Skip to Navigation

Writings from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph has an extensive selection of text and audio teachings that have been published over the years. The collection will continue to be expanded as he shares new material with the faithful.

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for the Feast of the Dormition

Pastoral Message for the Feast of the Dormition
August 15, 2015

 In thy birth-giving, O Theotokos, thou didst keep and preserve virginity; and in thy falling-asleep thou hast not forsaken the world; for thou wast translated into life, being the Mother of Life. Wherefore, by thine intercessions, deliver our souls from death. (Apolytikion of the Dormition)

We greet you with love and joy on this Feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady Theotokos!

The Apolytikion quoted above transmits to us the essence of this feast.  The Most Holy Lady Theotokos, in her falling asleep, has shown us the true meaning of the term “falling asleep in Christ”.  We do not focus on her death, but rather her translation from her earthly life to her eternal life in heaven.

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for the Feast of The Transfiguration

Pastoral Message for the Feast of The Transfiguration
August 6, 2015

“Today hast Thou manifested on Mount Tabor, O Lord, the glory of Thy divine image to the chosen of Thy Disciples, Peter, James and John; for when they saw Thy garments glistening as light, and Thy face surpassing the sun in splendor, and they could no more bear to behold Thine unbearable radiance, they fell to the ground, utterly unable to gaze upon it; and they heard a voice from on high testifying and saying: ‘This is My beloved Son, Who cometh into the world to save man.’” (The Idiomelon for the Feast of the Transfiguration from the Vespers of the feast)

We greet you with love and joy on this Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ on Mount Tabor.

The text above transmits to us the essence of this feast.  Whereas our Lord Jesus Christ had previously revealed His divine power through His working of miracles, He now physically reveals “the glory of His divine form” to Peter, James and John on Mount Tabor.  The great prophets Moses and Elias appear with deference to the Lord further revealing that the prophets are His servants, and that our Lord Jesus Christ rules as King above all creation.

Metropolitan Joseph's Letter in Support of March for Marriage

On April 25, 2015, on the National Mall in Washington D.C., people journeyed from around the U.S. for the March for Marriage. This year's March included an Orthodox gathering, sponsored by the group Crown Them With Glory. Prior to the March, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph released a letter encouraging the faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese to participate. Given its timeliness, we are reposting that message below.

To our Beloved Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy and all of the Faithful of this God- Protected Archdiocese:

Blessings to you during this Holy Season of the Great Fast! On January 16th of this year, the Supreme Court agreed to hear four new cases on same-sex "marriage," and "rule on the power of the states to ban same-sex "marriages" and to refuse to recognize such "marriages" performed in another state." More details on the announcement can be found at the Supreme Court's website.

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for Great and Holy Pascha

Pastoral Message for Great and Holy Pascha
April 12, 2015

Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad, as is meet; and let the whole world, visible and invisible, feast; for Christ hath risen to everlasting joy.
(from the 1st Ode of the Paschal Canon)

Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen!

We greet you with great joy and love as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Resurrection of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ. We are reminded by the hymn quoted above that the entire universe rejoices in this singular event which brings new life to all creation. Even the current state of violence and hatred which plagues this world is shattered to pieces by the Lord's descent into Hades and his resurrection from the dead. We ask all of the faithful to continue to pray for the two abducted bishops, Metropolitan Paul, and Archbishop Youhanna, and the victims of violence around the world, especially in Syria and in the entire region. The victory of our Lord Jesus Christ over the powers of death, and the hope of new life are indeed our only consolation during these troubled times. The triumph of this Paschal season strengthens our faith and renews our hope. Let us therefore rejoice with the heavens and celebrate with the entire universe on this, the Feast of Feasts!

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for the Triumphant Entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem

Palm Sunday – April 5, 2015

Sitting on Your throne in heaven, Carried on a foal on earth, O Christ God! Accept the praise of angels and the songs of children who sing: Blessed is He that comes to recall Adam! (Kontakion for Palm Sunday)

We greet you with love and joy on this Palm Sunday which celebrates the Triumphant Entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.

The Kontakion for the feast which is quoted above expresses with great eloquence the worship and praise which are due to our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ by His children. Today He enters Jerusalem not majestically as an earthly king, but as a humble servant. He who is the mightiest King of all deigns to sit on the back of a lowly beast so that He might teach us humility.

