About a Liberal nun in "ROCOR" - MP

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

Postby HieromonkIrineos » Fri 4 August 2017 4:23 pm

Barbara wrote:In this same 'interview', Sister Vassa writes that her 'spiritual father', Archbishop Mark said to her "What will I do with you, you always want to study !" Something similar to this ; I don't have the original text handy. The way it was written struck me as faked. I can't imagine a 70 or so year old Archbishop speaking like that.


I can't defend Sister Vassa's conduct, not her advice to the mother and not her current endeavor to provide "spiritual counseling" by the hour to those willing to pay her. But I can absolutely imagine a spiritual father saying this to her (or anyone) because it is not a positive statement. It is actually quite common in those entering the faith (and those of a certain mindset) to focus far too much on attaining book knowledge and neglecting their spiritual life. I have no idea if the statement was made, or what was meant by it, but I can totally imagine someone saying that to her or any other person, because I have said something like that myself.

You can't read yourself to Orthodoxy, you have to live the faith. But to those born with the Western, scholastic mindset, such a proposition can be very difficult for them and a hindrance to one's salvation.
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Re: About a Liberal nun in "ROCOR" - MP

Postby Barbara » Sun 6 August 2017 3:41 am

Thank you, Father, for your excellent insights. I had forgotten that side about the 'nose in the book' vs. able to live the Orthodox life dilemma.
However, Sister Vassa was far from a fresh convert. Her father was a prominent Archpriest in Rocor for many years [ he is now retired but I think serves as advisor in his Nyack, NY parish ]. Thus Varvara, her name in the world, was baptized into Orthodoxy as an infant and grew up in the thick of the Rocor milieu. Which makes her striking out into tasteless fields all the more shocking, at least to some people.

Now a new field has emerged. You wrote that she is instituting a fee for dispensing supposed spiritual wisdom ? THAT IS PATHETIC !!!
Her facebook page is so dull, to be honest, that I haven't returned there after my initial visits to see what this brouhaha was all about and gather some notes from it.
That would be fine if she were a layperson or a psychologist - oops I typed SPY when I meant to write psychologist !
But for a nun ? No wonder I felt that the Vassa Affair would end up in the trash. We can see now what I suspected: this wayward person is setting herself up to be :

A False Eldress

At least, if a video is made to expose Sister Vassa someday, it will not be like the Fr Joachim Parr one in the educational department ! She does have the credentials she claims. Let's return to her assertion about the attitude toward her education of her preceptor, Abp Mark of Berlin. I found the exact quotation [ I had it pretty accurately from memory ]:

"I don’t know what to do with you. You just can’t get enough of all this studying."

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/ ... _Larin.pdf

IF Sister Vassa had had Abp Mark say "I prefer you instead opt to join my Buchendorf Convent, where I would make you Deputy Abbess", then we would see a clear choice that the American nun made to avoid a usual convent life in favor of higher education. Otherwise, it sounds odd for a hierarch who -- according to his bio, has a doctorate in Slavic Studies, and who studied at Frankfurt am Main and the famed Heidelberg University -- to decry Sister Vassa's interests in pursuing further studies.

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

Postby Barbara » Sun 6 August 2017 10:53 pm

Immediately after the above, Sister Vassa declares :

" But from the outset there was opposition to the video from the central administration of my church, the ROCOR [Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia]. That first video I made was initially posted on the ROCOR’s official website, but then taken down. Metropolitan Hilarion, the First Hierarch of the ROCOR, ordered that the video be taken down after he was urged to do so by several of the ROCOR clergymen who called the video, among other things, “Roman Catholic singing-nun nonsense” (I was made privy to the email correspondence on the issue). So, ever since, there has been no mention of our videos on the ROCOR website, nor any support from my church. However, I would say that situation ended up being helpful, because we learned how to become self-supporting, creating an online gift shop (selling coffee mugs and other things) and monetizing our audio podcasts and video courses. This is how I pay my rent and three part-time assistants. I also think it’s healthy for me to take personal responsibility for whatever I say, without anybody worrying about me speaking for “the Church.”

