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News About His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

Metropolitan Joseph Celebrates Patronal Feast with Arizona Community

From April 23-26, 2015, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph visited the parish of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Phoenix, AZ. The active community is led by the pastor, the Very Reverend Dr. Christopher Salamy, assisted by several other clergy. During His Eminence's days ministering in Phoenix, he presided over a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy commemorating the feast day of the community's patron saint, St. George. Metropolitan Joseph's visit concluded with a celebratory banquet on April 26.

(View the Facebook photo album.)

Youth Ministry Leaders Meet with Metropolitan Joseph

L to R: Fr. Joseph Purpura, Sandy Mitchell, Fr. Noah Bushelli, Bishop Nicholas, Fr. Thomas Zain, Khalil Samara, Metropolitan Joseph, Fr. Anthony Yazge, Carole BulezaL to R: Fr. Joseph Purpura, Sandy Mitchell, Fr. Noah Bushelli, Bishop Nicholas, Fr. Thomas Zain, Khalil Samara, Metropolitan Joseph, Fr. Anthony Yazge, Carole BulezaOn Tuesday, April 21, 2015, Metropolitan Joseph convened a meeting at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, NJ, with all of the Antiochian Archdiocese Youth Ministry leaders.

In attendance were:
V. Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura – Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry
V. Rev. Fr. Anthony Yazge – Chair of the Department of Camping and Director of College Ministry
V. Rev. Fr. Noah Bushelli – representing home school parents
Carole Buleza – Director of the Department of Christian Education
Khalil Samara – Fellowship of St. John the Divine (Young Adult Ministry)
V. Rev. Thomas Zain – Spiritual Advisor of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine
Sandy Mitchell – representing Antiochian Orthodox parochial schools

His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn, NY, also joined the group for lunch.

His Eminence set forth his vision for youth ministry in the Antiochian Archdiocese, and called all of those in attendance at the meeting to start working together in their efforts to form the youth of the Archdiocese. He also stressed the importance of increasing our efforts to form our youth in Christ.

"It's time to renew our efforts, not to abolish what has been done," he said. "We must build upon what we have received, what has been delivered to us....We have a great task before us to improve these ministries to our young people across the Archdiocese. It is the right time for change and improvement.

"We cannot bury our talents," he concluded.

Assembly of Bishops Committee Chaired by Metropolitan Joseph Pursues Ambitious Agenda in 2015

Metropolitan Joseph and other bishops at Assembly meeting in Dallas, TX, Sept. 2014Metropolitan Joseph and other bishops at Assembly meeting in Dallas, TX, Sept. 2014
April 16, 2015: From the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America

Can Orthodox weddings be celebrated on Saturdays? Are group confessions permissible? How are catechumens prepared for reception into the Church?

The answers to these questions and others depend on which Orthodox jurisdiction you call home. While there are vast areas of agreement in the Orthodox Church, there are variations in practice across jurisdictions in the United States as pertain to baptism, marriage, confession, and other sacraments of the Church.

As the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America strives to manifest the unity of Orthodoxy, it is necessary to develop a common understanding among its member bishops regarding pastoral practice.

Photo Gallery: Metropolitan Joseph Celebrates Pascha

Christ is Risen! 

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph presided over the services for Great and Holy Pascha at the St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY. Assisting in this high point of the liturgical year, were Archpriest Thomas Zain, Vicar General of the Archdiocese and Dean of the Cathedral, and Fr. Adrian Budica.

View the photo gallery by St. Vladimir's seminarian Rami Dahdal.

Metropolitan Joseph Visits St. Stephen the Protomartyr Church + South Plainfield, NJ

On the fifth Sunday of Lent our parish community of St. Stephen the Protomartyr Church in South Plainfield, New Jersey, led by Father Stephen Tewfik and assisted by our Deacon Joshua Burnett, was blessed by a visit from our new Metropolitan Joseph. A week of intensive preparation led up to this historic event. Sayidna who was accompanied by sub-deacon Rassem El-Massih, delivered a homily discussing the meaning of Lent and the life of St. Mary of Egypt. The Church School children sang a church hymn for his Grace, led by our choir director, Sandra Hatrak. A fitting end to this service on the last Sunday of Antiochian Women's Month, was the induction by Sayidna into the Order of St Ignatius of Antioch of two of our parishioners, Mrs. Ibtihaj Kanj and Mrs. Guitta Barghash. Following Liturgy Sayidna was given a brief tour of our facilities and activities including Easter clothing donations to children from the local Head Start program. A delicious Lenten luncheon prepared by the ladies was served to climax a fulfilling day.

