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News About His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

Metropolitan Joseph's Formative Years: A Reflection

November 2, 2008: Metropolitan Joseph stands with his lifelong mentor and spiritual father Patriarch Ignatius IV in Boston before the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy.November 2, 2008: Metropolitan Joseph stands with his lifelong mentor and spiritual father Patriarch Ignatius IV in Boston before the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy.His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph Reflects on Early Lessons Learned from His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch and All the East

by Subdeacon Peter Samore

All he knew was that he was going to Balamand. Everything else was in God's hands.

In 1964, a 13-year-old Joseph Al-Zehlaoui had been recruited by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East to study at a newly established secondary school next to the seminary and monastery at Balamand near Tripoli, Lebanon. His parents, Georgi and Matilda, had consented to send their fifth of six children at a tender age to a sacred place to know our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ; and to learn how to serve His Holy Church.

Nowadays, the automobile drive between Damascus, young Joseph's hometown, and Tripoli takes just a few hours. In 1964, the drive took several days. And it took several automobiles – taxicabs – to transport the future Metropolitan of North America to his educational and spiritual center. He had some company: boys who would grow up to become Metropolitan Damaskinos Mansour of Brazil; Metropolitan George Abu-Zakhem of Homs, Syria; and Archimandrite Elias Bitar, a legendary priest of the North American archdiocese.

The Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph: Celebrations of East and West

Imagine the spiritual renewal, excitement, festivities and joyful reunion of the clergy and laity at a Parish Life Conference or an Archdiocesan Convention – in the middle of winter.

Antiochian Orthodox Christians on this continent did not have to wait until summertime for such large gatherings. We had great cause for celebration before then – the enthronement of a new metropolitan, the first that the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America had celebrated in 48 years.

The Archdiocese came together twice this winter – first in Brooklyn, and then in Los Angeles – to celebrate the beginning of the leadership of its new father and chief shepherd: His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph. Inaugurating the first celebration was none other than his roommate in the late 1970s at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, Greece, who is now the successor to the throne of the Apostles Peter and Paul: His Beatitude, Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East. (View photo galleries, video, and press releases in Antiochian.org's special Enthronement section)

Metropolitan Joseph Celebrates Milestones with Chicago Community

Metropolitan Joseph elevates Fr. MousaMetropolitan Joseph elevates Fr. MousaView the photos by Toni Milak and Sami Studio.

Between January 15– 18, 2015, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph made his first visit to Chicago as Metropolitan, to St. Mary Orthodox Church of Palos Heights, IL, to join Fr. Mousa Haddad, Fr. Malek Rihani, and their parishioners. Throughout the weekend, His Eminence and the St. Mary community celebrated the tremendous growth the church has experienced since starting as a mission only eleven years ago, and looked forward in anticipation of the expansion and renovation of their recently purchased building.

On Thursday January 15 His Eminence, accompanied by His Grace Bishop Nicholas, were welcomed at Chicago's O'Hare airport by a large delegation led by Fr. Mousa and Mr. Luai Sweiss, the Chairman of St. Mary's Parish Council. This delegation included the Antiochian clergy of the Chicagoland area, local members of the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees, and parish community leaders. After the arrival of His Eminence, the group was treated to a wonderful lunch hosted by Board of Trustees member Constantin Kari.

Jubilee Year of the Repose of St. Raphael of Brooklyn

Letter regarding the Jubilee Year of the repose of St. Raphael of Brooklyn, to be read from the pulpit, published in church bulletins and newsletters, and posted on parish websites:

January, 2015

Brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Esteemed Members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees and Parish Councils, Department Chairs and Beloved Faithful:

Greetings to you and your families in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray you all enjoyed a blessed feast of Theophany.

2015 is an historic year in the life of our God-protected archdiocese. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the falling-asleep of St. Raphael of Brooklyn as well as the 120th anniversary of our Mother Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Brooklyn and, therefore, our Antiochian presence on these blessed shores.

