At the end of the solemn synodal Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, on Tuesday, August 2, 2022, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the enthronement of Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durres and All Albania, referring to the extraordinary magnitude and importance of the Archbishop’s work, Metropolitan Ioannis of Korytsa said: “your best contribution is the spiritual background on which your efforts were based: the message of the Gospel you carried, hope, forgiveness, respect for every human person”.
As it is known, from 1944 to 1967 the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania was tested by the atheistic persecution, in the same way as it was manifested in other countries. From 1967 to 1990, the country’s Constitution banned any religious expression, imposing total persecution, which completely destroyed the local Church.
In July 1991, the then Bishop, later Metropolitan Anastasios of Androusa, Professor of the University of Athens, arrived in Albania as Patriarchal Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
On June 24, 1992, upon request of the Albanian Orthodox, he was elected by the Ecumenical Patriarchate as Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and All Albania and was enthroned on August 2, 1992.
In the three decades that have passed, the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania has been fully reconstructed and developed in all areas.
Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, after giving glory and thanks to God for the 30-year course, together with his valuable collaborators, through various difficulties, sorrows, deadlocks and pain, but also through countless blessings of God, Anastasios, after giving glory and thanks to God for the 30-year course, together with his valuable collaborators, through various difficulties, sorrows, deadlocks and pain, but also through countless blessings of God, reminded that “the clergy and people of the Church of Albania gratefully recall the initiative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the discernment of the competent Patriarchal Committee for the reconstruction of our local Church and with heartfelt respect and sincere love they are bound together for the benefit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew”.
After the glorious atmosphere of the Divine Liturgy, which was attended by the members of the Holy Synod, clergy from all the Holy Metropolises, the two choirs of the Cathedral and a large number of congregation, despite the working day, the Clergy-Laity Assembly followed in the modern Cultural Centre – part of the Cathedral and Synod building complex.
As stipulated by the Statutes of the Church of Albania, the Assembly is composed of “the members of the Holy Synod, the members of the Clergy-Laity Ecclesiastical Council, two representatives of each Holy Monastery and twenty clergy and twenty-four laymen, representing men, women and young people from the Archdiocese and the Metropolises”.
During the proceedings, a brief review was made of the multifaceted ecclesiastical work carried out by the responsible clergy or laity in each area.
Concluding the work of the Assembly, Archbishop Anastasios highlighted the prayer of Apostle Paul as a compass for the continuation of the Church’s course: “walk worthily in all things pleasing the Lord, doing good works in everything and increasing the knowledge of God” Col. 1, 9).