For context see the Metropolitan Joseph: The Scandal section in the Archives 2020-22 linked at the top of this page. With the following letter from Patriarch John, Al-Zehlaoui’s removal from office is formalized four weeks and four days after Orthodoxy in Dialogue first brought this matter to the attention of the whole body of the Church—lightning speed by Orthodox standards. We ask that Al-Zehlaoui’s embarrassingly hagiographical biography be removed from the Archdiocese’s website in all haste. We also urge the Patriarchate to bring Al-Zehlaoui promptly before an ecclesiastical court to consider his deposal from holy orders.
We have rightly encouraged Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s readers worldwide to be patient with the Patriarch.
ADDENDUM 9/23/22: It seems that the following personal letter from Patriarch John to Metropolitan Joseph was posted to the Archdiocese’s website in error. It has been replaced at the same link with the Patriarch’s letter to the Archdiocese. See “Source” below.
Metropolitan Joseph (Al-Zehlaoui)
Former Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Metropolitan of New York and of all North America,
I hope this letter finds you well. In this blessed day, I earnestly pray for the Honorable Forerunner to embrace you in his intercessions and prayers.
I would like to inform you, through this present letter, about the members of the Temporary Operating Committee for the oversight of the Archdiocesan Office, whose work shall begin today, till a Patriarchal Vicar is appointed. It is as follows:
The Right Reverend Bishop JOHN Abdalah (Chairman);
Mr. Fawaz El Khoury, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese;
Mr. Salim Abboud, Chief Financial Officer of the Archdiocese;
The Reverend Archdeacon Emile Sayegh, Legal Advisor;
The Very Reverend Archpriest Thomas Zain, Vicar General of the Archdiocese.
I kindly ask Your Eminence to carry out the handover process, praying for your long life, that the Almighty God keep you in His care.
With my sincere love.
Damascus, 23 September 2022.
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East