Tirana, August 4, 2017
The 25th anniversary of the enthronement of His Beatitude Anastasios as the archbishop of Tirana, Durrës, and all Albania was festively celebrated on Sunday in the Resurrection of Christ Cathedral in Tirana. The revival of the autocephalous Albanian Orthodox Church, which suffered greatly in the 20th century, marks two important dates in its revival: June 24, 1992, when Abp. Anastasios was elected by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and August 2, 1992, when His Beatitude first met his flock in the service of enthronement, reports the site of the Albanian Orthodox Church.
The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Abp. Anastasios along with the members of the Holy Synod of the Albanian Church, Metropolitan Ignat of Berat, Metropolitan Joan of Korça, Metropolitan Dhimitri of Gjirokastra, Metropolitan Nikolla of Apollonia and Fier, Metropolitan Andoni of Elbasan, , Metropolitan Nathanail of Amantia, and Bishop Asti of Bylis. The service was also attended by the first clergy ordained by the archbishop after their graduation from the newly-opened seminary in Durres, as well as numerous faithful from throughout the country.
Following the celebration of the Liturgy, Abp. Anatasios thanked all who attended and participated and recalled the work and struggles of his ministry over the past 25 years. The primate stated that the past quarter century is merely a beginning to the great work of reviving and expanding the Albanian Orthodox Church, and also discussed some concrete projects that are planned for the near future in Church activity.
The celebration continued with a festive concert of song and dance by youth groups from the various dioceses of the Albanian Church, followed by the screening of a film documenting the early years of Abp. Anastasios’ Albanian ministry from 1992 to 1995.
Below is an excerpt from the archbishop’s word on the occasion of his enthronement, August 2, 1992:
The Orthodox Church: A Blessing for the Country
The Orthodox Church of Albania is first of all a blessing for this developing country. The flourishing and general growth of the Church in all the spectrum of its activity will decisively affect the development of the whole country.
Firstly: By enthusiastically relying on the Trinitarian God, upon His grace, mercy and boundless love, the Church introduces to people, in a continuous way, new thoughts, new ideals, everlasting hope and power in order to continue their fight in such a difficult time period, when discouragement and hopelessness are a threat to them. The most important contribution of the Church in the social field is that it raises up people to be mature, responsible, honest and to consciously struggle even when no one and nothing external forces them to live through love and creativity, upbringing thus quietly the whole society.
Secondly: The Orthodox Church has always and will still be a factor of unity, peace and reconciliation in Albania by continuously proclaiming forgiveness and understanding, and providing domestic incentives as well as the necessary power to deal with them. Following the old tradition of religious tolerance in Albania, the Church sincerely supports the peaceful coexistence and mutual respect for different religious communities. Simultaneously, it cultivates a sense of respect and love for those who still remain indifferent or even negative towards religion. The respect for every person’s freedom, no matter whether he believes or not, characterizes the Orthodox morality “every human is sacred because every human is made in the image of God.”
Thirdly: Through the respective activities mentioned above, we hope that our Church will contribute to the common efforts made for the development of Albania, in order for it to take its rightful place in Europe in a much shorter time. And, as always, Church members will consistently defend the rights of the country.