Damascus, August 30, 2022
His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East addressed the entirety of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America yesterday in light of serious moral accusations recently made against His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of New York.
An email was recently sent to the Patriarch, the Metropolitan, the bishops of the Archdiocese, and the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees detailing the accusations. This email was then leaked and publicized on the blog of a former Orthodox priest.
Last week, the Archdiocesan Department of Communications posted a short message:
As you may now be aware, there has been an accusation (of a violation of the Church canons) against His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. The Antiochian Archdiocese takes all accusations against a clergyman very seriously and investigates them for the protection of all parties concerned. An investigation by an independent legal team not associated with the Antiochian Archdiocese is underway. His Eminence denies the accusation against him and asks that you keep him in your prayers during this difficult time.
And yesterday, a message from His Beatitude Patriarch John to the entire Archdiocese of North America was published, ensuring the clergy and faithful that a full investigation will be conducted with due transparency:
To our beloved in the Lord,
The hierarchs, priests, deacons, and spiritual children
of our Holy Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America,
“Peace be to all!”
I begin this letter with this greeting of peace, a greeting that we proclaim in every Divine Service. My desire is to express to you that we, in your Mother Church, where “the disciples were first called Christians” (Acts 11:26), are united with you always and in all circumstances, in the peace of Christ. This peace crosses all distances to reach you whenever we pray, and I hear in my heart your answer comes back to us: "And with thy spirit."
The purpose of this is to remember together that this greeting that the servant of the altar addresses to you, together with your reply to him, proclaim the peace that unites the clergy and the laity at every Divine Liturgy. Our peace is Christ Himself. Christ embraces us in His Spirit as a pure, glorious, and holy Church to the glory of God the Father.
Saying this, I wish to inform you that the news of the turmoil in your God-protected Archdiocese, caused by the accusations against the Metropolitan, has reached us. I wish to assure you that we are closely following up on this issue with the people in-charge, with both clergy and laity in the Archdiocese. Also, we are following up on the measures that have been taken so far, and we will initiate the right and appropriate actions that must be taken at all levels. We will certainly inform you of these in a transparent manner as soon as they are taken.
We confirm this, not just because of our Patriarchal pastoral position, but also because we share your concern, as believers, for the high dignity of the holy episcopacy and for your living Church, which is a cause of constant joy for us, the Mother Church of Antioch.
I conclude this letter by asking you, clergy and laity, to keep this peace in your hearts and among you. I entreat you to pray that the Almighty Lord may preserve all our souls and our beloved Archdiocese of North America from all vain wickedness of the evil one, so that She may remain now and always in the peace of Christ, carrying the bright witness and glory that the Lord desires for Her.
Patriarch of Antioch and all the East