A New Public Protest on the Demolition of the Church of St. Athanasius in Dhermi – Albania

The Albanian Orthodox Church – September 2015

Official government institutions across the country have declared that the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania did not complain about the events concerning the demolition of the Church of St. Athanasius in Dhermi. The truth is that the Church has already issued three public announcement-protests: the first two on August 20th and 21st, in order to stop the demolition plans and a third strong protest on the 26th after the demolition.

More specifically, in the protest of August 21st, it was emphasized that “The Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania” harshly condemns such events which affect the property and freedom of religious faith. It asked from the faithful to maintain their composure in the face of these challenges and to remain committed to the defense of the Church. It required the state to assume the legal responsibilities arising from Law No. 10057 / 22.01.2009.”

The third protest, highlighted above all the sacrilege, the arbitrariness and the provocative illegality: “This action is a brutal violation of Law No. 10057 / 22.01.2009, of ‘Ratification of the Agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Albania and the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania’, Article 21 / 1.2 according to which: ‘1. The buildings and objects used for religious functions are considered sacred by the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania. The intervention of State authorities is prohibited, except in specific cases, when this involves a court order, judgment or executive order or in case of a possible threat. 2. The State guarantees that the public space be intact and protects the objects and the specific religious sites in accordance with the Law.’”

Therefore, it is completely untrue that the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania did not complain about these events.

The Orthodox Church as one of the co-organizers of the “International Meeting for Peace”, which was held in Tirana on the 6th and 8th of September, discreetly refrained from creating turmoil about the scandalous sacrilege of religious freedom. Nevertheless, it remains inexplicable that without any communication with the Orthodox Church, State authorities took the offensive action against the Orthodox. The Church has already protested and will not cease to defend truth and justice.

From Archdiocese on September 10, 2015

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