The Albanian Orthodox Church – June 2016
On June 1, 2014 the consecration of the Resurrection of Christ Cathedral in Tirana marked both a spiritual and historic event for the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, which has already gained an undisputed autocephalous position into the bosom of the Orthodox Churches worldwide. In addition the event marked also the maximum affirmation of exceptional achievements accomplished during the years of recovery from the ruins of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania and this is an undeniable merit of Archbishop Anastasios. Divine Liturgy and services on the day of consecration were headed by His Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, who concelebrated with His Beatitude Theophilus, Patriarch of Jerusalem; His Beatitude Irinej, Patriarch of Serbia; His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania; His Beatitude Chrysostomos, Archbishop of Cyprus; His Beatitude Ieronymos, Archbishop of Athens, His Beatitude Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, and His Beatitude Sava, Archbishop of Warsaw. There were also other Eminences and Metropolitans concelebrating as representatives of the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, Moscow, Bulgaria and Georgia.
On the second anniversary of consecration of the Resurrection of Christ Cathedral, a Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Archbishop Anastasios and other members of the Holy Synod of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania: His Grace Ignat, Metropolitan of Berat; His Grace Joan, Bishop of Korca; His Grace Dhimiter, Metropolitan of Gjirokastra; His Grace Nikolla, Metropolitan of Apollonia and Fieri; His Grace Andon, Bishop of Elbasan; His Grace, Nathanail, Metropolitan of Amantia, and His Grace Asti, Bishop of Bylis. Together with the above members of the Holy Synod, there was also His Grace Ilia Ketri, Bishop of Philomel from the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America. The celebration was attended by clergy and laity in the representation of all Metropolises. During the service, a seminary graduate, Kristi Xhaferri, the son of the late priest Fr. Sotir Xhaferri who died in a tragic accident with his family, was ordained a deacon.
Deacon Kristi, who continued his family tradition, attended the Holy Cross Ecclesiastical Lyceum, then pursued his undergraduate studies at Resurrection of Christ Theological Academy and finally completed his studies at Logos University where he graduated in Finance.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the participants were welcomed by Archbishop Anastasios and Bishop Ilia (Katri) of Philomel, who had stayed close to Archbishop Anastasios since the very first steps of restoration of the Church from the ruins. He expressed his feelings at that particular moment and recalled the difficulties at the beginning and throughout the process of restoration that the church has undergone up to the present day.
After the liturgy, a series of cultural and festive activities took place in the Cultural Center Hall of the Cathedral. The program included songs, dances, instrumental pieces, artistic performances, etc. The pupils of the Spirit of Love High school in Gjirokastra sang songs, the female students of Protagonists performed the Tropoja dance and other songs; there was also a piano performance and finally an essay about the construction of the Cathedral was recited. The event ended with two brief documentary films: one about the construction of the Resurrection of Christ Cathedral and the other was a summary of the events taking place on the day of its consecration.
The event of consecration of the Cathedral will remain in history and will be remembered in the entire work and life of the church and of our country. It will also be recognized as the climax of the whole process of resurrection which started on June 24, exactly twenty four years ago when His Beatitude Anastasios was elected as Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and All Albania. Historical events related to the establishment of great cathedrals, such as the cathedral of Saint Sophia fifteen centuries ago are marked in the church calendars and are grandiosely celebrated every year as cornerstones of the history of local churches and Orthodoxy in general.
Translated by: Juljana Kodheli