Orthodox Christian






(Detroit October 20, 2003)  On October 9, 2003 the Holy Synod of Antioch declared with finality the autonomy of the Antiochian Archdiocese.  The hallmarks of an autonomous church or archdioceses are:

1.      the right to self governance

2.      the right to nominate (by clergy and laity), to elect and to consecrate the diocesan bishops of the church

3.      the right to required the mother church to elect its primate from three candidates nominated by the autonomous church.

All  Orthodox Christian faithful in the Americas are grateful that through its vision and love the Holy Synod of Antioch formally granted these rights to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.




Metropolitan Philip's Message on Self-Rule Final Status

To Be Read From The Pulpit And Published In The Church Bulletin

October 20, 2003

Beloved Hierarchs, Clergy, Trustees, and All Faithful of this God-Protected Archdiocese:

On Saturday October 18th, 2003, by the grace of God, we returned safely from our historic trip to

Damascus to attend the meeting of the Holy Synod of Antioch.  On Thursday, October 9th, 2003, after two days of intense discussion, the Holy Synod of Antioch voted unanimously to grant self-rule to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.  The full text of the Resolution of the Holy Synod is attached for your review.

I wish to express my gratitude to His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV and the members of the Holy Synod of Antioch  for their unanimous expression of support for this Archdiocese.

I am extremely pleased and grateful to God on several fronts for the outcome of this meeting.  First, that the Holy Synod of Antioch, in granting self-rule to this Archdiocese, has unanimously affirmed the need for us to move forward and to make important decisions in the life of this Archdiocese which will allow it to stand as a beacon of hope for now and for the future.  Second, that the unanimity of this decision has demonstrated not only the unity of the Church of Antioch, but our ability to make decisions, guided by the Holy Spirit, which protect the best interests of the Church.  Third, that our own internal deliberations and decision making, fully involving all of the clergy and laity of this Archdiocese in an orderly process which insures that the voice of the people is heard, has borne the fruit of these decisions.  Finally, that our travels were blessed by God with safety, productivity, and fellowship.

I wish to express my sincerest thanks to Very Rev. Joseph Antypas, Dr. George Farha, and Mr. Fawaz El Khoury who accompanied me on this historic journey, and who were a constant source of support.  I also wish to thank all of those individuals who worked so diligently in the background to help to achieve this result.

I ask that you pray for us, as we always pray for all of you and the outstanding work that you do on behalf of this Archdiocese.  Together, by the Grace of God, we will continue to spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the North American continent.

Your Father in Christ,

Metropolitan PHILIP
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America



Published by Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East, October 10, 2003 


Synodal Decision Regarding Autonomy of the Antiochian Church  in North America


On the latest meeting of the Antiochian Holy Synod 7- 10 October 2003 -Damascus

On Tuesday 7th of October 2003 , and under the guidance of His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV, the thirty six Holy Synod meeting took place at the Patriarchate in Damascus with the presence of:

1. H. E. Elias Kurban Metropolitan of Tripoli, Koura
2. H. E. Philipus Saliba Metropolitan of New York and all North
3. H.E. Isperidon Khoury Metropolitan of Zahlé and Baalback
4. H.E. Constantine Papastifano Metropolitan of Baghdad and Kuwait
5. H.E. Georges Khouder Metropolitan of mount of Lebanon
6. H.E. Yohanna Mansour Metropolitan of Latakia
7. H.E. Elias Audé Metropolitan of Beirut
8. H.E. Boulos Bandali Metropolitan of Akkar
9. H.E. Elie Saliba Metropolitan of Hama
10. H.E. Elias Kfuri Metropolitan of Sour, Saida and Marja Eyoun
11. H.E. Antonio Shedrawi Metropolitan of Maxis
12. H.E. Kirilos Domat Metropolitan of Argentine
13. H.E. Damasinok Mansour Metropolitan of SanPawlo and Brazil
14. H.E. Saba Esber Metropolitan of Bosra and Horan
15. H.E. Boulos Saliba Metropolitan of Australia
16. H.E. Georges Abu Zakhem Metropolitan of Homs
17. H.E. Boulos Yazajy Metropolitan of Aleppo and Iskandaroun

And the Bishops:

H.G. Elias Nagem, H.G. Yohanna Yazajy, H.G. Mousa Al Khoury, H.G. Basilios Nasour, H.G. Louka Khoury, H.G. Ghattas Hazim, H.G. Dimitri
Hosni and Fr. George Dimas

H.E. Gabriel Saliba Metropolitan of Europe and H.E. Sergios Abed Metropolitan of Chili were absent for health reasons.

