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August 21, 2020

Ruined 15th Century Byzantine Church in Albania is Restored

By Fr. Elias Makos

The Byzantine Church of the Holy Trinity in the Opar area of ​​Korce, at the exit of the village of Agia Triada, at the peak, apart from being an architectural ornament, is also a typical example of the reconstruction of the Church of Albania from 1991 onwards.

A building of the 15th century, from the decay of time and abandonment in the years of communism, it had collapsed to a great extent.

It was literally in ruins. The perimeter walls and the roof were damaged, with the result that whole parts of its original form had collapsed to the ground.

As with other monuments, Archbishop Anastasios secured money and the church was restored.

The existing masonry was restored and the damaged ones were rebuilt. The roof was rebuilt with stone slabs.

Thus, the church regained its breath, which according to tradition was first built by Anna, the daughter of the ruler of Argyrokastro, while its frescoes have a liveliness, from which springs an inner grace.

It became again a window of hope for a suffering people.

In the rush and friction of everyday life, the restless soul can find and gather in this church, high on the mountain, which was a pile of stones, nuggets of spiritual wisdom.

And with its antennas it will catch the messages of peace and restoration.

But this temple is also a living testimony of an era when the Christian faith was fought by the atheist regime, but in the end not only survived, but also triumphed.

At a time when, despite persecution, the faithful reverently observed Christian fasting, secretly baptized their children, and gave them a secret Christian name.

But also a confirmation that in Orthodoxy there is a wonderful perpetuity. Eternity is not a myth, it is a reality.

Salvation, no matter how many obstacles are presented, is not something doubtful. It is based on the mercy of God. But it is not something that comes magically.

Because it depends on our struggle. From the awareness of our personal inadequacy, which will cause us tears, which will lead us to repentance.

How many such tears of repentance, in fact, watered the Church of the Holy Trinity.

This church also exudes a spirit of compunction. A spirit without emotional repentance, without impressive outbursts that can take you away. A calm and enthusiastic spirit, humble and expressive. Most compunctionate.

The temple and iconography, everything expresses faith and wisdom. They guide us in the course of life, interpret the correct conception of our salvation.

And they remind us, for centuries now, that we must reach God with clean hands, full of holy works.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.