Albanian Orthodox Church

Last updated
Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania
Kisha Ortodokse Autoqefale e Shqipërisë
Kisha Ortodokse e Shqiperise.svg
Seal
PrimateArchbishop Anastasios of Albania
Bishops6
Priests135
Parishes909
Monasteries150
Language Albanian
Headquarters Resurrection Cathedral, Tirana, Albania
Territory Albania and Albanian diaspora
Possessions
Founder Apostle Paul
Theofan Stilian Noli [1]
Independence17 September 1922 [2]
Recognition Autocephaly recognised in 1937 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Members500,000 [3] -700,000-800,000 [4] (claimed), number much higher when diaspora is considered.
Official website http://www.orthodoxalbania.net/

The Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania (Albanian : Kisha Ortodokse Autoqefale e Shqipërisë) is one of the newest autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches. It declared its autocephaly in 1922 through its Congress of 1922, and gained recognition from the Patriarch of Constantinople in 1937.

Albanian language Indo-European language

Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by the Albanians in the Balkans and the Albanian diaspora in the Americas, Europe and Oceania. With about 7.5 million speakers, it comprises an independent branch within the Indo-European languages and is not closely related to any other language in Europe.

Autocephaly Christian hierarchical practice

Autocephaly is the status of a hierarchical Christian Church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used in Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches. The status has been compared with that of the churches (provinces) within the Anglican Communion.

Eastern Orthodox Church Christian Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 260 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods. Roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.

The church suffered during the Second World War, and in the communist period that followed, especially after 1967 when Albania was declared an atheist state, and no public or private expression of religion was allowed.

The church has, however, seen a revival since religious freedom was restored in 1991, with more than 250 churches rebuilt or restored, and more than 100 clergy being ordained. It has 909 parishes spread all around Albania, and around 500,000 to 550,000 (unconfirmed) faithful. [3] The number is claimed to be as high as 700,000 by some Orthodox sources – and higher when considering the Albanian diaspora. [5] [6]

History

Ecclesiastically, Christians in Albania, as part of the province of Illyricum, were under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome (1st-8th century). [7] From 732-733 AD the ecclesiatical jurisdiction of Illyricum was transferred to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. [8] [7] The Great Schism of 1054 formalized the split of Christianity into two branches, Catholicism and Orthodoxy, which was reflected in Albania through the emergence of a Catholic north and Orthodox south. [7] During the moment of schism, 1054, Albanians were attached to the Eastern Orthodox Church and were all Orthodox Christians. [7] [9] [10]

Illyricum (Roman province) Roman province

Illyricum was a Roman province that existed from 27 BC to sometime during the reign of Vespasian. The province comprised Illyria/Dalmatia and Pannonia. Illyria included the area along the east coast of the Adriatic Sea and its inland mountains. With the creation of this province it came to be called Dalmatia. It was in the south, while Pannonia was in the north. Illyria/Dalmatia stretched from the River Drin to Istria (Croatia) and the River Sava in the north. The area roughly corresponded to modern northern Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and coastal Croatia. Pannonia was the plain which lies to its north, from the mountains of Illyria/Dalmatia to the westward bend of the River Danube, and included modern Vojvodina, northern Croatia and western Hungary. As the province developed, Salona became its capital.

The East–West Schism, also called the Great Schism and the Schism of 1054, was the break of communion between what are now the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches, which had lasted until the 11th century. The Schism was the culmination of theological and political differences between the Christian East and West which had developed over the preceding centuries.

Orthodox Church during the Ottoman Period

18th century Orthodox missionary and saint, Cosmas of Aetolia Kosmas Aitolos.jpg
18th century Orthodox missionary and saint, Cosmas of Aetolia

The official recognition of the Eastern Orthodox Church by the Porte resulted in the Orthodox population being tolerated until the late 18th century. [11] [12] [13] The Orthodox population of Albania was integrated into the Patriarchate of Constantinople, with the population of central and south-eastern Albania being under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid, and the population of south-western Albania being under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Metropolis of Ioannina. [14] [15]

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople autocephalous church of Eastern Orthodox Christianity

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is one of the fourteen to sixteen autocephalous churches that together compose the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is headed by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, currently Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople.

Archbishopric of Ohrid in Macedonia

The Archbishopric of Ohrid, also known as the Bulgarian Archbishopric of Ohrid, originally called Archbishopric of Justiniana Prima and all Bulgaria, was an autonomous Orthodox Church under the tutelage of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople between 1019 and 1767. It was established following the Byzantine conquest of the First Bulgarian Empire in 1018 by lowering the rank of the autocephalous Bulgarian Patriarchate due to its subjugation to Constantinople.

Ioannina Place in Greece

Ioannina, often called Yannena within Greece, is the capital and largest city of the Ioannina regional unit and of Epirus, an administrative region in north-western Greece. Its population is 65,574, according to 2011 census. It lies at an elevation of approximately 500 metres above sea level, on the western shore of lake Pamvotis (Παμβώτις). Ioannina is located 410 km (255 mi) northwest of Athens, 260 kilometres southwest of Thessaloniki and 80 km east of the port of Igoumenitsa in the Ionian Sea.

