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VASSULA excommunicated. A response to this FALSE statement, (by the Foundation for True Life in God, Geneva (Switzerland).

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has recently published, on its website a statement of condemnation regarding Vassula Rydén and True Life in God faithful of Greek Orthodox faith. A certified translation into English of the Greek original is attached. It is to be noted that the Patriarchate has only expressed itself in Greek, leaving people of other languages to themselves.

The statement of the Patriarchate has been misinterpreted by some people who have publicly declared that Vassula has been excommunicated.
Such declarations are wholly untrue and do not accord with the Patriarchs statement which is not a decree of any description and does not refer to excommunication.

What the statement does is to accuse Vassula and the Orthodox TLIG faithful of acting in defiance or in breach, of Orthodox Christian Doctrine and Faith. That is equivalent to an accusation of heresy. (A denial of or deviation from the doctrine of the Orthodox Church).
The appropriate procedure for dealing with heresy is very clearly laid down in the Canon law of the Holy Church. The statement calls upon Vassula and her followers to discontinue the dissemination of the TLIG messages and to renounce their teachings in order to avoid the appropriate sanctions under the Holy Canons. Under those Canons, the prescribed penalty for heresy is Excommunication (often called anathema) but, under the Canonical procedures of the Church a decree of Excommunication can only be made after formal proceedings have taken place before the Ecclesiastical Courts or/and before a Holy Synod. Such proceedings involve a formal Complainant, a Defendant and Witnesses, and an appeal procedure (Hierarchical), regulated by Article 44.1 of the Charter of the Church of Greece

Only when this procedure has been exhausted, is the crime of transgression against the faith punished by Excommunication or sometimes by exclusion from the sacramental life of the Church for a temporary period.

There have been no proceedings for Excommunication instituted before the Ecclesiastical Courts or the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in the case of Vassula Rydén. That is not surprising because the Holy Orthodox Church like the Catholic Church or the Anglican Church regards Excommunication as a last resort, an instrument to be wielded with great reserve and caution and only to be imposed after repeated warnings and discussions. No such discussions have taken place between Vassula and the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Vassula has already written to the Patriarch personally, to request that she and her Theologians enter into a proper dialogue with him. Her request is presently under consideration by the Patriarch.

Until due judicial process is established and concluded by the Church, any public comments stating or implying that Vassula and TLIG faithful have been excommunicated by the Holy Orthodox Church are wholly untrue and harmful to her and those members of TLIG who are of the Greek Orthodox faith.

The present statement is published by the Foundation for True Life in God after due research into this matter. Its purpose is to prevent publication of further ill advised comments and to encourage correction of untruthful statements already published.

Geneva, May 2011

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3. Announcement by the Ecumenical Patriarchate