Tirana, June 7, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Message of unity in the Orthodox Church, in view of the Holy and Great Synod in Crete, sent the Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and All Albania Anastasios, during his meeting on Monday evening with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, who is on an official visit in Tirana. It was a very cordial meeting, which was attended by all the Greek mission in the Archdiocese in the new complex of the Cathedral of Christ’s Resurrection in the historic city center.
Although the discussion on the summit of Crete was not the main issue, it could not stay out of the friendly conversation between the two men, in addition to the special briefing on the political and religious activities at their respective fields, which was held in a private meeting that followed without the presence of journalists.
The reference was made in view of all the difficulties of the Synod, which is an attempt after a thousand years or more for the unity of Orthodoxy, which could be “another expression of the unity of Orthodoxy as evidence of non-adherence to the past”. “The most important we have to give to the world”, Mr Anastasios said, “is a message of unity and that Orthodoxy is not a museum-guardian, it is a mission in the modern world, to the concerns and difficulties”. And added: “It must be an open orthodoxy, it can not be a closed one, dealing constantly with individual issues of the past. In the third millennium, we say, let’s start being together, we have these capabilities even more”.
Mr Anastasios expressed his great joy for the visit of Mr Kotzias and wished him to continue with inspirational initiatives throughout this quest for greater understanding, mutual respect and peaceful coexistence of peoples, stressing that this is the most important that can one do in life. The Archbishop congratulated the FM for his strength and wisdom, which is necessary today to effectively bring the peoples together, a belief expressed, he said, through his continuous 25-year presence in Albania, as “the most important the two peoples can do is to be close with mutual respect, solidarity and real unity”.
“We can not afford now to concern ourselves with trifles”, he said, noting that “this is the resistance we must do, a resistance of quality: that we believe in human dignity of every human being and work for it”.
Mr Kotzias expressed the deep respect he nourishes, as he said, “for our Orthodoxy and its collective responsibility, in the pain and sorrow it carries, but above all the particular spirituality of which the archbishop is a shining example”. “I bow”, said “to a spirituality that is an example of a man who follows the way of his faith, is fighting for this road, is standing upright and is a lesson for all.
“We in the Foreign Ministry fought and are fighting for the cohesion of the Church and for its conciliation, not because we have rights, but because we have concern, because it is the faith of our people and the greatness of the Church is in its unity and the love that it should exhibit first of all in its internal relations. Failure to show love and unity is the thing that does not attract and does not convince”, Mr Kotzias said.
“We are all concerned”, added the Foreign Minister “and at least in our own positions in the ministry on how to serve the people and the country, because from any nonsense or our proper actions depend future lives. It may not be obvious directly, but its impact is seen in history. I think that the Church which paired with our Hellenism, always armed us with wisdom and spirituality, and I hope in Crete to will send the right message by setting a good example”.
“What will be required”, Mr Anastasios said, “is to once again rediscover the basic principles of this, our own orthodoxy. I insist that the message of the Church must always be prophetic with basic principles. One of the most common sayings is, ‘be fair and true’, and if we do not keep this, everything else is impossible. And this clear prophetic tongue will be needed. There can not be any other way. We need to give this element. I have been touched by the dense wording of St John, who says: ‘God is love and he who stays in love, remains in God and God in him’. It is the most revolutionary and the most dense wording during History. Texts that are so old and yet so contemporary”. And added: “We are a ‘wealthy’ people and sometimes we complain and act miserably. This is not our role”, he said.
Regarding his contacts with the Albanian leadership, his counterpart Ditmir Bushati and the President of the Republic Bujar Nishani, N. Kotsias spoke of the very positive atmosphere of the talks and stressed that “the European path of Albania requires a european mentality”. “It is for the first time that we will put all issues on the table for a solution. These problems must be resolved, and not to consider the solution as a problem. There are forces in both countries which believe that to solving problems is troublesome”.
And added: “This morning four Greek newspapers were saying that I should not have come. But the notion that if I suggest something and there are reactions from the other side I would have to react and act more strongly, rather than insist in my proposals, is wrong. Experience in this half year showed me that we must insist on a solution. We can not live with the passions of the past and should not be caught up in History”.