About a Liberal nun in "ROCOR" - MP

DIscussion and News concerning Orthodox Churches in communion with those who have fallen into the heresies of Ecumenism, Renovationism, Sergianism, and Modernism, or those Traditional Orthodox Churches who are now involved with Name-Worshiping, or vagante jurisdictions. All Forum Rules apply. No polemics. No heated discussions. No name-calling.
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Barbara
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Re: About a Liberal nun in "ROCOR" - MP

Post by Barbara »

This video was produced in time for St John's Feast Day tomorrow. It is informative, shows the interior of the Washington Cathedral, and above all, details 2 Icons of St John therein>
Why could not Sister Vassa have worked on producing something interesting and spiritually educational along these lines :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VmGA-h9PTk

instead of regaling her audience with teenagerish talk, music and light-minded chatter ?

Here one learns the story of an Icon of St John we have all seen, but were a little hazy on its origins and meaning. All the scenes in it are explained so that one knows what each of the life story segments signifies. The style is like that of any Russian Saint, such as St Sergius or St Seraphim, so it takes a moment to get used to seeing St John's birth, repose, and highlights of his life inbetween depicted in the traditional way.

Then at about 18:38 in the 22 minute clip, there is a fresco or mural on a pillar inside that Cathedral, of which copies are NEVER seen. Until now, it's been a well-kept secret.

Thus one learns useful information, quite opposite to Sister Vassa's Washington DC visit recap by her on the program mentioned in the earlier post. Never mind, next time sidekick Rob will be there to provide a counterpoint to her frivolity to entertain listeners ! Which seems to be a major aim of her show. Contrast that goal with this informative, sober explanation in the presentation right above to see what the nun COULD have done with the rich material available to her.
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Barbara
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Re: About a Liberal nun in "ROCOR" - MP

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Sister Vassa Strikes Again
[ Better : "Sister Vassa Strikes OUT Again" ]


Sister Vassa herself has been the subject of controversy on the issue of homosexuality, but in a recent video, she defended at some length Metropolitan Kallistos' recent article.

She argues that he is "just asking questions." The problem is, he is just asking questions about matters that are not questionable. The Serpent just asked a question of Eve when he said: "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1). Entertaining that question didn't work out so well.

She asks why we can't just give people like Metropolitan Kallistos the benefit of the doubt. The problem is, you can't give someone the benefit of the doubt where no doubt is left. If someone had suggested that they heard tell that Metropolitan Kallistos was arguing that a homosexual couple that was in a committed relationship ought to be given communion, and that their spiritual father should take a "don't ask, don't tell" approach to their relationship, I would have given His Eminence the benefit of the doubt that he actually would have said such a thing. However, I think it is rather unlikely that "The Wheel" published a forgery written under his name, and so we have to deal with what he said, and we have to judge whether what he said was right or wrong.

Sister Vassa repeatedly questioned the qualifications of those who have responded to Metropolitan Kallistos, by saying that they are "not the peers" of this great man. This of course all depends on what you mean by "peers." As a scholar, Dr. Edith Humphrey is certainly a peer. But as a bishop, the bishops of the rest of the Church are certainly his peers, and every time they have spoken on this issue, they have spoken with clarity that directly contradicts the mealy-mouthed approach taken by the article in question. But even the laity have the right and obligation to challenge a bishop who is in error. I am sure few of the faithful in Constantinople were the intellectual peers of the bishops who returned from the false council of Florence, having made a shameful and heretical union with Rome, but they felt like peers enough, as members of the Body of Christ, to not only disapprove of their union, but to greet them with a shower of debris of various sorts, in order to make their opinions unmistakably known. The people of God are the guardians of piety, as the Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs of 1848 (in reply to Pope Pius the IX) states. It is therefore not only permissible, but obligatory for all of the faithful, and even more so for the clergy, to oppose these attempts to infect our Church with the same heresies that have wreaked such havoc in mainline Protestant Churches, and are in the process of doing the same in the Roman Catholic Church.

Sister Vassa suggests that those criticizing this article are guilty of the sin of Ham. Ham's sin was to reveal his father's nakedness when he was drunk (Genesis 9:18-23). Had Noah run around naked for all to see, Ham would not have been wrong to have suggested his father ought not to have done so. The nakedness here is the error of this article. The article was not made public by those criticizing it. If anyone is guilty of the sin of Ham, it is perhaps the editors of "The Wheel" who published the article in the first place, and I am sure that all of the critics of this article would have been far happier had someone committed the article to the shred bin, and thus actually covered the nakedness of His Eminence.

