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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)

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.

Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph Featured in Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Eagle photo by Francesca Norsen TateEagle photo by Francesca Norsen TateThe Brooklyn Daily Eagle recently featured the Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph in its December 17th Faith in Brooklyn column. Excerpt:

St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Boerum Hill was packed to standing-room capacity last weekend as the community celebrated the enthronement of a new archbishop. His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH was enthroned as the Antiochian Orthodox archbishop of New York and metropolitan of all North America. The enthronement took place on the feast of St. Nicholas of Myra, a fourth-century saint from the region of Turkey.

The entire 90-minute liturgy was streamed live, with the cathedral staff providing room in the downstairs community hall for the overflow crowd. Bishops, presbyters (priests), deacons and other dignitaries, representing Orthodox, Maronite (Eastern-Rite Catholic) and other Christian backgrounds, were also present.

The liturgy included prayers of thanksgiving and remarks by both Patriarch JOHN X and his Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH. The love that this community holds for its leaders was evident.

Read the whole piece on the Brooklyn Daily Eagle website.

Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph Featured on New Evangelization Television

His Beatitude Patriarch John X and His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph were recently featured in a segment on Brooklyn-based Catholic media network New Evangelization Television (NET). In addition to featuring footage from the enthronement of His Eminence, the segment also interviews Metropolitan Joseph and Patriarch John regarding current affairs in Syria and Christianity in the Middle East.

Photography from Patriarchal Visit and Enthronement

Photo by Rami DahdalPhoto by Rami DahdalAntiochian.org wishes to extend heartfelt thanks and compliments to the photographers who so beautifully captured the recent events surrounding the visit of His Beatitude Patriarch John X and the Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. Photographers Haitham Fakhouri, Rami Dahdal and Luke Bullock provided a multitude of beautiful images, a treasury by which the Antiochian Archdiocese will long remember these historic services, meetings and celebrations. 

To see more photographs, please visit our complete set of image galleries from the 2014 Patriarchal Visit and Enthronement.

A collection of our favorite images from the week is also available.

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.

Toledo Blade Features Metropolitan Joseph Enthronement Story

St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church, Sylvania, OHSt. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church, Sylvania, OHIn the December 10, 2014 edition of a Toledo, Ohio newspaper, The Blade, the enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph was described by Blade Staff Writer Tom Troy. "Local members of the Antiochian Orthodox church rejoiced Saturday in the enthronement of a new leader for the church in America, with hopes for expanded unity and outreach to youth tinged with concern for persecuted Christians in Syria," wrote Troy.

The article quotes the local priest and several parishioners extensively. 

"The Rev. Ayman Kfouf, pastor of St. Elias Antiochian Church in Sylvania, welcomed Metropolitan Joseph as 'a son of Damascus' and one who is very close to the church patriarch, the head of the international church in Syria.

"'He is very educated, he is very experienced,' Father Kfouf said. 'He is very active in the way of protecting the Christians in the Middle East in general and in particular in Syria.'"

Read the full report

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.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA Congratulates Metropolitan Joseph

L to R: Metropolitan Antony, Archbishop Demetrios, Patriarch John X, Metropolitan Joseph, Bishop DanielL to R: Metropolitan Antony, Archbishop Demetrios, Patriarch John X, Metropolitan Joseph, Bishop DanielBoth hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony and His Grace Bishop Daniel, were present at Metropolitan Joseph's enthronement service at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY on December 6, 2014, and were among the honored guests of the Antiochian Archdiocese at the formal banquet. The hierarchs' congratulatory letter reads:

“On behalf of the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, we would like to express our best wishes and congratulation upon your election to the great and sacred responsibility of a chief shepherd of the flock of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. We look forward to your service to the Gospel and Body of Christ in United States of America, which with God’s help, will be inspirational, bringing life-giving impulses also to the efforts toward unity in the Holy Orthodox Church on North American continent.

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.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Features Metropolitan Joseph Enthronement

On the eve of the Enthronement, Peter Smith of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interviewed His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Beatitude John X of Antioch and All the East for an article titled "Antiochan Orthodox installing new leader: N. American diocese celebrates its roots." Published on December 6, 2014, reporter Smith explained that those under 50 years of age cannot remember the last enthronement of an Antiochian metropolitan.

"This event means to us a lot — joy for the faithful in America and the homeland," Patriarch John was quoted as saying in the article, adding, "We are one family."

The Gazette reporter also noted that Metropolitan Joseph believes that he is "on equal footing with the newest of converts. 'Even though I was born in the faith, I have to convert to the faith daily by practicing the faith and doing virtuous and Christian actions,'" His Eminence explained.

Read the full story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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.