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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.

Address to the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation 18th International Conference

Keynote address given October 15th, 2016 by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph to the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) 18th International Conference:

On behalf of my 270 parish communities of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese in North America, I thank you for your invitation to address the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation 18th International Conference.

I am grateful to the Board of Directors of the Foundation for bestowing upon me this special award, which I accept on behalf of all Antiochian Orthodox Christians in North America, who have and will continue to support their brethren in the Holy Land during these difficult times.

The theme of this conference "Forging a New Bond of Solidarity for Equality, Prosperity, and Peace," shall be addressed by distinguished scholars and academic speakers. However, I, as a religious leader, would like to make this presentation based on spirituality.

Letter of Condolence from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph to His Beatitude Patriarch John X

April 8, 2016

His Beatitude John X
Patriarch of Antioch and all the East

Beloved Sayedna and Father in Christ:

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His holy ones” (Psalm 116:5)

It is with a sadness that we have learned of the falling asleep in Christ of your beloved mother, Rosa. On behalf of myself, my brother bishops, the clergy, the members of the Board of Trustees, the heads of the departments and organizations, and all of the faithful of this Archdiocese, we offer our prayers and condolences as you struggle with the departure of your beloved mother, especially at a time when so many events are weighing so heavily on your shoulders.

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

Pastoral Message for the Feast of the Annunciation

March 25, 2016

"Today is the beginning of our salvation, and the manifestation of the mystery from the ages; for the Son of God becometh the Son of the Virgin, and Gabriel proclaimeth grace. Wherefore, do we shout with him to the Theotokos: Rejoice, O full of grace! The Lord is with thee". (Apolytikion of the Annunciation)

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

The Apolytikion quoted above communicates to us the awesome nature of this holy feast, which is the action of a loving God which initiates the events by which humankind is redeemed from the sins of the past. The Archangel announces to the woman who will become the Most Holy Theotokos that she has been chosen to be the tabernacle which will hold the very Son of God.

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for the Great Fast 2016

Pastoral Message for the Great Fast 2016 

“Thy grace hath risen, O Lord and the illumination of our souls hath shown forth.  Lo, now is the acceptable time; the season of repentance hath come.  Let us cast down the works of darkness, and put on the works of light, that we may pass the great tempest of fasting and reach the summit of the third day Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Savior of our souls.”  (from the Aposticha of the Vesper Service for the Evening of Cheese Fare)

We greet you with anticipation as we embark on the Holy Season of the Great Fast in preparation for the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ.

The beautiful verse above embodies the true spirit of the Lenten Season as we begin our journey to draw nearer to God so that we may worthily rejoice in His Resurrection.  We are called to “cast down the works of darkness, and put on the works of light”.

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for Forgiveness Sunday

Pastoral Message for Forgiveness Sunday

March 13, 2016

“If you forgive other people few things, few of your own will be forgiven.  If you forgive many things, many of your own will be forgiven.  If you forgive them with sincerity and with your whole heart, God will forgive yours in the same manner.  If after forgiving you make your enemy into your friend, thus will God also be disposed towards you”.

(St. John Chrysostom on Genuine Forgiveness)

We greet you on this holy day of Forgiveness Sunday as we stand on the threshold of the Great Fast and ask one another for forgiveness of our sins.

The beautiful quote above from St. John Chrysostom is a powerful reminder of the importance of forgiveness which helps us to understand why we recite in the Lord’s Prayer “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Pastoral Message for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

February 2, 2016

“Say, O Simeon, Whom carriest thou in the Temple in thine arms with rejoicing? Towards Whom dost thou cry, shouting, Now I have been let to depart; for I have beheld my Savior. This is He born of the Virgin. This is the Word, God of God, Who wast incarnate for our sakes, and saved man. Him let us worship.”

(From the Stichera of Great Vespers for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord)

We greet you with love and joy on this Holy Feast of the Presentation of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ into the Temple.  The verse from the Great Vespers of the holy feast which is quoted above transmits to us the essence of this holy feast.

