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

Photo credit: Website of the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East

The Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch convened its regular fall meeting on Wednesday, October 12. Under normal circumstances, the meeting would have concluded its work by Friday. However, it was extended to today (Monday the 17th) to adjudicate the status of the disgraced Metropolitan Joseph Al-Zehlaoui and the short- and long-term future of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Our source in Lebanon reports that the Synod was unable to reach a satisfactory solution, and will continue its deliberations tomorrow (Tuesday the 18th):

No update from the Synod yet except that it is under a lot pressure on the dilemma of what decision to take in regard of Joseph and the backlash it might cause and who to send as a patriarchal vicar.

We are waiting for their decision tomorrow [Tuesday the 18th].

Given the time difference between Lebanon and where most of our readers live, there’s time to write to Patriarch John at secretary@antiochpatriarchate.org to make your expectations known to him. Orthodox ecclesiology demands that all members of the body of the Church—hierarchs, priests, deacons, male and female monastics, and laity—have their say in all matters pertaining to the life of the Church and her governance.

Perhaps the most far-reaching issue for the Holy Synod to consider, in terms of the message it sends out to those within and outside of the Church of Antioch and its North American Archdiocese, comes down to this: whether women, children, and men victimized by sexual abuse and other spiritual trauma at the hands of churchmen will have their voices heard and their testimony taken seriously. The reputation of the Church is best served by complete, transparent truth-telling and the prompt, decisive resolution of church scandals.

Numerous sources from around the Archdiocese report that attendance and monetary contributions are down in Antiochian parishes, people step outside during the incomprehensible, ongoing commemoration of a disgraced, adulterous, predatory former metropolitan during the Liturgy, some have left the Archdiocese for a parish of another Orthodox jurisdiction, and others have left the Orthodox Church altogether.

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