When a Letter of Congratulations Contains a Warning. . .

Wednesday, November 14, AD 2012

The Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations for the Russian Orthodox Church, and a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow, Bishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, has written a letter of congratulations to Right Reverend Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham and nominee as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Metropolitan of Volokolamsk

Consider its contents:

Dear Brother and Lord Bishop,


I would like to extend to you wholehearted congratulations on your election as Head of one of the oldest episcopal chairs founded by St. Augustine of Canterbury in the 7th century.


You have been entrusted with the spiritual guidance of the entire Anglican Communion, a unique union of like-minded people, which, however diverse the forms of its existence in the world may be, needs one ‘steward of God’ (Tit. 1:7) the guardian of the faith and witness to the Truth (cf. Jn. 18:37).


The Russian Orthodox Church and the Churches of the Anglican Communion are bonded by age-old friendly relations initiated in the 15th century. For centuries, our Churches would preserve good and truly brotherly relations encouraged both by frequent mutual visits and established theological dialogue and certainly by a spirit of respect and love which used to accompany the meetings of our hierarchs, clergy and ordinary believers.


Regrettably, the late 20th century and the beginning of the third millennium have brought tangible difficulties in relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Churches of the Anglican Communion. The introduction female priesthood and now episcopate, the blessing of same-sex ‘unions’ and ‘marriages’, the ordination of homosexuals as pastors and bishops – all these innovations are seen by the Orthodox as deviations from the tradition of the Early Church, which increasingly estrange Anglicanism from the Orthodox Church and contribute to a further division of Christendom as a whole.


We hope that the voice of the Orthodox Church will be heard by the Church of England and Churches of the Anglican Communion, and good fraternal relationships between us will revive.


I wish you God’s help in your important work.


“May the God of love and peace be with you” (2 Cor. 13:11).


+Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk

“Congratulations” might not be the best word to describe the entire contents of Bishop Hilarion’s letter.

“Innovations,” “deviations,” “increasingly estrange,” “further contribute to a further division of Christendom,” and “good fraternal relationships between us will revive” sound more like a “warning” to the new Archbishop of Canterbury: His denomination is falling off a moral cliff.

Bishop Hilarion doesn’t mince his words when it comes to the orthodox Christian faith, does he?

Imagine what the National Catholic Reporter would have to say if the USCCB or a U.S. metropolitan archbishop sent  the new Archbishop of Canterbury a similar letter of congratulations!

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30 Responses to When a Letter of Congratulations Contains a Warning. . .

  • Nice letter but technicall speaking, the Archbiship of Cantebury is not the “Head of one of the oldest episcopal chairs founded by St. Augustine of Canterbury in the 7th century”. That see ended in 1558.

  • Both Canterbury in England and the ECUSA under Bishopress Schori are in the full flight of heresy and apostasy.

  • The last Archbishop of Canterbury was Reginald, Cardinal Pole. His predecessor, Thomas Cranmer, was deprived for heresy. All successive so-called archbishops are not in Apostolic succession.

  • Just what are the views of the Orthodox on the validity of Anglican orders?
    Are they similar to those of the Catholic Church (i.e., that they are invalid)?
    If not, in light of this ‘congratulations’, is it possible that in the future our
    Orthodox brothers will also deem Anglican orders invalid?

  • The Eastern Orthodox Churches generally accept the validity of Anglican Orders, but Canterbury’s and ECUSA’s apostasy has put a kink in the works. Eastern Orthodox do accept validity of Anglican Continuum Jurisdictions on a case by case basis. The Anglican Church responded to Pope Leo XIII’s Bull in the late 1800s on the invalidity of Anglican Orders with Saepius Officio. In today’s environment with many Anglican bishops in the Continuum being consecrated by Eastern Orthodox and Old Catholic Jurisdictions – which Rome recognizes as valid – makes Pope Leo XIII’s Bull out dated. There are also other arguments for the validity of Anglican Orders. Read Saepius Officio. I can’t link to it and other stuff on this matter now because I have to get back to neutron ‘R us. But too many in the Roman Jursidiction have this inflated sense of Roman supremacy that’s simply wrong. Many if not most Anglicans in the Continuum would recognize the Pope as Primus iter Pares, just like the Orthodox. Gotta go for now. Fully expect to be blasted for what I wrote.

  • Once again, Russia defends traditional values. ????? ? ??????.

  • Bishop Hilarion knows that there are souls at stake and through his tactful refutation of Anglican innovations he may pick up a few converts. The truly prayerful Anglicans will not be able to remain Anglican and the institution will fail unless it seeks reunification. I believe it will happen in my lifetime.

  • I quote, “Remember, Father David, that the Orthodox are Easterners and not Westeners, and “yes” does not mean “yes” and “no” does not mean “no”, said Archimandrite Barnabas, Yes, there are statements that indicate that the Orthodox Church does recognize Anglican Orders; but much more important is the fact that no Anglican priest who has become Orthodox has been allowed to officiate without being re-ordained.” Fr Barnabas lived and worked for years in France because they did not with to draw attention to the fact that, although a canon in the Church in Wales, he had been re-ordained.
    Actually, the issue is more complicated because, ingeneral, the Orthodox do not think in terms of validity. For us it is all a little confusing.

  • Here is Saepius Officio, Answer of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Bull Apostolicae Curae of His Holiness Leo XIII.