Members of the synodical ad-hoc committee for the issue of Autonomy of the archdioceses of north America were also present.
Those members

     * Mêrtre Albert Laham
     * Dr. Tarek Mitri
     * Father Joseph Antipas
     * Dr. George Farha
     * Mr. Fawaz Khoury

After raising the opening prayer, the Patriarch had wished a constructive meeting saying:

"I'm very much pleased and honored to be together this morning in one heart and in one spirit. This is not new in our Church because such spirit and such atmosphere reflect since years our synodical meetings. We meet together with the grace and love of our God and with the grace of the Holy Spirit".

After approving the daily agenda, the Holy Synod discussed many issues especially the case of Autonomy of the archdiocese of north America.

After few days of discussion, the Holy Synod approved and signed the following resolution related to the above case:

Resolution of the Holy Synod of Antioch

Self rule and Jurisdiction:

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America is and shall remain self ruled within its present jurisdiction (The United States of America and Canada) and shall constitute one unified ecclesiastical Antiochian entity.


The Archdiocese is governed by the Holy Scripture, the Sacred Tradition, the Holy Canons, the Constitution of the Church of Antioch and this Synodical resolution and by its Constitution and Bylaws.

Recognition of Auxiliary Bishops as Diocesan Bishops and Eparchial Synod:

Upon adoption of this resolution, the present Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese, Bishop Antoun, Bishop Joseph, Bishop Basil, and Bishop Demetri shall become Bishops of four Dioceses of the Archdiocese and bear their titles. The Diocesan Bishops will constitute under the Metropolitan the Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese which will be its governing authority.

The Eparchial Synod shall determine the number of dioceses and their boundaries.

Procedure of election of Diocesan Bishops:

A- The General Assembly of the Archdiocese shall nominate three candidates for a Diocesan Bishop. When Diocesan Assemblies shall be constituted, the nominations shall then be made, by the said assemblies.

B- The Patriarch of Antioch, shall delegate three Metropolitans to participate on behalf of the Holy Synod together with the Eparchial Synod in the election of the Diocesan Bishops. The Metropolitan shall preside over the electoral assembly.

C- The consecration and enthronement of the Bishops shall be accomplished in North America, by the Metropolitan, the Patriarchal Delegate and the members of the Eparchial Synod.

D- In case of insufficient number of qualified nominees from the Archdiocesan clergy, the Archdiocese shall nominate from the list of nominations kept in the Patriarchal records.

Procedure of election of the Metropolitan Primate:

The Metropolitan Primate shall be nominated pursuant to the Constitution of the Church of Antioch and to the Constitution and Bylaws of the Archdiocese. Three names of nominees for the Metropolitan Primate shall be submitted to the Holy Synod of Antioch for election by it, of one of the three names. The Metropolitan shall be a member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate as well as of the Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese.

Right of appeal and Synaxis:

Bishops of the Eparchial Synod have the right of appeal of its decisions to the Patriarch of Antioch who shall be the final judge along with the Holy Synod of Antioch. The Bishops of the Archdiocese shall attend the gatherings or synaxis of Antiochian Bishops which may be called by the Patriarch of Antioch.

Decisions of the Holy synod of Antioch:

The decisions of the Holy Synod of Antioch shall be binding on the Archdiocese on matters of doctrine, liturgy, sacraments, relations with autocephalous Orthodox Churches and ecumenical policy with regard to other Christian and non–Christian bodies.

Amendment and translation:

The Patriarchate of Antioch and the Archdiocese shall each amend its constitution in accordance with above. The Archdiocese shall submit its amended constitution to the Holy Synod of Antioch for approval.

The Arabic text of this resolution and its English translation shall have equal force and validity.


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