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Letter from Metropolitan Joseph Regarding the Convent of St. Thekla

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph writes:

July 29, 2016

Ms. Loulou Jane Nasrallah
5409 Allison Mill Rd.
Glenville, PA 17329-9115

Dear Ms. Nasrallah,

Blessings and greetings to you in the name of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ. We hope this letter finds you and Sister Kathrina Samaan in good health.

We have received you and Sister Kathrina with open arms for the past three years. We have had high hopes for the Convent of St. Thekla through both of you. In order to prepare for a successful convent, we purchased a car and a 55 acre land that included a large house, a barn, and separate garages to pave the way for a good foundation so that all the convent physical needs are met. On the other hand, we know that starting a new convent is a great spiritual struggle and challenge.

In order for us to help you in your spiritual growth, I decided to give you more opportunities to help you improve on the path of your calling. Therefore, I sent you to two different Orthodox convents in Tucson, Arizona and Goldendale, Washington in order for you to gain deeper and wider experience. You persevered in your resistance with respect to those trips and cooperated minimally. Unfortunately, both visitations failed since both convents urgently requested from me to send you and Sister Kathrina back home due to several reasons, especially the reason of disobedience. In addition, since your arrival to our Convent of St. Thekla, neither I nor His Grace Bishop NICHOLAS has sensed any progress in your monastic life. To the contrary, there have been many persistent difficulties, unnecessary problems, and stubborn issues including obstinate disobedience despite all the abundant support, fatherly love, spiritual guidance, and patience you have received. Needless to say, the convent enjoyed a generous budget in order for it to function without being in poverty. Hence, I have come to the sad conclusion that your path does not coincide with our vision for the Convent of St. Thekla. Consequently and unfortunately, we do not see that you fit with our hopes for the Convent.

I have consulted with His Beatitude JOHN X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, and with His Eminence EPHREM, Metropolitan of Tripoli, Al-Koura, and their dependencies on the matter of your situation and they both agreed with my decision. Furthermore, you have been offered to go back to your former Convent of Kaftoun, Lebanon and you have refused to do so. Additionally, your existence as a nun in the Archdiocese of North America, but not in a formal Antiochian Convent, will cause problems and confusions among the clergy and the laity. As a result, after much prayer and with great sadness, you leave me with no choice but to come to the decision of Iaicizing you (i.e. returning you to the rank of the Iaity) effective immediately. Moreover, I will instruct my office to reverse the Green-Card application that we sent to USCIS earlier this year and purchase an airline ticket for you to go back to Canada in addition to a small sum of money to help you survive for a while.

We pray that you will be close to God and His Church, as you continue your life as a layperson in prayer and repentance.

Wishing you all of God’s blessings, I remain,

Your Father is Christ,

+JOSEPH
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

Cc: His Beatitude JOHN X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East,
His Eminence EPHREM, Metropolitan of Tripoli, Al-Koura, and their dependencies,
His Eminence GEORGE, Metropolitan of Mount Lebanon, Byblos, Batroun and Dependencies,
His Grace NICHOLAS, Bishop of Brooklyn, Diocese of New York and Washington DC and resident assistant to the Metropolitan

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Letter from Metropolitan Joseph 7-29-16 (PDF)1.49 MB