    Here is Why Anglican Clergy Could Be Received in Their Orders by the Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky. The Christian East, March, 1927

    Here is an interesting article at Philorthodox about the Validity of Anglican Orders:

    Here is an excellent paper on the Validity of Anglican Holy Orders by Father Mark of the Anglican Church of the Trinity in Hiram, Georgia:

    I acknowledge that Canterbury and the Episcopal Church USA are in full flight from orthodoxy. They have polluted themselves with embracing homosexual sodomy and female clergy. They no longer have valid orders. But those in the orthodox Anglican jurisdictions that broke away from this madness are a different matter.

  • I think it’s a masterful letter, expressing concerns in a tactful but forthright manner. It will probably have little effect on the actions of the new Anglican archbishop but I respect the metropolitan for his attempt to speak the truth in love. I’m Catholic and thus have theological differences with the Orthodox churches but no animus. I wish we could all be one.

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  • I have never, ever heard of an Episcopal deacon or priest “received” as clergy into any legitimate Orthodox jurisdiction in North America – conditionally or unconditionally. All are ordained as if they were laymen. That’s what happens “on the ground”, position papers and ecumenical diplomacy not withstanding.

    However, Pope Benedict XVI has shown great warmth and interest in the formation and rapid growth of the ACNA, (Anglican Church in North America). The ACNA has also begun friendly dialogues with the conservative Missouri Synod Lutherans and the conservative Polish National Catholic Church as well.

  • Remember, the Eastern and Anglican churches have a lot at stake in preserving the idea of an Anglican-Catholic-Orthodox communion. It’s not just about inter-church relations; it’s about their self-identity. It’s got to kill the Orthodox to see the Anglicans become just another Protestant denomination.

  • “Imagine what the National Catholic Reporter would have to say if the USCCB or a U.S. metropolitan archbishop sent the new Archbishop of Canterbury a similar letter of congratulations!”

    Or the Pope.

  • Dan raises an interesting point, one answered by Spero News editor Martin Barillas at: http://www.speroforum.com/a/GYKROSZMUH3/73295-Pope-sends-congratulations-to-new-Anglican-leader

    Barillas writes:

    Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Catholic Church’s Council for Promoting Christian Unity, sent a message on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI to the new Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of the Anglican Communion, the Right Reverend Justin Welby. Cardinal Koch expressed “congratulations and warmest best wishes.”

    Cardinal Koch, a Swiss native, wrote “Relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion are a hugely important part of the ecumenical call for all Christians to seek greater fidelity to the Lord’s will, so clearly expressed in his prayer to the Father at the Last Supper ‘that all may be one’. For almost fifty years, as you are well aware, there has been a formal theological dialogue which continues to seek a deeper understanding of the great heritage shared by Anglicans and Catholics, as well as the points of divergence which still impede fully restored ecclesial communion. During that same time, relations between succeeding Popes and Archbishops of Canterbury have been marked by numerous meetings which have expressed intense spiritual and human friendship, and a shared concern for our Gospel witness and service to the human family.”

    Cardinal Koch has expressed in the past his commitment to good relations with Christian communions other than his own. In 2010, the cardinal spoke of the Pope’s “irreversible” commitment to ecumenism while averring that neither he, nor the pontiff, wish to return to a time before the Second Vatican Council.

    Writing to the incoming leader of the Anglican Communion, Cardinal Koch said “I am certain that under your leadership those excellent relations will continue to bear fruit, and I look forward to meeting you personally, and to future opportunities to share our common commitment to the cause of Christian Unity, ‘so that the world may believe’.

    “Please accept the assurance of my earnest prayers for you and your family as you prepare for a new phase in your dedicated service of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”.

    Quite different from the letter of His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion.

  • As an Orthodox Christian living in England, I must say that I much prefer the approach taken by Cardinal Koch which makes the points which have to be made very subtly, and without any possible personal offence to the Archbishop-designate.

  • Here in the United Stated the Epsicopailian Church is have major fractures within itself. We are seeing an extremely large number from that belief move to Catholism. I was reading of one entire parish, building and all, become Catholic. In talking to Episcopalian’s about this they are saying many with in their religion don’t like the exact things the Russain Orthodox Bishop mentioned.

  • Paul W. Primavera; Is it true that any and all men who are validly ordained and may have repudiated St. Peter and the Apostolic Succession as Vicar of Christ on earth may have stepped off into heresy?

  • Mary D V,

    The Orthodox Anglicans whom I know do not repudiate either the Pope or Apostolic Succession. Rather, they maintain that there were 12 Apostles, not 1, and that the Historic Creeds of Christendom say “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”, not “One Holy Catholic and Petrine Church.” Further, most agree that the Bishop of Rome is Primus iter Pares, but historically not Primus in Auctoritate.

  • To continue in my response to Mary D V:

    As I indicated above, the question that we must ask ourselves is this: did Jesus Christ establish One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds state, or did Jesus Christ establish the One Holy Catholic and Petrine Church? The discussion below shows what Sacred Scripture says.

    In Matthew 16:18-19, when Jesus provides the Key to the Kingdom and states that whatever is bound on earth will be bound in Heaven, and loosened on Earth loosened in Heaven, He uses the second person singular in speaking to St. Peter. The Greek word “?????” means “you singular bind” and the Greek word “?????” means “you singular loosen.” This is repeated in the Latin Vulgate with the word “ligaveris” which means the same as “?????” and the word “solveris” which means the same as “?????.”

