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Orthodox Cathedral

These are some pictures of the new Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral under construction in Tirana. The website of the architectural partnership behind the church has images of how it is planned to look when finished.


strangeMAN said…
As soon as it does not turn into some kind of "which religious group builds the biggest building, the nearest to the city center"-contest, this is fine for me.
Even though I think that this isn't exactly a necessity for our city at this time.
Anonymous said…
Why we need another religion building in Tirana is beyond me!
And they all came in large shape! Someone is trying to convince the Albanian’s that somehow they need these buildings!
What’s next a Buddha Temple? Possibly in larger shapes as usual!
Exactly! Why do we need these churches and mosques in the center of every city? No where else in the western world do we see new religious buildings being erected right smack in the middle of the city. All centrally located cathedrals in other coutries are old and act more as tourist attractions rather than places of worship. I have nothing against religion, and I'm myself religious, but these foreign religious investments have got to stop, since all they're doing is trying to divide the people. Last time I checked, the Orthodox Church in Kavaja St wasn't so busy that people had to spill to the streets every Sunday. The same applies to mosques and churches everywhere else. We are not going to build huge churches and mosques in the off chance that the current buildings might get crowded once a year on Easter or Bajram or whatever.
Anonymous said…
I don't understand why muslims are offended. It's just a dome with a tower/minaret.
First they wanted to build a casino here. Aren't you guys happy that a church is being built instead in the lot?
I'm just so excited!
It even has a ramp for handicaps.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said...
I don't understand why muslims are offended. It's just a dome with a tower/minaret.
What are you goin on about?
Which muslims are offended?Some people need to anderstand that we(albanians) are not religion people.We are just plain albanian's.Why is so hard to get this for some?
Anonymous said…
wake up. I used to have a friend who is originaly from Kosovo. She was always sending me e-mails with content on Islam(I'm from a Christian family), the prophet, etc. Physically we live 20 min from each other and meet every week(used to). Ok, in Albanian style I respected her and thanked her for the e-mails (i.e. I always deleted them). Then, 2 years later the e-mails became more and more radical, some of them anti-American in jihadist style. A terrorist in the making! This coming from a 24-year-old blonde girl from Kosovo who at first looks so angelic. 2 weeks ago I told her, nicely, that I did not wish to speak about religion with her anymore. She's been avoiding me ever since.
In theory, in Albania proper, it was supposedly rude to impose your religious views on other people. Intermarriages were normal. But, this girl says that she has promised her dad that she will marry only a muslim from her sect and from Kosovo. I'm worried because i've seen this attitude in Albania for the last 3 years. Sometimes, this really annoys me, when she speaks she uses Turkish or Arabic words, that we in Albania would never use because they are called "barbarisms" of the language.

Prices in the center of Tirana rise 20%/year, the church did a good thing to build it now. LAter, only money from Arabia can build anything there.
tabakhone said…
Omit, you have entered the hot issue of religion in Albania.
I wish you good luck.
On the Orth Church, my only beef is: why does it have to be white and blue? Not for Tirona's colors I'm sure!!
It is things like this that rub people on wrong places. Why cann't it be just white, or black for that matter. The catholics didn't paint St Paul white and yellow! Why is it that our orthodox brothers are so insensitive to the rest-of-the-Albanians's nervousness about Greek stuff,including their flag?
Sorry about the long comment! Thank you for your posts on Albania.
nick said…
Religious buildings in Albania started after Albania's inclusion in the OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries. On that unfortunate spetember day a representative from Albania flied to the middle East for presumed talks with the leaders of the countries there and in search of aid for the newly awakened country. At this time Albania would have accepted aid from the devil if it offered it given that in 1991 most of the labor unions were on strike, private property and market liberalization tried by the Bufi Government hadnt yet taken its toll and foreign investment from the west or any other coutnry for that matter was unheard of. In fact, were it not for the intervention of the Italians with operation Pelican, starvation and famine would have indured that year. So, there we were members of the OIC for the $55+Million promised by the league every year in aid, investment, school and hospital buildings etc. By 1992 our then beliguered President Berisha went himself to the Middle east to talk about the centuries of friendship the albanian people had with the arab nations, the cultural similiraties etc etc. At the time little attention was paid to this event even by the most nationalist albanians, given the fact that few people had food to eat let alone thoughts of a grand scheme for the country's future. Nevertheless, the kind of similarities we shared with the arabs that Berisha referred to got me and 90% of the country scratching our heads. Of all the things we head learned in school, one of our worst historical nightmares had been the long period of Ottoman domination where for 5 centuries we missed renaissance, enlightment, education, guidance, and got converted into a nation of bashi-bazouks. However, perhaps the liders of teh Albanian Renaissance (1878-1912) had been wrong. Perhaps Berisha knew better!