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for the Feast of the Theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ

“When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan, worship of the Trinity wast made manifest; for the voice of the Father bore witness to Thee, calling Thee His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truth of His word. O Christ our God, Who hath appeared and enlightened the world, glory to Thee.” 

+The Apolytikion of the Feast of the Theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ

We greet you with love and joy on this holy Feast of the Theophany of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ.  The Apolytikion of the feast which is quoted above transmits to us the essence of this feast.  Our Lord and God Jesus Christ deigns to be baptized at the hands of John the Baptist, not because he is in need of cleansing of sin, for He is without sin, but so that He might reveal  to us His true identity and at the same time, honor and affirm the new life that comes through baptism.

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ

This is our festival, this is the feast we celebrate today, in which God comes to live with human beings, that we may journey toward God, or return—for to speak thus is more exact—that laying aside the old human being we may be clothed with the new, and that as in Adam we have died so we may live in Christ, born with Christ and crucified with Him, buried with Him, and rising with Him. For it is necessary for me to undergo the good turnaround, and as painful things came from more pleasant things, so out of painful things more pleasant things must return. "For where sin abounded, grace superabounded," and if the taste of forbidden fruit condemned, how much more does the Passion of Christ justify? Therefore we celebrate the feast not like a pagan festival but in a godly manner, not in a worldly way but in a manner above the world. We celebrate not our own concerns but the One who is ours, or rather what concerns our Master, things pertaining not to sickness but to healing, not to the first shaping, but to the reshaping.  (+St. Gregory the Theologian – from the Festal Oration 38 on the Nativity of the Lord)

As we celebrate the Birth in the Flesh of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, the profound words of St. Gregory the Theologian which are quoted above stir in us feelings of great joy and hope because of the great condescension which God has deigned to show toward His children.

Letter From His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph for Choir and Chanter Appreciation Sunday: December 13, 2015

"O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!" Psalm 95:1-2

Beloved in Christ,

Each year in the month of December we remember our choirs and chanters. This sacred ministry of the Church is essential to the beauty of our divine services. Oftentimes, a person's first experience of our Holy Orthodox Church is witnessing one of our beautiful services. This experience can either be enhanced by a beautiful and well-prepared choir, or diminished by an unprepared one. We are grateful to all of our choir directors, chanters and singers for their dedication, effort and commitment to making the divine services in their respective parishes beautiful to both God and the faithful.

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple

Pastoral Message for the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple
November 21, 2015

"The all-pure temple of the Savior, the most precious bridal chamber and Virgin, the treasure house of the glory of God, today enters the Temple of the Lord, bringing with her the grace which is in the divine Spirit: whom also the angels of God do celebrate in song; for she is the heavenly tabernacle".

(The Kontakion of the Entrance of the Theotokos in Tone Four)

We greet you with love and joy on this Feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple. The Kontakion of the feast which is quoted above transmits to us the essence of this feast. She who has become the Living Temple of the Lord, enters the Temple of the Lord and ascends into the "Holy of Holies" in order to assure us of her status as the most blessed bridal chamber of the Lord, and treasure house of the glory of God. She brings with her the grace which is the divine Spirit, and that very Spirit is poured out upon all of us who are so greatly loved and protected by the Mother of God. The angels of God stand in awe, and celebrate in song this awesome action which is granted by our compassionate and loving God.

Metropolitan Joseph's Archiepiscopal Directive On So-called "Same-Sex Marriage"

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
October 29, 2015

Christ is in our Midst! 

At the recently concluded meeting of the hierarchs of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, the attached directive was reviewed and approved for distribution to all of our clergy and laity.
 
