March 12, 2016
The Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania
Clergy-Laity Assembly (Attended by over 300 participants, including the clergy of Albania, laymen, and the youth of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania)
To State Authorities in Charge
Request for the Return of Churches, Monasteries and Sacred Objects
Photos that show young girls advertising wedding dresses on the despotic throne, or in front of the Beautiful Gate and iconostasis icons, specifically inside the historic Orthodox churches of Berati and Elbasan are a great insult to the Orthodox Church.
This is obviously a sacrilege and an insult to religious feelings. Certainly, such occurrences spoil the religious harmony for which our country boasts. Also, we highlight that such repeated offensive actions do not "promote" the cultural heritage of our country. It is worth mentioning the fact that such sacrilegious acts have not been committed towards any cult objects of the other religious communities in Albania. Therefore we protest because the state bodies, which still hold possession of the sacred sites and objects, even after twenty-five years of democracy in the country, give permission to desecrate the holy and gracious objects of the Orthodox Church.
We ask for the law nr. 10057 Article 22/2 dated on 22/01/2009 on the "Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Albania and the Albanian Orthodox Church” to be finally applied and all the holy churches, monasteries, holy relics, icons and sacred objects of worship to be returned with no delay or excuses to the Orthodox Church. They are highly respected, honored and are sacred to all the Orthodox people around the world but also to the faithful in Albania.
The New Monastery of St. Vlasios, Durres
March 12, 2016