For context see the Metropolitan Joseph: The Scandal section in our Archives 2020-22 linked at the top of this page.

Metropolitan Joseph (Al-Zehlaoui) Bishop G. Joseph

Orthodoxy in Dialogue has learned from a number of insider sources at Englewood that Fawaz El Khoury, vice-chairman of the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees, has spoken to Patriarch John of Antioch about our reporting on Bishop G. Joseph’s (aka Metropolitan Joseph Al-Zehlaoui) alleged affairs. The Metropolitan was asked to resign, but refuses to do so. At the same time, however, he cancels archpastoral visits to parishes at the last minute out of shame of showing his face in public.

Most stunning, a number of AOCA parishes refused to commemorate the Metropolitan in yesterday’s Sunday Liturgy, a flagrant act of breaking communion with their primate. We are told that he has no friends anywhere coming to his defense.

We remind our readers that the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America is an autonomous ecclesiastical entity, not autocephalous. The Patriarchate of Antioch has the canonical authority to assign the Archdiocese’s bishops; the Patriarchate thus has the canonical authority to suspend and ultimately depose the Archdiocese’s bishops.

To call for the Metropolitan’s “resignation” is no more than a face-saving half-measure. The Patriarchate must suspend Al-Zehlaoui from all liturgical, sacramental, pastoral, and administrative functions immediately and appoint a locum tenens pending the outcome of a full investigation. If he is found guilty of the allegations of adultery and home-wrecking, the Patriarchate must depose (defrock) him, reduce him to the status of a simple monk, and assign him to a monastery to spend the remainder of his life in obedience and repentance. 

Resignation is not enough.

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