Treasures of Civilizations...
By Ilda Mara Director of Art & Heritage Publication
Albanian Daily News
Published April 5, 2017

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

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.

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