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On Saturday, May 28, 2005, The Ecumenical Inter-Faith True Life in God Pilgrimage concluded. Vassula and I departed for the Holy Land from Jordan. Accompanying us was Canon Samir J. Habiby and Mezied, a TLIG reader from Nazareth, who drove us from Jordan across the border into the Holy Land (Beth Shean Bridge). It was a blessing that we had a special card from the advisor to the King of Jordan, Mr. Akel Biltaji, that helped us cross the Jordanian border as special guests of His Majesty King Abdullah II.

Upon arrival in Nazareth, we stayed at St. Margaret's guest house of the Anglican Church. We had been invited to attend the inauguration of the library of the St. George's school which would be followed by their graduation celebration. Mr. Akel Biltaji was to be a special guest speaker. He greeted Vassula in the gardens of St. Margaret's. He was so happy to see her again as he had just met with her in Jordan. The Right Reverend Riah Abu El-Assal, the Anglican Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and The Middle East, also welcomed Vassula and invited us to the graduation where special seats had been reserved for us.

Vassula with Mr. Akel Biltaji on her right in the gardens of St. Margaret's, Nazareth
Vassula with Mr. Akel Biltaji on her right in the gardens of St. Margaret's, Nazareth

We then had a late lunch at the Rosary Sisters' place. They had prepared a special meal for us and some of the True Life in God Pilgrims that were staying there after the pilgrimage. We later went back to have dinner in the garden of St. Margaret's with Rt. Rev. Riah Abu El-Assal. Canon Samir Habiby, who was Abu El-Assal's cousin, had set up this meeting. The bishop was truly happy to meet with Vassula and showed us wonderful oriental hospitality; very kind and gracious, he treated Vassula with much respect and honor.

Father Hatem Shehadeh, an Anglican priest in Haifa, joined us for dinner. To our surprise he had been reading the True life in God Messages for years. Although he was in Nazareth for the graduation, he hadn't known Vassula was going to be there, so he was delighted to meet with her and invited her to come back the following year and speak in his Church, St. John and St. Luke's in Haifa. Father Shehadeh offered to be her translator and help in her ministry. During dinner, Rt. Rev. Riah raised many questions of interest. He indicated he wished to meet with Vassula for breakfast the next morning.

Vassula, to her left, Rt. Rev. Riah, Father Hatem Shehadeh, and Canon Samir Habiby
Vassula, to her left, Rt. Rev. Riah, Father Hatem Shehadeh, and Father Samir Habiby

The next day, Sunday May 29, 2005, during breakfast with Rt. Rev. Riah, Vassula gave him the CDF book in Arabic and in English. He asked her to sign the CDF book for Patriarch Sabbah and assured her he would give it to Patriarch Sabbah who is the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem. Rt. Rev. Riah's grand uncle is Simon Strougi, who is one step below sainthood according to the Vatican. Rt. Rev. Riah expressed to Vassula that he sees materialism as having a great influence among Christians. Jesus does mention in the messages that materialism and rationalism lead to atheism. September 19, 1991

Vassula showing Rt. Rev. Riah Abu El-Assal
TLIG material in Nazareth
Vassula showing Rt. Rev. Riah Abu El-Assal TLIG material in Nazareth

After breakfast, we went to meet with Archbishop Georges Haddad, who is of the Greek Melkite Catholic of Acre, Haifa, Nazareth, and all Galilee in Israel. We went to his Church of St. Peter and Paul. After the service there was a small reception in the hall where coffee and sweets were served. The Archbishop introduced Vassula to his community and asked her to speak about True Life in God and her experience. An Arabic translator assisted.

She told them that she has been called by our Lord twenty years ago and He gave her a mission for Unity for the benefit of the Church. She didn't ask for this mission but the Lord has asked her to serve him. He asked her, "To serve him among the people who scourge me, spit on me, who have abandoned, me, and re-crucify me". These messages are for reconciliation, conversion, repentance and unity. She told them how Our Lady has also given messages. They both are calling for a true Unity of the Church. Vassula said that the Lord says that the dialogues are good but He wants action. "Show your love and your faith by acting around one altar and that is Unity for the Lord".

One last thing, when the Lord is speaking about repentance and reconciliation it is not only for the Church. It is with our families as well. Also, forgiveness, "to forgive." She said when she thinks about the Messages and the Scriptures all of what God is saying you can define it in one sentence. "Love one another as I love you and serve Me." What does serve Me mean? God is living in each one of us. We are to serve one another and help one another. That is to serve the Lord. (During this time, the Archbishop was constantly bowing his head as she was speaking. He was agreeing with everything she was saying.) She told them that we will all be judged according to the measure of love we had here on Earth.

Archbishop Georges Haddad with Vassula
In Nazareth
Archbishop Georges Haddad with Vassula in Nazareth

He then invited Vassula to join him and his community for a special luncheon.

Vassula with Archbishop Georges and Fr. Habiby to her right, at lunch
in Shefar'am, Nazareth
Vassula with Archbishop Georges and Fr. Habiby to her right, at lunch in Shefar'am, Nazareth

 
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        Vassula's Trip to the Holy Land - pg1
        Vassula's Trip to the Holy Land - pg2
        Vassula's Trip to the Holy Land - pg3
        Vassula's Trip to the Holy Land - pg4
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