His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH (2023)

His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH (1)

His Eminence, the Most Reverend Joseph, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, was born in Damascus, Syria, on November 2, 1950, the fifth of six children born to Georgi and Mathilda Al-Zehlaoui. Throughout his life, he has been a loyal son of Antioch, a devoted spiritual father in North America, and a leader on the global stage.

His Eminence oversees almost 300 parishes and missions in the United States and Canada from the archdiocesan headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey. Six auxiliary bishops aid him in his administration of the eight dioceses that comprise the Archdiocese of North America.

Metropolitan Joseph completed his undergraduate studies at the Lebanese University in Beirut and earned his Master of Theology (M.Th.) Degree with special studies in music and languages from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece. In 1995, His Eminence came to the Archdiocese to serve as an auxiliary bishop based in Los Angeles, California. On July 3, 2014, the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch and all the East, under the presidency of His Beatitude, Patriarch John X, elected His Eminence as the Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America.

His Eminence is a member of the Holy Synod of Antioch, the mother church of the Antiochian Archdiocese. He leads the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees as its chairman. His Eminence is the vice chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States of America. He meets regularly with the executive committee as he furthers the cause of unity and cooperation among the various Orthodox Christian jurisdictions, especially in response to critical issues of the day like the Coronavirus. His Eminence also participates in CAMECT (Christian Arab and Middle Eastern Churches Together), a body that ensures the welfare of Middle Eastern Christians domestically and abroad.

Metropolitan Joseph meets with governmental leaders in New York, Washington, D.C. and around the world to provide his unique perspective and expertise on various issues concerning the Orthodox Church in the U.S. and Canada, the mother church, and the peoples of the Middle East. This includes sessions with President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Lebanese President Michel Aoun.

During his tenure in the holy episcopacy, Metropolitan Joseph has led pilgrimages and participated in official delegations internationally, fostering goodwill in Jesus Christ between his archdiocese and Orthodox Churches around the world. In pilgrimages, Metropolitan Joseph took scores of clergy and laity – including young adults – to holy sites in Lebanon, Syria, Russia, Greece and Serbia to discover their spiritual roots. In his tenure as Metropolitan Archbishop, His Eminence took part in official, irenic meetings with Their Beatitudes Patriarch Ignatius IV and Patriarch John X of Antioch, as well as with Their Holinesses Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and Patriarch Irinej of Serbia.

Education in the Orthodox Christian life is of utmost importance to His Eminence. To that end, upon his election as Metropolitan in 2014, he established The Antiochian Orthodox Institute in La Verne, California, having merged into it the well-established Antiochian House of Studies, combing resources and talents to make one strong educational entity. In its commitment to higher learning in Applied Orthodox Theology and Christian Theology in the Eastern Tradition, the Institute trains future generations of clergy and lay leaders. His Eminence serves as chairman of its board of trustees. Metropolitan Joseph is fluent in English, Arabic and Greek and is conversant in other European languages. His patron saint is St. Joseph of Arimathaea, whom the Orthodox Church commemorates on the third Sunday of Pascha.

Metropolitan Joseph completed his basic schooling at the St. John of Damascus and al-Assiyeh schools in Damascus and then at Our Lady of Balamand Monastery and Seminary in Koura, Lebanon. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Lebanese University in Beirut and then earned his Master of Theology (M.Th.) Degree with special studies in music and languages from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece. He was awarded honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from St. Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania in 2010, and from St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary in Tuckahoe, New York in 2015.

With the blessing of His Beatitude, Patriarch Elias IV of Antioch, His Eminence, Metropolitan Panteleimon (Rodopoulos) of Thessaloniki, Greece ordained him to the diaconate on December 4, 1976. His Beatitude, Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch – Metropolitan Joseph’s spiritual father since his days as a student and seminarian at Balamand – ordained him a priest on December 10, 1980 in Damascus, Syria. The Priest Joseph served as dean of the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Damascus (“Al-Mariamieh”) and as overseer of Holy Cross Church and other parishes in the surrounding area. He served as superintendent of al-Assiyeh Three Hierarchs secondary school in Damascus from 1980-83. He then went abroad to pastor the Antiochian Orthodox Church in London, England, from 1983-84 and the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cyprus from 1986-91. In between these assignments, he ministered in Damascus.

Metropolitan Joseph was elected and consecrated to the Holy Episcopacy on June 30, 1991 at the Cathedral of the Dormition in Damascus with the title of “Bishop of Katana.” He served as the assistant to Patriarch Ignatius and secretary of the Holy Synod. In 1995, Patriarch Ignatius blessed then-Bishop Joseph to serve in the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America. His predecessor, His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), assigned then-Bishop Joseph to the Diocese of Los Angeles and West, which he continues to shepherd directly, in addition to his duties as Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese.

