The first issue is dedicated to the Christian Orthodox heritage of Albania, and will be followed by the Albanian Sunni Muslim, Roman Catholic and Bektashi heritage. With this publication we want to set the for publications on the religious culture in Albania.
The Albanian heritage is a testament left to us by our forebears that we must hand over to the next generations.
The three pillars necessary for building mutual respect and dialogue between communities are: understanding the continuing nature of religious heritage, having the capacity to protect its authenticity and integrity, including its particular spiritual significance, and sharing the knowledge of our common history.
Civilization is a compounding element of every people; hence today we must be more careful and establish the appropriate approach to preserve the values of religious heritage, which are at the foundations of our culture, thus being aware of every loss that threatens our traditions and identity. At the end of the day, history, tradition and civilization together are one; to lose the continuation of time is like losing something that can never be substituted.
“I saw a miniature Troy”, wrote the ancient Roman poet Virgil in his acclaimed Aeneid describing the city of Bouthroum [Butrinti]. Today it remains a rather well preserved archeological site spanning life and culture for over millennia, where the Byzantines built one of the oldest baptistery in the world paved with a splendidly decorated mosaic; such that such that one might believe the lost ancient world is resurrecting in front of one’s eyes.
Besides Butrint, other Albanian sites in the World Heritage List of UNESCO with historical and cultural properties, also include historical towns of Gjirokastra and Berat, the latter being the sote of the well known « Purple Codes » (Codices Purpureus Beratinus) ecclesiastical works in calligraphy from the sixth century AD.
Noticeable among those properties is the large number of Christian monuments that are still exist. The important spiritual significance of many monuments and works of art is often evoked to show their universal value.
It has been difficult to track the history of the Christian orthodox heritage in Albania in the context of various political, religious, geographical and cultural entanglements that the country has known, but through this publication we hope to introduce the public to the values and trajectory of the orthodoxy from its origins in Albania to now; how it came to be, how it spread and develop and how, for about a quarter of a century it secretly survived the communist regime. What about its renewal after the fall of communism?
This publication is an indispensable contribution aiming to first recognize and then preserve the history of the Christian heritage of Albania – a legacy of faith that can be traced back to antiquity and christian civilizations, which our modern world must protect with a passion and regard with respect, as it is part of the treasures that have made our identity.