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/ ... _Larin.pdf

I detect some lack of respect for her Church in the quotation marks around "the Church" as though it is some distant entity, unworthy of her reverence. As in "that old thing".

Now let's look at the not so subtle complaint which comes through Sister Vassa's writing here. We can hear her wailing "And those mediocre clergymen didn't even bother to post my videos, let alone post flattering reports featuring me, let alone subsidize my important outreach. "

I would say in rebuttal that the RocorMP staff was wise to hold back. Look at where her work deviated to in a relatively short time. The Synod and other personnel would have been embarrassed had they financed her endeavor, or even contributed at all financially - or supported Sister Vassa with 'advertising'. Thank goodness, they had the sense to keep a distance.

Furthermore, narcissism is characterized by a feeling that "the world owes it to brilliant me to give me the backing I so richly deserve". But Sister Vassa must know more than many that the Synod in which she grew up does not have the resources of let's say the Agha Khans. These leaders sat in an actual old-fashioned balance scale and were weighed every year on their birthdays [ or dates of accession, or maybe both ]. Their weight in gold was then distributed to the needy. No - this was a Church of immigrants, many of whom were barely surviving. It's a miracle they were able to finance the building of so many striking Cathedrals and Churches. But extra funds for an unproven nun to make videos ? How much does that cost, anyway, since anyone can make youtube videos at home, just as Sister Vassa did in her Vienna kitchen, for little or no money. If the whole world is doing this, then why is Sister Vassa so hard-pressed ? Surely, to have some nice extras might require expenditure of money. But still the cost should not be too high. Why does she need a staff of 3 part-timers anyway ? Perhaps these are like cell-attendants for her ? Or to make her appear more prestigious / important ?
Last edited by Barbara on Sun 6 August 2017 11:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby Maria » Sun 6 August 2017 11:05 pm

Barbara wrote:Immediately after the above, Sister Vassa declares :

" But from the outset there was opposition to the video from the central administration of my church, the ROCOR [Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia]. That first video I made was initially posted on the ROCOR’s official website, but then taken down. Metropolitan Hilarion, the First Hierarch of the ROCOR, ordered that the video be taken down after he was urged to do so by several of the ROCOR clergymen who called the video, among other things, “Roman Catholic singing-nun nonsense” (I was made privy to the email correspondence on the issue). So, ever since, there has been no mention of our videos on the ROCOR website, nor any support from my church. However, I would say that situation ended up being helpful, because we learned how to become self-supporting, creating an online gift shop (selling coffee mugs and other things) and monetizing our audio podcasts and video courses. This is how I pay my rent and three part-time assistants. I also think it’s healthy for me to take personal responsibility for whatever I say, without anybody worrying about me speaking for “the Church.”

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/ ... _Larin.pdf



If Sr. Vassa was made privy to the email correspondence, I guess that was for her edification, unless it was an unauthorized leak. She should have taken that as a warning, not to engage in such activities. I was not happy when I listened to her first videos. After I was urged to view her "great" shows by some friends of mine, two videos were enough to convince me that they were not edifying primarily because of the gossip section, which supposedly gave her shows a "human touch."

Gossip is a sin, and she was blatantly engaged in it. Was this gossip just a "Sister Act"? If it were, then acting out a sin is also a sin.

In fact, I wonder if she has ever addressed the church's ban on acting, counting it an an excommunicable offense.

Lord have mercy.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

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

Postby Barbara » Sun 6 August 2017 11:12 pm

Yes, Maria, it disturbed me too the way Sister Vassa almost brags about her high-up contacts who gave her the low-down [ ! ]. I wondered about that too. You thought of a good angle. Maybe the leak was deliberately aimed to warn her rather than an insider friend giving a sympathetic caution, the way I read her words.

I was a little surprised myself when I saw that writeup about her Coffee With Sister Vassa youtube series on the main Rocor site.
It sounded a little too OCA liberal style to promote such a thing.