    However, in John 20:21-23 a change is made to plural when Jesus after His resurrection meets the Disciples in the Upper Room, breathes on them the Holy Spirit and declares that whose sins they forgive are forgiven and whose sins they retain are retained. The Greek phrase “????? ????” in verse 21 means “I send you plural”. The Greek phrase “?????? ?????? ?????” in verse 22 means “Receive you plural the Spirit Holy.” In verse 23, the Greek word “????????” means “you plural shall forgive” and the Greek word “???????” means “you plural shall retain.” This is repeated in the Latin Vulgate. In verse 21, the phrase “ego mitto vos” is used to denote “I send you plural”. In verse 22 the phrase “accipite Spiritum Sanctum” means “receive you plural the Spirit Holy”. Finally, in verse 23, the word “remiseritis” means “you plural shall forgive” and the word “retinueritis” means “you plural shall retain.”

    Furthermore, In John chapter 21, where Jesus thrice asks St. Peter to feed His sheep, the Orthodox Anglicans would maintain that He gives to St. Peter a special responsibility, not a special authority since there are 12 equal Apostles (well, 11 until the lot casting of Matthias in Acts chapter 1, and that was NOT an exclusive Petrine appointment).

    The relevant Biblical texts of Matthew 16 and John 20 are reproduced below in Greek, Latin and English for the interested reader. I checked the conjugations of the Greek verbs at this web site: http://wesley.nnu.edu/gnt/. While my Latin is passable, my ability at Greek is horrible, and my pharmacist – a very pretty young Greek lady – says that I pronounce the “????? ????” (The Lord’s Prayer) with a horrible Yankee accent and should stick to broken English, which I am really an expert at. 😉

    Matthew 16:18-19

    ???? ?? ??? ???? ??? ?? ?? ??????, ??? ??? ????? ?? ????? ?????????? ??? ??? ?????????, ??? ????? ???? ?? ????????????? ?????.
    ???? ??? ??? ??????? ??? ????????? ??? ???????, ??? ? ??? ????? ??? ??? ??? ????? ????????? ?? ???? ????????, ??? ? ??? ????? ??? ??? ??? ????? ????????? ?? ???? ????????.

    Et ego dico tibi quia tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam.
    Et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum et quodcumque ligaveris super terram erit ligatum in caelis et quodcumque solveris super terram erit solutum in caelis

    And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
    And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

    John 20:21-23

    ????? ??? ?????? [? ??????] ?????, ?????? ????· ????? ?????????? ?? ? ?????, ???? ????? ????.
    ??? ????? ????? ?????????? ??? ????? ??????, ?????? ?????? ?????·
    ?? ????? ????? ??? ???????? ???????? ??????, ?? ????? ??????? ???????????.

    Dixit ergo eis iterum pax vobis sicut misit me Pater et ego mitto vos.
    Hoc cum dixisset insuflavit et dicit eis accipite Spiritum Sanctum.
    Quorum remiseritis peccata remittuntur eis quorum retinueritis detenta sunt.

    He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you.
    When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.
    Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

  • Bishop Hilarion is to be congratulated for his stand against the aberrations being now contemplated even in pagan America. I have a problem with keeping those not in the fulness of faith in their quandary without the body and blood of Jesus whch must surely be a serious handicap for salvation. The decree on Ecumenism of the Second Vatican Council along with eschewing doctrine and discipline were responsible for almost destroying evangelization in the disastrous wake of the corrosive “Spirit of Vatican II.” Catholics not taught the faith became easy targets for Protestant proselytism. My drive as a convert of 63 years has never deviated from trying to make everyone become a Catholic. Without the Real Presence there is no life in us..

  • Both Eastern Orthodox and Orthodox Anglicans believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Both believe in the Catholic Church, Katholicos meaning universal or whole. Both believe that Rome is not the be all and end all of the Catholic Church. Both recite the Nicene and Apostles Creeds. Both have valid Holy Orders. Both have valid Sacraments, a fact that Rome itself recognizes in the case of Eastern Orthodoxy. Both refuse to use the word Transubstantiation, both preferring to regard what happens at Consecration of the Species as a Mystery not understandable by mere mortal man. Both maintain what Sacred Scripture states: unless you eat His Body and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. The problem always devolves to this: is the Church Petrine or Apostolic? Metropolitan Hilarion would say One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and he warns the newly elected Archbishop of Canterbury from departing from that Church through ordination of women and homosexuals. BTW, the Roman jurisdiction has more than its fair share of homosexual priests and a woman’s ordination movement, both thankfully opposed by Rome itself.

  • “Quite different from the letter of His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion.”

    That isn’t fair. Both the ordination of women and the homosexually partnered bishop received very frank responses.

    Wikipedia [standard disclaimers apply] has this to say: “However, in conversation with the Anglican Bishop of Gibraltar, Cardinal Walter Kasper…. warned that if the Church of England was to ordain women as bishops, as the Episcopal Church has done, then it could destroy any chance of reuniting the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches. Although ARCIC had just completed the major document on Marian theology in 2003, Pope John Paul II officially called off all future talks between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion upon the consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop.”

  • Mr. Primavera:

    Glory to Jesus Christ. As an Eastern Catholic, which straddles the east and west, I understand your point of view. The papacy has been an evolving institution we all agree over the past 2,000 years. I believe that even the two most recent popes agree that unity or ecclesiastical communion will require a revised view of the role of the papacy with regard to the Orthodox churches. If it is God’s will, it will happen since unity is more important now than in any Christian era. Anglicanism by its own hand has committed suicide by its actions over the past few decades. My understanding of Anglicanism may be limited but being ‘ordained’ is not the end all or be all…..for example some Catholic women are being ordained by schismatic bishops. Many if not most ordained Anglican clergy have a low church at best or an extremely liberal or Protestant view (which is at variance with orthodox faiths) of the Eucharist as a symbol rather than a reality. The Eucharist in the center of unity. The fact that Anglicans who hold the orthodox view – high church Anglicans – are marginalized and ignored by the mainstream and Anglican hierarchy. Any devout Anglican at this point in time should join an orthodox communion not only for their souls sake but also their sanity.

