|Title||Head of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Whole Universe|
|Born|| 16 January 1942 |
|Known for||Former spiritual director of the Medjugorje seers|
|Church||Church of Jesus Christ of the Whole Universe|
Tomislav Vlašić (born 16 January 1942)is the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Whole Universe seated in Italy. He is best known for being a former spiritual director of the alleged seers of the Marian apparitions in Medjugorje. He also claims to receive the messages from God the Father, the Holy Spirit, the Madonna, the Apostles and the archangels.
He is a former Franciscan friar and Catholic priest, an adherer of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. He became the spiritual director of the alleged seers of the Marian apparitions in Medjugorje in October of 1981.Vlašić is the author of the chronicles of apparitions, a chronology that follows the alleged apparitions. In August 1984, Vlašić was replaced by Franciscan friar Slavko Barbarić He remained actively involved in the Medjugorje phenomenon at least until 1991. He was one of the founders of the Medjugorje International Youth Festival (Mladifest), an annual gathering of the Catholic youth, established to mark Our Lady's birthday as claimed by the seers.
In 1987 he moved to Italy and founded the community "Queen of Peace – Totally Yours – to Jesus through Mary" with the apparent approval from Madonna, as proclaimed by Marija Pavlović, one of the alleged seers. Pavlović subsequently disavowed the organization.In 2009 Vlašić was laicized after accusations of sexual misconduct, and was excommunicated in 2020.
In 2018, with a group of followers, Vlašić established the Church of Jesus Christ of the Whole Universe, led by himself and his associate Stefania Caterina in Gheda near Brescia in Italy.
Tomislav Vlašić was born in the village of Sovići in the municipality of Grude, Herzegovina. He became a Franciscan and was ordained a priest on 26 July 1969 in Frohnleiten, Austria.After his ordination, Vlašić served as a chaplain in Humac, Ljubuški and later was appointed president of the Herzegovinian Franciscan residence in Jablanovac in Zagreb, Croatia. While in Zagreb, before coming to serve in Medjugorje, Vlašić had an affair with a nun and fathered a son. The letters between Vlašić and the nun were discovered by her landlord, who sent them to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Ratzinger then revealed the affair to Vlašić's bishop Pavao Žanić. In 1987 Vlašić left Medjugorje apparently "to establish the Queen of Peace community in Parma", Italy but also because "it became public knowledge that he had fathered a child with a Franciscan nun and had then tried to cover up the affair."
In 1977, Vlašić was named a chaplain for the St. Francis of Assisi church in Čapljina.In time he became the pastor of this large congregation, was a noted scholar and "regarded as the region's foremost liturgist. In May 1981 Vlašić went to Rome to participate in an international meeting of the Catholic charismatic renewal. He "asked some of the leaders to pray with him for the healing of the Church in Yugaslavia." One of the charismatic leaders Sr. Briege McKenna, the "famous charismatic nun and healer", who told Vlasic that she had a vision of a "twin towered church" with him surrounded by great crowds, and from the place where he was seated streams of water flowed. Another leader at the same event, Fr. Emiliano Tardif spoke a message to Vlasic as a prophecy: "Do not fear; I am sending you my Mother." In June 1981 Our Lady allegedly began appearing in Medjugorje to six adolescents who ranged in age of 10 - 16 years old.
On 24 June 1981, the alleged Marian apparitions occurred in Medjugorje. Vlašić entered into contact with the seers on 29 June 1981 and became their spiritual director.Vlašić stayed in Čapljina until 17 August 1981, when he moved to Medjugorje without the bishop's approval but with the approval of the Franciscan Province. René Laurentin writes that the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina approved his transfer to Medjugorje, bypassing the bishop's decision. According to Laurentin, Vlašić went to Medjugorje immediately after Medjugorje's parson friar Jozo Zovko was imprisoned by the communist authorities and Vlašić was named Zovko's successor by Provincial Jozo Pejić.
The local bishop, Ratko Perić, writes that Vlašić was officially proposed to become a chaplain in Medjugorje only on 19 July 1982, and Bishop Žanić, still unaware of his affair in Zagreb, approved his appointment on 27 July 1982.Perić further writes that Vlašić cooperated with friar Slavko Barbarić in directing the seers, instructing them how to behave. Both of them forbade the seers to give any statements without their prior knowledge. In one alleged apparition, from 28 February 1982, the Madonna told the seers that they should be grateful to Vlašić for his good leadership. The seers had full trust in him and exchanged their diaries with him.
