[ditty_news_ticker id="27897"] Archpastoral Exhortation To the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America - Orthodox Christian Laity

Archpastoral Exhortation To the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America


Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Archpastoral Exhortation By His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America To the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America
November 10, 2022 Via Zoom

Metropolitan Ilia (Katre)

Reverend Fathers,

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,

I come to you today with a heart that bears both sadness and good hope – sadness for the loss of our beloved brother in Christ and concelebrant in the Holy Spirit, the late Metropolitan Ilia of Philomelion. We are not yet even at the fortieth day from his passing, and the vacuum that has been created by his absence is powerfully felt by us all. But as the Apostle Paul says:

… to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. *

Therefore, we take heart from the fact that this hierarch, who served the Albanian Church for so many decades with all his strength, is present with the Lord, and prays with us for the future of the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America.

Hence, my brothers and sisters, I have a good hope for this Diocese, and I pray that you do as well. There is much work to be done, so that the efforts that have yielded a spiritual harvest to date will be extended for the benefit of generations to come.

This is a time of transition – a time when we will move as One Body in Christ to the next apostolate to which our Lord calls us. I would like to assure everyone that as the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, I will give my utmost to ensuring a smooth progression for the beloved Albanian Orthodox Diocese, so as to ensure a future that is consistent with its past.

We can never forget the legacy of this Diocese, as well as the renewal and reconstitution of the Orthodox Church in Albania. All of you were crucial to the resurrection of Orthodoxy in Albania, which now holds a rightful place as one of the Autocephalous Churches.

The role of this Diocese – especially under the late Metropolitan Ilia, and his vigorous pursuit of true apostleship to the Albanian Motherland – can never be forgotten. His All Holiness knew where to find partners to assist in the restoration of Orthodoxy in Albania. And all of you should know that the Ecumenical Patriarchate will continue to be your partner going forward.

Therefore, let us take the time that is before us in order to learn from and about one another, so that we may more perfectly serve the needs of this Diocese’s faithful.

I would like to hear your concerns and your hopes for the future. If there are changes to be made, evolutions to be considered, we shall do so together. Let no one fear radical reorganization. Because like a loving mother, the Mother Church of Constantinople has only the spiritual protection and progress of this Diocese in Her heart.

As for me, I pledge to you my best efforts to meet your needs and to present your interests to the Mother Church, so that whatever course is charted is embraced by all.

I thank you for your participation today, and I look forward to hearing from you now, and to keep this dialogue of love and hope open in the future.

May the Lord bless us all!

* II Corinthians 5:8.


  1. I am deeply saddened at the passing of +Metropolitan Elias of the Albanian Orthodox Church. He was an extraordinary person and very unlike any hierarch I’ve known. He was humble and compassionate and faithful to the church he pastored and to his family. With his passing, Orthodoxy has suffered a great loss.

    May his memory be eternal.

  2. Cato the Elder on

    I share Peter’s sadness at the passing of +Metropolitan Elias. Anytime a hierarch serving in America who is humble, compassionate and faithful departs from this life we all experience the loss.

    The exhortation from +Archbishop Elpidophoros proves how fractured and uncanonical the Orthodox Church in America is. The Archbishop refers to the Albanian Church in America as a “diocese” of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in America. At the same time, he acknowledges that the Church of Albania, led by Archbishop Anastasios, of Tirana and All Albania, is autocephalous. It is one of the fourteen Orthodox churches that are equal to Constantinople.

    Is this “diocese” separate from the Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America, one of the three ethnic dioceses of the Orthodox Church in America, with parishes in seven states? How many parishes does the Albanian Diocese under Constantinople have?

    Can anyone explain why the autocephalous Albanian Orthodox Church, based in Tirana, Albania, is not the “mother church” of all Albanian Orthodox faithful in America? Or, why are there Romanian Orthodox in America who are in parishes that are part of the Romanian Episcopate of the Orthodox Church in America and others are part of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Bucharest, Romania?

    More than a decade ago all of the autocephalous churches established Assemblies of Bishops across the world, including in the United States in order to end the uncanonical states of multiple overlapping ethnic jurisdictions in the same territory. Were they serious about wanting unity, or have shown they prefer to preserve these divisions?

    It has been said that there are only two ways to lead: You either divide and conquer, or you build and unite. Which leadership style have the heads of the autocephalous churches who created the Assemblies of Bishops pursued?

    Since actions speak louder than words, it is clear that these “mother churches” prefer division and control over unity and growth.

    What will it take for the Assembly of Bishops to move beyond the real or perceived restraints placed upon them by the synods that appointed them, take them instead by their words and unite and build the church in America?

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