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for the Feast of The Annunciation

March 25, 2015

Behold, our restoration is now made manifest; God is ineffably joined to man.  At the words of the Archangel, error has vanished. The Virgin has received the joyful news, and the things of earth have become those of heaven.  The world is released from the ancestral curse.  Let the whole creation rejoice, singing a hymn of praise, Lord our creator and deliverer, Glory to You!   ~From the Vesperal Aposticha for the Feast of the Annunciation

We greet you with love and joy on this Feast of the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Most Holy Theotokos.

The reading above transmits to us the essence of this feast, which is the action of a loving God which initiates the events by which humankind is saved from the ancestral error of Adam and Eve.  The Archangel announces to the woman who will become the Most Holy Theotokos that she has been chosen to be the vessel through which God Himself will take human flesh, become a Man, and dwell among his creation.

Living the Christian Life in a Secular Age

by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph

The following remarks were given by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph at the Ss. Athanasius and Cyril Symposium held at St. Andrew Orthodox Church, Riverside, CA on February 7, 2015. The Theme of the Symposium was "The City, a Desert – Living the Life of the Desert in the Midst of the World". Other speakers included Archimandrite Irenei, founder and director of the Institute, Archimandrite Gerasim, rector of St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral in Dallas, TX and former abbot of St. Herman Monastery in Platina, CA, Fr. Andrew Cuneo, rector of St. Katherine Mission (OCA) in Carlsbad, CA and V. Rev. Josiah Trenham, pastor of the host parish.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Reverend fathers and deacons, beloved faithful, and you who seek for the refreshing waters in the oasis of the Church, I extend the blessing to you in the name of the Lord. We take up a powerful theme in this conference, a theme which brings us to reflect upon the relationship of our Christian faith and life in this tempestuous and dynamic world around us with the simple quiet and solitude of the desert wilderness.

Pastoral Message for the Great Fast 2015

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph writes:

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, faintheartedness, lust of power and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to Thy servant. Yea O Lord and King, grant me to see my own sins and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages, Amen.
(Prayer of St. Ephraim The Syrian)

We greet you with anticipation as we draw near to the beginning of the Great Fast in preparation for the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ.

The beautiful prayer above embodies the true spirit of the Lenten Season as we struggle to draw nearer to God.

2014 Nativity Pastoral Message of His Eminence Joseph, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

“Come, O God-inspired faithful, arise and behold the descent of God from on high! He manifests Himself to us in Bethlehem. Let us cleanse our minds and offer Him a life of virtue instead of myrrh. Let us prepare with faith to celebrate His Nativity, storing up spiritual treasure and crying out: Glory in the highest to God in Trinity! His good pleasure is now revealed to men. In his love for mankind He sets Adam free from the ancestral curse”. (Idiomelon for the Sixth Hour of the Nativity)

We greet you with joy as we draw near to the glorious feast of the Nativity of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ!

The beautiful hymn above embodies the true spirit of Christmas as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. God comes down to us from on high, and chooses to be born as a babe in the most humble of settings, the cave in Bethlehem. We strive to respond to this outpouring of love from God by cleansing our minds from all carnal thoughts and passions. Whereas the Kings of the East offered Him myrrh, our appropriate offering is a life of virtue, free from all of the sinfulness that would separate us from our God.

The Speech of His Eminence Joseph at His Enthronement as Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

Today we commemorate our great father among the saints, Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra, the patron of this holy Cathedral. How greatly loved he is throughout the Christian world! He is even honored in popular culture, a fact well known to you all. Let us focus for a moment on the Troparion for St. Nicholas:

Thy works of justice did reveal Thee
to Thy community as a canon of faith,
the likeness of humility
and the teacher of abstinence.

O, Thou Father and great Bishop Nicholas.
Wherefore by humility
thou didst achieve exaltation,
and by Thy meekness wealth,

Intercede therefore,
intercede with Christ
that He will save our souls.

The Season of Advent: How are We Called to Respond?

By His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph

Advent 2014

Greetings and Blessings to the Members of the Antiochian Women, The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, The Fellowship of St. John the Divine, Teen SOYO, and all of the beloved faithful of this archdiocese.

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight the paths of our God” (Isaiah 40:3).

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary offers the following as one of the definitions for the word “prepare”: “to make yourself ready for something that you will be doing or something that you expect to happen.”

How appropriate it is to focus on the word “prepare” as it relates to the goal of the Advent Season. We are called to prepare ourselves to meet Jesus Christ Himself, the Incarnate God.

