November 16, 2020

Churches in Albania: 150 Built from Scratch, 70 Restored and 160 Preserved


By Fr. Elias Makos

From the moment that the Archbishop of Albania, Anastasios, took over the responsibility of the Orthodox Church of Albania, until today, for about three decades, 150 new churches have been erected, 70 churches-monuments have been restored, while 160 have been repaired.

Moreover, more than 70 large buildings were erected or purchased and reconstructed, to house metropolis buildings, schools, nurseries, hostels, laboratories, clinics, youth centers, etc.

The whole construction project amounts to 450 buildings.

It should be noted that the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania shows practical interest in the research, registration and restoration of the rescued Orthodox monuments.

Speaking recently at the Cathedral of the Resurrection in Tirana, Archbishop Anastasios said: "It took a lot of effort, a lot of frustration to be able to do that, to raise, that is, the necessary funds to build temples."

These days, an initiative has been taken to rebuild the Church of Saint Prokopios, who is the patron saint of Tirana, which will not, of course, be the last, but is symbolic for the capital of Albania.

In order to raise the necessary money, Archbishop Anastasios stressed to the faithful that "before I start asking for support from elsewhere and abroad, we would like to offer as much as we can. In the existing park the Church of Saint Prokopios will be ours and will be a presence of beauty and hope", he pointed out.

He added: "I remember that 25 years ago, when I was wandering around in different villages and talking about the need to rebuild the temples, in an evening in the area of Mouzakia, I had said the following simple thing: That God will bless our effort. What He cannot bless and multiply is zero. But the little, He will multiply it."

He concluded by noting that "in the new initiative to build the Church of Saint Prokopios, I would like all Orthodox, at least in Tirana, to have participated, even a little. And I am sure that in this way God will bless and multiply this a little, while it will enlighten other people to become more generous and to rediscover the old heritage of the Orthodox in Albania, who built the temples from their ruins."

Indeed, the Church of Albania, in addition to all the other sectors, which are numerous, has invested considerable money in the construction, reconstruction and maintenance of the temples.

And it was a laborious and sometimes painful process, yet there was much fruit.

With international support, due to the radiance of the personality of Anastasios, but also with the lek (currency of Albania) of poor people, temples were built. And they became temples of "pride" for each region, "bright skies" and "heavenly delights".

But also temples-monuments were restored, which vividly preserve their presence in the history of the Orthodox Church of Albania, which was varied and bloody.

And this is one of the modern miracles in the Church of Albania.

It takes a pure heart for people to recognize in the miracles of God, which are never lacking, the manifestation of divine love, the new world of hope, which they announce for the faithful.

The head of the Church of Albania persuaded, first of all with his own life, the Orthodox in our neighboring country to understand that the church is the center of worship and the source of sanctification.

The temple is not dry walls. It is a church of God, which attracts, inspires, repents and elevates man. But it also contains, encompasses the timeless wealth of Orthodoxy.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.