During the late eighteenth century, the poverty of the Orthodox Church, the illiterate clergy, a lack of clergy in some areas, liturgy in a language other than Albanian [11] [16] [17] [18] and the reliance of the bishoprics of Durrës and southern Albania upon the declining Archbishopric of Ohrid, due in part to simony, weakened the faith among the Church's adherents and reduced the ability for Orthodox Albanians to resist conversion to Islam. [16] [17]

Simony Act of selling church offices and roles

Simony is the act of selling church offices and roles. It is named after Simon Magus, who is described in the Acts of the Apostles as having offered two disciples of Jesus payment in exchange for their empowering him to impart the power of the Holy Spirit to anyone on whom he would place his hands. The term extends to other forms of trafficking for money in "spiritual things."

By the mid-19th century, due to the Tanzimat reforms which imposed mandatory military service on non-Muslims, the Orthodox Church lost adherents as the majority of Albanians became Muslim.

Movement for establishing an authocephalous Albanian Orthodox Church

Papa Kristo Negovani, first Orthodox priest to conduct the divine liturgy in Albanian and was murdered (1905) by a Greek guerilla band for his efforts. Papa Kristo Negovani.jpg
Papa Kristo Negovani, first Orthodox priest to conduct the divine liturgy in Albanian and was murdered (1905) by a Greek guerilla band for his efforts.

In the 19th century, Orthodox Albanians under the Patriarchate of Constantinople had liturgy and schooling in Greek and toward the late Ottoman period mainly identified with Greek national aspirations. [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] For Orthodox Albanians, Albanianism was closely associated with Hellenism, linked through the faith of Orthodoxy and only during the Eastern crisis and thereafter was that premise rejected by a few Orthodox Albanianists. [28] In southern Albania during the late Ottoman period, being Albanian was increasingly associated with Islam, while from the 1880s the emerging Albanian National Movement was viewed as an obstacle to Hellenism within the region. [29] [30] Some Orthodox Albanians, mainly from Korçë and its nearby regions, began to affiliate with the movement by working together with Muslim Albanians regarding shared socio-geopolitical Albanian interests and aims causing concerns for Greece. [30] [31] [32] [33] Contribution to the national movement by Orthodox Albanian nationalists was mainly undertaken outside the Ottoman state, in the Albanian diaspora, with activities focusing on educational issues and propaganda. [34] As Orthodoxy was associated with the Greek identity, the rise of the movement caused confusion for Orthodox Albanians as it interrupted the formation of a Greek national consciousness. [26]

Saint Prokopios Lazaridis became metropolitan bishop of Durrës from 1899 until 1906. He developed significant activity among the local Orthodox communities, later becoming a Metropolitan of Iconium. [35] [36] [35] [36] [37] [38]

Metropolitan bishop Photios of "Korytsa and Premeti" (1906-1908) took various initiatives for the promotion of Greek cultural activity. He was murdered in 1908 by an Albanian irregular band for being against the development of Albanian cultural activity and in retaliation for the murder of Kristo Negovani. Photios (Kalpidis) of Korytsa and Premeti (1902-1906).jpg
Metropolitan bishop Photios of "Korytsa and Premeti" (1906-1908) took various initiatives for the promotion of Greek cultural activity. He was murdered in 1908 by an Albanian irregular band for being against the development of Albanian cultural activity and in retaliation for the murder of Kristo Negovani.

At the onset of the twentieth century, the idea to create an Albanian Orthodoxy or an Albanian expression of Orthodoxy emerged in the diaspora at a time when the Orthodox were increasingly being assimilated by the Patriarchate and Greece through the sphere of politics. [28] The Orthodox Albanian community had individuals such as Jani Vreto, Spiro Dine and Fan Noli involved in the national movement, of which some advocated for an Albanian Orthodoxy in order to curtail the Hellenisation process occurring amongst Orthodox Albanians. [41] [42] In 1905, priest Kristo Negovani, who had attained Albanian national sentiments abroad, returned to his native village of Negovan and introduced the Albanian language in Orthodox liturgy for the first time. [21] [20] [22] As a result of these efforts, Negovani was murdered by a Greek guerilla band on orders from Bishop Karavangelis of Kastoria that aroused a nationalist response with the Albanian guerilla band of Bajo Topulli, killing the Metropolitan of Korçë, Photios. [19] [20] [21] [22] In 1907, Orthodox Albanian immigrant Kristaq Dishnica was refused funeral services in the United States by a local Orthodox Greek priest for being an Albanian nationalist involved in patriotic activities. [43] Known as the Hudson incident, it galvanised the emigre Orthodox Albanian community to form the Albanian Orthodox Church under Fan Noli who hoped to diminish Greek influence in the church and counter Greek irredentism. [43] [44] [45] [41] On March 18, 1908, as a result of the Hudson incident, Fan Noli was ordained as a priest by Russian bishop Platon in the United States. [46] [47] [48] [49] Noli conducted the Orthodox liturgy (March 1908) for the first time among the Albanian-American community in Albanian. Noli also devoted his efforts toward translating the liturgy into Albanian and emerging as a leader of the Orthodox Albanian community in the US. In 1911 he visited the Orthodox Albanian diasporas in Romania, Ukraine and Bulgaria. [46] For Albanian nationalists, Greek nationalism was a concern toward the end of the 19th century due to overlapping territorial claims toward the ethnically mixed vilayet of Yannina. [50] [51] The issues also generated a reaction against Greek nationalists that drove the Albanian desire to stress a separate cultural identity. [50] [52]

Autocephaly and statutes

Bishop Fan Noli, founder of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania. Fan Noli 1939.jpg
Bishop Fan Noli, founder of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania.

