NEWS

Archbishop Anastasios calls on the faithful of the Church to reject an artificial Orthodoxy

TIRANA – Albania, where children play among the garbage and cart drinking water home on builders’ trolleys, has a lot to teach about the struggle for survival. A leading figure in that struggle is a Greek cleric, Anastasios, Archbishop of Albania, the man who built up the Orthodox Church in that country from scratch within a decade. For the first five years he had to face the overt hatred of one of the most authoritarian regimes in the world. The signs of that hatred remain in the form of bullet holes in the windows of his office. The church is forging paths, literally and figuratively, in Albania. Among the many social, educational, infrastructure-based, environmental and pastoral contributions of Anastasios are an academy which has already trained 125 new clerics, and re-establish parishes, youth centers, hostels, schools, a printing press, publications, a model institute in Tirana, and the most advanced diagnostic center in the country, treating more than 6,500 patients a month – and all made viable through funds he provided. In a country which once tried to expel the archbishop by means of a constitutional amendment, Anastasios – a professor who has published works of international renown, and a pioneering scholar of Islam since 1970 – is now a major factor in Albania’s transition from the 19th to the 21st century.