So you saw 2 episodes ? I look back and recall that I felt strongly after the first episode that that was enough for me, anyway.
Mainly, I marveled at her ability to speak without any shyness. That was was caught my attention, rather than the subject matter. If it were I, I could NEVER talk to a camera, and certainly not with aplomb like she did.

But then there is that actress/actor factor, too. People who like to perform in front of others are not shy ; rather, they bask in the limelight.
You are right to bring up the acting question, for we know from St John of Kronstadt's vehement writings that this pursuit is thoroughly condemned by the Church. We have a thread here covering this very subject. I didn't think of that facet of this problem.

Now about that singing nun analogy. I couldn't remember exactly who that was. I thought of Sally Field, but looked her up and saw that she had played The Flying Nun. It was a TV series running 1967-70. [ There at wikipedia, I discovered the unpalatable fact that the actress' youngest son is 'openly homosexual' and that she herself campaigns for homosexual 'causes'. Disgusting ! It seems that being a nun, nor playing a nun, did anything to help the purity of the 2 women discussed here and below. ]

The Singing Nun was actually The Smiling Nun in French: Soeur Sourire, which sounds catchy. Here is the story, from which warning bells loudly toll from almost every paragraph. It took only 5 years for the superstar performing nun to descend into flagrant rebellion against her Church's teachings. Even by 1966, the year of St John Maximovitch's repose, the nun was already looking suspicious.


"Belgian-born, French-speaking Jeanine Deckers joined The Fichermont Convent in 1959 at the age of 26. Upon taking her vows, she adhered to the custom of picking a new name: Sister Luc-Gabrielle. Living at the convent, she passed the time by entertaining the other nuns with songs about Catholic saints that she wrote and performed on her acoustic guitar.

The superiors at the convent thought Sister Luc-Gabrielle should make a limited-press album—they could sell those records of original religious songs to people who visited the convent or who attended their religious retreats. The convent booked time for the sister at Philips Studio in Brussels in 1962. While it’s fairly common for church choirs or religious performers to self-release an album, then and now, the engineers at Philips thought Sister Luc-Gabrielle was more than just another church singer—they thought her gentle, lilting folk songs could make her a pop star. So they signed her to a contract, and presented her to the public as Soeur Sourire, or “Sister Smile.”

The engineers at Philips were right. In 1963, Soeur Sourire’s “Dominique” was released as a single in Belgium. About St. Dominic, the 13th century founder of the Dominican order, and sung in French, it became a #1 hit all over Europe, even where French wasn’t widely spoken. It was so big it crossed over to the U.S. in late 1963. Radio programmers at the time were eager to fill the air with the gentlest music they could find, aiming to soothe Americans after the assassination of President Kennedy.

“Dominique” went to #1 in the U.S. She was still billed as Soeur Sourire…although everybody just called her “the Singing Nun.” She embarked on a worldwide tour, appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, and her album Her Joys, Her Songs sold two million copies. Deckers’ cut of the proceeds went directly to her convent.

It was almost inexplicable that a nun singing a song in French about a Catholic saint could have been a #1 single. So much so that Soeur Sourire couldn’t repeat the feat. After “Dominique” mania calmed down and Her Joys, Her Songs produced no more hits, the convent sent Deckers to receive secondary theology training. There, she became reacquainted with an old childhood friend named Anne Pelcher. In 1966, Deckers and Pelcher went to Africa to do social work and became lifelong companions.

In 1968, Deckers further distanced herself from her religious life. She was an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church’s anti-contraception stance, publicly supporting birth control with an attempted comeback single called “Glory Be to God For the Golden Pill.” The song was not a hit.

The controversy surrounding the song (and rumors that Deckers and Pelcher were romantically involved) led to Deckers being ousted from her convent. In the 1970s, she attempted to jumpstart her musical career with a children’s album of religious and secular songs called I Am Not a Star in Heaven, under the name “Luc-Dominique,” allegedly because her old convent owned the rights to the name Soeur Sourire. The album flopped.