After Albanian independence in 1912, Fan Noli, who in 1924 would become an important political figure and prime minister of the nation, traveled to Albania, where he played an important role in establishing the Orthodox Albanian Church. [46] On September 17, 1922, the first Orthodox Congress convened at Berat formally laid the foundations of an Albanian Orthodox Church and declared its autocephaly. [43] [53] [54] [2] Fan Noli was consecrated as Bishop of Korçë and primate of Albania, while the establishment of the Church was seen as an important development for maintaining Albanian national unity. [43] [53] [54] At the end of the congress the First Statute of the Church was approved.

The Church had a Second Statute that amended the First Statute in a second congress gathered in Korçë on June 29, 1929. [55] Also on September 6, 1929, the first Regulation of General Administration of the Church was approved. [56] The Patriarchate in Istanbul recognised the independence or autocephaly of the Orthodox Albanian Church in 1937. [43]

On November 26, 1950, the Parliament of Albania approved the Third Statute that abrogated the 1929 Statute. Such new statute required Albanian citizenship for the primate of the church in (article 4). With the exception of the amendments made in 1993, this statute is still in force for the Church. [57]

On January 21, 1993, the 1950 statute was amended and in 1996 was approved by the then-president, Sali Berisha. In particular, article 4 of the 1950 statute, which required Albanian citizenship for primate of the church, was no longer so.

On November 3 and 4, 2006, at the new Monastery of St. Vlash in Durrës, there was a special Clergy-Laity Assembly of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, attended by 257 representatives (including all clergy members). At this Assembly the New Constitution (Statute) of the Church was analyzed and accept unanimously. On November 6, 2006, the Holy Synod approved this Constitution (Statute). On November 24, 2008, the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania and the Council of Ministers signed an agreement according to the 1998 Albanian Constitution, for the arrangement of their reciprocal relationship. The agreement was ratified by the Albanian Parliament, and became law (nr.10057) on January 22, 2009. [58]

Archbishops

The Primate of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania is also the Archbishop of Tirana and Durrës. The current Archbishop of Tirana is Archbishop Anastasios of Albania.

No.Name
Term served
Unrecognised autocephaly (1929–1937)
1 Visarion Xhuvani 20 February 192926 May 1936
Recognised autocephaly (1937–1967)
2 Kristofor Kisi 12 April 193725 August 1949
3 Paisi Vodica 25 August 19494 March 1966
4 Damian Kokoneshi April 19668 October 1974
Vacant during Communist Era (1974–1992)
5 Anastas Janullatos 2 August 1992Incumbent

Persecution

The church greatly suffered during the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha as all churches were placed under government control, and land originally held by religious institutions were taken by the state. Religion in schools was banned. Similarly, Hohxa propagated that Albania was threatened by religion in general, since it served the "Trojan Horse" style interests of the country's traditional enemies; in particular Orthodoxy (those of Greece and Serbia). [59] In 1952 Archbishop Kristofor was discovered dead; most believed he had been killed.

In 1967 Hoxha closed down all religious buildings in the country, and declared Albania the world's first atheist country. All expression of religion, public or private, was outlawed. Hundreds of clergy were killed or imprisoned. As a result of this policy, a total of 600 Orthodox churches were demolished (1,600 present in 1944). Other buildings of the Orthodox community forcibly seized their religious function. [60]

Revival of the Church

At the end of the communist rule, when religious freedom was restored, only 22 Orthodox priests remained alive. To deal with this situation, the Ecumenical Patriarch appointed Anastasios to be the Patriarchal Exarch for the Albanian Church. As Bishop of Androusa, Anastasios was dividing his time between his teaching duties at the University of Athens and the Archbishopric of Irinoupolis in Kenya, which was then going through a difficult patch, before his appointment. He was elected on June 24 1992 and enthroned on August 2 1992. [61] Over time Anastasios has gained respect for his charity work and is now recognized as a spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church in Albania.

Orthodox parishes with active liturgical lives have been established in a majority of cities and villages. Liturgical, preaching, and catechism ministries have been expanded, increasing the participation of both clergy and laity. Several groups have been organized to assist the church with its ministries: the Orthodox Women, and Orthodox Intellectuals. The moral and spiritual strength offered through the cultivation of a sound religious life is contributing decisively to the general progress of the Albanian society.

Most parishes use the Albanian language in liturgy, while Greek is also partly used. In Greek minority areas the liturgy is accordingly celebrated in Greek. [62]

New clergy and ecclesiastical and theological education

The Church has prepared a new generation of clergy. Anastasios started a seminary in 1992, initially in a disused hotel, which was relocated to its own buildings at Shën Vlash In 1996, 15 kilometres from the port of Durrës. As of February 2011, there were 145 clergy members, all of which were Albanian citizens who graduated from the Resurrection of Christ Theological Academy. This academy is also preparing new members (men and women) for catechism and for other services in different Church activities.

Meanwhile, students are continuing their theological educations in well-known theological universities abroad. [63]

Two ecclesiastical high schools for boys were opened – the "Holy Cross" in Gjirokastër in 1998, and the "Holy Cross" in Sukth of Durrës in 2007.

