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Orthodoxe Kirchen in Albanien

Erstellt von Albanesi2, 21.11.2005, 22:29 Uhr · 4 Antworten · 1.731 Aufrufe

  1. #1

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    Orthodoxe Kirchen in Albanien

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    Schöne Orthodox Kirchen!!!

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    The Church in Albania is among the most ancient. In the first century of the Christian era, the Apostle Paul made his way to Albania then part of the province of Illyricum within the Roman Empire. In his letter to the Romans, Paul writes: "From Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ" (Romans 15:19). The seeds he and his co-workers planted grew with vigor. By the year 58, there was a bishop in Durrachium. Other bishops were later consecrated to serve in Apollonia, Buthrotum (modern Butrint), and Scodra. One of the principal highways of the ancient word, the Via Egnatia, passed through today's Albania. On the Adriatic coast, there were two starting points: Apollonia and Durrachium, today called Durres. These converged inland where the modern city of Elbasan is located, then followed the Shkumbin River, rounded the north shore of Lake Ohrid in the east before going onward to Thesalonika in Greece, finally reaching its terminus in Constantinople. When the Empire was divided along east-west lines in 395, Illyricum became part of the Eastern Byzantine Empire. Illyrians rose to positions of eminence, with several becoming emperors: Anastasius, Justin, and the most celebrated of all, Justinian.

    The Anti-Religious Campaign

    Though the 1946 constitution in principle protected religious rights, one of Hoxha's goals was the complete extinction of religious life. He was outspoken in his criticism of other communist states for being "too tolerant" in regard to religion. Initially, all Albanian religious groups were placed under government control, with any cleric removed who dared to resist. Land that had been owned by religious bodies, Christian or Moslem, was confiscated. Religious education in schools was banned; in its place anti-religious themes were introduced. According to the Ministry of Education, the goal was "to wean all children from all preconceptions, superstitions and religious fanaticism". The public activity of clergy was restricted to churches and mosques. All clerics were routinely referred to as fascists in the state-controlled press. The publication of pastoral letters was permitted only if the text had received government approval. Albania's two seminaries were closed, as were all church-initiated charitable initiatives such as orphanages and old-age homes.
    In 1948, the head of the Orthodox Church in Albania, Archbishop Kristofor, was arrested and confined to the church of St. Prokopios in Tirana. In 1952, it was reported in the press that he had been found dead. It is widely believed that he was murdered.
    In 1948, the government issued a decree requiring that religious communities submit all appointments, regulations and bylaws for approval by government. Even pastoral letters and parish announcements had to be submitted before publication was permitted. Religious communities were required to develop an attitude of loyalty toward the government among their members. No religious community was permitted to have its headquarters outside Albania. (In 1951 what was left of the Catholic Church in Albania had to severe all connections with Rome and was designated instead as "the Independent Catholic Church of Albania.")
    Many people from every religious community were sent to prisons in which torture was common and the death rate high. Many others were exiled to labor camps or to remote villages where they lived as outcasts in virtual slavery. Rarely was a single person punished. The entire family would be made to share the same fate.
    Bad as things were, in 1967 they were made worse when a more radical attack was launched on traditional beliefs, values, traditions and attitudes. The action was in part inspired by China's "cultural revolution" and was no doubt intended to enhance Albania's standing with Chairman Mao, at the time Albania's patron. All remaining places of worship were closed without exception, some destroyed, others put to a wide range of secular uses. A handful of buildings survived as cultural monuments. No religious services were permitted anywhere at any time. Priests were killed by firing squad or tortured to death for such actions as having baptized a child. During the Hoxha period, 335 priests died -- some executed, many of the others because of maltreatment, untreated illnesses and exhaustion.
    Only 22 Orthodox priests were still alive when Communism at last collapsed in Albania. Many thousands of Christians had been jailed or sent to labor camps, often dying as a consequence. Of approximately 1600 Orthodox churches, monasteries and cultural centers existing prior to 1967, less than percent were still standing in 1990. Those that had not been demolished had been turned into armories, post offices, barns, laundries or put to other secular purposes.
    Albania's 1976 constitution banned all "fascist, religious, war-mongerish, anti-socialist activity and propaganda." The penal code of 1977 imposed prison sentences of three to ten years for "religious propaganda and the production, distribution, or storage of religious literature."
    Another decree targeted Albanians with Christian names. All citizens whose names did not conform to "the political, ideological, or moral standards of the state" were required to change them. Lists were published with pagan "Illyrian" names for parents to choose from. There were also newly created names, for example "Marenglen," a word combining the first syllables of Marx, Engels and Lenin. Also towns and villages with religious names had to be renamed.
    It alliance with China finally broken in 1978, Albania cut itself from the rest of the world while keeping the population in constant state of readiness for invasion which each neighboring country regarded as an enemy land. Hundreds of thousands of concrete bunkers were built which dot the Albanian landscape to this day.
    After Hoxha's death in 1985, his handpicked successor, Ramiz Alia, sought to preserve the Communist system while introducing gradual reforms in order to revive the economy, which had been declining since the break with China in 1978. To this end, he legalized some investment in Albania by foreign firms and expanded diplomatic relations with the West.
    However, with the fall of Communism in eastern Europe in 1989, segments of Albanian society, including the working class, began to agitate against the government. At last Alia granted Albanian citizens the right to travel abroad, curtailed the powers of the Sigurimi, restored religious freedom and adopted some free-market measures for the economy. Then in December 1990 Alia endorsed the creation of independent political parties, thus signaling an end to the Communists' official monopoly of power.
    In the same period, religious life began to come back in to life in a socially visible way. The first public liturgies since 1967 occurred in December 1990 and January 1991. Several churches, all badly damaged, were returned. In July 1991 Archbishop Anastasios, after a six month effort to obtain a visa, arrived in Tirana, visiting on behalf of the Patriarch of Constantinople to find out to what extent the Orthodox Church still existed in Albania. He would later become head of the Orthodox Church of Albania.
    But change is not only apparent in cars, movies and billboards. In what for decades was the world's most unrelenting atheist state, powerful religious winds are blowing. Churches and mosques in most cases entirely new exist in every city and town as well as villages. The Bible, far from being an illegal book the possession of which could result in prison terms, is now widely available. Not only are more and more places of worship opening, but so are numerous church-initiated projects aimed at a wide range of social needs, from health care to assisting refugees to education. A visitor cannot talk to any Albanian Christian for long without hearing the words "miracle" and "resurrection".