On December 11, 2011, at the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos at Balamand, Patriarch Ignatius elevated Bishop Joseph to the rank of Archbishop in honor of his many years of service as a hierarch in both our Archdiocese and our Patriarchate. On July 3, 2014, the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch, under the presidency of Patriarch John X, elected His Eminence as the Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America.

Metropolitan Joseph’s achievements in apostolic ministry over the course of more than 25 years in North America bear witness to his spiritual, ethical, and personal leadership qualifications. His Eminence has maintained a personal culture of contact with all his clergy. Many of the clergy and laity testify that His Eminence always remembers and acts on any important issue placed before him. This unique combination of traits, sobriety and blameless familiarity form the bedrock for his personal effectiveness with all.

With his own spiritual, ascetical, and intellectual formation in his life in Christ, His Eminence has established enriching and meaningful annual Clergy Seminars in the West. He has deepened the spiritual and educational experience of both clergy and laity at the annual Parish Life Conferences and Archdiocesan Conventions. To that end, he has hosted a multitude of Orthodox leaders, monastics, authors and theologians. This has promoted a strong sense of clergy brotherhood and inter-parochial exchanges, admired by Orthodox jurisdictions everywhere. His Eminence has labored intensely to deepen the spiritual life of his clergy by encouraging frequent confession, personal prayer, continual education, and a heightened sense of the fullness of our Orthodox Christian tradition of interior and ascetical transfiguration in Christ.

Metropolitan Joseph has taken care in establishing a strong, clear, and straightforward liturgical guidance for all his parishes to ensure proper worship of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, and veneration of the Holy Virgin Mary and His Saints. Metropolitan Joseph pioneered the use of the internet in publishing the entire texts of all the Sunday, Lenten and Festal services of the Church throughout the year. His love for the divine services inspires him to improve the liturgical praxis of the clergy, chanters, choir and laity through constant interactions and special teachings. In addition, His Eminence constantly promotes the spiritual climate of the Archdiocese with simple, personal actions as the “Thought for the Day” which appears on Antiochian.org.


How do you address a metropolitan bishop? ›

Metropolitans and Archbishops are addressed as “His Eminence, The Most Reverend Metropolitan” or “Archbishop (name), ” or “Your Eminence”. Bishops are addressed as “His Grace, The Right Reverend Bishop (name),” or “Your Grace”.

Who is the metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Church? ›

Metropolitan Joseph was born in Damascus, Syria, on November 2, 1950, the fifth of six children born to Georgi and Mathilda al-Zehlaoui.

Is Antiochian Orthodox the same as Greek Orthodox? ›

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (AOCANA), often referred to in North America as simply the Antiochian Archdiocese, is the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch in the United States and Canada.

Do you address a bishop as Your Eminence? ›

In addressing a letter to Cardinal Keeler, one would write, “His Eminence, William Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore” with the salutation, “Your Eminence,” “Most Eminent Cardinal,” or “My Lord Cardinal.” Lately, some people will reverse the word order, saying, “Cardinal William Keeler” instead of “William ...

Is a metropolitan higher than a bishop? ›

Lastly, in the matter of honorific rights and privileges the metropolitan has the pallium as the ensign of his jurisdiction; he takes precedence of all bishops; he may have the archiepiscopal cross (crux gestatoria) borne before him anywhere within his province, except in the presence of a papal legate; he may ...

Who is the next Catholicos of Orthodox Church? ›

He was enthroned as the 8th Catholicos of the Malankara Church and the 21st Malankara Metropolitan on 1 November 2010, succeeding Didymos I.
Baselios Marthoma Paulose II.
His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II
SeeHoly Apostolic See of Saint Thomas in Malankara
Elected27 September 2006
Installed1 November 2010
Term ended12 July 2021
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What religion is Antiochian? ›

Antiochian Greek Christians (also known as Antiochian Rūm) are a Levantine Arabic-speaking ethnoreligious Eastern Christian group residing in the Levant region.

Does the Orthodox Church use the Nicene Creed or Apostles? ›

The Eastern Orthodox Church accepts the Nicene Creed, but does not use the Apostles' Creed or the Athanasian Creed. A creed by definition is a summary or statement of what one believes. It originates from the Latin credo meaning "I believe".

What is the oldest Greek Orthodox Church in America? ›

Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The First Greek Orthodox Church in North and South America Established in 1864.

Can a Catholic marry an Orthodox in an Orthodox Church? ›

Catholic canon law allows marriage between a Catholic and an Orthodox only if permission is obtained from the Catholic bishop.

What are the two types of Orthodox? ›

Globally, there are 15 self-governing churches among the Eastern Orthodox, while the Oriental Orthodox, including the Copts, Armenians, Ethiopians and Assyrians, have their own churches. Most of the denominations in both groups have institutional churches in the U.S., with the Greek Orthodox Church being the largest.

