The Interreligious Council of Albania is a fine example of the civil public square in action, with faith communities working together for freedom, respect and harmony.
Therefore, we wanted to honour their work by reprinting the following article found on the Council’s own website.
The President of the Republic, H.E.Mr. Ilir Meta decorated on March 22, 2021 with the High Medal “Honor of the Nation” Interreligious Council of Albania.
The high decoration “Honor of the Nation” was awarded with the motivation:
“In appreciation of the comprehensive contribution to preserving and promoting the spirit of harmony, understanding and coexistence between religions in Albania. For clear messages addressed to the believers of Albanian politics to aim the peace, unity, progress and orientation towards patriotic values for a common and optimistic life; as well as for the important role in raising the Albanian model of inter-religious dialogue in the international arena”.
In the activity where the leaders of the religious communities in the country participate, on behalf of the Interreligious Council of Albania, the decoration was received by Archbishop Anastasios Yannoulatos.
In his speech, the President of the Republic, H.E.Mr. Ilir Meta praised the role of religious leaders in the country and the importance of the Interreligious Council of Albania:
“Today, on the first day of spring, I had the special privilege and pleasure to appreciate with the High Decoration “Honor of the Nation”, the Interreligious Council of Albania, for the valuable contribution in preserving, promoting and transmitting to all citizens, especially to new generations, the spirit of dialogue, tolerance, coexistence, harmony and interreligious understanding. This role becomes even more important and irreplaceable, in these times when the country needs more than ever the contribution and dedication of all, primarily the youngest, not to leave, but to seek and find the future in their Homeland, in peace and harmony with each other.
To create healthy and stable families, to create prosperity and build our common Albania, in the spirit of cooperation and understanding, which our enlightened religious leaders convey every day, with dedication and love, through their noble and divine mission. The spiritual, cultural and religious harmony of our people is linked, to faith in God, to His best qualities and to the love of freedom of speech, belief, and thought. Throughout their history, the Albanian believers have coexisted not only in celebrations and sorrows, but also in all the battles for freedom, for independence and in the most significant moments of our nation.
The sword of dictatorship would fall equally mercilessly on all the leaders of the religious institutions, at the same time placing pickaxes on mosques, churches and tekkes. Therefore, the re-establishment of cult objects, 30 years ago after the brutal and unprecedented 23-year ban of the faith, preceded the December ’90 Movement and united again the Albanians of all faiths for the overthrow of the dictatorship”, said President Meta in his speech.
Afterwards, the Head of the Interreligious Council for 2021, the World Leader of the Bektashi Community H. Dede Edmond Brahimaj, took the floor and appreciated the decoration of IRCA with the high medal “Honor of the Nation”. He emphases that, “The Interreligious Council of Albania was established precisely to promote interreligious harmony and our national brotherhood by the four leaders of traditional communities in Albania. The challenges are many, but we can overcome them through spiritual ways of approaching the Creator. With our spirit so far we will enrich this tradition, knocking on the doors of Europe, we hope for their opening, but always with our religious, cultural and human identity”, said among others H. Dede Edmond Brahimaj.
Afterwards, the Head of the Muslim Community of Albania H. Bujar Spahiu took the floor, who among other things emphasized that, “The Interreligious Council of Albania is our common history, it is the example that our country gives to the world in terms of freedom of religion for everyone, and our culture of interreligious harmony and dialogue. I take this opportunity to recall, today, three of the first four signatories of the council, who are not with us, H. Selim Muca, H. Dede Reshat Bardhi and Mons. Rrok Mirdita. We are all committed as leaders of religious communities to preserve and carry forward this good tradition”, said among others the head of MCA (Muslim Community of Albania).
The Archbishop of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania Anastasios Yannoulatos spoke about the beginnings of the establishment of the IRCA (Interreligious Council of Albania), together with three former deceased leaders of other religious communities. He also emphases that the Interreligious Council of Albania is already recognized in the international arena, because it is also part of the international organization “Religions for Peace” based in New York. He also appreciated the decoration of the Interreligious Council of Albania given by the President of the Republic.
Mons. George Frendo, Archbishop of the Diocese of Tirana-Durrës, said that, “We are glad that in fact we live in harmony, society needs not only politics but also trust. It is politics that enlightens structures, but it is religion, faith, that can enlighten hearts. We are proud in Albania that different religions are not a danger to society; we even set the example of a very strong harmony. Why do we live in harmony? Because we were lucky, our beliefs here in Albania have always valued more what unites us than the differences that different beliefs make us. What unites us is our monotheistic belief and the belief that we all have a very special role in society.
The head of the Evangelical Brotherhood, Pastor Ylli Doçi, also praised the spirit of tolerance, harmony and interreligious coexistence among Albanians with a great social, educational impact, which is best represented by the Interreligious Council of Albania.
In this ceremony, with the leaders of the religious communities, was present also the General Secretary of the Interreligious Council of Albania, Dr. Genti Kruja, as well as various representatives of religious communities.