Vlašić conducted the Chronicle of Apparitions (Kronika ukazanja).The Chronicle covers the period from 11 August 1981 to 15 October 1983. The chronicle is written to give the impression of immediacy, using terms such as “same scene as yesterday” or “tonight” and “tonight”. However, Nikola Bulat, a member of the commission that examined the apparitions, concluded that the Chronicle wasn't written daily as it seems. Under the number dates, events that occurred later were recorded. The intro of the Chronicle was written only on 25 February 1982, so Bulat concludes that it is possible that Vlašić started writing the Chronicle only then, eight months after the apparitions or during October 1981 at its best.
On 13 April 1984, Vlašić wrote to Pope John Paul II, referring to himself as "the one who, by God's mercy, leads the seers" and asked him to meet him. His letter remained unanswered.
Perić states that on 16 August 1984, the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina proposed to Bishop Žanić that Barbarić should be named as a spiritual assistant in Medjugorje. Žanić approved the request the same day, however, he requested his transfer on 3 January 1985 due to his involvement with the alleged apparitions. However, the seers had another apparition in which the Madonna told them that she would like Barbarić to remain in Medjugorje and to conduct a chronicle about her apparitions, so that "after the end of her coming, there can be one overview" of the event.
On 2 September 1984 Vlašić was transferred to Vitina.He wrote to a friend in the Vatican the following year, complaining about the bishop of Mostar, “It would be necessary to get all the others involved (intellectuals, theologians, bishops, cardinals...). We have to admit that Satan can also work through the structures of the Church.”
In 1987, Vlašić left Herzegovina for Parma, Italy, where he established a New age community "Queen of Peace – Totally Yours – to Jesus through Mary", together with his partner Agnes Heupel, a German, who claimed to be healed by Our Lady of Medjugorje. Vlašić claimed the community was established with the approval from Our Lady, for which he got the confirmation from Marija Pavlović, one of the alleged seers. Pavlović was a member of Vlašić's community since February 1988, but retracted the approval from Our Lady in July 1988, claiming she never received such a message from the Madonna. Vlašić stopped being a member of the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina since he established his own community in 1987.
That same year, the bishop of Parma ordered the association to close. However, Vlašić founded houses of the association in four other dioceses, including at Medjugorje, with the help of laywoman Stefania Caterina. Caterina became the deputy head of the association.In 1992, Vlašić joined the Franciscan Province of Abruzzo.
In 2005, Vlašić founded a society of believers inspired by the Medjugorje apparitions. His society gained permission from the Bishop of Brescia Giulio Sanguineti to open its headquarters in Gheda near Brescia.However, Vlašić states that this society, called "The Fortress of the Impeccable" wasn't established by himself, but by other people keen on spreading his work.
In 2008, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) informed Vlašić that he was under investigation "for the diffusion of dubious doctrine, manipulation of consciences, suspect mysticism, disobedience towards legitimately issued orders" and charges of sexual misconduct ("contra sextum") and ordered him to stay at a Franciscan monastery in Lombardy, take a course of theological and spiritual formation, not have contact with the "Queen of Peace..." association, not get involved in juridical contracts or acts of administration, and not engage in preaching, spiritual direction, public statements, or performing the sacrament of confession, under pain of incurring the penalty of automatic interdict.In May 2008, CDF informed Bishop Ratko Perić of Mostar that Vlašić had incurred the penalty of automatic interdict. Father Tomislav Vlasic was subsequently laicised by Pope Benedict XVI.
Vlašić and his partner who also claims to be a seer of Our Lady, Stefania Caterina, founded the Church of Jesus Christ of the Whole Universe.[ citation needed ] They made a video in 2012 in which they claim they are part of the Central Nucleus with other 49 people that God choose to save humanity in all universes. The leading Croatian Catholic news portal, Bitno.net, characterized his church as being inspired by UFO religion and New age. Vlašić wrote that he met Caterina in 1994 when she joined his group "Queen of Peace", where he became her spiritual director. Bitno.net reported that the two are in a loving relationship.