Fast forword a decade or so and you got mosques in the centre of every town, village and city regardless of its composition, very few non religious investment (negligable when compared to western Foreign Direct Investment) and a group of youngsters (including here some serving as advisers in the current govermnet) who were educated in islamic coutnries in theology teachings.
After all of this, it was only obvious that the other side would respond, by building their own religious structures. The most amazing has been the growth of protestant structures. Over 150-200 little churhces in the whole country. About 100 Orthodox Churches and about 50 Catholic cathedrals. The only difference was that these churches were almost exlusively built legally and there is a very clear trace as to where the money came from. The catholics form the Vatican nd other Catholic establishments, whereas the Orthodox from the Orthodox establishments, including here, money form American and Greek Churches. About one half of the 200 or so mosques in the country on the other hand are illegaly built without any permission. Moreover, they constitute a danger simply for the fact that they were built with money from rogue sources. Most of the mosques built in Albania have been financed by terrorist or ex-terrorist organizations either directly or indirectly linked to the OIC. In fact, the Clinton Administration in 1996 showed so much concern over this that in a letter to the then govermnet of albania, they told the government to trace the money that were financing islamic religious institutions. Of course the government had otehr priorites in mind, such as crushing opposition, the media and promoting pyramid schemes to care about anything else that went on in the country. So these mosques were left untouched to be built wherever it was possible.

A lot is being made in Albania about the Greek threat. The arguing is that since Greece is so close and the Middle east so far, we must worry about the Orthodox threat more then that of Islamic countries. For the record, Albania will become a Nato member this year or the next. That means, no other country can or will invade its borders. Albania is the US's staunchest supporter in the war and pro-American feelings are all around. There are American bases in Albania and for Greece or any countries to amount the adaucity to invade or do anything else to Albania is beyond my logic or anyone elses. The only real threat to Albania right now is radical islam. WE must join our main ally ( the US) not only in the war on terror but also in making sure we dont turn our youth into jihadists by sending them to malaysia and libya for religious teachings.

Unless the government comes up with a clear plan as to where we are headed (and this must be done simply for the fact that unlike many other European countries Albania has only recently emerged as a free country) culturally, economically etc then religious buildings and other establishments will continue to vie each other for spaces in the centres of cities and towns.

I think it should be headed towards Europe...that means it should fully dual identity bullshit...if you think differently thats fine...but it must be made clear once and for all...perhaps a national referendum should take place. AS I have argued before, we cannot be BOTH.
Anonymous said…
it's white, blue glass and yellow gold. You forgot the yellow. Freud said that we see what we want to see. It's stereotyping that Orthodox in Albania are malignant GREeks.
Anonymous said…
"A lot is being made in Albania about the Greek threat. "