Do Orthodox believe in Jesus or God? ›

The Orthodox Churches share with the other Christian Churches the belief that God revealed himself in Jesus Christ, and a belief in the incarnation of Christ, his crucifixion and resurrection.

Who gets called Your Eminence? ›

The style remains in use as the official style or standard form of address in reference to a cardinal of the Catholic Church, reflecting his status as a Prince of the Church. A longer, and more formal, title is "His (or Your when addressing the cardinal directly) Most Reverend Eminence".

What is the meaning of His Eminence? ›

: a position of prominence or superiority. : one that is eminent, prominent, or lofty: such as. : a person of high rank or attainments. often used as a title for a cardinal. : a natural elevation.

What are the 4 types of bishop? ›

Popes, cardinals, archbishops, patriarchs, and metropolitans are different gradations of bishops. A bishop is often assisted in the administration of his diocese by other, lesser bishops, who may be known as suffragans, assistants, auxiliaries, or coadjutor bishops.

What does the title metropolitan mean? ›

Originally, a metropolitan was a bishop of the Christian Church who resided in the chief city, or metropolis, of a civil province of the Roman Empire and, for ecclesiastical purposes, administered a territorial area coextensive with a civil province.

What is the highest ranking bishop called? ›

The pope is the bishop of Rome.

What is the difference between archbishop and metropolitan? ›

In terms of rank, in some Eastern Orthodox churches metropolitans are ranked above archbishops in precedence, while in others that order is reversed. Primates of autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches below patriarchal rank are generally designated as archbishops.

Who split from WHO Catholic or Orthodox? ›

On July 16, 1054, Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius was excommunicated, starting the “Great Schism” that created the two largest denominations in Christianity—the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faiths.

What is the biggest Orthodox Church in the world? ›

NameArea (m²)Country
Hagia Sophia7,960Turkey
Church of Saint Sava3,650 m²Serbia
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour3,990 m²Russia
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Who is the highest authority in the Orthodox Church? ›

Each constituent church is self-governing; its highest-ranking bishop called the primate (a patriarch, a metropolitan or an archbishop) reports to no higher earthly authority. Each regional church is composed of constituent eparchies (or dioceses) ruled by bishops.

Is Cyprus Catholic or Orthodox? ›

Christianity in Cyprus is the largest religion in the country, making up 78% of the island's population. The largest Christian denomination is the Greek Orthodox Church, while the rest are smaller communities of Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Latin Christians, Maronites, Armenian Apostolics, and Greek Evangelicals.

Does the Church of Antioch still exist? ›

After the Crusades, this office became titular in 1268, and lasted as titular for many centuries until it was abolished in 1964.

What religion was the Kaiser? ›

Wilhelm II, German Emperor
Wilhelm II
FatherFrederick III, German Emperor
MotherVictoria, Princess Royal
ReligionLutheranism (Prussian United)
14 more rows

What churches reject the Nicene Creed? ›

Non-Trinitarian groups, such as the Church of the New Jerusalem, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Jehovah's Witnesses, explicitly reject some of the statements in the Nicene Creed.

Who opposed the Nicene Creed? ›

The Council of Nicaea expressed its opposition to Arius' beliefs in the Nicene Creed. During the 55 years after Nicaea, there was a strong reaction in the church to the Nicene Creed; particularly to the word Greek homoousios ("same substance").

Do Protestants accept Nicene Creed? ›

The Nicene Creed is officially accepted by the Catholic, Orthodox, and major Protestant churches today. In addition to the Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed is popular, being officially accepted by Catholics and most Protestant denominations.

Did Jesus founded the Orthodox Church? ›

The Orthodox Church is the original Christian Church founded by Jesus and continued by his Apostles. It is the same Church described in the Bible as the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ (1 Corinthians 12 : 27; Ephesians 5 : 23–25).

What Bible does the Orthodox Church in America use? ›

The Orthodox Study Bible (OSB) is an Eastern Orthodox study Bible published by Thomas Nelson in 2008. It features an English translation of the St. Athanasius Academy Septuagint edition for the Old Testament, and utilizes the New King James Version for the New Testament.

How many wives can Orthodox Christians have? ›

Chapter 10 issued by the synod declared that marriage is allowed between one man and one woman, and separation (but not divorce) is only granted in the case of adultery, but even then remarriage is not allowed.

Can a Catholic receive communion in an Orthodox Church? ›

The answer is no. Although there might be individual Orthodox clergy who would give you as a Catholic Communion, it still remains true that there is no Orthodox church that permits Catholics to receive Holy Communion at their liturgies.

Do Greek Orthodox use rosary beads? ›

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "The rosary is conferred upon the Greek Orthodox monk as a part of his investiture with the mandyas or full monastic habit, as the second step in monastic life, and is called his 'spiritual sword'."

