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Orthodox Church Faces Threats in Albania
Once again in Albania, Orthodox Church is facing serious threats and attempts of persecution. The local government of a small town Dhermi in Southern Albania tried to provoke Orthodox community by destroying the church. Its reported that local authorities along with law enforcement agencies made an attempt to destroy the Orthodox church earlier in August 2015. The scared items and icons were removed from Church of St. Athanasius and then the building of church was destroyed. These actions from local government came as a shock to Orthodox community, since they were unaware of any such incident. There was neither a prior notice nor legal documentation for the attempt at Church building.
However, just when the news of this incident reached the Orthodox community, the priest of the church and the faithful followers went on to protest and prevent further attempts. They tried to express their feelings of indignation regarding these acts and declared to the authorities that they would defend the church if further attempts were made to destroy it. For them, of course it’s a holy place and they were quite determined to defend it at any cost. In that afternoon, they again gathered to record the protest. According to Albanianpersonals, there are so many faithful orthodox present in Albania.
Since Albanian local government had destroyed the church building without prior notice and legal documentation, it was clearly a violation of law. It was seen as an attempt to expel the Orthodox faithful from their holy place. This was a complete disrespectful event for the religious communities. This hurtful event was quite similar to the destruction incident of the church of St. Athanasius in 1972 by atheist community. They had used the holy stones of the church building to build a water depot and this had deeply hurt the feelings of orthodox community. However, later on in 1992, the Orthodox community again built their church just in the same place and gave church services for so many years. But now its again destroyed just like it was destroyed 43 years ago.
According to Orthodox community, local authorities have violated a law by such persecution of the church. There was an agreement between Orthodox Church of Albania and Albanian government. This agreement was a guarantee that church will be inviolable and the state will protect it. Such kind of secret attempts from Albanian government on the building of Church shows really bad intentions. These abusive attempts should be condemned by the government to make peace with the Orthodox community, since their religious feelings are hurt and the mutual relationship of government and faithful is affected seriously.
Orthodox community is quite surprised that these kind of abusive actions are almost always taken against their holy places. But even then they are hopeful that those who put them through this situation will repent before God and apologize to community and will respect the law in the future. This kind gesture from Orthodox Community is the best reply to such hideous actions from Albanian government, for they believe in hope, peace and love.
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