MAYBE I’M CYNICAL: AN OPEN LETTER TO PATRIARCH JOHN, METROPOLITAN ANTONIOS by Helena Ditko

For context see the Metropolitan Joseph: The Scandal section in our Archives 2020-22 linked at the top of this page. Ms. Ditko’s testimony requires an attentive reading. She confirms what Orthodoxy in Dialogue has been saying for weeks, i.e., that neither the Antiochian Patriarchate nor Archdiocese has expressed a trace of pastoral care for the victim of the adulterous former Metropolitan’s predatory advances. The Antiochian Church seems rather more concerned to protect itself from legal jeopardy.
Orthodoxy in Dialogue went public with Ms. Ditko’s story on August 22 in order to prevent its being swept under the carpet and to ensure that justice be served for her. By failing to name the reason for Joseph Al-Zehlaoui’s “retirement” and to depose him from holy orders, by its egregious pastoral neglect toward Ms. Ditko and Al-Zehlaoui’s other certain victims, and by the happy appearance of normality with the arrival of Metropolitan Antonios on the scene, the Antiochian Church has indeed shamefully swept the very person of Helena Ditko under the carpet.
The sometimes disjointed, stream-of-consciousness style of this letter reflects the difficulties for victims of sexual predation to commit their narrative to writing. Orthodoxy in Dialogue stands in awe of Ms. Ditko’s enormous courage.

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Helena Ditko

Your Beatitude, Patriarch John of Antioch and All the East,

Your Eminence, Metropolitan Antonios, Patriarchal Vicar to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America,

Maybe I am just cynical, but I didn’t expect anything from the Church of Antioch. To date, I have heard nothing from the Archdiocese that the “investigation” was suspended, let alone that Mr. Gaspari wasn’t going to contact my witnesses. If it wasn’t for the reports on Orthodoxy in Dialogue, I would know nothing about the legal letter of concern from the lawyer to the Archdiocese. Cynical, pessimistic, and skeptical are not typically the way I look at challenges in life; but this, this is beyond anything conventional. Read More


GIVING TUESDAY: OPTIONS AT ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

Giving Tuesday 2022: The Complete Toolkit For Nonprofit Organisations

Beloved brothers, sisters, and siblings in Christ, faithful readers, followers, supporters, writers, and Patrons,

Today, November 29, is Giving Tuesday. 

We know this day comes at a time when we already feel stretched thin and exhausted by charitable appeals bombarding us from all directions. Ours comes as one more. Consider ours a gentle appeal, with no pressure at all. We want you to respond, or not, as your heart prompts you in peace. If you can’t contribute financially to one of the following options, we cherish your prayers for us as much as your monetary offerings. Be assured of our unworthy prayers for each of you as we progress by slow degrees to Bethlehem at the Chalice and in our souls, transfigured by the joy of our Creator’s coming to be made one of us in human flesh. Read More


CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE: IS ANYONE SAFE IN THE ANTIOCHIAN ARCHDIOCESE?

THE WIDER CONTEXT OF THE METROPOLITAN JOSEPH SCANDAL by a Survivor of Clergy  Sexual Abuse | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOARCH), the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), and the Antiochian Archdiocese (AOCA) comprise the three major canonical Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States.

If you search “sexual misconduct” on the GOARCH website, you are taken immediately to a detailed Clergy Misconduct Policy revised in January 2022.

Using the same keywords on the OCA website, you are similarly taken to Resources for the Prevention of Sexual Misconduct. This page contains copious links to external websites and internal documents.

Notably, both GOARCH and the OCA provide—conspicuously displayed—an external toll-free number (as well as a link on the GOARCH website) for confidentially reporting clergy sexual abuse. Victims, witnesses, and confidants alike may make a report.

The same search on the AOCA website takes you to the June 6, 2018 “Regular Article 92,” a  self-congratulatory announcement of the Archdiocese’s first Loss Control Bonus from GuideOne Insurance Company. It explains, in part: Read More