New and reconstructed churches

So far, 150 new churches have been built, 60 monasteries and more than 160 churches have been repaired. [64] Many buildings have been built, and others have been bought and reconstructed for various purposes (such buildings, numbering 70, include: preschools, schools, youth centers, health centers, metropolitan sees, hospitality homes, workshops, soup kitchens, etc.). In total there have been roughly 450 building projects. Through its construction projects and provision of jobs, the Orthodox Church is contributing to the economic development of the nation and is one of the most serious investors in the country, offering work for many local builders and dozens of workers. Since 1995, the Church has put on an architecture course from time to time, each year giving more than 40 young people instruction in various aspects of ecclesiastical construction and architecture.

Media and publishing

The Orthodox Church of Albania has its own radio station, named "Ngjallja" (Resurrection) which 24 hours a day broadcasts spiritual, musical, informative and educational programmes and lectures, and has a special children's programme. [65]

A monthly newspaper with the same name, Ngjallja, is published, as well as a children's magazine Gëzohu (“Rejoice”), the magazine of the Orthodox Youth Kambanat (“Bells”), the student bulletin Fjala (“Word”), the news bulletin News from Orthodoxy in Albania (published in English), Tempulli (“Temple”) and Kërkim (“Searching/Research”), which contain cultural, social and spiritual materials, Enoria Jonë (“Our Parish”).

As of February 2008, more than 100 books with liturgical, spiritual, intellectual and academic topics have been published. [66]

Social activities

The Orthodox Church in Albania has taken various social initiatives. It started with health care, organising “The Annunciation” Orthodox Diagnostic Center in Tirana in 1999, with some of Albania's most renowned doctors and administers health care and most contemporary health services in 23 different specialties; four medical clinics, and one mobile dental clinic. The office “Service of Love” (Diakonia Agapes) contributes to the increasing of midwives’ and nurses’ roles, offering training projects and assistance. [67]

The Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania made extensive humanitarian contributions during the political and social crises (1992, 1994, 1997), collecting and distributing thousands of tons of food, clothing and medicine. In addition, it supported a wide range of social programs including: development projects in mountinous regions, especially in the areas of agriculture and farming; road construction; amelioration of water supplies; educational programs on health for children; construction of rural health centers and contributions for schools, orphanages, hospitals, institutes for the disabled, elderly homes, prisons (i.e. financed by the Church, where would prisoners work and receive income accordingly), sports grounds, soup kitchens for the poor, and many more. [65]

During 1999, when Albania accepted waves of refugees from Kosovo, the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, in collaboration with donors and other international religious organizations (especially ACT and WCC), led an extensive humanitarian program of more than $12 million, hosting 33,000 Kosovars in its two camps, supplying them with food, clothes, medical care and other goods.

Apart from the two ecclesiastical high schools, it has established three elementary schools (1st – 9th grade), 17 day-care centers and two institutes for professional training (named "Spirit of Love", established in Tirana in 2000) which are said to be the first of their kind in Albania and provide education in the fields of Team Management, IT Accounting, Computer Science, Medical Laboratory, Restoration and Conservation of Artwork and Byzantine Iconography. [65] In Gjirokastër, 1 professional school, the orphanage “The Orthodox Home of Hope”, a high school dormitory for girls, has also given technical and material support to many public schools.

An environmental programme was started in 2001. [65]

An Office of Cultural Heritage was established to look after the Orthodox structures considered to be national cultural monuments. A number of choirs have been organized in the churches. A Byzantine choir has also been formed and has produced cassettes and CDs. A workshop for the restoration and painting of icons was established with the aim to train a new generation of artists, to revive the rich tradition of iconography. The Church has also sponsored important academic publications, documentary films, academic symposiums and various exhibits of iconography, codex, children’s projects and other culturally related themes.

The Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania actively participates as equals in the events of the Orthodox Church worldwide. It is a member of the Conference of the European Churches (of which the Archbishop Anastasios has served as vice-president since December 2003), the World Council of the Churches (of which Archbishop Anastasios was chosen as one of eight presidents in 2006), and the largest inter-faith organization in the world, "Religions for Peace" (of which Anastasios was chosen as Honorary President in 2006). It is also active in various ecumenical conferences and programs. The Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania contributes to the efforts for peaceful collaboration and solidarity in the region and beyond.

Administration and Holy Synod

Seats of the Albanian Orthodox Bishops Albania Orthodox Diocese.png
Seats of the Albanian Orthodox Bishops

The Holy Synod of Bishops was established in 1997, and is currently composed of: [68]

See also

Related Research Articles

Greek Orthodox Church Orthodox Christian denominations descended from a Greek cultural tradition, Wikimedia disambiguation page

The name Greek Orthodox Church, or Greek Orthodoxy, is a term referring to the body of several Churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, whose liturgy is or was traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the Septuagint and the New Testament, and whose history, traditions, and theology are rooted in the early Church Fathers and the culture of the Byzantine Empire. Greek Orthodox Christianity has also traditionally placed heavy emphasis and awarded high prestige to traditions of Eastern Orthodox monasticism and asceticism, with origins in Early Christianity in the Near East and in Byzantine Anatolia.

Fan Noli Albanian politician

Theofan Stilian Noli, known as Fan Noli, was an Albanian writer, scholar, diplomat, politician, historian, orator and founder of the Orthodox Church of Albania, who served as Prime Minister and regent of Albania in 1924 during the June Revolution.