"What is This Victory?" Metropolitan Joseph on the Sunday of Orthodoxy

On March 1, 2015, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph presided over the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy for the Sunday of Orthodoxy at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, with host The Very Reverend Thomas Zain. Other hierarchs present were The Right Reverend Michael, bishop of New York and New Jersey (Orthodox Church in America); The Right Reverend Bishop Nicholas, auxiliary of Brooklyn and resident assistant to the Metropolitan; and His Grace John, bishop of Naro-Fominsk and administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA.

For the evening's Vespers, Metropolitan Joseph joined Bishop Michael, Bishop Nicholas, area clergy, Antiochian seminarians, and the faithful who braved the snowy weather, at St. John the Baptist (OCA) in Passaic, NJ. He offered the following reflections on the significance of the day. (View the photo gallery on Facebook.)

St. Paul Church Founders’ Weekend Celebrates 18 Years in Naples, Florida

Metropolitan Joseph addresses the communityMetropolitan Joseph addresses the communityParishioners of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Naples, Florida, are just now beginning to wake up from a dream ... that our newly enthroned Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America blessed us with his presence this past weekend!

Awaiting the arrival of His Eminence, Fr. Joseph and Subdeacon Rassem El Massih at the Hilton Hotel were His Grace, Bishop Antoun, Archpriest George and KH Nouhad Shalhoub, Archpriest Elia and KH Odette Shalhoub and Archdeacon David Nimer and our Council Chairman, Dr. David Thomas. The Greeters disbursed very quickly in order to allow an interval before the scheduled dinner that evening.

Metropolitan Joseph didn’t have a trumpet fanfare announcing his entrance into any event but rather chose to quietly appear in the company of His Grace Bishop Antoun, our pastor, Archpriest Joseph Shaheen, and visiting clergy!

Metropolitan Joseph Celebrates Founder's Day with Florida Community

Photo: Naples Daily NewsPhoto: Naples Daily NewsSt. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church of Naples, Florida's celebration of its 18th annual Founder's Day over the weekend of February 21 and 22 included a dinner, group talks, and a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy graced by the presence of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. The Metropolitan was joined by His Grace Bishop Antoun and their host, Archpriest Joseph Shaheen.

Several hundred people filled the church for Sunday's Liturgy, with dignitaries in attendance from around the United States. In his remarks to the Florida community, Metropolitan Joseph said Christians must refuse the path of violence, instead choosing the harder road of forgiveness.

"We will not be hostages, and we will not be puppets for anyone, and we stand for peace. ... We do not condone violence. We want open dialogue and peaceful resolution to any issues."

Anniversary of the Repose of Metropolitan Philip

Metropolitan Philip of Thrice-Blessed Memory Celebrates Pascha in 2013Metropolitan Philip of Thrice-Blessed Memory Celebrates Pascha in 2013His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph writes:

Beloved in Christ:

Greetings to you and your families as we begin our season of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. I pray you are having a blessed beginning of the Fast.

March 19 will mark the one-year anniversary of the falling-asleep of our beloved Metropolitan PHILIP of thrice-blessed memory. It is hard to believe a whole year has already passed since our father and chief-shepherd of more than 48 years reposed. His life and legacy will continue to be with us and inspire us for many years to come. May God rest his soul with the saints and may his memory be eternal!

So that we might commemorate this anniversary in a unified way, I am directing all of our hierarchs and clergy to hold Trisagion Prayers of Mercy in their respective parishes throughout the entire archdiocese on Sunday, March 22 (the Fourth Sunday of the Fast) at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy.

I will preside over the official memorial at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY on that Sunday along with several guest hierarchs from our sister jurisdictions.

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.