The Albanian Orthodox Church – January-February 2015
Three Hierarchs – the Great Ecumenical Teachers of our Church
On Thursday afternoon, January 29th, the Cultural Center in the Complex of the “Resurrection of Christ” Cathedral in Tirana exhibited a special liveliness. Hundreds of the capital’s Orthodox intellectuals gathered in an activity of Fellowship, that aims at a deeper recognition of the Orthodox Faith. This time, the meeting was dedicated to the Three Great Hierarchs, the excellent Orthodox teachers, St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory the Theologian, whom are celebrated together on the 30th of January. This feast is always filled with activities that have been inspired by their extraordinary acts.
The meeting was opened by the President of the Executive Council of the Fellowship of Orthodox Intellectuals, Prof. Dr. Robert Andoni, who invited the Archbishop of Tirana, Durrës and All Albania, Prof. Dr. Anastasios to offer the lecture of this initial activity, entitled: “In Line with the Fathers – The Dynamic Understanding of the Tradition of Three Hierarchs”. He emphasized, among other things, that:
“The social and spiritual revolution that will save the world” – said one of the opponents of the Gospel – “will happen when Christians decide to truly live their Christianity” (Clémenceau). “Despite his sarcasm, his words are laden with truth. However, it is not sufficient to ‘choose’ to lead a life in Christ. The domains of spiritual life are difficult, requiring guidance and struggle; this is especially true in our times when confusion, like a thick fog, weighs heavily on our hearts and minds. In this vital journey, ‘the three greatest luminaries of the Three-Sun Divinity’, whom the Orthodox East has always regarded as ‘divinely-speakingpreachers and the summit of all teachers,’ prove ideal guides in our quest for God, our fellow man, and ourselves.”
“The reason why the Orthodox Church presents these three Hierarchs as ‘ecumenical teachers’ is because they embodied much more than the mere image of a sage, ascetic or social worker. Rather, they achieved and bestowed on us the modelof the ‘fulfilled,’ ‘new human being,’ who lives truly ‘in Christ’ and realizes ‘the gift of the Holy Spirit’.
The most essential approach to their spirit and heart can prove salvific for us who mostly live as Christians intermittently, unilaterally underlining one or another aspect of the Gospel. …Only when we are re-baptized in the spirit of the great Fathers of our Church, when we attune our thoughts, hearts, and will to theirs, shall we live our Christianity in its fullness and enjoy its eternally pure beauty. …This does not imply retreat but progress. ‘It is about faithfulness to the spirit, not replication of the letter.’ It is about true continuity of life, thought and inspiration. The correct motto is not ‘back to the Fathers’ but ‘forward, aligned with the Fathers!’ To advance in this troubled world with spiritual focus, with the purity of principles, with knowledge and love for all people, with the decisiveness and courage of the ‘children of God’. So that we may perceive our era, and our era may in turn perceive us, as a force of health and hope.”
Archbishop Anastasios’ lecture will be published in its entirety in the next issue of the magazine “Kërkim”.
At the beginning and at the end of the activity, the Byzantine choir “John Kukuzelis” chanted hymns for the Three Hierarchs.
The activities was closed by the Fellowship Secretary, Prof. Dr. Pirro Prifti, who informed the participants that such activities will be held the last Thursday of each month, with diverse topics and discussions.