Mystic 'who foresaw 9/11' heads for city

A RADICAL preacher who claims supernatural powers enabled her to foresee the 9/11 bombings is to speak in the city on the anniversary of the attacks.

Greek mystic Vassula Ryden is revered around the world as a prophet and her followers believe she is God's messenger.

But her controversial prophesies have attracted condemnation from mainstream church leaders. Vassula has been invited by the followers of her "True Life in God" movement in Scotland to appear in Edinburgh on Sunday at the Assembly Hall on The Mound.

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The 63-year-old preacher, who now lives in the US, claims that Jesus has been appearing to her in dreams since 1985. During preaching sessions in front of thousands of people she is reported to have healed the sick and also converted hundreds to her cause.

She has preached to packed arenas around the world - including crowds of 40,000 in the Philippines and South America - and some followers even claim to see the face of Jesus superimposed on her features.

But today a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland warned people against going to the gathering. He said Vassula "certainly did not" operate with the approval of the Church and said the Vatican had issued a warning about her activities after an investigation led by Pope Benedict XVI while he was a Cardinal. The spokesman said: "Her messages change from year to year and the advice to Catholics is not to attend her gatherings due to the suspect nature of her alleged revelations, which contain doctrinal errors."

Prior to Vassula's first visit to Edinburgh in 2000, a letter was sent from the Archdiocese of Glasgow to priests, instructing them to dissuade their flock from attending.

A spokeswoman for the Church of Scotland, which owns the Assembly Hall, said it had not taken part in the decision to invite Vassula.

She said: "Vassula Ryden represents a religious organisation with which we have no dealings."

Vassula claimed to have received a message from Jesus in a dream predicting the New York attacks, exactly ten years before on September 11, 1991. She claimed he told her: "My cities have become a citadel for the demons! All corrupt from within, eaten up by worm! a refuge for the viper and the scorpion!

"The earth will shiver and shake, and every evil built into towers will collapse into a heap of rubble and be buried in the dust of sin."

Catherine Lynch, 56, a member of True Life in God, said she was sceptical at first but found that Vassula's messages "struck a chord". She was an atheist for 30 years before coming across Vassula in early 2000, and now attends a weekly True Life in God prayer group in Broxburn.

The secretary said people from all denominations attended meetings of around six True Life in God prayer groups in Scotland.

On Vassula's prediction of the destruction of the Twin Towers, she said: "If you believe the messages, you can't pick and choose between them."