Vlašić writes that he and Caterina retreated to solace in 2007, where Vlašić claims they received revelations from archangels and apostles.[ citation needed ] During that period they understood God's plan to root the whole Universe into Jesus Christ. In 2008, the pair published a book titled Preko Velike Barijere (Through the Great Barrier), in which they explained in detail God's plan. Vlašić claims he receives messages from God the Father, the Holy Spirit, the Madonna, the Apostles and the archangels.
The Church of Jesus Christ of the Whole Universe was established on 20 May 2018 and was formally registered in 2019 as a non-profit organization, registered in Italy.
At the Church's official website, it is stated that their goal is to "save the whole Universe". They acknowledge the existence of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Church believes that there are three universes – The High Universe, the Middle Universe, and the Low Universe. Every universe is inhabited by humans, which Church believes are brothers of humans on Earth, created in the image of God. The Church also believes in the existence of the original sin.
Vlašić's church believes that God didn't create only Adam and Eve, but many other couples, that created a small nation. Further, God showed them Lucifer and asked them to whom they will serve, and the people answered differently. Those who chose to serve God didn't commit the original sin, and their descendants live in the High Universe. The Middle Universe is inhabited by the descendants of those who were indecisive. The third group's descendants, that differently serve Lucifer, live in the Low Universe and are characterised by their rebellious nature. They claim that the ancestors of the inhabitants of the planet Earth went even further making a pact with Lucifer, promising him their firstborns. This is why, the Church claims, the Earth is in the greatest enmity with God and least advanced towards its Creator.
The Church believes in the "new creation" which will follow after people choose Jesus Christ, who embodied himself on the Earth to redeem people there, but also in other universes, elects him over Lucifer again. The Church believes that Jesus established his church on Earth, not only for the planet Earth but the whole universe. They thus believe that there are other humans in the universe except for the planet Earth, that remained unaware of Jesus.
According to the teaching of the Earth, after a Great Jubilee in 2000, God speeded up his plan for the new creation, using many instruments including the Fatima and Medjugorje apparitions. They believe that God asked the "official" Catholic Church to recognise the existence of humans in other universes, but it still hasn't done so. For that reason, in 2004, God put in service the "three extraordinary instruments" - the Central Nucleus, the angels, and the brothers faithful to their brothers in the universe. They claim that these extraordinary instruments do the tasks that the Catholic Church was supposed to do. According to the Church, God put Archangel Michael to lead these three extraordinary instruments and will be challenged by Lucifer and his allies. The Church claims that the year 2012 was a turning point where God for the final time asked humanity to serve him. That year he asked the Pope to acknowledge the existence of humans in other universes, which the Pope hadn't done. In 2013, people from the High Universe visited the Middle and the Lower Universe spreading the news about the redemption from Jesus and christening everyone. Their mission ended in 2017. The Church claims that in 2018, with the beginning of the evangelisation of the people of the Earth, the first step towards the Christs' return begun.
A Marian apparition is a reported supernatural appearance by Mary, the mother of Jesus, or a series of related such appearances over a period of time.
Medjugorje is a town located in southwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina, about 25 km (16 mi) southwest of Mostar and 20 km (12 mi) east of the border with Croatia. The town is part of the Čitluk municipality and geographically part of Herzegovina. Since 1981, it has become a popular site of Catholic pilgrimage due to Our Lady of Međugorje, an alleged series of apparitions of the Virgin Mary to six local children that are still happening to this day.
Vassula Rydén is an author, public speaker, and self-proclaimed Christian mystic living in Switzerland who says she receives messages from Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her writings frequently call for people "to repent, love God, and unify the churches." She has developed a large following, particularly among Roman Catholics, who come to her lectures and buy her writings and tapes. She writes the messages in English, and has changed some writings between editions.
The Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina is part of the worldwide Catholic Church under the spiritual leadership of the pope in Rome.
The Archdiocese of Vrhbosna is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Catholic Church in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its episcopal see is the city of Sarajevo (Vrhbosna), capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Diocese of Skopje is a suffragan of the Archdiocese.
Private revelation is, in Christian theology, a message from God which can come in a variety of types.
