Englewood, New Jersey, October 3, 2017
His Grace Bishop Antoun of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America reposed in the Lord yesterday, as reported by the archdiocesan website.
Metropolitan Joseph of New York and North America writes, “With profound sadness, yet hope in the Resurrection, I announce the passing into eternal life of my beloved brother, Bishop ANTOUN. Words cannot begin to describe our debt of gratitude to His Grace nor our sense of loss at his falling asleep.”
Bishop Antoun was born Antoun Yssa Khouri on January 17, 1931 in Damascus, Syria, and entered Balamand Seminary at the age of fourteen, eventually receiving his diploma in theology.
Patriarch Alexander III of Antioch ordained the twenty-year-old Antoun to the diaconate on October 28, 1951 in Damascus. He was assigned to the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese in Brazil in 1957, and moved to the United States two years later to study at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, graduating in 1962. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 29, 1960 by Metropolitan Anthony Bashir, and was elevated to the rank of archimandrite by Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) on August 3, 1969.
His Grace was consecrated to the episcopacy on January 9, 1983 at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn where he served as pastor. He became a diocesan bishop on October 9, 2003, serving as the bishop of Miami and the Southeast before his retirement in July of this year.
Met. Joseph writes, “He was sincerely loved by all—young and old—and he will be greatly missed,” and has instructed all parishes throughout the archdiocese to hold Trisagion Prayers of Mercy this coming Sunday for the soul of the newly-departed Bishop Antoun.
Met. Joseph’s full message reads:
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Is 40:8
Dear Brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Esteemed members of the Archdiocese Board of
Trustees, and Christ-loving Faithful,
Blessing and greetings to you in the Name of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus!
With profound sadness, yet hope in the Resurrection, I announce the passing into eternal life of my beloved brother, Bishop ANTOUN. Words cannot begin to describe our debt of gratitude to His Grace nor our sense of loss at his falling asleep.
As our senior, and for many years our only, auxiliary bishop, he traveled the width and breadth of our God-protected Archdiocese. He was sincerely loved by all – young and old – and he will be greatly missed. All of us who were blessed to witness his retirement banquet this past July in Miami were greatly moved by the effort he made to be with his people one last time. Now we are comforted and assured that he will eternally pray for his people at the throne of God.
All churches in the Archdiocese are directed to hold Trisagion Prayers of Mercy this Sunday in memory of Bishop ANTOUN and all are asked to pray for His Grace in their public and private prayers throughout the next forty days. We are diligently working on the arrangements for the funeral and burial and will post them once they are final.
As I continue to attend the meetings of the Holy Synod this week at the Holy Patriarchal Monastery of Saint Elias Shwayya, Lebanon, be assured of my paternal love and prayers as we mourn the passing of His Grace.
Your Father In Christ,
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America
A message of condolence has also been posted on the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America, which reads:
Beloved Brothers in the Lord: Christ is Among Us!
On behalf of the Council of Bishops, the Clergy and Lay Faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, we are offering our profound condolences on the falling asleep in the Lord of the deeply beloved and respected Bishop Antoun.
The passing of Bishop Antoun is a deeply felt wound not only for the pious Antiochian Orthodox faithful, but also for all Orthodox Christians who have admired his wise pastoral stewardship. His lifetime of exceptional leadership will live on in the hearts and minds of Christians of all faithful who were privileged to know his ministry.
We honor his memory, as he faithfully served our Lord with unwavering commitment and Christ’s love in his heart. Truly your beloved spiritual father has left behind a wonderful legacy in the memories and the hearts of everyone who had the privilege of knowing him.
In the midst of our sorrow, we must try to remember, that although his earthly journey has ended, we know that life does not end with our physical death but is just the beginning of life eternal, because our Lord promised us, “…I am the Resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me…shall never die.” (John 11: 25-26)
Thus our greatest consolation is our belief in Christ's resurrection and the resurrection of all in Him. Our constant prayer for our departed loved ones is an affirmation that they are still alive in Christ, and that, as we are all united in God's love, we will be reunited one day in heaven. For St. Paul says that "neither death, nor life...shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 8:38)
May his memory be eternal!
Prayerfully yours with love in Christ,