  • I basically agree with you, Patrick, and now there are many breakaway Anglican Jurisdictions. I went to Wikipedia to list them below. The one with which I am familiar is the Orthodox Anglican Church which follows the 1928 BCP and has a very High Church view of the Sacraments, including Holy Orders and the Eucharist. Its Archbishop / Primate and its Suffragan Bishop can trace their Episcopal Orders via:

    (1) The Rebiban Succession (common to the Roman Jurisdiction) through the Utrecht Union which became the Old Catholic Church in Europe, and
    (2) The Eastern Orthodox Succession through the Moscow Patriachate of the Russian Orthodox Church

    Here is the “current” List of Continuing Anglican Churches (estimated number of Parishes are in parentheses) – to those Romans who rightly point out how fractured this shows Anglicanism to be, they would do well to consider how equally fractured the Roman jurisdiction is between liberal social justice Roman Catholics and conservative pro-life Roman Catholics, with all the variations in between:

    American Anglican Church (12)
    Anglican Catholic Church (135)
    Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (12)
    Anglican Churches of America (2)
    Anglican Church in America (75)
    Anglican Church of Virginia (8)
    Anglican Episcopal Church (6)
    Anglican Orthodox Church (10)
    Anglican Province of America (60)
    Anglican Province of Christ the King (42)
    Christian Episcopal Church of Canada (3)
    Diocese of the Great Lakes (5)
    Diocese of the Holy Cross (20)
    Episcopal Missionary Church (30)
    Holy Catholic Church–Western Rite (30)
    Orthodox Anglican Church (5)
    Southern Episcopal Church (3)
    United Anglican Church (6)
    United Episcopal Church of North America (16)

  • Mr. Primavera, Paul, Only the Catholic Church gives us the Sacrament of Penance to feed HIS sheep.

  • You are correct, Mary D V. Indeed, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church does provide the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance. Note the title of the Church. it does not say “One Holy Roman and Petrine Church.” And even Rome recognizes that in spite of human disunity, the Eastern Orthodox who recite the same Nicene and Apostles’ Creed as we do ( except for the Filioque – different topic) are a part of that Catholic Church. It is Catholic which means whole, NOT just Roman, but it does include Roman and most are willing to acknowledge the Pope as Primus iter Pares.

  • Those who are not against you, are for you, in respect to the letter of warning.

  • Without mincing words, I say straight on that the head of the Anglican Communion is remotely controlled by the Government of Britain! And, as we all know, he who pays the piper calls the tune. Britain is one the countries that supports same-sex marriage and all the shenanigans associated with gays and lesbians. From this background, one could see the reason any Archbishop of Canterbury would always support the enthronement of gays and lesbians in both the Anglican Church hierarchy and congregation! Anything short of this from such Archbishop could result in his removal. It is unfortunate that the separation of the Church and The State is not present in the United Kingdom! More unfortunate is the fact that some unpleasant policies adopted by the Archbishop of Canterbury would impact and could offend the beliefs of many Anglican faithful situated outside Britain. And this gay and lesbian issue is definitely a sore point in this direction. I look forward to the day a future Archbishop of Canterbury would dare the government of Britain by throwing out the Church’s adoption of the gay and lesbian matters. It would be a beginning of moral and legal reforms in the UK.

  • Is not the monarch by definition head of the Church of England? Isn’t it a state church and the archbishop is chief prelate but not the head of the church? He can’t make doctrinal decisions without the confirmation of the monarch who’s now ruler of England in name only. In such a situation (if I correctly understand it) how can the church remain faithful to Christ? No one can serve two masters.

At Marian Apparition Locations, Great Trials & Tribulations Often Occur Before & After

Monday, August 23, AD 2010

Marian apparitions have always been a sign of God’s love. It truly is one of His greatest graces, which physically shows us the Blessed Mother along with her love, words of encouragement and warnings about the world in which we live. Sometimes the Church Militant heeds her call, but sadly often it doesn’t. This article will only cover a handful of Church approved apparitions (this can be a little tricky, more on this later,) but what it will show is that often the Blessed Mother appears in lands that have experienced great suffering with often more suffering to follow. Her message to bring the world closer to her Son and live according to Jesus’ teachings is one of God’s greatest graces, something that is often met with violent, evil attacks. The miraculous events surrounding her appearances often take place in the presense of great vistas; a window of sorts into God’s loving handiwork. The said could be said about Jesus at The Transfiguration and the Sermon on the Mount.

Something to keep in mind before we begin; during the early days of the Church investigative bodies were the last thing the Church was worried about at a time when the Church was trying to literally stay alive during an array of persecutions. Following the Protestant Reformation, a more detailed structure emerged for investigating appartions. They often took a long time to investigate in order to prevent any hoaxes. Most reported modern day apparitions are not approved. In the 20th Century only 8 of the 300+ reported apparitions were approved. This link from the University of Dayton, a Marianist institution, which houses the largest collection of Marian Apparitions, might be a helpful.