Bulgarian Orthodox Church national church

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church, legally the Patriarchate of Bulgaria, is an autocephalous Orthodox Church. It is the oldest Slavic Orthodox Church with some 6 million members in the Republic of Bulgaria and between 1.5 and 2.0 million members in a number of European countries, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. It was recognized as an independent Church by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in AD 870, becoming Patriarchate in 918/919.

Germanos Karavangelis Greek bishop

Germanos Karavangelis was born in Stipsi, Lesbos.

Islam in Albania

Islam in Albania mainly arrived during the Ottoman period when the majority of Albanians over time converted to Islam and in particular two of its denominations: Sunni and Bektashi. Following the Albanian National Awakening (Rilindja) tenets and the deemphasizing of religion during the 20th century, the democratic, monarchic later the communist governments followed a systematic dereligionization of the Albanian nation and national culture. Due to this policy as with all other faiths in the country, Islam underwent radical changes. Decades of state atheism which ended in 1991 brought a decline in religious practice in all traditions. The post-communist period and the lifting of legal and other government restrictions on religion allowed Islam to revive through institutions that generated new infrastructure, literature, educational facilities, international transnational links and other social activities. According to 2011 census, 58.79% of Albania's population adheres to Islam, making it the largest religion in the country. For contemporary Muslims in Albania, Muslim religious practices tend to be minimal. The remaining population belongs either to Christianity, which is the second largest religion in the country practiced by 16.99% of the population or are irreligious.

Përmet Municipality in Gjirokastër, Albania

Përmet is a town and a municipality in Gjirokastër County, southern Albania. It was formed at the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities Çarçovë, Frashër, Përmet, Petran and Qendër Piskovë, that became municipal units. The seat of the municipality is the town Përmet. The total population is 10,614, in a total area of 601.95 km2. The population of the former municipality at the 2011 census was 5,945. It is flanked by the Vjosë river, which runs along the Trebeshinë-Dhëmbel-Nemërçkë mountain chain, between Trebeshinë and Dhëmbel mountains, and through the Këlcyrë Gorge.

Religion in Albania religion in Albania

The most-commonly practiced religion in Albania is Islam, the second-most-commonly practiced religion is Christianity, however there are also many irreligious people.

Anastasios of Albania Primate of Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, Member of Academy of Athens, President of WCC - World Council of Churches, Honorary President of Religions for Peace

Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durrës and All Albania is the Archbishop of Tirana, Durrës and All Albania and as such the primate and Head of the Holy Synod of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania. He was elected on June 1992. Professor Emeritus of the National University of Athens. Honorary Member of the Academy of Athens. Archbishop Anastasios is one of the presidents of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches. Honorary President of the World Conference of Religions for Peace.

Eastern Orthodoxy in Albania

Eastern Orthodoxy in Albania arrived in the area of contemporary Albania during the Roman period.

Kristo Negovani Albanian activist and religious leader

Papa Kristo Negovani, born Kristo Harallambi and also known as Kristo Negovani, was an Albanian nationalist figure, religious leader and writer.

Panteleimon Kotokos Greek bishop

Panteleimon of Gjirokastër was a bishop of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania. He was the metropolitan bishop of Gjirokastër (1937–1941) and a member of the exiled Northern Epirus lobby after the end of World War II.

Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America

The Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America is a jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the United States. As of 2013, its leader was Bishop Ilia (Katre) of Philomelion, who lives in Boston, Chicago, and Las Vegas.

Gregory (Orologas) Greek Orthodox metropolitan bishop

Saint Gregory (Orologas) of Kydonies the Ethno-Hieromartyr, also Gregory of Cydoniae, 1864–1922, was a Greek Orthodox metropolitan bishop in the early 20th century in northwest Anatolia, in the Ottoman Empire.

Timeline of Orthodoxy in Greece (1821–1924)

This is a timeline of the presence of Orthodoxy in Greece. The history of Greece traditionally encompasses the study of the Greek people, the areas they ruled historically, as well as the territory now composing the modern state of Greece.

Timeline of Orthodoxy in Greece (1974–2008)

This is a timeline of the presence of Orthodoxy in Greece. The history of Greece traditionally encompasses the study of the Greek people, the areas they ruled historically, as well as the territory now composing the modern state of Greece.

Prokopios Lazaridis was a Greek Orthodox metropolitan bishop, who served as a head in a number of bishoprics during the late Ottoman period. As a bishop of Iconium, modern Konya, in central Anatolia, he was involved with the issue of the creation of the Turkish Orthodox Church. He died in Turkish prison in 1923.

The Islamization of Albania occurred as a result of the Ottoman conquest of Albania during the late 14th century. The Ottomans through their administration and military brought Islam to Albania through various policies and tax incentives, trade networks and transnational religious links. In the first few centuries of Ottoman rule, the spread of Islam in Albania was slow and mainly intensified during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries due in part to greater Ottoman societal and military integration, geo-political factors and collapse of church structures. It was one of the most significant developments in Albanian history as Albanians in Albania went from being a largely Christian population to one that is mainly Muslim, while retaining significant ethnic Albanian Christian minorities in certain regions. The resulting situation where Sunni Islam was the largest faith in the Albanian ethnolinguistic area but other faiths were also present in a regional patchwork played a major influence in shaping the political development of Albania in the late Ottoman period. Apart from religious changes, conversion to Islam also brought about other social and cultural transformations that have shaped and influenced Albanians and Albanian culture.