Personally, i think that the notion of "greek threat" was brought by Berisha. HE also brought division inside the country with the "north-south" conflict. His wife is Serb nad Shik in the 90s found out that she was an UDB agent. When he used to refer to "the greek lobby in America" he was talking about George Tennet, whose father is from Qeparo and mother from Himara. Tennet was not anti-Albanian. He was actually pressuring for Nato intervention in Kosovo. Of course, Berisha wasn't pleased by this. Rrugova never came back to Albania because of Berisha. You can read even in Aristidh Kola's books how Serbia in the past 150 years has started conflicts between Albanians and GReeks.
tabakhone said…
Thank you for being a gracious host in letting us have it out in your blog
Why White, Blue and Gold? WHy not just WHite and Gold? Didn't Anastatios think of the complications this combination might sparkle when he gave the go to the architectural studio?
Why this naivite on his (their really)side? Or is it sudden carelesseness? I don't have anything against the Orthodox but common!
If some muslim "architect" decided to build a green mosque with white letters on the sign, people would scream MURDER.
As of stereotyping, well, the Church is not doing anything to disspell it ey!!! Even though it is not incumbent upon the Church to prove to us their love for Albania, I haven't seen any signs of shock on their part when accused of cutting it rather too close with the Greeks. And now the white-blue-and-gold church next to Shallvare!
Anonymous said…
What I wonder about is: where does Yanoulatos get the money for these buildings? Doubtful the Albanian faithful are really faithful when it comes to tithing.
If the money comes from abroad (remember the Church of Greece is a national security threat to Albania) then are there any strings attached?
nick said…
Anonymous said...
"(remember the Church of Greece is a national security threat to Albania) then are there any strings attached?"

That depends entirely on your definition of "national security threat" and is very subjective to say the least. The Orthodox Church in Albania is run by several Albanians in addition to Yanullatos. His health has been a problem for years and he only does limited work. In fact, the independence that the Orthodox Albanian priests have with respect to their views and the views of the Church is something that other religious figures in Albania envy. The Albanian Orthodox Church is funded by mainly American and Greek Churches (this means little churches that are just out to do good) and Albanian businessmen who donate every now and then. A very small portion comes from the population at large through donations.

As for the threat that this establishment has to Albania as a nation, it has never been proven. All of the secret agencies (Albanian or otherwise, even American) would have picked up any anti-national activity by the church throughout these years. But just because the Orthodox in Albania were sometimes identified as Greeks by non-orthodox Albanians and wrongly so, it has historically been implied that the church is up to something. In reality nothing has been found. On the other hand, the American Secret Service keeps pointing out the danger of several rouge organizations with islamic ties operating in the country as legitimate businesses. Nothing is made of this, but some are ready to point out the non-existent threat from the Albanian Church, going as far as analyzing the colors of a cathedral.

"If some muslim "architect" decided to build a green mosque with white letters on the sign, people would scream MURDER"

In response to that, I would say that it doesnt matter what color your mosque is. I dont care if you paint it red for that matter! I dont want to see it in the middle of the town and capital in a European nation and a country that wants to join the EU, pretends to be secular, has had no official religious statistics in over 100 years and identifies to its core with Europe and America. You cannot have that, and then play the Arabic prayer in the middle of Tirana 5 times a day only because a minority of the population would be offended otherwise. Tell me, how many Albanians would be offended if mosques were taken out of city centres by government decree and put at the end or the beginning of cities....5, maybe 10%. For these people we all have to be seen as Muslims throughout the world. I would not have cared if we really were. But none of us feel that way. Why should we become something we are not!
our man said…
tabakhone, I'm very happy to provide a forum for these conversations. I'm learning a lot through reading them and I appreciate all of you putting forward your views.
Anonymous said…

oh so now everything that contains blue and white is evil Greek.

The villages around Tirana are Christian and during the
Ottoman invasion many came from Iran and settles in what is now Tirana. They called it Tiron in tribute to Tehran. When they speak, Iranians they pronounce the "a"s into "o"s. They don't say "Iran" but "Iron", not "Tehran" but "Tehron".

"tabak" is a Turkish word and instead of saying "tabakhane" your saying "tabakhone"...They are "huazime" or barbarisms of the language and they shouldn't be used as far as I've learned since grade 5 in school.

After the fist locals and the Iranians, in different waves people came to Tirana from all over ALbania. You can tell the ones of Iranian origin from the way they speak because they make the language "heavy" with all those "o"s and they add a lot of words with turkish roots.

