THE TRUTH ABOUT METROPOLITAN SABA by an Archpriest of the Antiochian Archdiocese

In the 48+ hours since Orthodoxy in Dialogue published Antiochian Archdiocese Has New Metropolitan* to replace Joseph Al-Zehlaoui, voices of dissatisfaction with the election of Metropolitan Saba (Esper) by the Holy Synod of Antioch have echoed around the Archdiocese. In the following brief testimony, a senior priest offers his perspective on the matter. He chooses to write anonymously in order not to be perceived as trying to gain favour with the new Metropolitan.

Metropolitan Saba (Esper)
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

I have heard a few complaints about the election of Metropolitan Saba, primarily because he is a “foreign” bishop, not born or having spent much time in the United States. While Metropolitan Saba is indeed foreign, he was an outstanding candidate, I believe, for numerous reasons.

Despite whatever limitations our new Metropolitan may have (I say this only because I don’t know him well, and we all have limitations), he is clearly an authentic Christian. I know this because of how he served his poor and persecuted flock for decades. He was the first bishop in ages to actually reside in/live with the people of his diocese. He built up that diocese (until the persecutions became so severe that many had to flee), and was trusted by the people because of his way of life. He was a true pastor in a Church (the Orthodox Church at large) that has very few of these at the episcopal level. Read More


Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral

On this, the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we reaffirm Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s full support for the independent statehood of Ukraine and the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. May the Lord save, have mercy on, and grant unflagging strength and courage to the Ukrainian people, to President Zelensky and all civil authorities of Ukraine, to the armed forces, to Metropolitan Epifaniy I of Kyiv and All Ukraine, and to the leaders of every other faith community on Ukrainian soil.

May He grant eternal memory and the Kingdom of Heaven to the children, women, and men of Ukraine who have lost their lives during the invasion.

May He bind up the injuries of the wounded with divine healing.

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LENTEN MESSAGE 2023 by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople - Wikipedia

Prot. No. 71


At the Opening of Holy and Great Lent


By God’s mercy Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome

and Ecumenical Patriarch

To the Plenitude of the Church

May the Grace and Peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Together with our Prayer, Blessing and Forgiveness Be with All

Most honorable brother Hierarchs and blessed children in the Lord,

By the goodwill and grace of the all-merciful and all-benevolent God, already living in the blessed and reverent period of the Triodion, [this Sunday evening] we enter Holy and Great Lent, the arena of fasting and “venerable abstinence” that eliminate the passions, during which the depth and wealth of our Orthodox Tradition and the vigilant care of the Church for the spiritual progress of its children are revealed. As we are reminded by the Holy and Great Council of Crete (June, 2016), “the Orthodox Church, in strict conformity with the apostolic precepts, the synodal canons, and the patristic tradition as a whole, has always proclaimed the great significance of fasting for our spiritual life and salvation” (The Importance of Fasting and its Observance Today, para. 1).

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The following announcement appeared earlier today on the website of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. For context see the Metropolitan Joseph: The Scandal section in our Archives 2020-23 linked at the top of this page.
We at Orthodoxy in Dialogue pray that the Lord save and have mercy on His Eminence, guiding him in shepherding the Archdiocese through this tumultuous moment in its life. Many Years, O Master.

Metropolitan Saba (Esper)
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

His Eminence, the Most Reverend Saba Esper, is the Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East and the Holy Synod of Antioch elected His Eminence to lead the Archdiocese during its extraordinary session on Feb. 23, 2023 in Balamand, Lebanon. Read More

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