JOSEPH AL-ZEHLAOUI GUILTY: A Call for Other Victims to Come Forward

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


Insider sources at the headquarters of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood NJ have confirmed that the law firm investigating the former metropolitan, Joseph Al-Zehlaoui, has definitively determined his guilt in the matter of a predatory sexual relationship with a married woman under his spiritual authority, for which he groomed her over time at a vulnerable period in her life. (Read the victim’s email and hear the voicemail attached to it. We are told this is but one of almost two dozen incriminating voicemails.)

It’s unclear whether the investigators interviewed any other potential victims, including the one whose name is known to Orthodoxy in Dialogue and whom public records disclose as sharing three addresses with the multi- named, multi-domiciled Al-Zehlaoui. We certainly have not seen any public calls for other victims or witnesses to come forward. This would appear to be an unconscionably incomplete investigation, given the likelihood if not certainty that a predator can never be satisfied with one or two conquests. If you have been targeted by Al-Zehlaoui’s sexual attentions, whether consummated or rebuffed, or you have witnessed the same, we urge you most strongly to contact the investigating attorney:

Paul E. Gaspari
Weintraub Tobin
475 Sansome Street, Suite 510
San Francisco CA 94111
(415) 772-9618

Reach out to Orthodoxy in Dialogue at if Mr. Gaspari fails to respond to you in a timely or satisfactory manner. We know of at least one individual whose attempts to contact him he has ignored.

Another matter of concern is Englewood’s disregard for Patriarch John’s promise of transparency. Given that the current case was reported to Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) many years ago, and that he conducted a farcical “investigation” (see the above-linked email) which allowed Al-Zehlaoui to remain an active bishop, Englewood fears legal reprisals should the results of the investigation be made public.

If you wish to convey your concerns to Bishop John (Abdallah) in his capacity as chairman of the Archdiocese’s Temporary Operating Committee appointed by the Patriarch, you may reach him at

Note that the Holy Synod convenes under the presidency of the Patriarch this Wednesday, October 12, with the Joseph Al-Zehlaoui Scandal an important item on its agenda. We pray that God grant our fathers in the Orthodox Faith the strength and courage not to take half-measures in dealing with the former metropolitan and in communicating with the faithful in a completely transparent manner as promised. Now is not the time for the niceties of Byzantine ecclesiasticalese, but for the truth and openness commanded by the Gospel. 

You may address your concerns to Patriarch John at

ADDENDUM 10/14/22: Upon receiving an actual copy of the report the night of 10/13, we do not see that it proves Al-Zehlaoui’s guilt. Rather, there appears to have been no less farcical an “investigation” than the one conducted under Metropolitan Philip.

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