A few days after ethnic Greeks in the village of Dhermi (or Drymades in Greek) on the southwest coast of Albania prevented local authorities from demolishing an Orthodox church, comments by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama on social media on Tuesday added to the controversy.
Greece’s Foreign Ministry on Monday called on Tirana to respect religious freedoms. Asked by an Albanian citizen if Athens’s statement constituted Greek meddling in domestic affairs, Rama tweeted: “They did it more often in the past and they do it less often now. A little bit more time seems to be required in order for them to realize that Albania no longer accepts tutelage.”
The comments came as Archbishop Anastasios of Albania met with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens. Greek officials did not officially comment on recent bilateral developments, reportedly heeding a request by Anastasios, who wished to keep politics out of his visit.
Pavlopoulos and Tsipras both praised the Orthodox leader’s work in Albania and beyond.