Rev. Dr. Miltiades B. Efthimiou
Protopresbyter of the
Recently, an article by the renowned author Nicholas Gage on Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, was published in the magazine section of a N.Y. newspaper. The tireless prelate who is acknowledged as one of the most profound and astute Orthodox theologians of the world, has spent the last 18 years, as prelate of the Orthodox Church of Albania, under tremendous duress, rebuilding the Orthodox community in that part of the world; its churches, (1600 were destroyed during communist rule) its hospitals, its schools, nurseries, etc.
Coincidently, as this article appeared in print, another article by M.Parlamis, a respected engineer and Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, appeared in print in a well known magazine. Its title: “The Resurrection of Christ Cathedral in Tirana: an engineering analysis”. The article made reference to the architect of the new Cathedral of Tirana, also an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and whose firm, Papadatos Partnership LLP Architects of New York, was chosen over numerous other architectural firms in an International competition to design the Cathedral and the entire project.
Both articles struck a sensitive nerve, especially for those of us who are concerned and pray for the Orthodox Church worldwide. The Parlamis article gives a superb analysis of the Cathedral and compares and contrasts the great structures of the world. What is significant and what made this writer want to explore the Cathedral?s design further was what the renowned engineer expressed in his article: that from an engineering point of view, the new Cathedral under the aegis of Archbishop Anastasios could be classified as “among the most efficient Churches ever designed” (Parlamis, Greek-American Review, Nov.2003.)
The Architect?s philosophy of design comes clearly through in each of his designs: a sense of movement, a sense of procession, of leaving the secular and entering the sacred realm. What is striking of the Tirana Cathedral it is of perfect proportion with 52 dome windows representing the weeks of the year. When one enters a Church, one should be able to communicate with God, the Theotokos, and the saints. You can do this anywhere, but spiritual communication, where you can leave the worries about daily issues behind you, outside the doors of the Church,……or if they are deep-rooted cares, if you have just lost someone dear to you, then it becomes a place where you can seek reassurance and comfort. Viewing the Construction Photographs, one cannot help but feel that this is what the architect tried to convey: here in the midst of what was once a chaotic environment, to create a house of worship different from other basilicas yet similar, a gradually unfolding progression from the secular realm to the spiritual one.
We cannot complete this tribute and perspective of the Tirana?s Resurrection of Christ Cathedral without returning to Archbishop Anastasios. “I was asked to revive the Church without any financial support, in a destitute country undergoing a wrenching political transformation,” said the Archbishop in the interview with Gage. (“He gave His Country Hope”, Newsday, July 2003.) I would like to think that upon completion of the Cathedral and stepping into this House of worship in the middle of rebuilding a “destitute country” of Christians, Muslims and even unbelievers, would be like stepping into and opening a profoundly beautiful book. Though subjected to the ravages of time and strife, the churches magnificence, born of its sublime ornateness and simplicity, is and will be undiminished. It brings to mind a famous quote by a 6th century mystic, Dorotheos of Gaza, who, like Anastasios inspired the building of places of meditation and prayer in the midst of pillaging and war in the middle East of that time. Imagining the world, as a circle at whose center was God, he wrote: “Leading from the edge of the center are a number of lines, representing ways of life. In their desire to draw near to God , the saints advance along these lines to the middle of the circle, so that the further they go the nearer they approach one another as well as God. The closer they come to God, the closer they come to one another.” Looking up at the dome in the Cathedral design, I am reminded of what the architect once wrote: “The high dome with the Pantocrator lifts one toward the heavens and gives the feeling that here, indeed, in the Eucharist heaven and earth meet.”
As a tribute to the undaunting faith of Orthodox Albanians, as well as the persevering spirit of their spiritual leader who single-handedly has already built 83 churches and repaired another 40 in ruins, in the midst of all this will stand a Cathedral second to none. Like a benediction it will no doubt elevate many souls, Christian and non-Christian,for it will accomplish what many modern edifices fail to do as modern Houses of worship: to transform the human dimensions of architecture into the ineffable realms of the spirit, and as with the great Church of St. Sophia of Constantinople, as one stands under the great dome, there continuously is a glimpse of heaven down here on earth.
Ρεκόρ ανθρωπιάς: Ιερέας πλήρωσε 2 εκατ. ευρώ για 15.382 αποφυλακίσεις - [image: Ρεκόρ ανθρωπιάς: Ιερέας πλήρωσε 2 εκατ. ευρώ για 15.382 αποφυλακίσεις] Ξεκίνησε το 1978 και συνεχίζει... Ένα απίστευτο ρεκόρ ανθρωπιάς κατέχει ο α...
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