And to defend the article in question, Sister Vassa had to equivocate on what is in dispute here. She said:

"Some people want to pretend that there aren't questions... we have all the answers... Is that true? Is that true, that we are finished perfect works as human beings? Or do we still need a little bit of work? Do we still need to be developed? Of course we do. We are all God's precious works in progress. And we grow in our faith. We grow not only as individuals, but hopefully as Church... right? Can we imagine that we as the Church in this world have nothing else left to learn? Can that be possible?"
The question is not whether any of us are perfect, nor is the question whether any of us as individuals have all the answers. The question here is whether the indisputably consistent teachings of the Church on this issue, found in both Scripture and Tradition, are correct or not, or whether we might today be in a position to revise such clear and consistent teachings -- teaching that even heretics have not generally disputed in Church history.

Metropolitan Kallistos suggests that somehow if a homosexual couple is in a committed relationship, this is a mitigating factor. However, the man in Corinth who was in a sexual relationship with his step mother was also in a committed relationship... and yet this does not seem to be a mitigating factor for St. Paul, who said that this man was to be barred from the fellowship of the Church until he repented (1 Corinthians 5-6). Likewise, Herod was in a committed relationship with Herodias, his brother Philip's ex-wife, and yet St. John the Baptists did not suggest that this was a mitigating factor in his sin either (Mark 6:14-29). And in both cases, the sin was far less of a violation of the natural order than that of homosexuality....

We seem to be heading into a period of Church history in which we will be increasingly confronted by renovationists of this kind. We must stand firm, and we must, as the People of God, reject what they are trying to sell...."

http://fatherjohn.blogspot.com/2018/06/ ... ch-20.html
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Barbara
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Re: About a Liberal nun in "ROCOR" - MP

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My own note about that same video mentioned directly above is that I got as far as Sister Vassa drawling " "I don't want to go there if it's going to get people in an unhappy space, but it IS [Devils Pride] day"
I clicked off the clip in disgust. What educated nun would speak in such ridiculous terms "I don't want to go there" - sounds like a tattoo-covered sassy teenager from a trailer park on the wrong side of the tracks -

Then "...going to get people in an unhappy space" = hippie lingo.
What nicely brought up person can respect the opinions of a purported spiritual guide who resorts to pop talk to gain sympathy from followers ?

WORSE still, Sister Vassa talks about Devils' Pride day as though it is something sacred or special to her. However, maybe a few listeners could be offended so she will steer a careful course through the choppy seas ahead. The way the actual name for this abomination rolls out so comfortably from her was a major red flag ; hence I switched off the video which promised only trouble.

Therefore, I am glad that it was thoroughly analyzed in the post above by a clergyman from Sister Vassa's own jurisdiction << but maybe not for long !


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Barbara
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Re: About a Liberal nun in "ROCOR" - MP

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Today having been the Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries, Cosmas and Damian, it seems appropriate to question why Sister Vassa's internet operation is so profit-oriented [ with high prices to boot ].

I looked around a little and saw a blog post by OCA commentator Rod Dreher. The 2 posts were from December 2014, but there were no updates after the recent wave of scandals surrounding Sister Vassa's statements. Perhaps that author's interests have been focused elsewhere - or he does not wish to take sides.
However, 3-1/2 years ago, he felt called to rave about Sister Vassa's popularity :

"[ His wife ] Julie and our son Matthew love her. They are two of the Zillions. They love her so much that they’re going to fly to somewhere in Ohio later this month where she’s making a personal appearance."

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/ ... ter-vassa/

On December 28, 2014, this Rod Dreher published this picture of his wife, who had indeed gone all the way to Ohio with their son just in the hopes of having her picture taken with "the celebrity nun"
Image

This sounds like cult worship. Obviously the target is ill-chosen. I hope the family members have given away their Zillion mugs and renounced their former devotee status. The Dreher site is silent, but it may not be due to embarrassment at the idol's colossal Orthodox faux pas, or the picture and posts would have been removed from the americanconservative site.