By 1982, Deckers was broke, yet owed the Belgian government thousands in unpaid back taxes over royalties from “Dominique.” Deckers claimed that since her convent took that money, then they should pay the taxes on it. The convent disagreed— because they were just a poor, struggling convent and didn’t have the money. Deckers was ruled to be on the hook for $63,000 in back taxes. In a quick-cash-grabbing move, Deckers recorded yet another would-be comeback single: “Dominique”—a synthesizer-heavy disco version of her only hit.

That comeback didn’t work either, and Deckers fell farther into debt. Sadly, she and Pelcher committed suicide together in 1985.

Most of these controversial details were not included in The Singing Nun, a highly fictionalized version of Deckers’ life released in 1966 and starring Debbie Reynolds."

http://www.bathroomreader.com/2013/10/w ... nging-nun/

As an aside, the choice of "Luc-Gabrielle" strikes me as a little weird. Why not Lucie, which is Lucy in French, after St Lucy ? Should this ill-starred nun have wished to take the name Luke for St Luke, it is spelled the same in French as in English.
'Luc' instead looks like - ugh - Lucifer. Did the Devil take over this young nun from the very start ?

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

Postby Barbara » Mon 7 August 2017 3:36 am

Returning to Sister Vassa, almost all of her setup reeks of self-aggrandizement.

Let's look at the online store which she mentions in that quotation in the previous post.
I was incredulous to see that the innocent-sounding mugs which she cited above read :

"I drink coffee with Sister Vassa "

Then she writes

Our world-famous MUGS are now available in EUROPE at an extra-LOW price! And EVERYONE is getting one! Check it out today, zillions:
http://www.coffeewithsistervassa.com/#!buy-a-mug/c1xp

However, if I am not mistaken about which link it was, this link kept leading me to the main facebook page, rather than to the mug purchasing page. Is this a way to get more visitors to click on her site ? I doubt it was a technical error.

Her self-promotion is staggering. "EVERYONE is getting [ a mug ]" ? This is a clear message to not be left behind the rest of the crowds stampeding to buy a cup with her sappy picture on it.

I see a form of hypnosis in the message stamped on the cup, "I drink coffee with Sister Vassa". It seems like it is a way to brainwash each 'dear zillion' into melding into the actress-nun's psyche. Perhaps even worse, a subtle way to make the nun into the guru of millions, which rhymes with zillions. Whoever is thoughtless enough to purchase that mug is asking for trouble. Drinking coffee is not what the message is about. Instead, the idea comes across that the purchaser will absorb Sister's entire worldview and opinion with each sip. NO THANKS !

$ 20 each for an 11 ounce cup is the price I saw. Perhaps that is the extra-European cost, and the intra-European price is more reasonable as she wrote "extra-LOW price". I was thinking that this price was much higher than I would have expected when my wallet, sitting in my lap, suddenly dropped by itself to the floor with a loud thud. I took this event as a confirmation that $20 is indeed painful for one's wallet. Especially since one does not want to pay to be brainwashed.

Now, the calendar she offers is another eye-roller [ causes the eyes to roll ].

The nun pitches it without a trace of meekness :


"Your all-new, beautiful 2017 Wall Calendar, with original artwork (featuring the whole "Crew") by Rob, with the major feasts marked for both Old & New Calendar. A must-have for all zillions!

Has to be seen to be believed : http://www.coffeewithsistervassa.com/pr ... x-calendar

Well - I saw it and did not believe it. But for the opposite reason than the sister intended.
Of course, besides the fact that she included the New Calendar along with the Old, the margins are filled with boring sketches of herself and her minions. The art isn't even good. But that is not the main point.

We can see the development of a cult of personality after looking at the calendar she offers, the heading of the facebook page, and the mug.

Where on earth are Icons of the Savior, the Mother of God and the Saints ? Perhaps such images would be tacky placed on a teacup. But Church Calendars such as the Russian Orthodox Youth Committee's one always have either Icons or holy places or relevant Churches or shrines or photos of --- HOLY PEOPLE. Not a photo of a budding TV personality who happens to wear nun's garb.