Our father in Christ, Patriarch JOHN X, inaugurated this jubilee year during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn on December 7th. Throughout 2015, we will mark this anniversary at various places and locations, including, but not limited to, the Antiochian Village, St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, the archdiocese convention in Boston and St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. Likewise, the theme of our convention and parish life conferences, as well as the various festivals and contests is centered on, and will reflect on the life of this "good shepherd of the lost sheep in America."

Patriarch John Concludes North American Visit with Maryland Patriarchal Liturgy

Metropolitan Tikhon (OCA) and Patriarch John XMetropolitan Tikhon (OCA) and Patriarch John XOn Sunday, December 14, 2014, the final day of his visit to the United States before flying home from Washington, D.C.'s Dulles Airport, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, alongside His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, presided over a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy at Ss. Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Potomac, MD

Joining them was His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America. (See the OCA's account of the joyous celebration here.) His Eminence Metropolitan Sabba and His Eminence Metropolitan Vasileios also concelebrated at the Liturgy.

Prior to Sunday's Liturgy, the parish of Ss. Peter & Paul hosted Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph for several events. A concert of Orthodox liturgical Christmas music on Friday, December 12, featured selections from Sergei Rachmaninoff's Vespers, and Byzantine Nativity selections sung by Archmandrite Elias Bitar, George Theodoritis, and Raseem El Massih. On Saturday night, Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph presided over Great Vespers, and then attended a banquet held in their honor.

Patriarch and Metropolitan Visit St. George, Little Falls, NJ

Photo: Michael KarasPhoto: Michael KarasHis Beatitude Patriarch John X and His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph presided at Vespers Service on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Little Falls, NJ. The service was followed by an open reception. NorthJersey.com reported that the evening "was a night of simple joy in the church's North Jersey community."

Staff writer Jeff Green noted that His Beatitude "John X spoke for about 20 minutes about building unity between the church in the U.S. and abroad, as well as about peace in the Middle East, notably war-devastated Syria.

“'We are one church, we are one community and the distances do not divide us, do not separate us,'" said the Patriarch. 

OCN Video Interviews of Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph

His Beatitude Patriarch John X and His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph were interviewed by Fr. Christopher Metropulos of Orthodox Christian Network at Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, NJ, on Friday, December 5, on the eve of Metropolitan Joseph's Enthronement as Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America.

Watch the informative interviews, each about 20 minutes in length, below:

His Beatitude Visits the United Nations, Holds Press Conference

On December 10, during his final day in the New York area, His Beatitude, John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, visited the United Nations and held meetings with a variety of officials. (Watch press conference here.) His first meeting was with the Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Ian Eliasson. During that meeting, as well as the other meetings, His Beatitude stressed that the only solution to the crisis in Syria is one of negotiations and peace, not of bombs and war, saying “The Syrian people ask for peace and welfare for themselves and for everyone on earth.” He continued by saying that “as a Christian leader, I can also speak on behalf of the Islamic leaders in Syria in that we all reject extremism. In Greater Syria we have been co-existing for hundred of years.” He also relayed in his various meetings that with regard to humanitarian relief the Orthodox Church is helping everyone, regardless of sect or religion. He stressed that, as Christians, we do not want to be considered a minority that needs special protection, but that the Christians are all part of the fabric of the society and are equal citizens in every respect.

Antiochian Leaders Meet Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

On Tuesday, December 9, the North American visit of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, continued as he and His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph led an Archdiocese group to a meeting, prayers, and reception with His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America at their New York headquarters.

View a photo gallery of the day's meetings.

See our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.

Hierarchs Convene at Archdiocese Headquarters

On Monday, December 8, the Antiochian Metropolitans and Bishops, gathered for the Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, met with His Beatitude Patriarch John X at Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, NJ.

View a Photo Gallery of the Meeting

See our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.

Release: New Head of Antiochian Church in America Enthroned; Antiochian Patriarch to Meet with Officials on Issues in Syria

For Immediate Release: December 8, 2014

The second largest Orthodox Christian Church in North America has a new leader, enthroned by the head of one of the oldest churches on earth.

On  Sat. Dec. 6, the Patriarch of Antioch and All of the East, Patriarch John X of Damascus, Syria, enthroned Metropolitan Joseph as new head of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in North America at that Church’s national St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York.

