Albanien: Nationalists call for immediate deportation of Archbishop Anastasios

In a text sent to the Albanian authorities, the nationalist group Children of Labëria calls for the removal of all Greek monuments, including the graves of Greek soldiers, busts, and memorial columns in Albania. Moreover, the group has set its sights on His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, who is ethnically Greek, calling for his immediate deportation, reports tachydromos.org. Labëria is an historic region in southwestern Albania, bordering on Greece. The people there are culturally distinguishable from the rest of Albania. Historically, they were mainly Greek Orthodox, though many converted to Islam during Ottoman rule.

Abp. Anastasios (Yannoulatos) has headed the Albanian Church since 1992. He became an Albanian citizen on December 24, 2017, but the Children of Labëria are now calling for him to be stripped of his citizenship, deported, and declared persona non grata. This is not the first time that nationalist groups have targeted the Archbishop, accusing him of insidiously interfering in Albanian political affairs. “He has converted the Orthodox Albanian churches into churches of another nature and has interfered in secret ways in the internal affairs of the Albanian state,” write the Children of Labëria. They are also seeking the same for the head of the Greek consulate in the southern Albanian city of Gjirokaster.

The nationalist group held a rally at the consulate last week, waving Albanian and American flags. The local prosecutor’s office fined the group $56,000 (50,000 euros) and made several arrests. In 2017, the Albanian nationalist Sejdi Kondi published the book, Demons in Cassocks, which attacked both Abp. Anastasios and St. Kosmas of Aetolia. (Quelle: www.orthochristian.com, 22. Juni 2020)

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