Prologue

The holy Church offers to her spiritual children the tender and sweet milk of the Gospel and the nourishing and substantive meat of spiritual guidance, encouragement, discipline, and reproof, so that Her children may flourish "in the fatherly adoption." Ours is a Christian culture with all of the components of instruction and guidance, so that no one may depart from the ecclesiastical garden of delights without nourishment suitable for him.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph's Address to St. Vladimir's Seminary

Crestwood, New York – Sept 14, 2015

Your Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, Your Eminences, Your Graces, Father John, Father Chad, reverend fathers, and beloved faculty and students of Saint Vladimir's seminary,

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 

It is my joy to be present with you as you begin your new academic year, with your classes having already begun, and your studies as students, and burdens as professors, already well underway!

St. Vladmir's Seminary has a long history of educating leaders and theologians, and many of our clergy and hierarchs have come to us with the firm foundation that has been imparted to them through their education at St. Valdimir's Seminary.  This legacy is greatly appreciated by all of us. St. Vladimir's Seminary and the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese have a rich, positive and fruitful history, and I pledge to do all that I can during my tenure as Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of North America to maintain and enhance this relationship.

Allow me to make some points in this short talk, using St. Raphael, Bishop of Brooklyn, as an example to illustrate what is important.

Statement of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops

Statement of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States Regarding the Draft Proposal of the Committee on Canonical Regional Planning 

Presented at the Meeting of the Assembly of Bishops Convened in Chicago, IL

September 15-17, 2015

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America has always prayed for and been committed to unity and cooperation of all of the Orthodox Christians in North America. The unity that we seek is true Orthodox unity based on mutual respect, love and cooperation with all of the Orthodox in America without subjugation or domination of any. Unity must allow for the continued work and support of each of the jurisdictions for their people and continued unity with the respective mother churches. 

There is no doubt that the Christian Fellowship and work of the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America as well as that of the Assembly of Bishops has been very valuable. We have come to know each other and have discovered how we can even better cooperate and support each other. We can enhance the ministries of each other as well as promulgate corporate ministries. Our relationships provide even more effective ministries. We are grateful for the candid and honest exchanges of the bishops at the meetings. We are committed to continuing this process of building up our relationships and working together in every area possible.

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for the Elevation of the Precious and Life Giving Cross

Pastoral Message for the Elevation of the Precious and Life Giving Cross
September 14, 2015

"As the Cross is lifted up, it urgeth all of creation to praise the immaculate Passion of the One Who was lifted up thereon. For by means of the Cross, He slew him that slew us; and He made the dead to live again, making them beautiful, granting them the Heavens as dwelling-place, because He is compassionate, in the unsurpassed and unspeakable excess of His goodness. With joy, then, let us all exalt His Name, while magnifying His infinite condescension toward our race."

(From The Vesperal Stichera for the Elevation of the Cross)

We greet you with love and joy on this Feast of the Elevation of the Precious and Life Giving Cross. The Sticherion from the Vespers of the feast which is quoted above transmits to us the essence of this feast. The lifting up of the Cross upon which our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ was crucified draws us near to His passion, and reminds us that He has defeated Satan and all his power once and for all. By His Passion He brought life to those who were in the tombs, restoring them to the beauty with which they had when God created them and opening up the heavens as their dwelling place. Lastly, He did this not only for those who were in the tombs, but for all of us who place our hope in Him.

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for the Feast of The Nativity of the Theotokos

Pastoral Message for the Feast of The Nativity of the Theotokos
September 8, 2015 

“The joy of the whole world hath shone forth to us from the two righteous ones, Joachim and Anna, the all-extolled Virgin, who because of her surpassing purity became a living temple of God, and alone is known as truly Theotokos. Wherefore, by her intercessions, O Christ God, send forth safety to the world, and to our souls the Great Mercy”.  

+The Aposticha for the Nativity of the Theotokos in Tone 4

We greet you with love and joy on this Feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos.  The Aposticha from the Vespers of the feast which is quoted above transmits to us the essence of this feast.  We are first joyful for the birth of Mary, since the birth of a child is a great gift granted by God.

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.