Now, i understand that an Iranian wouldn't like the layout of the city with a mosque in the centre to be changed.
Anonymous said…

have you ever heard of "Albanian Orthodox terrorists in Fort Dix"?
HAve we ever brought shame to the Albanian name?
When you're done managing and controling all the Islamic activities in Albania you are then allowed to pressure the minorities.
nick said…

have you ever heard of "Albanian Orthodox terrorists in Fort Dix"?"

Good point and frankly, deserved.

As for the previous writer. They are almost right. Tirana was settled only by a small community of persians but since they were the administrators the people around as well adopted their way of speaking and their mannerisms (shallvare etc).

Another city inhabited by non-albanians was also kavaja. At the time of the Leage of Prizren (around 1878-1897) some Bosnian forces were supposed to come and help with Albanian nationalism. In its early stages the league was divided into pro-Albanian and pro-Turkish. The former wanted to protect only the Albanian inhabited areas of the Balkans whereas the latter wanted to encompass all of the muslim inhabited areas of the balkans that were still under ottoman domination. Abdyl Frasheri and friends won over with the pro albanina stance and the Bosnian delegation topgether with their forces were not used. They were told to go back, but given that some of them were too poor to go back or perhaps liked the idea of a town or village at the edge of the adriatic, settled in kavaja. They inlcuded mainly muslim bosnians but there were a few orthodox amongst them as well.
Hence, kavaja became a town of naturalized albanians over the years.

Tirana however, owes much of its culture to the people that have come from different provinces.
tabakhone said…
Tabakhone is an old neighborhood of Tirana; the neighborhood of tanners. It is silly to comment on my nickname and even sillier, when you do it in a foreign language, the command of which is, clearly, not your forte. Now, back to my train of thoughts; all I was saying, is: the choice of the colors is of poor taste, what with the Greek flag and all. This is so, even if Tirana were founded by Persians, Cherkezi,Huns, Avars or what have you.
P.S. By the way, you guys need to check your historical sources. They are not accurate.

OMIT, sorry again for trashing your hospitality in your blog.
nick said…
tabakhone said...
"P.S. By the way, you guys need to check your historical sources. They are not accurate."

Having completed a history major in Canada, I beg to differ!
Anonymous said…
my command of English is not my forte, but my Albanian is my fortissima
Anonymous said…
Anon says

"The villages around Tirana are Christian and during the
Ottoman invasion many came from Iran and settles in what is now Tirana."

Those who know history know that the Ottomans were at war with the Persians, hence they would not have settled any Persians in any of their domains. The "Tehran" theory is bogus.
Anonymous said…

where in Canada are you mate? I live in Toronto
Anonymous said…
"the choice of the colors is of poor taste, what with the Greek flag and all"

When you look at the design of the new cathedral is just so beautiful. The white walls are simple, the blue glass brings coolness like the see and the blue glass dome connects it with the sky.
I prefer yellow on buildings because it gives a Mediterranean feel, but it can't be yellow because the ministries behind the church are yellow, and it would ruin the symmetry if you looked at Tirana from above.
The "twin towers" built in front of Piramida also ruin the symmetry of the bulevard. The pink condominium behind the clock tower is out of place. It steals the sky from the clock. "Works of art" these done by arabs. If you look at the French plan for the centre of Tirana, they have planned to cover the tower from behind with an angled glass building so that it gains prominence again.
Anonymous said…
yes Nick where are u in Canada?
nick said…
toronto as well guys.
nick said…
"Those who know history know that the Ottomans were at war with the Persians, hence they would not have settled any Persians in any of their domains. The "Tehran" theory is bogus."