What is not allowed in Orthodox Christianity? ›

The Holy Tradition (written and oral) of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church, while advising avoidance of olive oil, meat, fish, milk, and dairy products every Wednesday and Friday throughout the year, additionally includes four principal fasting periods per year when meat as well as dairy products and eggs are ...

Who is head of Orthodox Christianity? ›

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Head Of The Holy Orthodox Church, World Leader For Peace And Reconciliation - The Ecumenical Patriarch - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Why do Orthodox have a different cross? ›

At this time, the Russian Orthodox Church officially adopted St. Andrew as its patron saint. Therefore, St. Andrew's X-shaped cross, depicted by the slanted beam, was incorporated into the cross of our Lord, the traditional Latin cross.

Does Orthodox Church pray to Mary? ›

Devotions to Mary are far more ingrained and integrated within Orthodox liturgy than in any other Christian traditions, e.g., there are many more hymns to Mary within the Eastern Orthodox yearly cycle of liturgy than in Roman Catholic liturgy.

Do Orthodox Christians pray the rosary? ›

Answer. The Roman Catholic devotion of praying the Rosary is not a part of the Orthodox Christian Tradition, as this devotion in its present form dates from about the 15th century—hundreds of years after Roman Catholicism separated herself from the Orthodox Church.

Do Orthodox Christians go to heaven? ›

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, heaven is part and parcel of deification (theosis), the eternal sharing of the divine qualities through communion with the Triune God (reunion of Father and Son through love).

How do you greet a metropolitan? ›

Eastern Orthodox Church
  1. Titular Metropolitan: The Most Reverend (Rev.) Metropolitan John of Terirem, His Eminence, Your Eminence.
  2. Note: Some Metropolitans use the style "The Very Most Reverend" (V. Most Rev.)
  3. Note: A Metropolitan who is the head of an independent Church is addressed as "Beatitude" rather than "Eminence"

Do you call a bishop Your Excellency? ›

Bishops and Archbishops are NEVER addressed in conversation as 'Bishop So-and So' or 'Archbishop So-and-So'. They are properly addressed as 'Your Excellency' or simply 'Excellency'.

What is the proper way to greet a bishop? ›

Greet them as "Your Excellency" followed by their last name.

In speaking, as in writing, you should address a bishop or archbishop honorably. Using the phrase “Your Excellency” followed by the bishop's last name is good etiquette.

Is a metropolitan the same as a bishop? ›

A bishop of a large and important area of leadership (usually called a diocese) may be called archbishop or metropolitan, the latter meaning simply the bishop of a chief city, a metropolis.

What is the wife of a priest called? ›

Presbytera (Greek: πρεσβυτέρα, pronounced presvytéra) is a Greek title of honor that is used to refer to a priest's wife. It is derived from presbyteros—the Greek word for priest (literally, "elder").

How do you address a female vicar? ›

Some people will refer to “Vicar” or “Rector”, but usually only when the person they are referring to really is the vicar or rector of the parish where they live. Otherwise, Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Smith is used.

Do you kiss a bishop's ring? ›

Custom prescribed that a layman or a cleric of inferior grade on being presented to a bishop should kiss his hand (called baciamano in Italian), which is to say, an obligation to kiss the episcopal ring.

What do you call a retired bishop? ›

When a diocesan bishop or auxiliary bishop retires, he is given the honorary title of "emeritus" of the last see he served, i.e., archbishop emeritus, bishop emeritus, or auxiliary bishop emeritus of the see.

Do you kiss a bishops hand? ›

During liturgical services, altar servers and lower clergy will kiss the hand of a priest when handing him something in the course of their duties, such as a censer, when he receives it in his right hand, and a bishop when he receives it in either hand since a bishop bestows blessings with both hands.

Do you call a bishop father? ›

Since the early periods of the church, religious leaders have been referred to as some form of father. In the early church, members of the clergy generally did not have standard titles. However, an accepted way to address bishops was “papa” or “pappa,” which referred to the role of the bishops as father figures.

Do you shake a bishop's hand? ›

Kiss (Don't Shake) the Priest's or Bishop's Hand

Approach the priest or bishop with your right hand over your left hand and say "Father (or "Master" in the case of the bishop), bless." This is much more appropriate (and traditional) than shaking their hands.

What are the 4 types of bishops? ›

Popes, cardinals, archbishops, patriarchs, and metropolitans are different gradations of bishops. A bishop is often assisted in the administration of his diocese by other, lesser bishops, who may be known as suffragans, assistants, auxiliaries, or coadjutor bishops.

What are the 4 levels of bishops? ›

Pope, bishop, cardinal, priest.

What are the two types of bishops? ›

How many different types of bishops are there? Diocesan Bishop - the primary bishop of a diocese; sometimes referred to as “The Diocesan.” Bishop Coadjutor - A bishop elected to succeed the Diocesan Bishop.

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