The year was 1300. Though parts of Spain remained under Islamic control, a liberated area, near the Guadalupe River would reveal an amazing find. A cow herder named Gil Cordero would be told by the Blessed Mother to dig, and there he would find holy treasure. Though laughed at by his fellow villagers, his faithful dig yielded a secret burial vault that would house many relics including that of a lifelike carving of the Blessed Mother. It was said to be carved by St Luke and transported to Spain in the sixth century by Bishop Leander, a relative of Pope Gregory the Great.

The vault had been placed there as Islamic armies were making their way to Spain.  The lifelike carving, which still exists today, was said to have been processed through the streets of Rome around the year 590 AD, at the direction of Pope Gregory the Great. He had been given the famous carving while he was Papal Legate in Constantinople.

The famous pontiff had ordered this procession during a terrible plague and famine that had engulfed the city, some one hundred and fifty years after the Roman Empire had collapsed.  As the procession ended, the assembled crowd saw the Archangel St Michael sheathing his sword, signifying that the famine and plague were over. (One can still see the statue of the Archangel St Michael atop the Castel Sant Angelo which commemorates this momentous event.)  The carved statue of the Blessed Mother was then sent to Spain where it remains today, seemingly unscathed after spending years underground during the Muslim conquest.

Years later a young Italian navigator named Christopher Columbus would come to pray at this now famous shrine. He was at the end of his financial rope in seeking backing for a “new way to India.” Soon after his prayer, he was granted an audience with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and the rest is history. Few know about this religious side of Columbus. Even fewer know that when he first caught sight of what would be known as the Americas, he had minutes before ordered his crew to pray the Rosary. In gratitude, he named one of the islands he discovered for the site at which his prayers were answered back in Spain, the isle now known as Guadeloupe.

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41 Responses to At Marian Apparition Locations, Great Trials & Tribulations Often Occur Before & After

  • Thanks for that excellent post David.
    I had not heard of those earlier apparitions of Our Lady, so that’s very informative.

    God Bless your work.

  • Guadalupe, Mexico, near present day Mexico City. Though the modern day mainstream media may glorify the Mayans and especially their doomsday prediction of 2012, living under their thumb often resulted in death; ritual human sacrifice was very common in Mexico and the neighboring countries to her south.

    Are you perhaps confusing the Mayans and the Aztecs? Both practiced human sacrifice, but the Aztecs were more concentrated around Mexico City; the Mayans were more to the south and the Yucatan peninsula (as well as further south of Mexico itself).

  • No C Matt I am not confusing the two. Both civilizations power bases were essentially destroyed by the time the Blessed Mother appeared at Tepeyac Hill. True the Aztec power base was in the north, however, their influence was not greater than the Mayan people. In the south of Mexico even though the Mayan Culture’s power base was dead their descendants still numbered more than the Aztecs. At the peak of the Mayan Civilization, their numbers were over 20,000,000.

  • Nice article, but I’m surprised you didn’t mention Medjugorje, especially given how profoundly connected Kibeho is to Medjugorje. I assure you that Medjugorje is the real deal, and one of the most important Marian apparitions in history. The fruits of Medjugorje are worldwide, the conversions are in the millions, and if you take a look at the medical testing done on the visionaries by some of the world’s top doctors and scientists, you will be very surprised. Of course, the devil HATES Medjugorje and has done everything he can to plant the seeds of confusion among God’s children. But look around you and you will see that we’re in battle! God bless you.

  • Dave,

    This is the best article I have of yours yet!


    In the church in Zeitoun where Mary appeared, that church has a high concentration of saint’s relics. In addition the apocryphal story states that Jesus, Mary, & Joseph, stayed in or near Zeitoun during their time in Egypt.

    These two facts alone can help explain why the Blessed Virgin graced her presence there.

  • Sean, I would think that Medjugorje wasn’t mentioned because it is not an approved apparition.

  • Yes, Mary, nor is it unapproved. What the world needs now, more than ever, is the message of peace and reconciliation that is flowing from Medjugorje. I’ve been to Kibeho, and I’ve been to Medjugorje many times, and they are the same message. The Kibeho visionary Alphonsine actually went to Medjugorje in the nineties, and the priests at the Kibeho shrine believe the two apparitions are linked. I just would have liked to see Dave mention Medjugorje, even with a caveat of it still being under investigation, because it has, after all, become one of the most visited Marian shrines in history.

  • Sean, the author mentioned in the beginning of the article that he would only deal with approved apparitions. Medjugorje is not approved. Your reaction and defensive stance makes it seem more like a cult with cult-followers. There are many reasons as to why Medjugorje can be seen as unauthentic, which I won’t go into here. Perhaps its popularity is just a sign of the evil times that we live in and the weak-faithed.

  • I concur with Sean. But I think it is out of prudence that Medjugorje should be treated in a future article. Dave, I’ll be waiting on this one.

  • I concur with Katherine. There are many reasons as to why Medjugorje can be viewed with skepticism and may not be authentic. Peace and reconciliation not rooted in truth has no foundation. The last thing the world needs right now is any false concept of peace and reconciliation possibly rooted in and further promoting a worldwide ‘Dictatorship of Relativism.’

  • Medjugorje is not an approved apparition…

  • The apparitions at Cuapa, Nicaragua, May 8 to October 13th, 1980, fully demonstrate that when apparitions like those that took place then occur, trouble is ahead. The country had just gone through a bloody uprising against an entrenched dictator, and 50,000 casualties.
    When the apparitions took place, the so-called “Contra War” was getting underway, and before it was over a decade later, another 50,000 had died. The purported messages of the Most Holy Virgen were of much comfort to Nicaraguans throughout, and a continuing sign of the merciful presence of God. I was there then.