I am sorry but you are incorrect. Loving or hating a people does not constitute enough reason for any Empire not to use them as soldiers. The Ottomans did not love Albanians per se but used them in their armies. The same with iranians. Several persians fought under the banner of the Ottomans whether they liked or it not, as did Hungarians, most balkan people, turks, and other asiatic peoples. Perhaps you have heard of teh Jannesaries corp made up of Christian boys from the balkans who were brought up muslim and until the time of Suleyman the Magnificent turks were not allowed in it. After that the empire started to go downhill and any muslim could enter the janniseries corp. AS the Corp became powerful the older members started to get land at different parts of the empire and settled down. Several non-albanians settled in albania...hence the story of the iranians.
Anonymous said…
i don't know about other parts of Toronto, but in Etobicoke there is a hell of storm now
nick said…
well I heard it was gonna rain, i was just in my backyard a second ago when it started a bit...but still its pretty in my undershirt now...LOL.
Anonymous said…
you mean "kanatiere"?

any association with the east brings embarrassement and before i used to be in denial about the Tehran case. Now that in Toronto i've met a lot of Iranians and overheard them speak I'm convinced. It's part of history, it's ok to accept it. One thing I can't accept is allowing the language to change. Finnish and Hungarian are Turkic languages despite the fact that the people are not. We have a duty to speak properly and preserve our language.
I don't liek this "modern" trend to teach young people that speaking vulgar "tironse" makes you "cool".
Anonymous said…
Well whatever the case is, I dont beleive these 'settlers' would have much of a chance of retaining their heritage. I really dont care about the name of Tirana. What I care about is the price for the millions the Orthodox Church of Albania is getting.(what happened to the church being Albanian? I guess they dropped that name the moment Yannoulatos swore in)
Anonymous said…
well, as long as we Orthodox Albanians are ok with YAnullatos, i don't think that it is a muslims business to tell us not to build churches.
Anonymous said…
well, as long as we Orthodox Albanians are ok with YAnullatos, i don't think that it is a muslims business to tell us not to build churches.

Trust me mate...the muslims (all 10 of them) are with you on this one:)
jeroen said…
The planned design for the church looks... adventurous. It's a bit like the space-ship 1980s (?) design for the cathedral in Skopje. Funny to see a person in a electric wheelchair pootling up the ramp on the designs - makes you wonder how he got to the church in the first place through the obstacle course of Tirana's streets.
Reminds me most of the Taiwan complex with its blue dome - will there be bowling downstairs?
Anonymous said…
Reminds me most of the Taiwan complex with its blue dome - will there be bowling downstairs?

No, but for sure there will an olive press for the annointing of the faithful:)
nick said…
i think they should onvert the basement of the church into a night club...then we'll have something going. All of a sudden u'll see lineups outside the church on friday and saturday night of smartly dressed youngsters who cant wait to get in. But, if thats the case, the music is probably gonna suck. The Dj for sure has to be a

One more thing: go go dancers should circle the club and some of them should be outside near where the tower is to promote Wouldn't that be something...our own brand of religion!
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
duuuuuude! chillax
Ll.T. said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
I think the comment regarding the colors of the cathedral (White, blue and gold) reflecting Greek influences is really strange and unwarranted. First of all, last time I checked there are other countries that have flags that are white and blue (Israel is the first that comes to mind) and the Greeks do not have the copyright to these colors. Second of all, in the US for example where I am from, celestial colors and the heavens are always represented in tones of white and blue (just like the clouds and sky) and gold is always used to show regal adornment, in this case, fitting for a temple of God. Thirdly there are plenty of Orthodox churches around the world (non-Greek) that use white and blue and gold. For example, the Trinity Cathedral in St Petersburg, Russia (very famous in the Russian Orthodox Church) which caught on fire a few years ago, is white and blue. Come on people, let's give up on these old consipracies and embrace the good in all of us!
Anonymous said…
Be careful my Albanian brothers and sisters. Many who are writing confrontational messages here are NOT Albanians, they are greek or serbian agents. Always keep this in mind.

Any true Albanian knows that the majority of us respect all religions, but we are Albanians first, because that identity is much older than the religions brought to us by invaders and colonialists.

This concept is nearly impossible for our religiously obsessed neighbors to understand.
Neo said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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