For context see the Metropolitan Joseph: The Scandal section in our Archives 2020-22 linked at the top of this page.
The bottom of the homepage of the Antiochian Archdiocese’s website features a section entitled CHURCH NEWS. It lists the title, illustration, first few lines, and link to the nine or ten most recent articles in descending chronological order, the last of which gets bumped to page two of Church News each time a new article is posted at the top of the list. As reported in our Beyond the Pale of Nauseating: Adulterous, Predatory, Former Metropolitan’s Final Auto-Hagiography of October 26, it was here that we were shocked to discover the former Metropolitan’s self-worshipping farewell letter (also dated October 26) to the Archdiocese—including “his” priests—complete with a photo of his smug face that no one wants to see anymore. In our preface to his letter we wrote:
Most outrageous of all is that this garbage was allowed to appear on the Archdiocese’s website. It shines a stark light on the Patriarchate’s farcical handling of this scandal after Orthodoxy in Dialogue had repeatedly urged the cynics and skeptics among our readers to trust the Patriarch and the Synod to do the right thing. It turns out that the cynics and skeptics were right.
With the slower pace of new articles at the moment, it seemed that this photo would continue to disgust the faithful on the homepage for some time to come.
Today we’re gratified to see that Al-Zehlaoui’s letter and accompanying photo have disappeared from the homepage. The articles jump from October 30 to October 23, between which dates the infamous letter had been posted. The letter can only be found with some effort when the reader clicks MORE NEWS > and then 2.
We thank whoever was responsible for heeding the objections of the faithful, conveyed by Orthodoxy in Dialogue, by removing the offensive material from sight—a small step, perhaps, in healing the Archdiocese of the cancer that is Joseph Al-Zehlaoui, but a necessary step in the right direction. May the bishops of the Archdiocese, the Patriarchal Vicar, and the Patriarch show continued determination in bringing to the Archdiocese a sense of order, pastoral sensitivity, and genuine care of past, present, and potential future victims of abuse at all levels of the Church, hierarchy, clergy, and lay employees and volunteers.