OPEN LETTER TO ANTIOCHIAN ARCHDIOCESE: IRREGULARITIES IN THE NOMINATION OF THE METROPOLITAN by a Concerned Parishioner

For context see the Metropolitan Joseph: The Scandal section in our Archives 2020-23 linked at the top of this page. Most noteworthy in the following Open Letter is the Board of Trustees’ flagrant violation of the canons and the Archdiocesan constitution in nominating the Patriarchal Vicar as Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. This and other questions raised below acquire added urgency as the Special Convention to elect the new Metropolitan takes place on January 13, a week from today. How can the faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese trust that the process be conducted properly?
The Vicar’s letter withdrawing his name from consideration and other pertinent information are attached below.

Bishop John (Abdalah) Reports on First Meeting of Temporary Operating  Committee of the Antiochian Archdiocese following Retirement of  Metropolitan Joseph - Orthodox Christian Laity

In our last parish council meeting, council members had many questions regarding the nomination process to elect the next Metropolitan of The Antiochian Orthodox Church of North America. Many have received emails about the process, and most of them are well informed about the qualifications for Metropolitan Archbishop and Diocesan Bishop according to both the Patriarchate and Archdiocesan constitutions. They follow the Archdiocese news on social media, and they are confused by the contradicting and non-transparent messages coming from the Patriarchal Vicar and his committee (Vicar, bishops, and Board of Trustees) at the Headquarters of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood NJ. 

Why aren’t the Vicar and his committee communicating back to all parishes the questions and responses that people have been asking the Patriarchal Vicar as he’s been touring North America? Are other parishes also not privy to this information?  Read More



NATIVITY GREETING 2022

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Beloved brothers, sisters, siblings, and friends in Christ, our readers, writers, and followers, our Patrons and supporters, those who love us and those who hate us,

Orthodoxy in Dialogue greets you all with the joyous proclamation:

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Together with all of you we give thanks to God the Father for the gift of His Son become one of us, begotten of the Father in a timeless manner before all ages, born of the Holy Spirit and the Most-Pure Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary in our own time.

We also give thanks to God for the generosity of those who responded to our several appeals in rapid succession between July and now:

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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