    Jim Forest, THE RESURRECTION OF CHURCH IN ALBANIA. Voices of Orthodox Christians, WCC Publications, Geneva, 2002.


    Part 1: From Apostolic Times to 731

    The region occupied by what is now Albania stretches along the north coast of the lonian Sea and the south coast of the Adriatic, and lies in­land along the axis of the western section of the axis formed by the Egnatian Way. It has been directly involved in the political and intellectual ferment of three successive empires - Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman. At the same time it has been a target for barbarian attacks and looting by various peoples (Huns, Goths, Normans, Serbs, Bulgars, Venetians, and others) intent on penetrating into its territory. Its most fundamental metropolitan centres have always been multi-ethnic in composition, with Greek, Illyrian, and Roman living side by side and with various other elements in time of invasion. On the basis of the ecclesiastical affiliation of the provinces of modern Albania, we can disengage five chronological periods. There are firstly the days of the apostles, up to the year 731, when this region was subordinate to the self-governing church of East Illyricum, under the Roman vicariate of Thessalonike. The second period runs from 731 to the eleventh century: the region was subordinate to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The third period runs from the eleventh century to 1767: most of the sees were subject to the autocephalous archbishopric of Ohrid. The fourth period is from 1767 to 1937: subject to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In the last period, from 1937 onwards, the church of Albania is autocephalous.

    From Apostolic times to 731

    Writing from Corinth to the Romans, in 55-57 A. D., the apostle Paul records that he was acting with holy zeal "so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ" (Romans xv. 18-19). By "unto Illyricum" he probably meant that he included Illyricum, which was in the first century A.D. a province of Macedonia. In the light of his next words -"Yea, so have I striven to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation"- we would be justified in supposing that it was the apostle Paul, either in person or through his close associates, who first planted the seed of the Gospel in the geographical region we are looking at. That he was at Nikopolis, not much south of present-day Albania, is incontestable (Titus iii. 12). So too is the missionary work of his close associate Titus in Dalmatia, a little to the north of present-day Albania (II Timothy iv. 10). One early tradition named the apostle to this region as Kaisar (or Kaisarios), one of seventy apostles; and another reconciled the two versions by making Paul establish Kaisar as first bishop of Dyrrachion (Durrës).

