Tirana, October 23, 2018
While the Orthodox world has heard the voice of the Synods, primates, and/or hierarchs of nearly every Local Orthodox Church on the matter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s intention to unilaterally create an autocephalous Church in Ukraine and its recent intrusion into the canonical territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Romanian and Albanian Churches have remained publicly silent to date.
His Beatitude Archbishops Anastasios (Yannoulatos) of Tirana, Durrës and All Albania is close to Patriarch Bartholomew, having begun his ministry in Albania as his Patriarchal Exarch with the mission of recreating the autocephalous Albanian Church.
While Abp. Anastasios has not publicly shared his thoughts on the recent actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, including the lifting of the anathema placed upon former Metropolitan of Kiev Philaret Denisenko by the Russian Orthodox Church, a 2015 interview with the Union of Orthodox Journalists does give a good indication of what the Albanian primate thinks of Denisenko and his schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate.”
Speaking with the Ukrainian outlet, Abp. Anastasios called the seizure of canonical churches by representatives of Denisenko’s shismatics “demonic.”
Commenting on their aggressive actions, he said, “There is always confrontation in the world: egocentrism, individualism, and much else. But this egocentrism has nothing to do with Christ and His message. And the antidote to this egocentrism is the strengthening of love between people. We must help them acquire patience and hope, and peaceful days will certainly come.”
And speaking more specifically of Denisenko himself, Abp. Anastasios said he remembers him as a man with a very strange worldview. Philaret gives an example that must not be followed, the Albanian primate believes.
“The Orthodox Church has wonderful examples, but, unfortunately, it also has such strange examples,” Abp. Anastasios said.
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