Statement of the Antiochian Orthodox Media Center

Statement of the Antiochian Orthodox Media Center
Balamand, on 4/30/2023
His Beatitude John X, being informed of serious violations related to the person of the Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchal Vicariate in Sweden and to authorities in the Parish Council of Santa Maria in Södertälje, has delegated His Eminence Athanasios (Fahd), Metropolitan of the Diocese of Lattakia, to go there and collect information and facts. HE Athanasios was to meet with the parish priests and the parishioners at the Vicariate, inquire about their conditions, and take the necessary measures to protect the parish.
The investigations carried out by His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios proved some serious abuses by the Patriarchal Vicar on the ecclesiastical, legal and financial levels. On the ecclesiastical level, Archimandrite Jean Mansour joined another church that is not recognized in the Orthodox world. On the financial level, it was proven that the parish’s funds and waqf were violated (i.e., selling the church building and its extensions and concluding a lease contract with the new owner without informing the parish nor the Patriarchate), in addition to accumulating exorbitant debts toward third parties in the name of the parish. Investigations also show that one of the officials in the parish is involved in these financial violations.
Based on the above, His Beatitude decreed the following:
1- Annulling the decision of appointing Archimandrite Jean Mansour as Patriarchal Vicar to the Scandinavian countries.
2- Withdrawing confidence from the parish council of Santa Maria Södertälje Church in Sweden, and dissolving the said council.
3- Dismissing Archimandrite Jean Mansour and asking him to return to the patriarchal residence in Balamand. The patriarch shall take whatever measures deemed appropriate regarding Mansour’s ministry, since he is subordinate to the patriarchal residence.
4- Appointing Archimandrite Antonios Bitar as Patriarchal Vicar to the Scandinavian countries.
5- Commissioning the patriarchal Vicar, Archimandrite Antonios Bitar to establish a new Parish Council in the Church of Santa Maria Södertälje.
6- Take legal action in view of restoring the rights that were lost to financial abuse, and holding accountable those responsible and enforce liability.
His Beatitude calls on the parishioners and the clergy there to maintain unity and to show collaboration with the new Patriarchal Vicar, in order to bear the witness that befits the Church of Christ.
Christ is risen