“Family from the Standpoint of Christianity and Islam”: Interreligious Symposium held in Tirana

The Albanian Orthodox Church – January 2017

On January 18, 2017, at the premises of Beder University in Tirana, an Interreligious Symposium was held on the theme “Family from the standpoint of Christianity and Islam”. It was organized with the cooperation of three faith-associated institutions: the Department of Islamic Studies at Beder University, the Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Theological Academy in St. Vlash, Durres and “Our Lady of Good Council” Inter-Diocesan Catholic Seminary in Shkodra.

The moderator of the symposium was Mr. Genti Kruja, the Head of Department of Islamic Sciences, who held the greeting speech and in which he highlighted, ‘Our academic institutions have long been undertaking concrete initiatives in interreligious collaboration through open hours organized by professors of the relevant institutions, where they have brought up fundamental issues of theology and religion. The same kind of symposiums have taken place even before such as: “Twenty-five years of religious freedom” which was organized by Beder University and “Creation, and the Man as its guardian’, organized by the Resurrection of Christ Theological Academy. Next, prof. dr. Ferdinand Gjana, the Rector of Beder University welcomed the participants.

Initially, Mr. Mario Imperatori, Director of the Inter-Diocesan Catholic Seminary in Shkodra held his lecture on the theme: “Family, as an example of the family of Nazareth”. In his speech, he emphasized the dangers of individualism and economic fundamentalism, which threaten the sustainability of family today, as well as other factors which lead to family collapse.

The second lecture was delivered by Mr. Thoma Ҫomёni, professor at the Theological Academy, who referred to the theme: “The Christian family and the role of women in it”. He focused on the institution of the family as the nucleus of society noting that, ‘Men and women were created as equal by God. The woman was created as a helper to her husband, and deserves to be respected as such within the Christian family where love, communication and respect need to exist in a way as to have progress.”Also, he referred to monogamous marriage and claimed that Christianity has maintained this essential truth since creation of man. Referring to the biblical examples, he presented Virgin Mary as a brilliant example of the Christian woman who through her love, freedom, and good will has played a decent role in the physical upbringing and in the spiritual and social education of mankind. She is an example of the transformation of man and society; a linking bridge between family and the Lord, and the Person in whom the family finds support for its fulfillment.

The third lecture was held by Mr. Elton Karaj, a lecturer in Beder University, who focused on certain prophetic figures in his reference to family and emphasized communication, reciprocal respect between parents and children, religious education and the responsibilities towards a healthy family life.
During the last session of the symposium, students from the three schools addressed questions to the lecturers.

At the end of the activity participants visited the photographic exhibition entitled “Interreligious Harmony in Albania” where they were presented with a variety of photos taken throughout the years, and which were a proof of the common interreligious activities organized along the last century.

Dhimiter Qosja