Antiochian Synod formally accepts Metropolitan Joseph’s resignation

Balamand, Lebanon, October 18, 2022

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The Holy Synod of the Antiochian Patriarchate has formally accepted the resignation of Metropolitan Joseph, former head of the Archdiocese of North America.

Met. Joseph, who served as head of the Archdiocese from 2014, submitted his letter of resignation on September 17 after a woman came forth with claims that she had been romantically involved with him for many years. Rumors have followed Met. Joseph for many years, but he maintains his innocence. He informed the Archdiocese last month that his resignation was meant to bring peace to the clergy and faithful.

The Synod, which has been meeting in Balamand, Lebanon, under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East over the past week, accepted the Metropolitan’s resignation yesterday, with further instructions for him personally and for the Archdiocese, the Patriarchate reports.

Having followed the events leading up to and following Met. Joseph’s retirement, the Synod decided:

  1. To consider Met. Joseph’s retirement effective as of the date of its submission, September 17, with thanks for his ecclesiastical service, especially in the Archdiocese of North America

  2. To consider the Archdiocese of North America a vacant diocese, with the resulting situation to be governed by the Antiochian Church’s laws and regulations

  3. To consider Met. Joseph a former Metropolitan of the Archdiocese, not a member of the Antiochian Synod

  4. To request that Met. Joseph not undertake or participate in any clerical ordination. He will be assigned a parish where he can celebrate the Liturgy, and is asked not to celebrate any liturgical, sacramental, or blessing service at all within the Archdiocese of North America or any other diocese except by the permission of the ruling hierarch of the given diocese. The Patriarch and the Archbishop of the Archdiocese are to be commemorated in the services

  5. The Fathers of the Holy Synod pray for Met. Joseph “for health and long life, and for God’s grace and mercy to overwhelm him.”

The Synod has yet to appoint a Patriarchal vicar for the Archdiocese of North America, who will manage the affairs of the Archdiocese and oversee the process of nominating a new Metropolitan.

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Dionysius Redington10/19/2022 4:29 am
The quotation of the full text of the synod's letter creates a slightly misleading impression. The various restrictions etc. are exactly those given to any retiring hierarch, notably Basil of Wichita whose retirement (long planned and unrelated to any scandal--I personally hoped he would stay on to replace Joseph) was accepted at the same time in almost identical language. It is hard to say whether treating his departure as normal is a vindication of Met. Joseph (implying he is innocent without actually saying so), a legal formality (possibly to be followed by some later disciplinary action), or just an attempt to move on without doing anything at all (which seems to happen rather often in the Orthodox world). If the charges are true (I have no opinion), the Synod is probably worried about how to get rid of a prominent and in some circles popular leader without being seen as endorsing the rest of the agenda of the website that single-handedly brought him down. --Dionysius Redington
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