seven country TLIG Nordic odyssey mission. It brought encouragement, enthusiasm, enlightenment and direction to the mainly Lutheran Christians of the northern regions.
Written by Fr. Nicholas