The Church of Albania expresses its surprise and wonder over the election of Archimandrite Theophanis Koja as Bishop of Philomelion by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
As stated in a relevant communiqué, Archimandrite Theophanis caused divisive problems during the reconstruction of the Church of Albania, without ever apologizing for them.
Read below the communiqué of the Church of Albania
“Archimandrite Theophanis (Arjan) Koja, known to the Orthodox of Albania as the vanguard of divisive actions, was born in Tirana in 1966. He briefly attended the Seminary in Durrës and then went to Romania, where he was ordained a deacon and presbyter.
On October 8 1995, after having returned to the country, during the Divine Liturgy, the head of a group of ultranationalists, expelled the servers of the Albanian Orthodox Autocephalous Church from the Church of the Panagia in Kastro in the old city of Elbasan.
There he put Nicholas Markou, who was allegedly “ordained” by a schismatic Bishop of the Church of Skopje, under the name “Independent National Albanian Orthodox Church of Saint Maria Elbasan” (Kisha Ortodokse e pavarur Kombetare shqiptare Shen Maria Elbasan). (For this painful divisive action, see the newspaper Ngjallja – November 1995).
Since then, his accomplice Nicholas Markou has not ceased to publicly call the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania as Greek. Using purely nationalist and political speech, he continues to occupy the historic Orthodox Church of Elbasan to this day. (See more than 15 relevant reports in the newspaper Ngjallja eg. November 2015, February 2016, April 2016, November 2018).
After his failure, Archimandrite Theophanis settled in the USA, where he joined the Romanian Church. He never apologized for his divisive actions in the first years of the reconstitution of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania.
Three years ago, he moved to Boston and sought to become a Bishop in succession to late Metropolitan Nikon Liolin. Nevertheless, the leadership of the O.C.A. avoided his election when they were informed of his subversive actions.
He recently sought to join the Greek Orthodox Church of America. Archbishop Elpidophoros of America promised him to be promoted to the rank of Bishop and, according to the official announcement, he was elected Bishop of Philomelion “as Hierarchical Head for the Albanian-speaking Orthodox Communities under the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the United States of America.”
However, there is surprise and wonder among the Orthodox of Albania about this unexpected development over the persistence of Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.
Therefore, it is necessary and we would like to kindly remind the divisive problems caused by Archimandrite Theophanis during the reconstruction from the ruins of the martyred Church of Albania.”