The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania consists of: His Beatitude Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and all Albania as its Leader; His Eminence Ignat, Metropolitan of Berati; His Eminence Joan, Metropolitan of Korca; His Eminence Dhimiter, Metropolitan of Gjirokastra; His Eminence Nikolla, Bishop of Apollonia and Fier; His Eminence Andon, Bishop of Elbasan; His Eminence Nathaniel, Metropolitan of Amantia and His Eminence Asti, Bishop of Bylis.

Brief History (1992 - present)

• In 1998, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania was reformed by God’s grace. On July 18, 1998, His Beatitude Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and all Albania led the ceremony of the Enthronement of His Beatitude Ignat, as Metropolitan of Berat, Vlora and Kanina in the church of St. Spyridon in Berat. There were present also two representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, His Eminence Evangelos, Metropolitan of Perge and His Eminence the most Reverend Meliton, Metropolitan of Philadelphia.

On the same day, Archbishop Anastasios and Metropolitan Ignat formed the first nucleus of the Holy Synod of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania, and together with the other two representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate held an extraordinary meeting of the Holy Synod in Tirana. In this meeting Archimandrite Joan Pelushi was elected as Metropolitan of Korca. He had previously been a professor and dean of the Resurrection of Christ Theological Academy in Durres. Whereas the most Reverend Father and Ikonom, Kozma Qirjo was elected as Bishop of Apollonia as well as Assistant Bishop to the Archbishop. He represented the older generation of priests who, during the miserable years of religious persecution, heroically and secretly conducted baptisms and performed the Divine Liturgy.

On July 20, 1998, the ordination to Episcopal rank of His Eminence and Metropolitan of Korca took place in the Annunciation of Theotokos Church in Tirana and the ceremony was performed by Archbishop Anastasios and the above Metropolitans. Whereas the enthronment ceremony took place in Korca on 25 July 1998 in the Life-giving Spring Metropolitan Church.

On July 23, 1998, His Eminence, Kozma, Bishop of Apollonia was ordained to episcopal rank by Archbishop Anastasios and all the members of the Holy Synod in the church of Annunciation of Theotokos in Tirana.

And Protopresbyter Jani Trebicka was appointed in the position of the General Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania.

• On August 11, 2000, His Eminence Kozma fell asleep in the Lord, leaving vacant the position of the Bishop of Apollonia.

• From 3 to 4 November 2006 at the Monastery of St. Vlash in Durres, the Clergy-Laity Assembly of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania was specifically gathered. It consisted of 257 members, who examined every article and unanimously accepted the new statute of the Church. On November 6, the Holy Synod of the Church met to approve the new statute of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania.

• At the meeting of the Holy Synod dated November 11, 2006, three archimandrates of our Church were ordained to the Episcopal rank: Dhimitër Sinaiti, Nikolla Hyka and Andon Merdani.

Archimandrite Dhimitër Sinaiti was appointed Metropolitan of Gjirokastra, in the Metropolis of which he had served for 15 years as a substitute. Archimandrite Nikolla Hyka was appointed Bishop of Apollonia and Archimandrite Andon Merdani was appointed Bishop of Kruja. They belong to the new generation of clergy who were educated in the Resurrection of Christ Theological Academy at St.Vlash in Durres. The two bishops were appointed also assisstant bishops of the Archbishop.

On November 16, 2006, the ordination to Episcopal rank of His Eminence and Metropolitan of Gjirokastra Dhimiter took place in the church of Annunciation of Theotokos in Tirana and it was performed by Archbishop Anastasios and all members of the Holy Synod. Whereas the enthronment ceremony took place on November 26 at the church of the Archangels.

On November 19 and November 21, 2006, in the church of Annunciation of Theotokos in Tirana the ordination to episkopal rank of two other Eminences took place: Nikolla, Bishop of Apollonia and Andon, Bishop of Kruje.

Following the proposal of the Clergy-Laity Council, as determined by the New Statute of our Church, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania at its meeting dating on January 19, 2012, chose two new entitled bishops. On the basis of the New Statute of the Orthodox Church of Albania (Articles 17, 18), the Holy Synod unanimously decided to appoint Archimandrite Nathaniel Lavrioti as Bishop of Amantia, and Archimandrite Asti Bakallbashi as Bishop of Bylis. The two entitled bishops who are also assistants to the Archbishop, are members of the Holy Synod with full rights.
The ordination ceremony to episkopal rank of His Eminence, Nathaniel, Bishop of Amantia and His Eminence Asti, Bishop of Bylis was performed by Archbishop Anastasios and the members of the Holy Synod at the Annunciation of Theotokos in Tirana, on January 21 and January 22, 2012.The two bishops cover certain sectors of life of the Church: His Eminence Nathaniel has undertaken the supervision of the wealth of monasteries and his Eminence Asti is responsible for the Apostolic Service of the Church.

On 11 and 12 March 2016, the Clergy-Laity Assembly of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, which consisted of 280 members, met at the New Monastery of St. Vlash in Durres, under the headship of His Beatitude Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and all Albania. It reviewed and unanimously approved the completion and improvement of certain provisions of the Statute of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, in which, among other issues, there was highlighted the creation of two new Metropolises of Apollonia and Elbasan.

On April 7, 2016, the Holy Synod was met to approve the amendments of the Statute of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania. The Holy Synod decided the establishment of two new metropolises: a) The Holy Metropolis of Apollonia and Fieri, which involves the areas of Patos and Libofshe, and which were separated from the Metropolis of Berat, Kanina and Vlora b) The Holy Metropolis of Elbasan, which involves the areas of Elbasan, Shpati and Librazhdi, and which were separated from the Archdiocese of Tirana and Durres. In accordance with the Statute and upon the proposal of the Clergy-Laity Church Council, decisions were taken to fulfill the vacancies in the above newly created Metropolises by regular ballot. His Eminence Nikolla (Hyka), also Bishop of Apollonia was elected as head of the Metropolis of Apollonia and Fieri. And His Eminence Andon (Merdani), also Bishop of Kruje was elected as head of the Metropolis of Elbasan. His Eminence, Nathanail (Stergiou), Bishop of Amantia was elected to the grade of Metropolitan of Amantia. Finally, the relevant messages were delivered at the Holy Trinity Chapel of the Synod Center of the Church.

On Saturday, April 16, the enthronment ceremony of His Eminence Nikolla, Bishop of Apollonia and Fieri took place at the Cathedral of St. George in Fieri. Whereas on Sunday, April 17, the enthronment ceremony of His Eminence Andon, Bishop of Elbasan took place at the church of St. Nicholas, in Elbasan.

With the above changes, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania consists of: Archbishop Anastasios as its Leader; His Eminence, Ignat, Mitropolitan of Berati; His Eminence, Joan, Metropolitan of Korca; His Eminence, Dhimiter, Metropolitan of Gjirokastra; His Eminence, Nikolla, Bishop of Apollonia and Fier, His Eminence, Andon, Bishop of Elbasan; His Eminence, Nathaniel, Metropolitan of Amantia; and His Eminence, Asti, Bishop of Bylis.

 

April 2016

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