Metropolitan Joseph was selected by the Holy Synod of Antioch on July 3 to succeed Metropolitan Philip who died March 19 and headed the Antiochian Church in North America for over 48 years. Metropolitan Joseph was formerly the Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West.

He now heads the entire Antiochian Orthodox Church in America, with nine bishops, over 400 clergy, 266 parishes and missions, and about 100,000 faithful throughout the United States and Canada. Over the last 40 years, the Antiochian church has received a sizable number of converts to Orthodoxy in the Americas.

The Speech of His Beatitude Patriarch John X at the Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

Your Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph,

Brother hierarchs and beloved clergy,

Your Excellencies, and beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,

I address you with the peace of Christ. I address you with the word of the Word who lived among us. "My peace I leave to you, my peace I give to you" (John 14:27). The enthronement of a bishop in the church is the enthronement of peace and love in her midst. Now, the Church expresses her full essence within a community governed with love. O Sayedna, Joseph, in the name of all your brothers in the Antiochian Orthodox Church, I address you personally:

Here, we stand now before the throne of the church. This throne will be honored with your love, covered with your wisdom and ardent with your apostolic Antiochian zeal. Bless this throne, be blessed with this throne through your sacrificial ministry and bless the church entrusted to your paternal care.

Patriarchal Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Sunday, December 7

On Sunday, December 7, His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, presided over the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, broadcast live around the world by Noursat television.

View a Photo Gallery of the Patriarchal Liturgy

See our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.

Axios! Metropolitan Joseph is Enthroned by Patriarch John X

On Saturday, December 6, 2014, the Feast of St. Nicholas, His Eminence Joseph, Metropolitan of New York and All North America, was enthroned at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York, by His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. May God grant him many, many years!

View a photo gallery of the evening Enthronement.

Listen to audio recordings of the Enthronement remarks of Metropolitan Joseph and Patriarch John X, via Ancient Faith Radio.

View a photo gallery of the morning Divine Liturgy commemorating St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra.

View a photo gallery of the evening's Gala Enthronement Banquet.

See our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.

Watch Enthronement Weekend Services

Update Sunday Dec. 7:

Noursat's global live broadcast of the Saturday Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, and the Sunday Divine Liturgy led by His Beatitude Patriarch John X, at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York, has now concluded. Recorded video will be made available online as soon as possible in the coming days.

Antiochian Leaders Interviewed

The morning of Friday, December 5, brought media to Archdiocese headquarters for interviews, including John Maddex of Ancient Faith Radio and Fr. Christopher Metropulos of Orthodox Christian Network.

Listen here to an extensive hour-long audio interview by Ancient Faith Radio of Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph, addressing a wide range of subjects including Syria, the Assembly of Bishops, Evangelism, and the future vision for the Antiochian Orthodox Church.

See our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.

Hierarchical Dinner at Archdiocese Headquarters

The North American visit of Patriarch John X continued on the evening of Thursday, December 4, as Metropolitan Joseph hosted a special dinner at Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, NJ.

View a photo gallery of the evening hereSee our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.

Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph Host St. Vladimir's Seminary Leaders

In an expression of love and solidarity with the suffering Orthodox Christians in the Middle East, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary presented a gift of $8,000 to Patriarch John X on Thursday, December 4. His Beatitude will personally oversee distribution of the monies, given to alleviate the difficult conditions of the Orthodox faithful of Syria.

The gift represents a tithe, one-tenth of the total of $80,000 donated to the seminary during its successful #GivingTuesday campaign conducted on December 2. Seminary Chancellor/CEO Archpriest Chad Hatfield and Dean Archpriest John Behr were received by Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph at the Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, NJ, on His Beatitude's first full day in the United States.

His Beatitude Patriarch John X Arrives

His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, arrived safely at New York City's JFK airport in the evening on Wednesday, December 3, and was met by an Archdiocese delegation led by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. View a photo gallery of the arrival. See our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.

Service Texts for the Enthronement Now Available

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph has blessed the posting of the liturgical texts that follow for the weekend of his Enthronement, set for December 5-7, 2014 at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Brooklyn, New York.

