The Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, in addition to efforts to rebuild from the ruins the ecclesiastical structure that was completely destroyed by the communist regime for 46 years, since the early years have made systematic efforts in the field of culture.
In the difficult stage of its recovery, Albania had to reveal from its roots the cultural tradition, the inspiration and the force to walk for further progress.
The Christian art and culture in general that has been developed and has resisted the aggression and the successive storms in the country, is a precious element, irreplaceable of the consciousness, but also of the subconscious of the Albanian people. Even in times of crisis, the Orthodox Church tried in promoting scientific studies, raising funds and maintaining the objects that were with interest, and the restoration of Christian cultural monuments of the churches and monasteries.
a) Cultivation of the Ecclesiastical Art
Albania historically has taken an active part in the wide cultural creativity of the Byzantine Empire and in the preservation of the holy items for the worldwide civilization. The exponents of the Byzantine art as icons, mosaics, iconostasis, holy objects of worship etc., music, manuscripts, have a mother that has given birth, and this is the Church. They were not created by indifferent artists, but were created for worship purposes, being used for the religious life and for the support of people. These important elements of the culture of the church have come to light and are turned back after a long period of silence after 90s. Even the Albanian state and our Albanian civilization has become known in the world and has been proud of them, displaying its cultural image alongside other cultures.
Our church has established for years now the sector of creation, restoration and maintenance of the monuments and the ecclesiastical artworks. Through the Core of the Cultural Heritage that deals with the study and restoration of the Orthodox religious objects, which are also national cultural monuments, are restored 70 churches and monasteries-cultural monuments, with an investment to date with millions of euros, all these provided by Archbishop Anastasios. Within the restorer framework has been done a great work by the studio of conservation-restoration of the Church, restoring a large number of works of art.
Is shown a great care for the creation and the affirmation of a new generation of local artists, nurturing the rebirth of the Orthodox tradition of iconography, wood carvings, etc... The studio of the icons, of the frescos, of the mosaics and wood carvings (iconostasis) make possible the realization of the traditional succession of new works of these artists for the many needs of the rich Orthodox worship. The Church also created the Institute of Professional Formation "Spirit of Love", with two branches: the restoration of the icons and iconography. These branches are in a close cooperation with the manufactory of the conservation and restoration of the iconography in the complex named Nazareth.
Church Choirs. Through the church choirs, the Church appears and conveys its age-long treasury in music. The Byzantine church choir "John Kukuzeli" of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania was formed in Tirana in 1995. Participants in this choir are orthodox young people, who have finished the Theological Academy "Resurrection of Christ" at St. Vlash, Durrës, or people who have taken the occasional courses of Byzantine music in Tirana. Some of them have completed their studies abroad for Byzantine music. The leader and the founder of the choir is Father Justini, a priest - monk from the Holy Mountain, who serves in our country since 1992.
Are also realized different recordings and are released seven CDs with church hymns in Albanian, is also given a special program in the Public Albanian Television. Meanwhile, besides chanters from all ages, all over the country are set many church choirs, not only with Byzantine music, but also with European music, as in Tirana, in Korça, etc. These choirs have also given many concerts in different cities of the country and abroad.
Byzantine and Post-Byzantine manuscripts in Albania, which are still under the state ownership, were presented in a unique exhibition organized in 2010 by the General Directorate of Archives, Hellenic Foundation of the Culture, the Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece, and by the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, under the auspices of the Prime Minister, Prof. Dr. Sali Berisha. In these exhibition were appeared 44 codex, of the VI century until XVIII century, among them two famous codex, Beratinus Purpureus 1 dhe Beratinus Purpureus 2, part of the World Memory Register of UNESCO since 2005. In this exhibition were presented 28 photographic panels that provided more detailed information for the interior part of the codex. These documents confirm the contribution of Albanians to Christianity and to the civilization. They also have another language, that testified that Albanians, their elite, preserved and conveyed them from generation to generation. This exhibition was described as a beautiful passport of Albania and Albanians.
