Antiochian Orthodox to Enthrone First Bishop of Los Angeles and the West


NEWS RELEASE

August 1, 2004 For further information contact:

For immediate release Fr. Peter Gillquist (805)968-8648

Antiochian Orthodox to Enthrone First Bishop of Los Angeles and the West

Immigrant bishop turned American citizen thanks God for the freedom we enjoy here.

In an historic event, the Right Reverend Bishop Joseph will be enthroned as the first bishop of the new Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of the West. The enthronement ceremony will take place Sunday, September 12, at 10:30am at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, 2300 West Third Street, Los Angeles. The Most Reverend Metropolitan PHILIP, primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese in North America, will preside.

The new diocese and bishop are results of the self-ruling status recently granted by the Holy Synod of Antioch, headquartered in Damascus, Syria, to its daughter Church in North America. With self-rule comes the re-structuring of the Antiochian Archdiocese into regional dioceses and the election of its own bishops.

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Bishop Joseph was consecrated to the episcopacy in Syria in 1991. In 1995, upon the request of Metropolitan PHILIP, the bishop was sent to the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America as one of the auxiliary bishops and was assigned by Metropolitan PHILIP to oversee the Western Region of the Archdiocese, residing in Los Angeles. Before coming to America, Bishop Joseph served as assistant to the Patriarch of Antioch and as secretary to the Holy Synod. He also was involved in missionary work, planting Churches in London and Cyprus, and for a time worked as a high school principal in Syria. In 2003, Bishop Joseph became a citizen of the United States.

“His Grace Bishop Joseph is the first of our bishops to be enthroned to lead a diocese here in America,” noted Metropolitan PHILIP. “He has served the Church with distinction and has and will bring numerous new converts into the Orthodox Church.”

“It is such an honor for me to serve the Church here in America,” Bishop Joseph told a group of Antiochian Orthodox priests last week. “As an immigrant, I can tell you freedom here is a gift from God.”

The enthronement ceremony Sunday morning is free and open to the public. A reception and luncheon honoring Bishop Joseph will follow at 1:00pm at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, 506 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles. For luncheon reservations and more information call the cathedral office at (213) 382-6269.

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