The Word Interviews Metropolitan Joseph

Bishop John visited Metropolitan Joseph on July 26, 2014, to receive his blessings and a message for the readers of The Word. Metropolitan Joseph was hospitable, candid and loving. Here is what he had to say. 

We thank God for all of His blessings, wisdom and guidance bestowed upon us. I thank our Father in Christ, Patriarch John X, for his leadership, love and constant prayers for this Archdiocese. We pray to almighty God that He will grant our Father, Patriarch John X, strength and perseverance during this critical time in the life of our Patriarchate, especially the challenges and danger facing the people and land of the Middle East. We thank my brother Metropolitans, the members of the Holy Synod of Antioch, for their confidence, their love and their support. I also would like to take this opportunity to thank my brother hierarchs of this Archdiocese for all of their hard work, godly ministry and efforts to maintain the unity and strength of our Archdiocese. We pray that the merciful God will remember our beloved Metropolitan Philip in His heavenly Kingdom and will reward him richly for all of the accomplishments realized during his half-century ministry. He left for us a big legacy to build upon.

Now we begin a new chapter in the life the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese is not one person, but the whole body; metropolitan, hierarchs, clergy, monastics and all the believers.

Metropolitan Joseph Speaks at the 2014 Clergy Symposium

Update July 23: A full written transcription of His Eminence's speech is available below.

At the closing banquet of the 2014 Clergy Symposium, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, gave a speech including his initial vision for the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America (beginning at 11:20 in the recorded audio). These remarks are available as an audio recording from Ancient Faith Radio

His Eminence says in part:

Tonight, I am going to utilize my time by sharing with you my vision for the future of this Archdiocese. I truly believe that each and every one of us is an important and integral part of this body. We are grateful for everything that our beloved Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory created over the past 48 years. We humbly accept the fruit of his labor, as well as the labor of the faithful who worked alongside him and the legacy upon which we will now build. We have serious work ahead of us. We don’t have time to waste. ...

Memorial Address for the Repose of Metropolitan Philip Saliba

Delivered by His Eminence, Archbishop Joseph of Los Angeles and the West, Locum Tenans, at the Antiochian Village, March 31, 2014

Your Eminences, Your Graces, my brothers in the Risen Lord; the very reverend, reverend priests and deacons, our beloved clergy; Dear beloved faithful, Saliba family and friends of our God-protected Archdiocese.

Today is the day that we bid the final farewell to our father, brother and friend in Christ of long years, Metropolitan Philip Saliba. How many times has the church echoed with his bass voice, expounding the Gospel of peace and forgiveness?

I express my gratitude on behalf of our Archdiocese for the pastoral care exercised by our father in Christ, His Beatitude, Patriarch John X, and his vicar, His Eminence, Metropolitan Silouan, during this time of mourning over the loss of our Metropolitan. With the care of the Mother Church, the See of Antioch, we here in North America sense in the heart of our souls the community of love guaranteed by the apostolic spirit of Ss. Peter and Paul. We know that our Church will continue and thrive in the spirit of the Gospel because of such faithful and consistent pastoral love.

His Eminence Archbishop Joseph's Advent Message: "The Orthodox Advent Tradition"

In November, 2012, Archbishop Joseph offered the following Nativity reflections to the faithful.

Contemplating the blessings of the Advent season, at times we ponder whether we have lost our blessings to the material world in which we live. Surrounded by ostentatious displays of wealth and unhealthy indulgences, we realize that they are slowly taking the place of more appropriate preparations for the celebration of Christmas. The very foundation of the Christmas Feast is the birth of an unassuming Child born quietly, humbly. The King of Glory was born of a mother who was turned away from every house, in a cave among the animals who could not speak.

Advent is the time of our preparation to meet the Lord of Lords. Certainly, we desire to offer our best gifts to the Christ Child, but they must be gifts of substance - the gifts of prayer, repentance, forgiveness and love.

Let No One Despise Your Youth

On October 8, 2011, Archbishop Joseph offered this homily encouraging parents of adolescents.

"It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth."
Lamentations 3:27.

