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)
While some of Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s readers around the world place their hope in Patriarch John’s promise of transparency in his handling of the Metropolitan Joseph Scandal, cynicism is running high among others. They ask what the Patriarch can spend two whole days, all day long, discussing with Metropolitan Joseph, and why there was no report from September 7, the second day of talks, either on the Patriarchate’s Facebook page or the Archdiocese’s website.
It goes without saying that today (September 8) has been devoted to celebrating the Nativity of the Most-Holy Theotokos. A most joyous and blessed Feast to everyone!
Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s position has been and remains to urge the faithful to be patient with the Patriarch during this trying and unprecedented moment in his patriarchal ministry. Our clergy and lay sources around the world attest to His Beatitude being an honourable man and worthy hierarch, first as a diocesan bishop and now as Patriarch.
Multiple reliable insider sources report that Al-Zehlaoui’s days as an acting hierarch have already ended. The Patriarch has taken complete charge of the situation and given Al-Zehlaoui an ultimatum: resign within the coming days or face a full investigation and deposal from holy orders. Deposal will essentially reduce the Metropolitan to the status of the unordained “Monk Joseph.”
The Board of Trustees and auxiliary bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese are said to be meeting at headquarters in Englewood the weekend of September 16.
Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s readers around the world object to the face-saving option for Al-Zehlaoui to “resign.” We remind the Patriarch of the numbers of clerics the Metropolitan has unilaterally “laicized” on a whim without canonical due process. Let the full weight of the canons come to bear now: suspend Al-Zehlaoui and appoint a locum tenens immediately, announce it publicly, and proceed with the canonical mechanism to depose him if he is found guilty as charged. Only in this way will the believers have their faith in the institutional church partly restored.