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    Though Medjugorje is as yet not been approved I, for one, can truly say, without a doubt, that I know Our Lady is appearing there. I was there in 1987. One only has to go there to understand that truth. I would stake my life on it. Her presence is so apparent that no one leaves that place without believing it. Of course, I know that we need to wait for total church approval. It was also said, concerning these apparitions, that when they totally end that decision will be made. Pope John Paul II, said, in many interviews, that if he were not Pope he would have already been in Medjugorje.That is not hearsay, it is documented.He met many times with some of the visionaries.Anything that you think could be used against these apparitions is most probably wrong information that you have heard.

  • I don’t know about the legitimacy of that medjugorje apparition. I do know about the negative comments and rebellion by its followers when a statement by the commission possibly restricting or rejecting begin to rumor. There were no presence of humility or obedience rather defiance and arrogance displayed. More than fruits will need to be considered for legitimacy. There is no spirit of poverty surrounding the visionaries like at Fatima…we must wait til the church makes a decision. I am concerned about one message that says don’t pray for others nut pray for yourself…that’s not like Mary our Mother who say forget your brother when you come before God in prayer! It is neither here nor there that you bet your life on medjugorje nor does your belief or disbelief assures its legitmaticy…only the church can do such…

  • Like Anita, I know what I have experience in Medjugorje is sincere and pure. Our Lady has given me to her son, Jesus through his presence in the Blessed Sacrament. I have come to know God’s love through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I have seen, heard and know the fruits of Medjugorje. It is all about Jesus and being Roman Catholic who loves our Holy Father in Rome.
    For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible. God bless everyone!

  • I have seen Marija and Ivan in person and I can say that they are as human as anybody else, but yet very humble and prayerful. My understanding is that the visionaries have been obedient to the Church. My family and I have been to Medjugorje and stayed there for 5 days, and though I have not seen any startling natural phenomena except for the water that constantly flows from the knee of the Resurrected Jesus (at the time, I thought it was moisture on the bronze statue forming every day), I always have believed in the apparition there, yes, even long before we visited the place, back in the late 80s when I first heard about it.

  • Excellent article. Only one comment: Christopher Columbus was from Spain

  • The saddest part about the Medjugorje episode is that so many Catholics, who should know better, are ignoring it. It reminds me of how many Jews, who should have known better, ignored both John the Baptist and Jesus.

    Medjugorje is the most important apparition of Blessed Mary in history, and I will say flat out so as to be unambigous, it is heralding the Second Coming of Jesus.

    For those who don’t listen to their Mother and turn back to God now, it will be too late, as Blessed Mary herself says. She said those waiting for the sign – for many it will be too late. She means that the sign is a ways off yet, and so before then many will die of natural deaths etc. w/o having converted or turned back to God because they were waiting for the sign. It is very possible that Jesus will return BEFORE the Church rules on Medjugorje and many will not be ready.

    But alas, I also believe when the warnings come, many will convert and the Church will urge them to do so too – the Church will finally approve the apparition, but it will be too late for those who have not converted between 1981 and then.

    Sad, really. God bless you.

  • “The saddest part about the Medjugorje episode is that so many Catholics, who should know better, are ignoring it. It reminds me of how many Jews, who should have known better, ignored both John the Baptist and Jesus…”

    Seriously? You’re going to compare the rejection of the Messiah (God incarnate, whose coming was essential for salvation) by His own chosen people to skepticism over an unapproved apparition, belief in which (regardless of whether the Church ever decides to speak to its authenticity or lack thereof) is NOT essential to the faith?

    It’s the over-the-top certitude of such statements with regard to Medjugorje in the face of the Church’s caution that (1) causes many to remain skeptical and (2) makes me glad that assent to private revelation is not essential for one to be a faithful Catholic.

  • Jay, maybe you don’t “need” Medjugorje because your faith is already so strong and you are on the right path. That’s awesome for you, and I commend your devotion. But, as I’m sure you know, you are the minority in this world. There are so many lost and faithless people out there (I, myself, was one of them) and Our Lady is trying to reach them through Medjugorje. I’m certain that if you ever go there, you would agree with me. Just as Jesus himself said that He came not for the righteous but for the sinners, Our Lady has come to lead the nonbelievers and the lukewarm to her Son. What happens in Medjugorje? It’s not some crazy place where fanatics are running around looking for miracles. On the contrary, it is a shrine filled with people praying, confessing and worshipping God through the Sacraments. It is a place of conversion. You can FEEL it when you’re there. I’ve traveled to approved apparition sites all over the world, but no where is there such a sense of peace and holiness as there is in Medjugorje. Again, it sounds like your faith is strong enough that you don’t need Medjugorje, but I urge you, and everyone who shares your viewpoint, to be patient and not persuade anyone from going there to see for themselves. It could be the difference between life and death for that person, eternally speaking of course.

    Have a look at this video of an apparition:


    I challenge anyone to show me someone — an actress, perhaps — who can cry on command while staring up at thin air, without any wavering of the focal point of her pupils for five minutes straight, and who can turn her voicebox on and off inexplicably (scientifically impossible), and whose brain waves go to such a heightened sense of awareness in a split second (during the apparition) that doctors have never seen it before.

    Medjugorje is 100% real. I’m no fanatic and I don’t believe many things, but this I’m certain of, and one must only go there with an open mind to see God’s work in action. I am incredibly thankful to Our Lady for leading me and my entire family to the Catholic Church. My wife (also a convert after going to Medjugorje) and I are raising our little children in a strong Catholic setting, something that would have been inconceivable to us before Medjugorje ever came into our lives. Our story is no exception. There are millions of us out there. WE NEEDED MEDJUGORJE, and thank God no one told me not to go before I did that first time. God bless you all.

