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Eastern Christianity

The Orthodox Church of Albania

Doctrines On all major issues the Orthodox Church of Albania is in agreement with other Eastern Orthodox Churches. (See Eastern Orthodoxy.)

History Albania acquired independence in 1912, following the end of Turkish rule in the region. As the first world war came to an end a movement emerged which sought to set up a national church independent of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. It was not until 1937 that Constantinople recognised the Albanian Church as autocephalous. With the establishment of a Communist government in 1945, the Church was subjected to severe persecution. In 1967, the government proclaimed the abolition of all religion in the country and the closure of all churches, forcing Christians and Muslims to operate underground. In 1990, however, the ban on religious activities was lifted, and churches and mosques began to reopen. The following year the Patriarchate of Constantinople appointed a Greek bishop to oversee the Albanian church.

Symbols Festal icons, Christ as Pantocrator, Mary as Theotokos. (See Eastern Orthodoxy.)

Adherents An estimated 20% of Albania's population of 3,363,000 belong to the Orthodox Church (Europa Publications Limited 1995, 1:321-2).

Main Centre
 Rruja kavaja 151, Tirana; tel. (42) 42271; fax 32109.