A interesting analysis of Vassula Ryden's writings from an Orthodox perspective has been recently posted on the blog "A Catechumen's Tale". I am copying hereunder an extract of the article and recommend that you read the complete version here:http://catechumens-tale.blogspot.com/search/label/Vassula%20Ryd
énContra Vassula Rydén
Some time recently, a good friend of mine sent me a link to a website and told me, "The Orthodox should be warned about this." I clicked on the link and was met with a website called "True Life in God," peppered with iconography that made me think for a moment that I might be looking at the archdiocese website. Instead, it was the website for a woman named Vassula Rydén, and on the main page speaks of angels and messages.
I felt a shrill go up the back of my neck, realizing that I was dealing with someone who claimed to have had personal revelations with God and was attempting to share it with the world. As I did further research, what I found shocked me, and I began to realize that perhaps Christians in general, not just Orthodox, should be warned about this woman. I was even more inspired when I learned that friends of friends (even those attending my church) were following this woman like a prophet of old, and were even giving her prayer books to their children to read. Therefore, this struck rather close to home.
The casual reader should be warned that this is perhaps the longest post I will make on my blog for some time, but I believe the time spent will not be wasted. Heresy and controversy within the Church need to be discussed, just as they were hundreds of years ago at the ecumenical councils. No, I am not claiming to be the new Athanasius, ready to take on the Arians - God forbid the prideful thought from entering my mind! However, I do want to at least be a source of education for some and protection for others. I pray that God will allow me to be an instrument for Him and in His name alone. Amen.
Who is this Vassula Rydén?
According to her own website (source) she is an ethnic Greek from Egypt who "belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church." She claims to have started receiving messages from Jesus Himself (through an angel named "Daniel"), beginning in Bangladesh in 1985. According to her website, she has "been invited to speak in more than 70 countries and has given over 900 presentations," even being asked "at 3 occasions to speak on unity in the World Council of Churches of Geneva." She has many "Beth Mariam" charity houses for the poor and orphans. She is married to a Lutheran. Her manifestations are, according to her testimonial video, "still continuing" (source).
The first thing that caught my eye was, although she claims to be a Greek Orthodox, her Orthodoxy should rightfully be called into question. In both her visions and speeches she speaks of the "immaculate heart" of both Jesus and the Virgin Mary, a concept decidedly Roman Catholic both in origin and use. She is said to have handed out rosaries to people and paid homage at Roman Catholic shrines, even going so far as to claim a message from God saying "blessed are those who will pray the Rosary" (source). She believes in purgatory and teaches that our prayers save people from Purgatory (source). She claims to have visited hell and saw something closer to Bill Weise's view than the Church's belief on hell (source). Her teaching on the Holy Spirit is more akin to Charismatic preachers on late-night TBN than the writings of the Church Fathers. Her views on universalism and ecumenical movements (which I'll get to later on in this post) would be better placed in the sermons of the Emergent Church. Overall, I don't find anything Orthodox about her.
My feelings seemed to have some merit, as I found out that she really had no solid knowledge of her Orthodox faith - let alone any Christian faith at all. She admits in her testimonial video (source, again) that she "wasn't a Church-goer" and that she "wasn't looking for God at all." She knew "God existed" and "knew a little bit," but never "had any catechism." When she got married she "abandoned" her Orthodoxy and became involved in the international organization that sent her to places across the world, neither her nor her husband practicing religion in the meanwhile. Then, in 1985 in Bangladesh, she was writing down a list of groceries and suddenly saw her "guardian angel", who physically held her hand and began to write what he wanted her to say. He introduced himself as Daniel. She was excited and began to talk to Daniel. He instructed her to read scripture, and then continued to deliver messages from God afterward.
Something seemed familiar about this experience, and it was then that I realized the way that the supposed angel Daniel communicated with Vassula is a way many mediums supposedly communicate with ghosts. The method is known as "automatic writing" or alternatively "ghost scribbles." It entails a person scribbling on a piece of paper and allowing the ghost to write for the person, sending out messages that can be either crystal clear or incoherent (the 1980 film "The Changeling" features this). Such communication really belongs in the hands of the occult - why, therefore, should we be expected to follow theology based on unorthodox methods of communicating with God? It would be like revelation given through tarot cards.
Of course what also bothered me was the fact she was receiving supposed revelations from an angel. I couldn't help but think to myself: who else has received revelation from God? Some names come to mind: Mani, Mohammad, Joseph Smith...but perhaps this list is unfair. Daniel, for example, met and spoke with Gabriel, yet he was a prophet and the role of prophets ended with John the Baptist (Luke 16:16). It's also worth mentioning that the minute Daniel came in contact with Gabriel he became frightened and fell on his face (Dan 8:17). Likewise, the shepherds who saw the angel announcing Christ's birth were just as afraid, for the first words out of the angel's mouth are "fear not" (Luke 2:10). The apostle John, seeing an angel twice, is so overcome he prostrates twice and has to be told not to (Rev. 19:10; 22:
. Here we have three groups of people in scripture - a devout prophet of God, humble laymen, and the most beloved disciple - who all reacted with fear of God at the first sight of an angel. How did Vassula first respond when she met her angel?
I was so happy that I was almost flying around the house, my feet barely touching the ground and I was repeating loudly: "I am the luckiest person on earth, and I am probably the only person on earth who could communicate in such a way with her angel!" [source]
Keep in mind that this is after a supposed angel of God has manifested himself to her and has touched her hand and made it move and write - her reaction seems the polar opposite to how those in the past who simply saw an angel. This isn't entirely new - there are people who claim to be watching TV, see Jesus walk in, and kept watching TV like nothing had happened. Oftentimes when a person claims to have met an angel or Christ Himself and not given the reaction that has scriptural precedent, the very claim itself is false.
Perhaps before we pass judgment on Vassula's revelation, we should review the essence of these revelations in detail. They're readily available on her website, posted in chronological order and even in order of subject. They are also quite voluminous: I started reading from the start in 1985, and after two or three hours had only gotten to 1987. Nevertheless, they must be looked at to truly understand the essence of her message.
[Continued here: http://catechumens-tale.blogspot.com/search/label/Vassula%20Ryd