Antiochian Western Diocese episcopal appointment causes concern

October 28, 2016

On Wednesday, October 26, a press conference was held
outside the St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in
Los Angeles, reports
pokrov.org
. The topic was unpleasant, but one
which has many in the diocese deeply
concerned—clergy and laity alike.

In a
letter
dated October 6, His Eminence Metropolitan
Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of
North America announced the appointment of Bishop Demetri
as vicar bishop of the Diocese of the West, saying
“I would like and expect you to welcome His Grace
Bishop DEMETRI to your parishes and to treat him as though
I myself was visiting you.”

The concern arises from Bishop Demetri Matta
Khoury’s February 25, 2004 conviction for attempted
fourth degree criminal sexual misconduct. He was arrested
July 9, 2003 after appearing plain-clothed and visibly
intoxicated in a Michigan casino where he grabbed a
woman’s breast. He stated that he didn’t
remember the night, but plead guilty after viewing the
casino’s security footage.

He was sentenced to twenty-eight days in jail with two
years of probation, and required to register as a sex
offender, although his conviction and classification were
both later
revoked
after he appealed in 2014.

Bishop Demetri was granted retirement following his
conviction, but while still a registered sex offender was
appointed as
auxiliary bishop
for the Antiochian Archdiocese of
Mexico, though the Synod again
retired
him in 2009 due to public outcry.

Given this history, many are concerned about personal
safety, and struggling to understand this move on the part
of Met. Joseph, what message the diocese is sending about
sexual abuse, and how to best proceed in this difficult
situation.

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