  • Sean, you forgot to mention about the Adoration of the Holy Eucharist from sunset till late evening. Aside from long lines of Confession and full-packed Masses, this devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is one undeniable proof that God is Present among His people in Medjugorje. Who else will know the sure way to lead us to Christ? Who, but the one who nursed Him and lulled Him to sleep while yet He was a baby, and who was there at the foot of the Cross during the last moments of His life?

    All these are tangible manifestations of God’s love for us, while yet we have time. Let’s help bring conversion of everyone to the LORD! Our Lady is here to help us. According to St Louis de Monfort, Mama Mary is the surest way to Jesus. She’s bidding everyone of us to come and go to Him!

  • It’s not about whether I “need” Medjugorje for my faith to be strong or not. I’m as much a weak and sinful person as any other Catholic. But the depth of no one’s faith should be made dependent on whether or not they assent to any private revelation.

    I make no judgments about the authenticity of Medjugorje, other than to note (1) that the Church has not yet spoken on it and (2) that statements like those Bob made comparing skepticism over Medjugorje to the rejection of Christ as the Messiah are WAY over the top.

    I have great respect for many who do believe in the authenticity of Medjugorje. In fact, one of the priests I most admire – the Dominican priest who brought me into the Church and who just so happens to be the Prior Provinical of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph – has been to Medjugorge on a number of occasions. That fact, alone, is enough for me to give some credence to its authenticity.

    But I’ll wait for the Church before giving full assent.

  • Sean,

    You said, “because it has, after all, become one of the most visited Marian shrines in history.” Sorry to disappoint you, but I can’t allow you to mislead anyone reading these comments. You are sadly misinformed or purposely being misleading. Medjugorje is NOT A MARIAN SHRINE, the Catholic Church has not currently raised the status of any Church in Medjugorje to ‘Shrine’.


    You said, ‘Pope John Paul II, said, in many interviews, that if he were not Pope he would have already been in Medjugorje.’ Did JPII say that, or did someone else say he said that? Please produce the article showing the direct quote. Let me also remind you it is a well known fact that Pope John Paul II, of blessed memory, was a stalwart supporter of Fr. Marcial Maciel, the disgraced, recently deceased founder of the Legionaries of Christ religious order and its lay arm, Regnum Christi.

    For anyone truly interested in discerning the ‘fruits’ of Medugujorje, I recommend the following links. In the meantime, LETS BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!!





  • A few points before this thread winds down. I will be happy to write about Medjugorje once the Church takes an official stand on it. In the meantime, perhaps the prudent thing to do is for those who hope the Church rules favorably on the apparition is to politely say “for your discernment.” I believe this is the approach Michael Brown uses. The evil one loves drama and disunity in the Church. I think we can all agree that whatever we believe, we don’t need to give the evil one any new ammunition. We should trust the Holy Spirit.

    In addition, I believe someone corrected me by saying Christopher Columbus was a Spaniard, no he was an Italian born In Genoa. Finally, what the disgraced Father Maciel has to do with Pope John Paul’s view on Medjugorje is immaterial to this thread. Father Maciel was an evil deceiver who fooled many, so we can’t condemn all those who might have liked the Father Maciel they thought they knew.

  • Dave,

    Please understand, my reference to Father Maciel was not a condemnation of anyone. The purpose of the reference was to highlight how easily we can be deceived and the illogic of using an uncomfirmed JPII quote as evidence of authenticity, an idea I stole from Patrick Madrid:


  • No problem Dismas. God Bless, take care and have a nice weekend!

  • Dave,
    You’re right in saying that Medj supporters should include “for your discernment”. That would help diffuse things. It would also help diffuse the inflated rhetoric if Medj opposers would also not pull out the “Cult Card” every time the topic comes up. Can we agree?

  • Great article.
    You may want to research the first apparition of the Blessed Mother in the last millenium.Our Lady appeared the last saturday of April 1001.
    The structure of the present church was approved by St. Pio and Pope John Paul II visited there both before and after his election.
    The shrine is outside of Foggia in so. Italy and is the site of many pilgrimages.
    Your article is very eye-opening and very necessary in our “morality deprived” depraved society.

  • Joseph Forina, sounds like something I will have to research. GB, I certainly agree with your post!

  • Dismas, to me and to many other people, Medjugorje is a shrine. Please note that I didn’t capitalize the word shrine. You capitalized it, out of context, and then claimed I was being misleading (or misinformed). Please look up the definition of the word ‘shrine’ and I think you might reconsider your harsh words towards me.

    Please understand that Medjugorje changed my life incredibly, and I’ve seen it change the lives of so many others, so I am passionate about it. I wish everyone could go there to see for themselves.

    Those links you presented from Unity Pub. are not even journalism. They are tabloidism. They’ve been proven wrong many times. Would you like to be judged by the same measure as the people who penned those articles (ie, Unity Publishing)? The one about Caritas is about a group that claims to be related to Medjugorje, but please note that they have no official connection to the parish and should be judged on their own.

    As for documents about what John Paul II said about Medjugorje, please see the book “Medjugorje and the Church” by Denis Nolan, which contains photocopies of actual signed letters written by John Paul to some Polish friends, in which he expresses his belief in Medjugorje. Those letters are available for anyone to see. The book also contains letters from Mother Teresa which indicate her belief in Medjugorje, as well as quotes from numerous priests, bishops, cardinals and clergy — all stating their belief in Medjugorje. If nothing else, it’s an interesting read.

