Albanian nationalists call for immediate deportation of Archbishop Anastasios

Tirana, June 22, 2020

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While rioters in American are actively desecrating and destroying monuments throughout the country, Albanian nationalists are calling for the same in their own country.

In a text sent to the Albanian authorities, the nationalist group Children of Labëria calls for the removal of all Greek monuments, including the graves of Greek soldiers, busts, and memorial columns.

Moreover, the group has set its sights on His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, who is ethnically Greek, calling for his immediate deportation, reports

Labëria is an historic region in southwestern Albania, bordering on Greece. The people there are culturally distinguishable from the rest of Albania. Historically, they were mainly Greek Orthodox, though many converted to Islam during Ottoman rule.

Abp. Anastasios (Yannoulatos) has headed the Albanian Church since 1992. He became an Albanian citizen on December 24, 2017, but the Children of Labëria are now calling for him to be stripped of his citizenship, deported, and declared persona non grata.

This is not the first time that nationalist groups have targeted the Archbishop, accusing him of insidiously interfering in Albanian political affairs. “He has converted the Orthodox Albanian churches into churches of another nature and has interfered in secret ways in the internal affairs of the Albanian state,” write the Children of Labëria.

They are also seeking the same for the head of the Greek consulate in the southern Albanian city of Gjirokaster.

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The nationalist group held a rally at the consulate last week, waving Albanian and American flags. The local prosecutor’s office fined the group $56,000 (50,000 euros) and made several arrests.

In 2017, the Albanian nationalist Sejdi Kondi published the book, Demons in Cassocks, which attacked both Abp. Anastasios and St. Kosmas of Aetolia.

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Irina6/7/2023 7:21 pm
Dear website "Orthodoxy"! By typing this text, you have made a mistake. Because you obviously don't know the situation, and you believed the one who gave you this text. The sole purpose of the archbishop's presence. Anastasia in Albania is to change the historical memory of the Albanian Orthodoxy and preserve its dependence on the Ecumenical Patriarch. Albania itself is not so important to him, but it gives the votes and money of the Albanian diaspora to the Ecumenical Patriarch in the USA. To change historical memory means to rewrite history, claiming that the Orthodox in Albania are ethnic Greeks. The problem of southern Albania is not Albanian nationalism at all, but Greek. Greece does not recognize the Albanian minority on its territory, just as Ukraine today wants to transform ethnic Russians into "Ukrainians". I am very sorry that you have fallen into the trap of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's campaign in Albania.
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