Ratko Perić is a Herzegovnian Croat prelate of the Catholic Church who served as the bishop of Mostar-Duvno and apostolic administrator of Trebinje-Mrkan from 1993 until his retirement in 2020.
Pavol Mária Hnilica, S.J. was a Slovak prelate of the Catholic Church who served as a titular bishop of Rusadir from 1964 until his death in 2006.
Father René Laurentin was a French theologian. He is widely recognized as "one of the world’s foremost students" of Mariology and is the author of numerous books and scholarly articles on topics including Marian apparitions such as Lourdes and Medjugorje; visionaries and mystics including Bernadette Soubirous, Thérèse de Lisieux, Catherine Labouré, and Yvonne Aimée de Malestroit; as well as biblical exegesis, theology, and Vatican II.
Mark Miravalle is a professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, specializing in Mariology. He is president of Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici, a Catholic movement promoting the concepts of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix.
Our Lady of Medjugorje, also called Queen of Peace and Mother of the Redeemer, is the title given to the "visions" of the Blessed Virgin Mary which allegedly began in 1981 to six Herzegovinian teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The visionaries are: Ivan Dragičević, Ivanka Ivanković, Jakov Čolo, Marija Pavlović, Mirjana Dragičević and Vicka Ivanković and ranged in age from ten to sixteen years old at the time of the first apparition.
Medjugorje, a village in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been the site of alleged apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary since 24 June 1981. Various officials of the Catholic Church have attempted to discern the validity of these Marian apparitions in order to provide guidance to potential devotees and pilgrims. On 7 Decenter 2017, it was reported that Archbishop Hoser, Pope Francis' envoy to Medjugorje, announced that official pilgrimages are allowed, stating, "dioceses and other institutions can organize official pilgrimages. It’s no longer a problem.” This pilgrimage was officially authorized by the Holy See in May 2019. The approval was made official with the celebration of a youth festival among pilgrims and Catholic clergy in Medjugorie in for five days in August 2019.
Pavao Žanić was a Yugoslav prelate of the Catholic Church who served as the bishop of Mostar-Duvno and apostolic administrator of Trebinje-Mrkan from 1980 until his retirement in 1993. Previously, Žanić served as bishop coadjutor of Mostar-Duvno and titular bishop of Edistania from 1970 until 1980. He also served as apostolic administrator of Dubrovnik from 1988 until 1990.
Normae Congregationis (NC) is a 1978 document written by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) which sets guidelines for Catholic bishops in discerning claims of private revelation such as Marian apparitions. It specifies the manner of discernment and the authorities competent to carry out such discernment.
Romanis Pontificibus is a papal decree, issued on 6 June 1975 by Pope Paul VI, that concerns the Herzegovina Affair: the Franciscan friars of Herzegovina took control of the local parishes and refused to hand them over to the local bishops and priests, despite the Franciscan vow of obedience. The decree specified the relative jurisdictions of the friars and the diocesan clergy.
Petar Palić is a Catholic prelate who is currently the bishop of Mostar-Duvno and apostolic administrator of Trebinje-Mrkan since 2020.
Medjugorje International Youth Festival, also known as Mladifest is an annual gathering of the Catholic youth organized in Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1 and 6 August, to mark the birthday of Mary, mother of Jesus on 5 August, as claimed by the alleged seers of Marian apparitions. The festival was established in 1989 by two Franciscan priests, Slavko Barbarić and Tomislav Vlašić.
Slavko Barbarić was a Franciscan friar and a Catholic priest from Bosnia and Herzegovina involved in the alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, serving as a spiritual director of the alleged seers from 1984 until his death in 2000. He was a supporter of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
Jozo Zovko is a Herzegovinian Croat Franciscan, most notable for being a parson in Medjugorje during the alleged Marian apparitions in 1981. He was very active in the promotion of apparitions around the world. He is an adherer of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
Herzegovina Affair or Herzegovina Case refers to a conflict between the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina and the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno over the redistribution of parishes in the said diocese. The conflict between the Franciscans and the diocesan clergy started with the restoration of the regular church hierarchy in Bosnia and Herzegovina after its occupation by Austria-Hungary in 1881. The Herzegovina Case presents a problem in the relationship between the Herzegovinian clergy, as well as the Catholic faithful.