    I will end with this: don’t be so quick to condemn Medjugorje without knowing enough first-hand about it. Be a first-hand witness if you choose to talk about it. Only then will you know.

    God bless you all. Oh yes, this post is for your discernment.

  • Sean,

    I appreciate you considering the evidence I presented and bringing the conversation back into the realm of the rational. I ask for your prayers.

    I have no doubt that Medjugorje has changed your life incredibly and many others as well, that is not the issue of most importance here.

    The fact of the matter, regarding Medjugorje, is the Catholic Church by the local Bishop of Mostar has declared it Non constat de supernaturalitate. The Commission prepared a draft “Declaration” in which were listed the “unacceptable assertions” and “bizarre declarations”, attributed to the curious phenomenon. The Commission also stated that further investigations were not necessary nor the delaying of the official judgement of the Church. The bishop duly informed the Bishops’ Conference and the Holy See, and he then informed the public during his homily in Medjugorje in 1987.[19]

    For the sake of converstion lets throw out the Unity Publishing evidence as well as the Caritas Articles. Let’s soley focus on the Official Bishop of Mostar documents which I notice you conveniently avoid? http://www.cbismo.com/index.php?menuID=98

    Based on these findings and statements of a Bishop in good standing in the Catholic Church and faithful to the Magisterium, anyone in opposition to his statements and teaching is in grave spiritual danger. Anyone enticing or tempting anyone else to disobedience to the Bishop of Mostar’s statements not only puts themselves in grave spiritual danger but is now responsible for the demise of others as well.

    Pax et Bonum

  • Sean,

    I neglected to respond to your Shrine argument. A Shrine defined within the confines of the Catholic Church is:

    In the Roman Catholic Code of Canon law, canons 1230 and 1231 read: “The term shrine means a church or other sacred place which, with the approval of the local Ordinary, is by reason of special devotion frequented by the faithful as pilgrims. For a shrine to be described as national, the approval of the Episcopal Conference is necessary. For it to be described as international, the approval of the Holy See is required.”[11]

    I have to point out to you that neither the local Ordinary or an Episopal Conference has raised any church in Medjugorje to the status of Shrine.

    I apologize that you found my words harsh, however they are truth. Once again I have to point out the grave spiritual dangers of pride, ego and disobediance that allows anyone to put themselves outside or above the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, the safe Barque of Peter.

  • Again, you capitalize the word shrine, thus taking my comment out of context.

    Still, I’m confident that I’m on the right side of things here. This may be of interest to you:

    Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, Archbishop of Zagreb, a member of the Bishop’s conference that studied Medjugorje, said: “After three years of studies by the Commission, we, the bishops, have accepted Medjugorje as a Shrine, as a sanctuary. This means that we have nothing against the veneration of the Mother of God in accordance with the teaching of the Church and our faith… This is why we leave this question to further studies of the Church. The Church is not in haste.”

    So, if this cardinal, a member of the Bishop’s Conference, calls Medjugorje a Shrine, then why can’t I?

    Here’s more on that:


    You accuse me of pride and ego, and yet in the preceding sentence you classify your words as “truth.” Maybe you should write a letter to the cardinal who called Medjugorje a Shrine and give him the “truth.”

  • Thank you for bringing this article to my attention. I advise you give this article further discernment and reflection. In response to your question: ‘So, if this cardinal, a member of the Bishop’s Conference, calls Medjugorje a Shrine, then why can’t I?’ If not solely for the sake of prudence and caution, then because both local Bishops of Mostar; Bishop Zanic and his successor Bishop Peric are not in agreement with the Conference of Yugoslavia and have the support of the Holy See. Please see the excerpt from your article refuting the findings of the Conference of Yugoslavia:

    Nevertheless, Mgr Pavao Žanic, Bishop of Mostar, interprets the Declaration of Zadar as a negation of the supernaturality of the events of Medjugorje, and as a document forbidding pilgrimages. The Ordinary of Mostar continues to uphold this position: “The Ordinary has on several occasions warned that the supernatural character of the apparitions cannot be spoken about nor announced publicly in churches, as it was not possible to state that Our Lady is appearing. This is why official pilgrimages to Medjugorje are not allowed”, writes Mgr Ratko Peric, successor of Mgr Pavao Žanic. (See Prijestolje Mudrosti, Mostar 1995, p. 282) And he continues: “Neither the diocesan bishop, as head of the local diocese and Church of Mostar-Duvno, nor any other competent person, have until now declared the parish Church St James of Medjugorje as a Marian shrine, nor confirmed the “cult” of Our Lady based on the supposed apparitions. On the contrary, because of its contestability, he has on many occasions prohibited to speak on the altar or in the church about supernatural “apparitions and revelations”, and to organize official pilgrimages in the name of parishes, dioceses, and generally in the name of the Church. These and similar warnings were published also by our former Bishops´ Conference and by the Holy See itself. Anyone acting in an opposite manner, is acting expressly against the official position of the Church, which, after 14 years of supposed apparitions and developed commercial propaganda, are still valid in the Church”. (Ibid, p. 285-286)

  • I urge you, go see for yourself, and in the meantime, don’t squelch the fruits that continue to flow from Medjugorje.

    This will probably be my last post here because I’m off to La Salette and Medjugorje. All the best and God bless. Please pray that I have a safe journey, and I will in turn pray for everyone here. God bless.

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