Islam in Albania (1800–1912)

Islam in Albania (1800–1912) refers to the period that followed on after the conversion to Islam by a majority of Albanians in the 17th and 18th centuries. By the beginning of 19th century Islam had become consolidated within Albania and little conversion occurred. With the Eastern Crisis of the 1870s and its geo-political implications of partition for Albanians, the emerging National Awakening became a focal point of reflection and questioned the relationship between Muslim Albanians, Islam and the Ottoman Empire. These events and other changing social dynamics revolving around Islam would come to influence how Albanians viewed the Muslim faith and their relationship to it. Those experiences and views carried on in the 20th century had profound implications on shaping Islam in Albania that surfaced during the communist era.

Albanian nationalism emerged in Albania during the 19th century. By the late Ottoman period Albanians were mainly Muslims with close ties to the Ottoman Empire. The lack of previous Albanian statehood to draw upon resulted in Albanian nationalism developing later unlike neighbouring nationalisms of the Serbs and Greeks. The onset of the Eastern crisis (1870s) that threatened partition of Balkan Albanian inhabited lands by neighbouring Orthodox Christian states stimulated the emergence of the Albanian national awakening (Rilindja) and nationalist movement. During the 19th century, some Western scholarly influences, Albanian diasporas such as the Arbereshë and Albanian National Awakening figures contributed greatly to spreading influences and ideas among Balkan Albanians within the context of Albanian self-determination. Among those were ideas of an Illyrian contribution to Albanian ethnogenesis which still dominate Albanian nationalism in contemporary times and other ancient peoples claimed as ancestors of the Albanians, in particular the Pelasgians of which have been claimed again in recent times.

