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)
An Orthodox academic theologian and personal friend of two of Al-Zehlaoui’s previous sexual conquests has reached out to Orthodoxy in Dialogue this morning, the day of the Board of Trustees meeting in Englewood, with the following narrative of the Metropolitan’s long adulterous and abusive history.
1). As an archimandrite, some time between 1980 and 1991, Al-Zehlaoui had an affair with a young, unmarried Lebanese woman who lived with her elderly mother. (The Patriarch and Board of Trustees might want to ask him about “Y.”) Our source writes, “He used her and abused her. He made her believe that he loved her, while he was just using her for his sexual desires. Y never got married. She suffers to this day from depression and mental health issues.”
2). As a priest and bishop in Cyprus, Al-Zehlaoui told another Lebanese woman (ask him about “M”) that he suffered from “sexual deprivation” and asked her to “defuse his energy.” She refused to have intercourse with him, but went as far as masturbating him when he needed servicing.
3). Our source writes, ” I was a close friend of both Y and M. They told me with a lot of sadness what happened with them and that they were abused by Al-Zehlaoui. When Orthodoxy in Dialogue published the incriminating email from HD, M called and said she hoped that the truth about him could finally be revealed.”
4). From multiple other sources, we suggest that Al-Zehlaoui be questioned about JCG, the other married woman with whom he owns a home and who believed, before Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s initial report, that she was his “one and only.”
5). We are told that Al-Zehlaoui is out of his mind because no one—neither the Patriarch nor anyone else—will come to his defense.
6). According to other sources, the Patriarchate itself (but prior to the tenure of Patriarch John) seems to have been complicit in enabling Al-Zehlauoi’s adulteries. We are told that he was sent to the United States to escape scandal in his homeland. Did anyone really expect that his behaviour would change in his assignment to the Antiochian Archdiocese?
It seems clear that Al-Zehlaoui became a monk, deacon, priest, and bishop with never any intention to live in chastity and poverty. He is a fraud. He is obsessed with the sexual morality of his flock while living in the polar opposite manner. He would throw monogamous same-sex couples out of the Church while preying on married women, destroying marriages and families, and cosplaying as a bishop-monk at the altar table. Under no circumstances must he be offered a retirement package, but one option only: to spend the rest of his life as a lay monk in monastic seclusion, chastity, poverty, and obedience. Refusing this, he should be excommunicated and cut loose by the Church to live his life however he wishes. The women he abused might consider criminal charges and/or a civil lawsuit against him and his enablers in the Church. The faithful might consider a financial boycott of the Archdiocese and their local parishes until this fiasco is fully resolved and justice is served.