    Clearer evidence of the presence of a church community at Dyrrachion is provided by the witness of bishop Asteios (or Astios) in 98 A.D. The reference in the Orthodox menologion is as follows. "July 6th. Saint Asteios, bishop of Dyrrachion, anointed with honey and stung by bees, perfects his life upon the cross". The day after, July 7th, is the feast in commemoration of Saint Peregrinus and the other saints, all of Latin origin, who died with him -Lucian, Pompey, Hesychius, Papius, Saturninus, and Germanus- when they were drowned in the sea by the governor of Dyrrachion, Agricola.

    Dyrrachion, the ancient Kerkyrean colony of Epidamnos, was a main harbour for the Adriatic. It was the Romans' gateway to the Balkans and, along the Egnatian Way, to Thessalonike and Constantinople. At this crossroads it was natural that a cosmopolitan church should spring up in the first Christian centuries. This church was constantly plagued by invasions, earthquakes, and fires, but it never ceased to renew and reorganize itself. When the Roman Empire split into East and West on the death of Theodosios I in 395, what is now Albania became subject to the Eastern provinces. Until the time of Constantine the Great, the region had been dependent, politically and ecclesiastically, on Rome. Afterwards, it belonged only politically to Constantinople, while ecclesiastically the old situation did not change, until the year 731.

    The whole of Eastern Illyricum was a self-governed church under the supreme supervision of Rome via the vicariate of Thessalonike. Of the vicariate's nine bishops, the metropolitan of Dyrrachion ranked fifth. In Hierocles' "Synekdemos", a sixth-century text, several towns that today belong geographically to Albania are mentioned by name. In New Epirus there are: Dyrrachion, Skampia (Elbasan), Apollonia, Byllis, Amantia, Poulcheriopolis (Berat), Aulon (Vlora), Listron, and Scipon. In Old Epirus there are: Euroia, Phoinike, Adrianopolis, Anchiasmos, and Bouthrotos (Butrinto). [There are several variants in the names of towns and sees as given by the sources]. Further south, from 429 onwards, was the see of Dryinopolis, the seat of which was originally somewhere near Korytsa of Dropolis, then later (558) at Episkope. Episcopal sees often had to move because of military and political events in the region.

    Historical information about this period is very limited. Additional evidence comes from archaeological finds and -a valuable piece in the mosaic- names of some saints and bishops. But these are not enough for us to reconstruct the complete mosaic of local church history. Christian tombs found in a stoa outside the walls of Bouthrotos, and probably dating to the second century, are our earliest indication of the presence of a Christian community in what is now Albania. Early Christian basilicas have been discovered in various places. They are mostly from the fifth or sixth century, and their dimensions show that they must have served sizable Christian communities, thus standing as im­portant witnesses to the flourishing Christianity of this area.

    Our region is drenched in the blood of saints. They have included Eleutherios, "bishop of Aulon and Illyricum", martyred in 120; his mother "Anthia", Donatos, and Therinos, all martyred at Bouthrotos in 250; Danax (third century); Isauros, Basil, Innocent, Felix, Hermias and Peregrinus (all from Apollonia, in the third century); Tryphon (from Sekista in Berat, in 313); Donatos, bishop of Euroia (in 387). The names of a handful of bishops are known from the proceedings of Oecumenical Synods. Eucharios bishop of Dyrrachion and Felix "bishop of the towns of Apollonia and Belis" were at the Third Oecumenical Synod (431). Eusebios "of Apollonia in New Epirus", "Peter of Echineos" in the series of bishops from New Epirus, Luke, Pelegrinus of Phoinike, and Claudios (or Kladeos) of Anchiasmos all took part in the Fourth Oecumenical Synod (451). Bishop Syssinios was present at the Synod in Trullo (691/692). There are also other mentions of bishops: Hypatios, at the local Synod in Epirus in 516; Eutychios (or Eustochios) (449-451) and Constantine (523-529); Valerian, bishop of Phoenike in the reign of the Emperor Leontios; Philip (516) and Eustathios (586).

    George A. Christopoulos, THE SPLENDOUR OF ORTHODOXY. 2000 Years – History • Monuments • Art , Vol. II - Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches - , Ekdotike Athenon, Athens, 2000.


  4. #4
    Die orth. Kirche von Korça finde ich unglaublich schön.

  5. #5

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    Schöne Kirchen,alle orthodoxe Kirchen sind hammer. Finde sie viel schöner als die katholischen die so gerade nach oben gehen.

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