References

Citations

  1. The Christianisation of Albania was apostolic, since Apostle Paul visited the territories of modern Albania. Theofan Noli is the founder of the autocephal church.
  2. 1 2 "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2009-12-28.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help); Cite web requires |website= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. 1 2 John Anthony McGuckin (28 December 2010). The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture. John Wiley & Sons. p. 72. ISBN   978-1-4443-3731-0 . Retrieved 8 June 2012. The Orthodox currently represent about half a million faithful, worshipping in 909 parishes.
  4. CNEWA - Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania Archived 2008-01-26 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Kryesore".Cite web requires |website= (help)
  6. "Albanian Orthodox".Cite web requires |website= (help)
  7. 1 2 3 4 Ramet 1998 , p. 202.
  8. Ekonomou Andrew J.. Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes: Eastern Influences on Rome and the Papacy from Gregory the Great to Zacharias, A.D. 590-752. Roman Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches. Lexington Books, 2007, ISBN   9780739133866, p. 275
  9. Stavrianos 2000 , pp. 497–498. "Religious differences also existed before the coming of the Turks. Originally, all Albanians had belonged to the Eastern Orthodox Church, to which they had been attached at the time of the schism between the church of Rome and that of Constantinople. Then the Ghegs in the North adopted Catholicism, apparently in order to better resist the pressure of Orthodox Serbs. Thus the Albanians were divided between the Catholic and Orthodox churches before the time of the Turkish invasion."
  10. Kopanski 1997 , pp. 193–194.
  11. 1 2 Lederer 1994 , pp. 333–334.
  12. Ramet 1998 , p. 203. "The Ottoman conquest between the end of the fourteenth century and the mid-fifteenth century introduced a third religion – Islam - but the Turks did not at first use force in its expansion, and it was only in the 1600s that large-scale conversion to Islam began – chiefly, at first, among Albanian Catholics."; p.204. "The Orthodox community enjoyed broad toleration at the hands of the Sublime Porte until the late eighteenth century."; p. 204. "In the late eighteenth century Russian agents began stirring up the Orthodox subjects of the Ottoman empire against the Sublime Porte. In the Russo-Turkish wars of 1768-74 and 1787-91 Orthodox Albanians rose against the Turks. In the course of the second revolt the "New Academy" in Voskopoje was destroyed (1789), and at the end of the second Russo-Turkish war more than a thousand Orthodox fled to Russia on Russian warships. As a result of these revolts, the Porte now applied force to Islamicize the Albanian Orthodox population, adding economic incentives to provide positive stimulus. In 1798 Ali Pasha of Janina led Ottoman forces against Christian believers assembled in their churches to celebrate Easter in the villages of Shen Vasil and Nivica e Bubarit. The bloodbath unleashed against these believers frightened Albanian Christians in other districts and inspired a new wave of mass conversions to Islam."
  13. Ergo 2010 , p. 26.
  14. Ergo 2010 , p. 37.
  15. Giakoumis 2010 , pp. 79–81.
  16. 1 2 Skendi 1967a , pp. 10–13.
  17. 1 2 Skendi 1956 , pp. 316, 318–320.
  18. Giakoumis 2010 , pp. 86–87.
  19. 1 2 Blumi 2011 , p. 167. "Negovani’s actions caused institutional responses that ultimately intensified the contradictions facing the church and its imperial patron. In the end, Papa Kristo Negovani was murdered for his acts of defiance of the explicit orders of Karavangjelis, the Metropolitan of Kastoria, who condemned the use of Toskërisht during mass.
  20. 1 2 3 Ramet 1998 , p. 206. "The nationalist cause was given impetus in 1905 when the Albanian priest and poet, Papa Kristo Negovani, was killed by Greek chauvinists after he had introduced the Albanian language into Orthodox liturgy."
  21. 1 2 3 Gawrych 2006 , p. 91. "In one case, a guerilla band executed Father Kristo Negovani (1875-1905) on 12 February 1905, two days after he had performed a church service in Albanian. To avenge his death, a guerilla leader named Bajo Topulli (1868-1930) waylaid and murdered Phiotos, the bishop of Görice, in September 1906."
  22. 1 2 3 Clayer 2005. para. 7. "Negovani... Au début de l'année 1905, avec son frère lui aussi pope et trois autres villageois, il est victime d'une bande grecque et devient le premier « martyr » de la cause nationale albanaise"; para. 8, 26.
  23. Gawrych 2006 , pp. 21–22.
  24. Poulton 1995 , p. 65.
  25. Skendi 1967a , p. 174. "The political thinking of the Orthodox Albanians was divided into two categories. Those who lived in Albania were dominated by Greek influence. The majority of them- especially the notables-desired union with Greece. The Orthodox Christians in general had an intense hatred of Ottoman rule. Although this feeling was shared by their co-religionists who lived in the colonies abroad, their political thinking was different."
  26. 1 2 Nitsiakos 2010 , p. 56. "The Orthodox Christian Albanians, who belonged to the rum millet, identified themselves to a large degree with the rest of the Orthodox, while under the roof of the patriarchate and later the influence of Greek education they started to form Greek national consciousness, a process that was interrupted by the Albanian national movement in the 19th century and subsequently by the Albanian state."; p. 153. "The influence of Hellenism on the Albanian Orthodox was such that, when the Albanian national idea developed, in the three last decades of the 19th century, they were greatly confused regarding their national identity."
  27. Skoulidas 2013. para. 2, 27.
  28. 1 2 Clayer 2005b , pp. 217.
  29. Kokolakis 2003 , p. 56. "Η διαδικασία αυτή του εξελληνισμού των ορθόδοξων περιοχών, λειτουργώντας αντίστροφα προς εκείνη του εξισλαμισμού, επιταχύνει την ταύτιση του αλβανικού στοιχείου με το μουσουλμανισμό, στοιχείο που θ' αποβεί αποφασιστικό στην εξέλιξη των εθνικιστικών συγκρούσεων του τέλους του 19ου αιώνα. [This process of Hellenisation of Orthodox areas, operating in reverse to that of Islamization, accelerated the identification of the Albanian element with Islam, an element that will prove decisive in the evolution of nationalist conflicts during the 19th century]"; p. 84. "Κύριος εχθρός του ελληνισμού από τη δεκαετία του 1880 και ύστερα ήταν η αλβανική ιδέα, που αργά μα σταθερά απομάκρυνε την πιθανότητα μιας σοβαρής ελληνοαλβανικής συνεργασίας και καθιστούσε αναπόφευκτο το μελλοντικό διαμελισμό της Ηπείρου. [The main enemy of Hellenism from the 1880s onward was the Albanian idea, slowly but firmly dismissed the possibility of serious Greek-Albanian cooperation and rendered inevitable the future dismemberment of Epirus.]"
