For context see the Metropolitan Joseph: The Scandal section in our Archives 2020-22 linked at the top of this page. Orthodoxy in Dialogue will respond to the following display of unrepentant narcissism within the next day or two. We note that today marks three weeks and five days since we first reported on Al-Zehlaoui’s adulterous liaisons.

Metropolitan Joseph’s Statement on His Request to Retire​

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph writes:

September 17, 2022

To the Hierarchs, Clergy, and Faithful of the Archdiocese:

By the grace of God, by His providence, and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I have decided to retire from my administrative position as Metropolitan of New York and All North America for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. After prayerful consideration, a life of sacrifice and decades of service to the church, my painful but deliberate decision is intended to give you peace as it has now done for me.

It is my hope that my decision to remove myself will spare the Archdiocese and its faithful any further unnecessary burdens, attacks, and potential financial burdens. May God continue to protect this Archdiocese as a safe haven for all our beloved Hierarchs, clergy, and faithful. This is the hour for us to stand in unity and strength, undivided, and unshaken. I ask your prayers and understanding as I take these steps which I believe are in the best interest of the church.

May God reveal the truth in His time for His purpose and have mercy upon us all.



Patriarch John X Receives Retirement Letter from Metropolitan Joseph

No: 90/2022

To our Beloved in the Lord, The Hierarchs, Priests, Deacons, Members of the Board of Trustees, and Spiritual Children of our Holy Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America,

I greet you in Christ, lifting up my prayers for your protection.

Further to my previous letters to you at this critical period in the life of the Archdiocese, I would like through the present letter to inform you of the following:

First, we have received from His Eminence, the Most Reverend JOSEPH Zehlaoui, Metropolitan of New York and Archbishop of all North America, his Retirement Letter from his position as Metropolitan of the Archdiocese.

Second, we will duly forward the letter of His Eminence to the Holy Synod to take the necessary actions accordingly.

Third, the immediate effect of the resignation of His Eminence the Metropolitan of the Archdiocese and the circumstances related to it necessitate from us, as patriarch, to take appropriate measures in order to ensure the proper care and administration of the Archdiocese, in preparation for the next phase. We will inform you of these measures in due course.

Fourth, we ask the Lord to give Metropolitan JOSEPH many years of good health, that he “may complete the remaining time of his life in peace and repentance,” in a manner well-pleasing to the Lord, and in His Grace.

Fifth, last but not least, I call upon you again to remain united in prayer, and we are with you in this before the Lord, asking for the wellbeing of the Archdiocese and of each and everyone member in it, both clergy and laity. We put our hope in the Lord, and He always does not disappoint those who rely on Him with faith.

With our Apostolic blessings.

Damascus, 17 September 2022.

Patriarch of Antioch and all the East



The Commemoration of the Metropolitan

Fr. Thomas Zain, Vicar General of the Archdiocese, writes to the clergy:

Dear Brothers in Christ,

Please see attached the letter from His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch, in English and Arabic, telling us that he has received a letter from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph in which Sayidna Joseph has requested retirement.

His Beatitude said he will forward the request to the Holy Synod. We will continue to commemorate Metropolitan Joseph in all divine services until further direction comes from Patriarch John.

More details will follow in the coming days and weeks regarding a transition. If you have any questions, please contact your local bishop, but in dioceses without one, you can contact me.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Thomas Zain
Vicar General
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

CC: The Diocesan Bishops.


If you value Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s reporting and other articles, please consider

making a small contribution of $10 or $25 via PayPal at

Your name will be listed on our Patrons page.

Orthodoxy in Dialogue seeks to promote the free exchange of ideas by offering a wide range of perspectives on an unlimited variety of topics. Our decision to publish implies neither our agreement nor disagreement with an author, in whole or in part.
Join the conversation on Facebook or in an article of your own or a letter to the editors.
Sign up for email notifications in the upper right column of this page.