Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania, which at its extraordinary congress held in February 1950, with the intervention of the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, was forced to change its statute. 1928, approved by the government of the Monarchy of King Zog, which clearly stated and determined the citizenship of the senior leaders of that church (On the Qualities of Bishops. p. 9 Art. 16), where: “Archbishop, Bishops, their Deputies locals, the Great Economist Mitrofor, Secretary-General of the Synod, as well as the assistants of the Clerical Deputy of the Archbishop and the Bishops, must be of Albanian blood and language, as well as have Albanian citizenship ”.
With the new statute approved by that congress in the calls “for the great Stalin and Long live Enver Hoxha”, it was decided that the head of the Albanian Orthodox Church and those in its other governing bodies, should have Albanian citizenship, which was done that at the head of the Albanian Orthodoxy, a Russian cleric could be easily appointed to be granted Albanian citizenship. All the details of the III Congress, which was held under the chairmanship of Paisi Vodica Pashko, who came to the helm of Albanian Orthodoxy after the elimination of the two archbishops, Kristofor Kisi and Visarion Xhuvani, who there were labeled as enemies, as well as the word of government representatives, Adil Çarçani, and clerics who signed the statute manipulated by Enver Hoxha’s communist regime.
Since coming to power at the end of 1944, the communist government of Tirana and personally its prime minister, Colonel-General Enver Hoxha, have taken care and started taking measures that the leaders of the three religious communities of Albania (Muslim, Catholic and orthodox) to be placed at all costs under their control and to serve the political line that that regime would follow. The first blow began against the Shkodra-based Catholic clergy (which was also ordered by the Yugoslavs), who not only refused to cooperate with the communists and seceded from the Vatican, but openly opposed the regime. in the first elections of December ’45, when Enver Hoxha asked the Bishop of Shkodra (Monsignor Gaspër Thaçi) to come out with a statement in favor of the Democratic Front and he replied that “The Catholic clergy would always be against “! As a result of this attitude, from 1945 to 1990, dozens of Catholic clergy were shot, imprisoned, or exiled. At the same time, with the brutal violence against the Catholic clergy, the communist regime of Enver Hoxha began to crack down on the clergy of the Muslim faith (mainly the Bektashis), imprisoning and shooting many of them. While the leaders of the Catholic and Muslim faiths were subjected to brutal and unprecedented violence with torture, murder, imprisonment, and exile, the Orthodox clergy were treated a little differently, differentiated between the Catholic and Muslim clergy, which also his resistance to the communist regime was not as great as that of the other two religions. This was related to many reasons, one of which was the figure of Fan Noli, the symbol of Orthodoxy in Albania, which the communist regime tried to use for its political purposes and propaganda, before and after his death. The differentiation that the communist regime of Enver Hoxha made to the Orthodox clergy in Albania is also confirmed by the fact that; from 1945 to 1990, hundreds of Catholic and Muslim clerics suffered in Albanian prisons, while the Orthodox were far fewer in number than they were. This originated after the end of the war and came as a result of the influence of Enver Hoxha’s Albanian government, Tito’s Yugoslavia, and Stalin’s Soviet Union, whose governments were closely linked to the Moscow Orthodox Patriarchate. Based on this, the Orthodox Church of Albania was the first to be manipulated by the communist regime of Enver Hoxha and inadvertently its leaders were fully put in the service of that regime.