A similar exhibition was opened also in 2003 at the environments of the Gallery of Arts in Tirana "The Miniatures of the Codex of Albania", featuring wonderful performances of Orthodox Christian manuscripts, dating back to the VI century.
b) Documentaries and Symposiums
Over the past 20 years of the Orthodox Church are sponsored important scientific publications, documentary films, are organized national and international scientific symposiums etc. In the framework of the cultural program of the Church in 2001, in the hall of the National History Museum in Tirana, was promoted a very good documentary of the well known director of music Esat Musliu, with scenario of Moikom Zeqos, dedicated to one of the greatest figures of Albanian culture, iconographer Onufri. Also are realized over the years a number of documentaries for churches and monasteries, which were published also in Albanian and foreign television.
The church has also organized, itself or in collaboration, activities, conferences, scientific and interfaith symposiums. Among them we can mention, "2,000 Years Ecclesiastical Art and Culture in Albania", which took place in 2000 in Tirana, the IV International Symposium, of the cycle "Religion, Science and Environment", with the theme, "A Sea in Danger, a Common Goal", which took place in 2002 in Durrës in cooperation with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the European Union, under the auspices of the President of the European Commission. Was also organized the conference, "Interethnic Relations and Religious Tolerance" in cooperation with the Albanian Institute of Balkan Studies in Tirana in 2002, and the scientific conference, "The Religious Terminology and the Albanian Language” organized by the Institute of Linguistics and Literature of the Academy of Sciences in 2005. Also are organized and sponsored scientific publications, iconographic exhibitions, children artworks etc.
c) Active Participation in the Book Fair
In all editions of the annual Book Fair in Tirana, our church has been participating with its publications. The biggest cultural event of the book aims to exposure and the publication of the Albanian books, where an important place take also the religious ones. For years, this event serves as the largest venue and the most important of known artists and young ones, who attract the attention of the public in general. In this book fair are also displayed the publications of our church. Apart from previously published books, an important place take also the new books, which attract the attention of the general public. In this context, enter the liturgical books, the books of the Archbishop and Christian theologians and of the writers translated into Albanian.
At the same time, in the book fairs, a special place in the stand of the church, have also the CDs with Byzantine music and Christian music for adults and children, as well as the new DVDs with films and documentaries that talk about different spiritual topics and historic of the Church. The main assistance for the maintenance and presentation of our stand is given annually the orthodox young people, who with their dedication and volunteerism provide a very good image to the attendees.
ç) Qualifying and Guide Programs for the Culture and Tourism
In 2003, the Foundation "Spirit of Love" in collaboration with the University of Athens and the Tourism Education Schools of the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Development, conducted a qualification program in the field of tourism and culture. The program lasted 10 months and was conducted in the form of seminars in Agro-tourism, Winter Tourism, Religious Tourism, Tourism Exhibitions, Ecotourism and Cultural Tourism. The seminar was held in Tirana and the group of trainees consisted of 15 people, graduate in the universities of Albania, who either worked in the field of tourism, or want to develop business activity in the field of alternative forms of tourism.
The objective of the seminars was to contribute to the development, to the formation of cadres and support the employment in the field of special forms of tourism in Albania. This event made possible the publication of a tourist guide, which highlighted the religious, cultural, archaeological and natural monuments of the country. It also served as a guide for information of the spiritual and cultural heritage, material and technical infrastructure and tourism. The objective of the tourists guide was to identify the rich natural landscape of the country, localization, registration and promotion of the important natural and cultural monuments as well as their soft use, which will contribute to economic development and social life of the country and the strengthening of tourism. In parallel, the introduction of the religious monuments contributed to the expansion of religious tourism and highlighted the role of the Orthodox Church of Albania and the precious work of Archbishop of Tirana and all Albania Anastasios Janullatos.
d) Radio "Ngjallja-Resurrection"
A valuable cultural contribution to the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania has been given also through the media. This radio station since April 1998 when it sent the signal through the radio apparatus to the believers of Tirana and Durrës", saying to them, “Radio Ngjallja is talking to you’, in FM 88.5 Mhz”, reflects the activity of our church and a very broad cultural program. Over the years this radio has evolved both in programming and in its personnel. In the staff of this radio have worked and contributed prominent figures of culture and art, as well as clergy and known theologians.
Since 2001, this radio is broadcasting 24 hours music and different transmissions. Transmissions are informative, including news, stories, radio-chronicle, church services, social and cultural programs, with educative character, aiming at enhancing the spiritual values and increasing the knowledge in the field of art, culture, sports, etc. This radio includes all ages.