Of all the respondents to that 2014 post, many sounded just as giddy regarding Sister Vassa as the family members.

Only one reader of the post saw through the nonsense. He [or she] appraised the Sister Vassa Machine for what it is :


alcogito says:
December 3, 2014 at 8:26 pm

"I think I must be missing something, because I watched the youtube video on Vespers and there was a lot of nothing for about 4.5 minutes into the 10 min.video. Then there were a few interesting comments on the what and why of vespers, but really don’t get how it is supposed to be so exciting. Clever marketing though."

Why all this mania for a human being who turned out to be neither a wise guru nor a role model ?
Speaking of the latter, when does Sister Vassa promote vocations as nuns for girls today ? I doubt she does that ; or if she does cover this topic, her support is at the very best wishy-washy. She has the power, by the way, to fill up the convents -- and maybe men's monasteries too - of her jurisdiction, Rocor-Mp. At least up until the recent scandals, a number of new Convents and Monasteries could be founded inspired by compelling broadcasts by Sister Vassa about the monastic life.

But does this personage give ANY thought to helping out her Church this way ? She seems too busy promoting herself-- and bringing in a few shekels.

Then, why would not the family members above use their time, energy and money to fly to Kiev, for example, and visit the relics of so many Saints, including St Feofil of the Kiev Caves ? Or see Optina and the relics of the Great Elders there ? The possibilities for a true spiritual journey are limitless. But -- no. Humans living today -- who don't require trust and faith in their holy lives or incorrupt relics -- seem to be the powerful draw for some OCA people and many, many others of the ranks of the "silly zillyions".
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Re: About a Liberal nun in "ROCOR" - MP

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Barbara wrote:Having settled in with my [ lead-free ] mug of herbal tea, I wanted to update this thread a tiny bit.
I came across these words in the book Contemporary Ascetics of Mount Athos, Volume 1, by Archimandrite Cherubim.
They pertain to Elder Kallinikos the Hesychast of Katounakia [+ 1930].


"The spirit of temperance ruled over his entire life...Once when there was going to be an all-night vigil, the fathers asked him if they could drink coffee.

"If we must keep the all-night vigils with drugs, better we go to sleep," was [Elder Kallinikos'] answer.

Indeed, he himself never drank coffee."

NEVER drank coffee ? Even on Mt Athos, where hospitality was always dispensed with an offer of coffee and Turkish Delight ? This says a lot.

If an authentic Athonite Elder, who counseled both Greeks and Russians in the spiritual life for 2 hours each day -- without accepting dime of pay ! -- reacted this way to the suggestion of a little coffee merely to stay awake for the long nighttime service, why does an ultra-modern Orthodox nun hawk coffee mugs on the internet ? Worse, why is she encouraging the coffee-drinking habit ? Near coffee addiction, of course, for some imbibers of the bitter-tasting beverage.

By the way, this Elder Kallinikos, also dubbed "the Vigilant", lived up to this epithet by taking an active role in stamping out the Name-Worshipping Heresy upon its introduction to Mt Athos :


"When in 1913 the heresy of the “worshippers of the name” arose among the Russian and Romanian monks on the Holy Mountain, concerning the name of Jesus, he was the first to go to the Holy Community and point out the unsound and unorthodox nature of the theory, pointing our most appositely that “they’ve left the head and are worshiping the hat”.

The timely intervention of this blessed man and the insistence of the Holy Community on Orthodox views prevented other monks from becoming involved, especially those who were Greek, and so this dreadful upheaval was restricted to the Russians, of whom those who persisted in this senseless heresy, by common consent of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Russian Church, were taken away on a special ship and confined to the Caucasus. Thus, peace was re-established in this holy place and it was relieved of about 1/3 of its population of Russian monks."

http://pemptousia.com/2016/01/on-elder- ... -vigilant/

Final note. Here is a grainy picture of this Elder which managed to slip through his stern prohibition on photos of himself. A tourist rather than a monastic visitor was able to snap it without Elder Kallinkos' knowledge.

Image

How is it, then, that Sister Vassa shamelessly allows her image to be replicated on countless mugs and other advertising materials -- and sold ?

Thank you for this post Barbara.

