at the yard of the Church of Greece

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An e-report published by the Dept of Cultural Projects & Internet
The Editor: Pan. Drakopoulos

Issue 23, 29 June 2006          click for your free subscription


Athens-Phanar Ties on Good Track
25 Jun 2006 , Sources: ΝΕΤ - ANA

Upon Ecumenical Patriarchate Bartholomew’s invitation, Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Christodoulos officiated Sunday the mass held at the church of Saints Constantine and Helen. Bartholomew thanked Christodoulos for visiting the Phanar to extend his wishes for the former’s Name Day and hailed the support offered by the Church of Greece. Christodoulos, in turn, termed the opportunity he had to co-pray along with the Ecumenical Patriarch as "highest honour and dearest privilege," and wished for the Patriarch to experience many more years of creativity.

"Cooperation is Necessary"
"As you yourself mentioned yesterday [Saturday] during the meeting held at the Patriarchate, unity and cooperation between our Churches and between us as their heads is but necessary given the multiple challenges of our times," said the Patriarch.

Christodoulos, in turn, hailed the opportunity he had to co-pray with Patriarch Bartholomew at the historic church of Saints Constantine and Helen as a "highest honour and dearest privilege." He then wished for Bartholomew to experience many more years of creativity.

Earlier, the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece had referred to all the hardships and problems the Ecumenical Patriarchate suffered in the course of time and asked Bartholomew to give his blessing to the people of Greece and its clergy.

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Albania: Back from the Dead
by Besar Likmeta

TIRANA, Albania 21 June 2006 | Relations between Greece and Albania are burdened with memories of a complex and contentious history. Now, Albania’s Orthodox Church is literally digging up the past: in a move that has inflamed relations between the two neighbours the Church has begun exhuming the bodies of fallen Greek soldiers for reburial in a dedicated cemetery.

Locals from the village of Kutel in Permet district, right on the border with Greece, have told the authorities they fear some of the exhumed bodies are those of relatives, while church officials say all the bodies are those of Greek soldiers who died in Albania fighting Italian invaders during World War II. In early June, a district court issued an order to seize the exhumed remains, stored in tin boxes in Kutel’s Orthodox church; the local priest and representatives of the Greek consulate have resisted the order.

The priest, Vasil Thumollari, maintains Greek relatives requested the bodies be exhumed. He said the Greeks had clear maps locating the graves and he was called on only to provide the religious rites.

But public opinion in Albania saw the action as a provocation, with parliamentarians charging that the country’s sovereignty had been violated by its bigger neighbour. Parliamentarians interrupted regular proceedings to express their outrage.

Sabit Brokaj, a parliamentarian of the opposition Socialist Movement for Integration, called upon Archbishop Anastasius, a Greek citizen who heads the Albanian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (AOOC), to leave Albania.

The AOOC has hit back at critics of the exhumations, saying they were aiming to destroy interfaith harmony in Albania. “In these last few weeks we have heard extremist and nationalistic calls that try to threaten with unfounded accusations Orthodox clerics and in general the Orthodox Church and its archbishop,” it said in a statement.

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