All of the visiting clergy, laity and guests - as well as people watching on television or online - can print or download to their electronic devices these texts so that they can more easily follow the divine services. They also include "patriarchal elements," that is, portions of the services reserved for His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, or for his designees. His Beatitude will either preside over or celebrate all divine services.

On December 5-6, the Cathedral celebrates its patron saint, Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia on the anniversary of his passing into eternal life on December 6, 343. On December 7, His Beatitude will celebrate the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy with Sayidna Joseph and approximately 35 Orthodox Christian bishops, many from the Patriarchate of Antioch.

Release: Patriarch from Syria Coming to Enthrone New Head of Antiochian Church in America

For Immediate Release: November 25, 2014

The head of one of the oldest churches on earth will come to America to enthrone the new head of one of the largest Orthodox Christian Churches in North America.

The Patriarch of Antioch, Patriarch John X, will come from Damascus, Syria, to enthrone Metropolitan Joseph as new head of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in North America.

The enthronement will take place Sat. Dec. 6 at 4:30 p.m. at the Church’s St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY. 

Metropolitan Joseph was selected by the Holy Synod of Antioch on July 3 to succeed Metropolitan Philip, who died March 19. Metropolitan Joseph was formerly the Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West.

He now heads the entire Antiochian Orthodox Church in America, with nine bishops, over 400 clergy, and 266 parishes and missions throughout the United States and Canada.

Archpriest Thomas Zain Interviewed by Ancient Faith Radio on the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph

Fr. Thomas Zain and Patriarch John XFr. Thomas Zain and Patriarch John XFr. Thomas Zain of Brooklyn's St. Nicholas Cathedral, and Vicar General of the Antiochian Archdiocese, reflects in a wide-ranging audio interview on the historic significance of the enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph coming on December 6; the visits of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and metropolitans and representatives from across the worldwide Antiochian Church; the process that has unfolded since the repose of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of blessed memory; specific plans for the weekend; and more.

Listen to the interview on Ancient Faith Radio.

"A Tribute of Love": October 22-26, 2014

"...Put on LOVE, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." Colossians 3:14

In that perfect harmony rooted in love, Saint George Cathedral in Coral Gables, Florida joyfully and gratefully offered "A Tribute of Love" during the historic and memorable weekend of October 22-26, 2014.

Saint George Cathedral was honored to host His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, who presided over the Fall 2014 Archdiocese meetings of the Bishops, Board of Trustees, the Order of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, and the Antiochian Village Council.

Metropolitan Joseph Consecrates Dome of Basilica of St. Mary

By The Very Rev. George Shalhoub, and Parish Ministries Coordinator and Cantor Christina Stavros

View Photo Gallery

There are special moments in the lives of men and women that leave an everlasting impression. If we are Orthodox Christians, these moments are those that serve to aid and empower us in our journey towards Christ. This past weekend (October 31- November 2nd) was such a moment in the life of The Basilica of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Livonia, Michigan.

In the presence of our beloved and newly-elected Metropolitan Joseph, our local Bishop Anthony, scores of clergy, and Teen SOYO from around the diocese who were present for the 2014 Fall Gathering, we witnessed with our own eyes the consecration of our holy icons in the dome of our church by His Eminence Joseph's holy hand. This moment will remain forever etched in the minds, hearts, and souls, of the faithful of our parish.

Updates on the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph

Planning continues for the weekend of December 5-7, and the enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY. Check our enthronement section for the latest information and resources.

Update October 31: Our block of hotel rooms at the Brooklyn Marriott is sold out for Friday and Saturday evening. You can try booking directly at marriott.com. You may continue to check the original link as rooms may pop up from time to time if people cancel. You can also check other hotels in the area including the Sheraton Brooklyn.

Update October 27: While seating for the Saturday banquet will be reserved, seating in the Cathedral for the general public for all services will be on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be closed-circuit television in the basement of the Cathedral for the overflow crowd. We plan to live-stream both the enthronement and the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy via antiochian.org and NOURSAT, that will be providing live coverage. Check back for details closer to the weekend.