"Let no one despise your youth."
1 Timothy 4:12

+
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Our holy Mother Church teaches us and nourishes us spiritual children with the food of eternal life, even the flesh and blood of the Son of God Who loved us and gave Himself for us. All of us are "children of God" and little brethren of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Father adopted us in the Son through holy Baptism and constantly feeds us with "the good things of Jerusalem," His sweet divine Grace. As those born again from the baptismal font and who live in Christ, we know the sweetness of spiritual youth, learning and growing. Even though our bodies grow old with age, our hearts and minds within become ever young in renewed faith, hope, and love. Truly in the holy Orthodox Church, in the company with the Mother of God and all the saints, we are ever growing, ever young.

The Modern Pastorate

On March 10, 2008,  His Grace Bishop Joseph addressed the faculty and seminarians at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, New York.

Father John Behr, Dean, Father Chad Hatfield, Chancellor, Reverend Presbyters and Deacons, Seminarians and Distinguished Guests:

Over the ages, the practices of the Church have evolved in the ever-more difficult quest to save mankind from spiritual death. While our Lord, Jesus Christ, through His Resurrection, has saved us from the consequences of humanity's fall, i.e., death and tyranny of the evil one, the devil's temptations have remained relentless.

Although religion has played a major factor in shaping the identity of the American Culture, the secularization of the society is inflicting evil on the American mindset. The attempts of de-Christianizing the American culture are ruthless. These malicious attacks are driving the new generation to forsake their centuries-old culture for the sake of self-gratification and alleged compensations.

Whereas the American population is still manifesting religious observances, the genuine characters of these observances are not for the most part worthy of acceptance. Many Churches are undergoing the worst predicament of Faith and Morals in their History. The fragmentation of American Churches into conflicting bodies has uprooted the Christian ethos from the Churches.

For this reason, many individuals and groups are changing their religions and their denominations, inasmuch as they are changing their jobs, their habitation, and their spouses. Many adults leave their cradle faith for another one. Becoming a highly competitive marketplace, religion is a buyer's market where many groups dilute their traditional beliefs in order to compete.

On the Holy Icons

On February 25, 2007, His Grace Bishop Joseph gave the Sunday of Orthodoxy Address in Worcester, MA.

Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, Reverend Deacons, and brethren in Christ:

On this first Sunday of the Holy Fast, we commemorate our Holy Fathers who struggled, suffered and, in some cases, perished for the sake of the Holy Icons. Since 843 AD, the Church has celebrated this day in honor of those martyrs and confessors whose faithfulness to the theology of icons was upheld at the Seventh Ecumenical Council, and the holy Empress Theodora, who ended decades of persecuting the Church, and restored the Icons.

The question many ask is why would a man or woman suffer and choose death for the sake of mere works of art? The truth is that icons are not simply works of art, but they are something more.

The icon is a type and an image of spiritual reality which constitutes the highest truth. It is a testimony of what exists, showing in itself what it depicts. The icon is a depiction of real people transformed by real grace. The icon bears testimony to the existence of both holy people and the Living God who has true relationships with these people. Icons express the hope for us all, that God has not abandoned mankind.

In the icon, we see that God is not some abstract concept. He is real because we can see His marvelous works in the faces of the saints depicted in iconography. Icons bring all of the truth of God and the saints into us as we gaze upon them, kiss them, and venerate them.

The second council of Nicea (7th Ecumenical council) clearly states: “I venerate the icons and the relics with honor (τιμητικῶς), hoping to have a share in their holiness.”

Attaining the Kingdom Of Heaven

By Metropolitan Joseph

This article is adapted from a speech given by His Eminence to a Northern California Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America retreat in November, 2002.

How do we attain the Kingdom of Heaven? Where is it to be found? It is very easy for us in the Western world to view this Kingdom as something that one attains as a final destination or ending of a journey. As Orthodox Christians, we believe that the Kingdom of Heaven is Christ Himself, not a physical place or location.

It is within Christ that the Kingdom is to be experienced. For this reason, we cannot think of the Kingdom as something we are either “in” or “out” of. Through baptism and a life of repentance, we participate in the Life of Christ, and thus we participate in the Kingdom. The Kingdom is a dynamic state, wherein we grow in perfection through God’s grace. Our journey is not to the Kingdom, our journey is in the Kingdom.

As long as we are struggling to be Christlike, we are assuredly tasting of the Fountain of Immortality. When the struggle ends and the growth ceases, the Kingdom disappears. It is nowhere to be found. The moment we think we have achieved something, that we have earned our place, then we have lost the Kingdom. Our struggles are meaningless without Christ, and vice versa: without struggles, we are meaningless, because we will lose Christ.