Intervention of the Communists in the Orthodox Church
After imprisoning and eliminating Visarion Xhuvani and Kristofor Kissi, the two archbishops who had led the Albanian Orthodox Church since the 1930s, Enver Hoxha’s communist government managed to bring Father Paisi Vodica (the prosecutor’s father) to power. General of that time, Josif Pashko), who had no kind of religious education. After that, it became easier for her to submit to the Orthodox Church of Albania, which began in February 1950, when the 3rd Congress of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania was organized and held in Tirana. amended its 1928 statute and adopted the new statute. At this congress, which was held entirely under the control of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Orthodox Church of Albania removed from its 1928 statute the article sanctioning that: the citizenship of the top leaders of that church (For the Qualities of The Bishops 9 p. of Albanian language, as well as to have Albanian citizenship ”. In the new statute approved by that congress, that article was completely changed and it said: “Along with the development of religious feelings, the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania will develop in the believers and feelings of loyalty to the Power of the people and The People’s Republic of Albania, as well as the feeling of Homeland-love and the strengthening of National Unity. Therefore, all its officials and staff must be Albanian citizens, honest, loyal to the people and the Homeland, and enjoy all civil rights. ” So what was sanctioned by the 1928 statute, which clearly stated that the staff and leaders of the Albanian Orthodox Church must be “of Albanian language and blood,” at the 1950 Congress, was changed and it was said that they should be “with Albanian citizenship.” Through this change, the communist government of Tirana achieved the goals and objectives of Moscow and the Russian Patriarchate, which would find it very easy to appoint a man (not an Albanian) at the head of the Orthodox Church in Albania. whose citizenship (as an Albanian) she would not find difficult to grant. But from the way the events unfolded, it was not necessary for a foreigner to be put in charge of the Albanian Orthodox Church, as the Albanians who were put in charge of it, best perform the tasks assigned to them by the communist government of Tirana?!. So, with the capture of the head of the Albanian Orthodox Church, the Russian Patriarchate would achieve what it achieved in all other Eastern European countries of the Orthodox faith, which were put at its service. But how was the 1928 statute changed and who were the Orthodox clerics who were put in the service of the communist government of Tirana by force or by will?
Holding the III Congress of the Orthodox Clergy in Albania
The 3rd Congress of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania held its proceedings in Tirana from 1 to 5 February 1950. The first session of this congress was opened by the Metropolitan of Tirana and Durrës, and the Archbishop of all Albania, His Grace Paisi Vodica, who greeted the delegates and thanked the government delegation, Colonel-General Enver Hoxha and the authorities. others attending the congress. Then, the chairman of the meeting gave the floor to Adil Çarçan, the Secretary-General of the Prime Ministry, who on behalf of the government of the Republic of Albania, greeted the congress and wished him success in his work. In his speech, Adil Çarçani, defined in general terms the rights and duties of the Albanian Orthodox Committee, which should be followed in the framework of the new course of the communist regime that was established in Albania and led by Enver Hoxha. Afterward, in the capacity of the Secretary-General of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Albania, Mr. Niko Cane, presented to the Congress a report on the change of the draft statute, which among other things stated: “On behalf of the Holy Synod, I am submitting to this Congress for review and approval, the newest draft statute of the Church.” onë, prepared by the Synod itself in collaboration with other specialists on canonical and dogmatic issues. In compiling this draft statute, comrades, have taken into account the following key factors:
The historic victory that our people won through the famous National Liberation War, led by our Labor Party, led by Comrade Enver…
The new situation that was created in the bosom and in the leadership of the Church with the taking of the ecclesiastical friar by the people and with the overthrow of totalitarian and exploitative systems created by degenerate and renegade hierarchies of the interests of the Church of our people, such as Christophers and The Visariones with friends, who openly opposed the democratic principles of Orthodoxy, had monopolized the Church in the hands of a privileged clique, which they blindly served.
Our Church should be inspired by ardent patriotic sentiments and boundless respect for the Power of the People and its leaders, feelings that are known to inspire and elevate them to the ranks of the masses, always based on principle. that without a homeland and a free people, there can never be a free church.
These are the basic principles that radically distinguish the new statute from the old one, which was nothing but a personal statute of Zog and Vissarion that exalted and protected two Tirana, one in the state, and the other in the Church and that supported and strengthened positions. of a clique privileged in the bosom and leadership of our Church, the Statute, ay which was then used as a sacred symbol even by Christopher, who carried the water to the same mill and the interests and principles of all tyrants, even with more pronounced and devilish tendencies than this worthy pupil of the dark spirit of the lantern.
If we went down a little further and approached Athens, other monarchy-fascist blessings and hereby the leadership of the Greek Church, which encouraged monarchy-fascism to massacre the Greek people and kill Albanians or Bulgarians to plunder their lands.
But let me not go into too much detail in this regard, as Christopher and his comrades did, and let us say responsibly that the vast majority of Churches where power is not in the hands of the people, where even the churches are ruled and led by the renegades of the people. and pseudo-religious.
Closing the Congress with the calls: Long live Enver Hoxha
Following the report of the Secretary-General, Niko Cane, the draft resolution of the III Congress of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania was approved, which stated, among other things: “The Congress was held at a time when the people of Albania, liberated since 6 years, thanks to the glorious victory of the glorious Soviet Army led by General Stalin, and thanks to his heroic National Liberation War, led by our beloved Commander-in-Chief General-Army Enver Hoxha, has overthrown the anti-popular regimes of tyranny, of oppression and exploitation, taking power into his own hands and resolutely crushing all attempts by traitors and his internal and external enemies, who systematically and devilishly aim to snatch this glorious victory. , reaped with so much sacrifice and deprivation and with thousands of martyrs and heroes.