  30. 1 2 Vickers 2011 , pp. 60–61. "The Greeks too sought to curtail the spread of nationalism amongst the southern Orthodox Albanians, not only in Albania but also in the Albanian colonies in America."
  31. Skendi 1967a , pp. 175–176, 179.
  32. Kokolakis 2003 , p. 91. "Περιορίζοντας τις αρχικές του ισλαμιστικές εξάρσεις, το αλβανικό εθνικιστικό κίνημα εξασφάλισε την πολιτική προστασία των δύο ισχυρών δυνάμεων της Αδριατικής, της Ιταλίας και της Αυστρίας, που δήλωναν έτοιμες να κάνουν ό,τι μπορούσαν για να σώσουν τα Βαλκάνια από την απειλή του Πανσλαβισμού και από την αγγλογαλλική κηδεμονία που υποτίθεται ότι θα αντιπροσώπευε η επέκταση της Ελλάδας. Η διάδοση των αλβανικών ιδεών στο χριστιανικό πληθυσμό άρχισε να γίνεται ορατή και να ανησυχεί ιδιαίτερα την Ελλάδα." "[By limiting the Islamic character, the Albanian nationalist movement secured civil protection from two powerful forces in the Adriatic, Italy and Austria, which was ready to do what they could to save the Balkans from the threat of Pan-Slavism and the Anglo French tutelage that is supposed to represent its extension through Greece. The dissemination of ideas in Albanian Christian population started to become visible and very concerning to Greece]."
  33. Pipa 1989 , p. 196. "Most of the Tosk Orthodox patriots came from Korçë and its regions."
  34. Babuna 2004 , pp. 294–295. "The Orthodox nationalists were mainly active outside the Ottoman Empire. They made their greatest contribution to the national cause (mainly educational and propaganda work) through the Albanian colonies."
  35. 1 2 Kiminas, Demetrius (2009). The ecumenical patriarchate : a history of its metropolitanates with annotated hierarch catalogs. San Bernardino, CA: Borgo Press. p. 100. ISBN   9781434458766.
  36. 1 2 Tsiri, Theodorou (2008). "Η Προσφορά της Εκκλησίας και του Ιερού Κλήρου στη Μικρά Ασία 1912-1922" (PDF) (in Greek). Thessaloniki: University of Thessaloniki, Department of Theology. pp. 91–102. Retrieved 19 October 2012.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  37. Ecclesiastica «Eκκλησιαστικά», ΑΑ, περ.Β ́,φ. 24 (30/29.5.1891).
  38. Ioannis Mpakas The Greeks of Melenoiko (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki). Ιωάννης Μπάκας - Ο Ελληνισμός του Μελενοίκου (Διδακτορική Διατριβή ΑΠ.Θ.)
  39. Koltsida, Athina (2008). Η Εκπαίδευση στη Βόρειο Ήπειρο κατά την Ύστερη Περίοδο της Οθωμανικής Αυτοκρατορίας [Education in Northern Epirus during the Latter Ottoman Period] (pdf) (in Greek). Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. pp. 306, 313, 331, 391, 401, 403. Retrieved 16 December 2012.Cite web requires |website= (help) (PhD Thesis)
  40. Gawrych, George W. (2006). The Crescent and the Eagle. London: I.B. Tauris. pp. 91, 147. ISBN   9781845112875. "...the assassination of Photios, for his opposition to Albanian cultural activity
  41. 1 2 Austin 2012 , p. 4. "Noli... Hoping to eliminate Greek influence within the Albanian Orthodox Church, he focused his early activities on translating the church liturgy into Albanian and establishing an independent Albanian Orthodox Church. The latter he considered as vital to Albania's evolution into a unified nation and as a major blow to the supporters of the Greek 'Great Idea'."
  42. Skoulidas 2013. para. 18, 27-29.
  43. 1 2 3 4 5 Biernat 2014 , pp. 14–15.
  44. Skendi 1967a , p. 162.
  45. Vickers 2011 , p. 61.
  46. 1 2 3 Austin 2012 , p. 4.
  47. "The 90th Anniversary Historical Trilogy by Denise Lymperis". Saint George Cathedral.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  48. "Orthodox Christians in North America 1794 - 1994". Orthodox Church of America.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  49. Tarasar, Constance J. (1975). Orthodox America, 1794-1976: development of the Orthodox Church in America. Bavarian State Library. p. 309. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
  50. 1 2 Puto & Maurizio 2015 , p. 176."However, Greek nationalism continued to be a source of concern for Albanian nationalists later on in the century. After the creation of the Greek state in 1830, and in the light of its mounting expansionist ambitions in the second half of the nineteenth century, the Albanian desire to assert a separate cultural identity represented also a reaction against Greek nationalists, who coveted territories inhabited by Albanians in the Ottoman Balkans, especially in the fiercely contested vilayet of Yiannina, a province containing a mixture of different populations."
  51. Malcolm 2002 , pp. 77–79.
  52. De Rapper 2009 , p. 7.
  53. 1 2 Austin 2012 , pp. 31, 95.
  54. 1 2 Babuna 2004 , p. 300.
  55. http://shqiptarortodoks.com/tekste/legjislacioni/statuti_1929.pdf
  56. http://shqiptarortodoks.com/tekste/legjislacioni/Rregullorja_1929.pdf
  57. http://shqiptarortodoks.com/tekste/legjislacioni/statuti_1950.pdf
  58. http://80.78.70.231/pls/kuv/f?p=201:Ligj:10057:22.01.2009 Ligj:10057: 22.01.2009
  59. Russell King, Nicola Mai (2013). Out Of Albania: From Crisis Migration to Social Inclusion in Italy. Berghahn Books. p. 35. ISBN   9780857453907.
  60. Simon, Comeni, Thoma (2013). "Η Θεολογική Διάσταση του Ποιμαντικού Έργου στην Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία της Αλβανίας (1992-2012) [The Theological Dimension of Pastoral Work in the Orthodox Church of Albania (1992-2012)]". ikee.lib.auth.gr (in French). Artisotle University of Thessaloniki. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  61. Albanien: Geographie - historische Anthropologie - Geschichte - Kultur ... By Peter Jordan, Karl Kaser, Walter Lukan, Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers, Holm Sundhaussen page 302
  62. Katić, Mario (2014). Pilgrimage, Politics and Place-Making in Eastern Europe: Crossing the Borders. Ashgate Publishing. p. 140. ISBN   9781472415943. In spite of the formation of the Albanian Autocephalous (autonomous) Church in 1922 and its recognition by the Patriarchate in 1937, there have been very few subsequent translations of religious literature (see Winnifnth 2002: 135). There is an Albanian translation of the New Testament, used in Greek minority areas and all other areas that managed to hold onto Christianity under Ottoman rule and the threat of Islamization. Except for the officially recognized Greek minority areas and the Himara area, where the liturgy is celebrated only in Greek. Christian communities hold services partly in Albanian and partly in Greek.
  63. Official site, "The preparation of the new clergy and ecclesiastical education" Archived 2012-07-23 at the Wayback Machine
  64. Romfea news Official site, "Rebuilding" Archived 2012-07-23 at the Wayback Machine
  65. 1 2 3 4 Forest, Jim The Resurrection of the Church in Albania, World Council of Churches Publication, August 2002, ISBN   2-8254-1359-3
  66. [ Official Site - Publication]
  67. Official site "Overview 1991-2012" Archived 2012-07-23 at the Wayback Machine
  68. The Holy Synod of Albania Archived 2008-05-29 at the Wayback Machine , Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, accessed on 2008-06-16

Sources