A great example of orthodox sobriety.
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Barbara
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Re: About a Liberal nun in "ROCOR" - MP

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In my little opinion, if one absolutely MUST drink coffee -- overriding the sharp warnings of Athonite and other elders -- why not consume this beverage in a more intriguing style ? Instead of clunky, heavy mugs like those purveyed by Sister Vassa, try Arabic coffee, drunk throughout the Middle East and beyond in delicate, pretty small cups. Taking a quick tour by internet to the United Arab Emirates, we learn about this famous type of coffee :

Image

"The Kaffa mountains in Ethiopia are the provenance of coffee. A shepherd had noticed that his goats were more active after grazing close by bushes full with small red fruits. The first coffee was cultivated in Yemen during the 12th century. Yemenis called the strong hot drink “Qahwa” which till date is the Arabic word for coffee. Emiratis call it Khaleeji.

There are two categories of Arabic coffee; the Turkish style coffee and the Qahwa (Saudi Coffee). Its unique taste is explained by the fact that the coffee beans are not filtered. They are boiled instead; and usually spices such as saffron, cloves, cardamom or cinnamon are added. Preparing Qahwa is a real ritual....

Traditionally, the coffee beans were roasted on the spot when guests arrived. The coffee was prepared in front of the visitors; and until today it is poured from an originally coffee pot (called dallah) into small cups (called Finjaan) and served as well as received with the right hand.

When you have your first cup of traditional Arabic coffee you might ask yourself why the cups are so tiny and why they are only filled up to a quarter. There are several reasons for this handling:

The cups do not have handles. If the cup is filled up with coffee to the top, you would not be able to hold it.

Due to the small size of the cup, you do not have to wait for the coffee to cool down.

The coffee is strong and has a bitter taste. You do not add sugar or milk; often sweet dates are served instead with Qahwa.

As a guest, you have the full attention of your host who will refill your coffee cup when you give it back to him or the server. If you slightly shake your cup you show that you do not wish to drink more coffee. You are expected to have at least one cup of coffee; even though three is the tradition."

https://uniquephenomena.com/2015/07/31/ ... ic-ritual/

*****************

Another recipe explains that on a stove, a pot of one small cup of ground coffee with one cup of boiling water added is brought to a boil 3 times, lifted off the burner each time until the foam calms down.
The pot is filled with with more boiling water until it's 3/4 full and boiled again. One tablespoon of cardamon is placed in a different pot. The 1st pot is poured into this and left to sit for 15 minutes. The coffee should be a lovely carmel color [ from what the description sounds like ] when ready to serve.

Soon, we may see Sister Vassa preparing such an exotic form of coffee in her kitchen at the outset of her shows... at least that would be comparatively interesting and educational for viewers. Besides the way of preparing it, the addition of these aromatic spices adds much to the flavor, and certainly assists the system to deal with this harsh beverage [ whether from East or West, coffee is punishing on the liver, and much else ].

Update : Sister Vassa is now marketing usb sticks of her talks, complete with her "Coffee With Sister Vassa" name emblazoned on them :
http://www.coffeewithsistervassa.com/usbsticks
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Barbara
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Re: About a Liberal nun in "ROCOR" - MP

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Having happily forgotten about sister Vassa all this time, I caught a video interview she conducted of Abbot Tryphon of the Vashon Island Monastery near Seattle.

I was not at all sorry to see Fr John Whiteford, also of Rocor-MP, intervene on Abbot Tryphon's facebook announcement of the "Saturday morning live" production. Fr Whiteford wrote, right to the point


"I don't believe our bishops have given any blessing to Sister Vassa's online ministry. I would like to see the Ukaz or epistle expressing any such blessing."
https://www.facebook.com/Abbot-Tryphon- ... 584153681/

Other posters seemingly agreed, writing "Disappointment", and questioning whether she was legitimately calling herself a nun of her Church. Fr Tryphon hastened to assure the questioner that sister Vassa is a nun in good standing in Rocor-MP.
Another commentator issued more pithy remarks about the ryassophore nun's stated moral stance on teens vis a vis homosexual situations, and her purported support for women's ordination to the priesthood.

Great to see that not every observer is fooled by the normally smooth-talking phony celebrity. Here, however, sister Vassa stumbled around in her delivery, something one could expect from me if I were giving a talk on camera ! But not from the seasoned media personality, the Very Important Nun...
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