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.
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