August 23, 2011

St. Kosmas Aitolos and the Church of St. Spyridon in Vuno, Albania

The village of Vuno in southern Albania is situated in the hills, ascending to about 300 meters (980 ft), which is why it likely derives its name from the Greek word vouno, which means "mountain". It has many churches scattered throughout the village.

St. Kosmas Aitolos, the Equal to the Apostles, came to this village in 1778 to teach Orthodox Christianity to the people, establish a church which would unite the scattered Orthodox Christians, and build a school for their education. It was the wish of the Saint to have this church dedicated to St. Spyridon the Wonderworker, and for all the Christians to gather here every Sunday for the Divine Liturgy. Following this proposal, the people complained to the Saint that they didn't have the funds to build a church, being burdened by the heavy taxes imposed on all Christians by the Ottomans. Fr. Kosmas told the people to go to the sea in Jali the next morning where they would find all the material needed to build the church. They did this and returned with the necessary materials, and undertook the task with joy and obedience.

Next to the church a school was built for the education of the village children, and a cypress tree was planted which still stands today.

The Greek school of Vuno in 1909