SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2023
Pastoral Letter of Metropolitan Antonios at the Conclusion of the Special Convention
Dallas, January 14th, 2023
Pastoral Letter of His Eminence, Metropolitan Antonios at the Conclusion of the Special Convention held in Dallas, Texas, January 13th, 2023
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:10)
Very Esteemed Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Honorable Members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees and Beloved Faithful of this God-protected Archdiocese:
As the Special Convention was accomplished, I would like to glorify with you the Lord and express my gratefulness to our Savior Who bestowed us to live this special experience of unity and love through the Special Convention held in Dallas, Texas on Friday the 13th of January, 2023.
The spirit of Antioch was revealed through the comprehension and responsibility that dominated the Convention, with a spirit of openness to one another in love and acceptance of our “imperfectness”, accompanied with the enthusiasm to always improve our conventions and gatherings with the best practices at all levels while serving our Church.
Furthermore, I would like to acknowledge the blessed result of the nomination process and thank the Hierarchs and the members of the Board of Trustees and of the Temporary Operating Committee for their active and positive involvement in this regard. I thank the Lord that all what have been done was done with transparency and competence.
I would like to emphasize on the spirit of responsibility, comprehension and positive dialogue and discussion that made the Special Convention a place of encounter in love, respect and search for the will of God concerning the nomination process. The fruits were the peace and joy that we enjoyed in the Special Convention although the special circumstances the Archdiocese went through. God granted us to achieve this mission all together, and thus this was a victory for the spirit of unity, integrity and peace in the Archdiocese and a great push in the healing process.
Beloved in Christ, I pray with you that the Holy Spirit illumines our hearts and minds to seek internal peace through deep and sincere repentance, and to build our lives on the “Rock” that is Christ, living in organic communication and love as members one to the other in Church the Body of Christ.
Let us all pray in one heart and one mind to the three nominees, our beloved Hierarchs Saba, John and Nicholas as well as to the members of the Holy Synod of Antioch, for the best conclusion of the election process that will take place in the near future, God willing.
We cannot but thank the Lord for the seeds planted by His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip of eternal memory, and all those who preceded him and those who lived and served with him and followed him for the mature fruits that we are getting nourished from years after his repose in the Lord. Indeed, his wisdom produced this structure that brought stability and control in all the pastoral, clerical and financial practices.
Moreover, I would like very much to highlight what His Beatitude, our Father and Patriarch JOHN X addressed in his letter to the Special Convention concerning the Antiochian spirit explaining it as the spirit of apostolic mission, in that the Church of Antioch “is called to evangelize the whole world, bringing to all nations the Salvific Word and True Faith.” Furthermore, His Beatitude expresses with certainty and sureness that “one hundred years ago, this Antiochian Apostolic Spirit was at the root of founding our beloved Antiochian Archdiocese of North America,” so this Archdiocese which was established by the Grace of God through Holy man, at the head of them is Saint Raphael of Brooklyn became “a blessed image of the Great City of God – Antioch, established on the soil of the New Land of North America.”
Finally, I express my gratefulness and appreciation to all those who worked with me in one heart and one hand so that this transitional period is smooth, peaceful and fruitful through their prayers and sincere endeavor, both visible and unseen. I would like also to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the Special Convention and all those who participated in its preparation in any way and our hosts in Dallas for the caring love which they witnessed to the entire Archdiocese.
May our Lord keep His blessing on all of you and that the fruits of this Special Convention be bestowed on us as a more manifest witness of the unity, integrity and mission of this God protected Archdiocese and for all the entire Antiochian See.
Metropolitan of Zahle, Baalbek, and Dependencies
Patriarchal Vicar of New York and All North America