For context see the Metropolitan Joseph: The Scandal section in our Archives 2020-22 linked at the top of this page. Patriarch John’s announcement of the new Patriarchal Vicar is conveyed in these two documents dated today. The 52-year old Vicar’s biography and Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s commentary follow below.
Note the vacancy in the former Metropolitan’s position on the Executive Committee of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. (ADDENDUM 10/28/22: The vacancy has been filled—temporarily, we presume—by Metropolitan Antonios, Patriarchal Vicar to the Antiochian Archdiocese.)

Pat Vicar decision-118-engPat Vicar 114-2022-announcement-eng



Metropolitan Antonios (El Souri) of Zahle, Baalbek, and Dependencies

Metropolitan Antonios was elected for the Diocese of Zahle, Baalbek, and Dependencies in October 2015. He comes to assume his vicarial duties with an impressive ecclesiastical, monastic, pastoral, academic, and publishing background. His experience with Syndesmos and with youth ministry in general will especially endear him to a North American flock. At the same time, it is to be hoped that his article referenced below, “The Issues of Homosexuals in the Priesthood” (which one of Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s sources will send to us as soon as he locates it), does not signal an unwelcoming approach to the LGBTQ+ members of the Antiochian Archdiocese and the wider Orthodox Church.  

Antoine el-Souri was born in Mina, Tripoli on June 20, 1970. He studied at the National Orthodox School Mar Elias in Mina.

In 1994, he graduated from the Faculty of Engineering of the Lebanese University, receiving a degree in electrical and electronic engineering.

He studied theology by correspondence with the Institut Saint-Serge in Paris through the Diocese of Mount Lebanon. He graduated from this institute in 2006 with honors.

He worked at various jobs before entering the priesthood. On June 24, 2001, he was ordained subdeacon at the church of the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Douma by His Eminence Metropolitan Georges Khodr.

On March 20, 2005, he was ordained deacon at the Cathedral of Saint George in Mina by Metropolitan Elias Kurban of thrice-blessed memory.

On July 24, 2005 he was ordained to the priesthood in the parish of Mina. He was priest for the youth in the Diocese of Tripoli and Koura.

On September 7, 2008 he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite during the service of vespers for the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos at the church of the metropolitan’s residence.

A member of the Youth Movement from childhood, he was active in the group under the guidance of Costi Bendaly. He held various positions in the Orthodox Youth Movement, including:

2001-2003: Assistant General Secretary to Raymond Rizk.
2001-2003: Responsible for mentoring programs in the general secretariat.
2002-2004: Head of the Mina branch.
2004-2008: Head of the Tripoli center.

He was vice president of Syndesmos, the international league of Orthodox youth movements. He participated in several local and regional conferences.

He was active in the choir of Mina and was trained by the Protopsaltis of the See of Antioch, Dimitri Coutya.

On June 19, 2011 he became abbot of the Monastery of Our Lady of Bkaftine. Since that time, he has conducted significant renovations of its buildings. He prepared a small church dedicated to Saints Anthony the Great, Arsenius the Cappadocian, and Nectarius the Wonder-Worker. About two months ago, he restored the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in the monastery.

On June 16, 2012, he received the angelic great schema, taking as his patron the Prophet Jonah, during the divine liturgy celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Ephrem Kyriakos.

He collaborated with the publishing house Ta’awwuniyyat el-Nour to publish a documentary entitled “The Monastery of Our Lady of Bkaftine: Holiness and Ancient Roots” about the history of the monastery from its foundation to today and its pastoral and cultural role in the region of Koura.

He is the author of several articles in Majallat el-Nour, including “Youth and Life”, “Between Proselytism and Evangelism”, “Meditations on Monasticism”, “World Orthodox Youth Day”, “The Issues of Homosexuals in the Priesthood”.

He is the author of theological articles and studies in al-Karma, the bulletin of the Diocese of Tripoli and Koura.

He has taught various subjects, including Old Testament and the Epistles of the Apostle Paul at the department of theological preparation at the Pastoral Center for Orthodox Patristic Heritage in the Diocese of Tripoli.

On October 7, 2015, he was elected by the Holy Synod of Antioch as successor to Metropolitan Spyridon Khoury as metropolitan of the Diocese of Zahleh, Baalbek and Their Dependencies.

Source: Notes on Arab Orthodoxy.

Orthodoxy in Dialogue and our hundreds of thousands of readers around the planet offer our humble prayers for Metropolitan Antonios as he begins the arduous task that lies before him as Patriarchal Vicar to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. May Jesus Christ our Good Shepherd grant His Eminence to serve as a shepherd after His image and likeness. May “the grace divine, which always heals what is infirm and completes what is lacking” (from the prayer of ordination), fill His Eminence’s heart with the wisdom and the pure love to guide the Archdiocese not only through its current organizational crisis, but more importantly, through the spiritual and emotional healing so desperately needed after the revelations and events of the past two months. May His Eminence’s words and actions assure children, women, and men that the Antiochian Archdiocese will henceforth practice zero tolerance for spiritual, pastoral, or sexual abuse, of any degree or kind, at any level of the hierarchy, clergy, and lay employees and volunteers of the Archdiocese, its parishes, and its institutions, and that reports of misconduct made by victims and eyewitnesses will never again be swept under the carpet, but dealt with swiftly and properly. May His Eminence proceed fearlessly with an ongoing investigation into moral and financial corruption that may come to light during his vicariate.

As part of Patriarch John’s promised transparency, the first order of business must be to spell out clearly for the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese what the Vicar’s duties consist of. Article 2 of Patriarchal Decision 118 above tells us nothing.

Your Eminence, Metropolitan Antonios, we welcome you to North America with the joyful words:  Εἰς πολλὰ ἔτη, Δέσποτα! Many years, O Master!

Orthodoxy in Dialogue needs your prayerful and financial support to continue our important work.

Please consider becoming a Patron through a one-time, occasional, or monthly contribution of any amount.

Instructions are found at the bottom of 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.
(Note that you must answer the three questions when you request membership in our Facebook group.)
Sign up for email notifications in the upper right column of this page.

Check our GoFundMe to help a homeless gay married couple in Toronto acquire suitable winter gear for the frigid months ahead.