The source of this article is the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, under the leadership of Patriarch John X.
The Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph took place at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York. He was enthroned by Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, who traveled to New York from Syria for the occasion. Following is the address given by Patriarch John at the Enthronement.
ANTIOCH PATRIARCHATE: Speech of His Beatitude John X at Enthronement
Your Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph,
Brother hierarchs and beloved clergy,
Your Excellencies, and beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,
I address you with the peace of Christ. I address you with the word of the Word who lived among us. “My peace I leave to you, my peace I give to you” (John 14:27). The enthronement of a bishop in the church is the enthronement of peace and love in her midst. Now, the Church expresses her full essence within a community governed with love. O Sayedna, Joseph, in the name of all your brothers in the Antiochian Orthodox Church, I address you personally:
Here, we stand now before the throne of the church. This throne will be honored with your love, covered with your wisdom and ardent with your apostolic Antiochian zeal. Bless this throne, be blessed with this throne through your sacrificial ministry and bless the church entrusted to your paternal care. Your predecessor, Metropolitan Philip of blessed memory whom you know very well and whom we appreciate, had offered his life and consecrated it for the welfare of the church. We are totally confident that Your Eminence shall be continuing the work of Metropolitan Philip collaborating with the other bishops of the Archdiocese, to whom we send our cordial greetings. We also take the opportunity to mention the importance of the development of the missionary, social, educational, monastic and cultural work through well-established centers in the Archdiocese.
The Antiochian Church is the Church of the Word. She is the church of the incarnated Word and of theology applied in life. This same church extended her branches here in America and addressed herself to her sons and to the world with “The Word” in the year 1904 and onward. All these facts affirm that Antioch is a word of truth. Antioch is armed with the pacific word, the word of peace. This pacific word has an eastern identity. This eastern identity does not contradict the fact that the Antiochian faithful are spread out over all the world. The Antiochian church has a right and a duty, at all times and in all places, to take care of her sons wherever they exist and whenever necessary.
Over a century ago, our predecessor, Patriarch Meletius II said this: “How greatly the heart of a man rejoices when, having planted a tree, he sees it grow, flourish and bring forth fruit! Or better, how glad is the heart of a father who has laboured to raise a son, when he sees that his son justifies his hopes, as well as the hopes of his brothers and friends! In the same fashion, the heart of the holy Church of Antioch is glad today.” These were the words of our predecessor so long ago, at the time he was proud to see the efforts of that great man, Raphael (Hawaweeny). Now, allow me to say, dear brothers and sisters, that the same words hold true today. They express the pride of the mother Church of Antioch when seeing the implanted tree, the Archdiocese of New York and All North America, flourishing and bringing forth fruit. This tree came to flower with the divine grace in her pious men sent earlier: Raphael Hawaweeny, Victor Abou-Assali, Antonios Bashir, Philip Saliba and now Joseph Zehlaoui, whose enthronement we celebrate.
I come to you from the Mariamite Church of Damascus, from the “strada recta”, “the street called Straight” (Acts 9:11). I come to you carrying in my heart the symphony of love, steadiness and the strength of hope played by the bells of our churches in the East. I come to say that the historical territory of the Patriarchate of Antioch is not merely a symbolic aspect in our life. It is an essential part of our identity. This identity was baptized with Peter and Paul and immersed with the blood of the holy martyrs. This identity began with the first steps of those disciples called Christians in Antioch, continued with our ancestors who guarded their faith intact; and it now continues on, and it will continue on, despite all the tragedies taking place in our homeland. This identity is carved on the mountain of Lebanon and implanted in her coasts and valleys. This identity embraces the sunrise of Syria and the sunrise of the history of Syria. This identity comes from the neighborhood of Bethlehem. It comes from Christian Jerusalem. It pours forth with waters of the Euphrates, the Jordan, the Nile and the Tigris, and with them, it gives life to the soil of Iraq, Egypt, Palestine and Jordan.
We come to the United States to be enriched with the presence of our beloved community. Fifth and sixth generation American, but still Antiochian, the Church of Antioch and the homeland of Antioch in the heart of every single individual in the midst of the Eucharistic assembly.