It was held at a time when our country, led by our democratic government, our Labor Party and Comrade Enver, and with the invaluable help of the Soviet Union and the great Stalin, and with the help of the People’s Democracies, has achieved great success. incomprehensive development.
It was held at a time when the Homeland and our People, under the leadership of the Party and Comrade Enver, are firmly in the Invincible Democratic and Anti-Imperialist Camp, led by the Glorious Soviet Union and Greater Stalin, which is growing and strengthening. day by day, while the anti-democratic and imperialist camp, which includes the forces of darkness and slavery, led by American-British imperialism, is eroding and crumbling day by day.
It was held recently, at a time when all progressive humanity is lined up under the unique Camp of Peace, Love, and Brotherhood, where our reborn country and church belong, and which includes the progressive Churches of the World, led by the Church of Great Russian Orthodox.
The Congress, after hearing the Report of the President of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania on its situation since ancient times until today and the new program of the reborn church, as well as the discussions of the Congress delegates, condemns with one voice the whole hostile activity exercised by the current leaders to the detriment of it, of our people and our Homeland, unanimously approves the road and the construction line that its current leadership has set, as well as the new Statute of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania, while assigning these tasks.
To be activated in such a way that the Church is oriented and guided on the path that leads to the unique camp of peace, in the love and brotherhood between peoples, at the head of which stands the Glorious Soviet Union and the Great Stalin and where they belong. firmly all the progressive and peace-loving peoples and all the progressive churches, led by the Great Russian Orthodox Church…
All Church officials, clergy and laity, all priests and all church personnel, as well as all members of the ecclesiastical councils of cities and villages, to be people with high patriotic feelings, to be honest people, to nurture boundless love for the Republic. our People’s Party, for the Democratic Government, for our Labor Party and its enlightened leader Comrade Enver…
The Congress sincerely thanks our Democratic Government, our Labor Party and Comrade Enver and expressed their deep gratitude for the great moral and material support and assistance they have given and are constantly giving to the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania. in fulfilling its duties towards the people and the homeland ”.
III Congress of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania
(signatures and signatures of delegates)
Clerics who signed the draft statute drafted by the communists
A few days before the holding of the 3rd Congress of Albanian Orthodoxy, on February 1, 1950, the Commission for Drafting the Statute of the Church convened, under the chairmanship of Archbishop Monsignor Paisi Vodoica (Pashko), who drafted a minutes where :
Death to fascism
Freedom of the people
Today, Wednesday, February 1, 1950, at 18.30, the Commission for drafting the draft statute of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania, composed of the Archbishop of all Albania, Monsignor Paisi, in the capacity of the President, by the members of the Synod, convened. Honorable Archimandrite Dhimitër Kokonesh and Ikonom Father Aristotle Stratos, by His Grace Bishop Irene Banushi, under the capacity of specialist in canonical and dogmatic affairs, by Mr. Foni Qirko and Ilia Kota, under the capacity of lawyers and by Mr. Niko Cane, under the quality of the specialist for canonical and dogmatic matters.
The Commission in question, after reviewing for the last time, under the article and in its entirety the draft statute prepared by it, unanimously decided to submit to the Congress for consideration and approval the draft statute attached to this decision and containing all pages. its typed signatures of the Chairman and Members of the Commission composed as above.
These minutes were submitted to Congress III for approval, which took place a few days later.
The 1950 statute brought Janullatos to the helm of Albanian Orthodoxy
The intervention of the communist government of Enver Hoxha in matters of religious beliefs and the change of the statute of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania, which had been recognized and approved since 1928 by the government of the Zog Monarchy, (which clearly defined the persons who would be elected or appointed head of the Albanian Orthodox Church must have been of Albanian language and blood, as well as have Albanian citizenship) was with great consequences not only for that religious community but also for Albania. In that statute drafted by the communist government of Tirana and approved by the III Congress of the Orthodox Church, which was held in February 1950, it was clearly sanctioned that any bishop could come to Albania at the head of that church. stranger. Based on this statute, in the early ’90s, when religious beliefs were revived in our country, his Grace, Anastas Janullatos, came to Albania, whose presence aroused great controversy and debate, which still continues./Memorie.al