Think I am exaggerating ? Why did she write on that facebook page not long ago,

(Happy Sunday, dear zillions! Please note, you can get these reflections daily via EMAIL, simply by typing in your email-address at our beautiful website: coffeewithsistervassa.com)

This is supposed to be a site teaching about Orthodoxy and the Byzantine Liturgy. Why didn't the robustly self-promoting nun write "Happy Sunday of All Saints" or whatever day it was ? 'Happy Sunday' is what secular say.

And why does Sister Vassa call everything she produces "beautiful" or "exciting"... ? It seems she should have taken some Marketing classes while she was at it, since that arm of her operation is sorely lacking in originality. Nonetheless, she seems to have the business instinct to turn her image into a recognized brand, and is pulling out all stops to successfully achieve that goal.

Where is her caring about the souls of the 'dear zillions' ? What if many are sent to Hell because they say to themselves "Well this famous sister gave her approval to being a homosexual even at the young age of 14. So forget the Church's timeless teaching. Let's follow this new Orthodox Pied Piperess instead."

While Sister Vassa is not dazzling, she is making every effort to be regarded as a charismatic mentor figure.

When in fact she is a FALSE TEACHER.

Can anyone imagine St Anna, whose Day it is today, allowing her image to be painted on clay cups and pitched to the early disciples of the Savior, exhorting them to hurry :
" EVERYONE is getting one! Don't be left out, you can buy one too" - !?

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

Postby Barbara » Sat 12 August 2017 3:20 am

Back to what Fr Irineos tipped us off about : sister Vassa's fee schedule.

If her prosaic calendar 'has to be seen to be believed', assuredly, this offering of her beliefs, ideas, thoughts, opinions, etc for quite a tidy sum of money is in astonishingly poor taste for a person consecrated to the religious life. According to her resume, sister entered a Rocor Convent in 1989. Strangely, she was not tonsured until 1998. Perhaps she was unsure of her vocation ?
At any rate, that is 28 years of life as a monastic or aspiring monastic.

The cost is $ 80 for 50 minutes to procure a chat with "the Counseling Nun" by a single individual
and $ 300 for 50 minutes speaking with the beguiling youtube personality for a group, meaning 2 or more people

First of all, why would several people be grouped together and decide to throw away $300 just to have a 50 minute question and answer session ?? It's conceivable, but I can't imagine that there are that many fans who would shell out that kind of money.
Or could afford to.

Isn't "Sister" rating herself a little highly to assume that they would ? Even $ 80 for less than an hour seems ridiculous for an unproven -- frankly speaking -- renegade nun's take on various controversial subjects.

Perhaps the nun got this idea from the questions of various of her 'zillions'. She may have figured "Why am I dispensing my superlative knowledge for FREE ? I can be raking in some hard currency - [ note that the prices are given in USD, not in the currencies of Central Europe nor that of the RF, unless there is a Russian language version which accepts rubles ]"

She already had annoying pop-up ads exhorting the viewer to subscribe to her - for pay, of course - "audio- podcasts". How much more commercialized is this pretend-monastic going to get ? Soon the pop-up advertising will likely notify the audience of this once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity : a private face to face talk with the star of the recent scandal, l'Affaire Vassa.

Then, too, her banner promises an hour chat, but one reads the pricing to learn that it's a mere 50 minutes.

The picture shown of a laptop with the sister on the screen is weird. There is a picture above her of a man, it appears. To me, he has an ugly, demon-like visage. Perhaps the illustration is meant to convey a webcam ? I have never used one so I don't know. Nonetheless, the image indicated to me that Sister Vassa is receiving inspiration from devils hovering over her head and putting thoughts and words into her mind.

That illustration for her counseling sessions might unwittingly serve as a tip to prudent inquirers to steer entirely clear of this sister's entire programme. Particularly to not fall for her schemes to pull in money. Perhaps her flat needs new draperies...


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