November 1, 2021
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Your Eminence Metropolitan Joseph,
Dear Brothers in Christ,
We have been truly moved by the reception that Your Eminence has provided to us and to our Synodia in Christ. Our visit with you is made even more special, in the knowledge that Your Eminence and Archbishop Elpidophoros are working with spiritual synergy and fellowship in the Assembly of Canonical Bishops here in America.
The Most Holy Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East is a vital and engaged member of the Elder four Patriarchs that remain in the Ancient Pentarchy. Nevertheless, these Apostolic Lands and cites over which our Beloved Brother and Concelebrant in the Holy Spirit, His Beatitude Patriarch John presides, contain much memory of the first witnesses to our Lord Jesus Christ.
My own predecessor on the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Holy John Chrysostom, was a son of Antioch. And the Antiochian School of Theology rightly emphasized the historical narrative of the Church, even as Alexandria put forth the allegorical.
We have never forgotten that we first received the name of “Christian” in Antioch. We are proud of the continuous presence of your Patriarchate, now in Damascus, and how the Holy See of the Apostles Peter and Paul ministers to the Faithful there, some of whom still speak the daily language of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We pray that here in America, the bonds between our two Patriarchates will grow stronger and stronger, manifesting a common witness to the truth of the Orthodox Faith in the fullness of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We must communicate more vigorously and more emphatically these Apostolic roots of Orthodoxy. America is a powerful and great country, but America is young and unfamiliar with the course of salvation as we have known it from the beginning.
Therefore, dear Metropolitan Joseph, and all our Antiochian Brethren, we lift our glass in your honor and with gratitude for your faithfulness and steadfastness.
May the Lord of all ever bless your ministry and your faithful, and protect you, Children of Antioch, now and forever. Amen.