Albanian Greek Catholic Church

The Albanian Greek Catholic Church is an autonomous (sui iuris in Latin) Byzantine Rite particular church in communion with Rome, whose members live in Albania and which comprises the Apostolic Administration of Southern Albania. It is not to be confused with the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church.

Albanian Greek Catholic Church
ClassificationEastern Catholic
GovernanceApostolic administration
Apostolic AdministratorGiovanni Peragine
AssociationsCongregation for the Oriental Churches
RegionSouthern Albania
LiturgyByzantine Rite
Other name(s)Apostolic Administration of Southern Albania


Vlora katholische Kirche
Catholic church in Vlora.

The conversion to Christianity of Albania took place under Latin influence in the north, under Greek in the south, and Christianity was the first and the oldest monotheistic religion of Albanian people. After the fifteenth-century Turkish conquest, some two thirds of the population accepted Islam. In 1967, Communist-ruled Albania was officially declared an atheist state.

Though the Greek liturgical rite was used in many of its churches, Albania was part of the patriarchate of Rome until 731, when Byzantine Emperor Leo III, in reprisal for the opposition of Pope Saint Gregory III to the emperor's iconoclast policy, attached the whole of Eastern Illyricum to the patriarchate of Constantinople.

Catholics of the Roman Rite were long established in the north of the country. A Catholic mission worked in the south between 1660, when the Orthodox archbishop joined the Catholic Church, to 1765 when the effort was abandoned because of obstacles placed by the Turkish rulers. In 1895 a group of villages in Mali Shpati, southeast of Elbasan in central Albania, decided to become Catholic and demanded a bishop of their own rite, a proposal to which the consular representatives of Russia and Montenegro raised objections with the civil authorities. At about the same time, another group of Greek-Catholics arose, centred on an archimandrite, George Germanos, who was a nephew of the Orthodox metropolitan in 1900, and concluded a definitive movement of Catholic unity formed in Elbasan. Numbers grew only to a small extent, but enough for southern Albania to become in 1939 a separate ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the care of an Apostolic Administrator. However, after less than seven years, the administrator was expelled, and contact seemed lost with the Byzantine faithful, who found themselves under strict Communist rule.

Only in 1992 was it possible to appoint a new apostolic administrator. At first the post was given to the Holy See's diplomatic representative in Tirana, Archbishop Ivan Dias, who later became Archbishop of Mumbai and a cardinal. Archbishop Dias's successor as Apostolic Administrator of Southern Albania, not as Nuncio, is the Croatian-born Byzantine-Rite Franciscan bishop Hil Kabashi, who was appointed in 1996.

The apostolic administratorship of Southern Albania has 3,200 Catholics in 9 parishes, with 11 churches, and is served by 4 diocesan and 10 religious priests, 10 male and 97 female religious, who administer 10 schools and 20 charitable institutions. The great majority of these are of the Roman Rite.

See also


  • Oriente Cattolico (Vatican City: The Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Churches, 1974)
  • Annuario Pontificio.
Apostolic Administration of Southern Albania

The Apostolic Administration of Southern Albania (Albanian: Administratura Apostolike e Shqiperisë së Jugut, Latin: Administratio Apostolica Albaniae Meridionalis, Italian: Albania Meridionale) is an apostolic administration of the Catholic Church in Albania, covering the southern regions of the country. It has jurisdiction over all Catholics on its territory, both of Latin and Byzantine rites. It is suffragan to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tiranë–Durrës. Its see is Pro-Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Louis (Albanian: Kisha e Shën Maria dhe Shën Luigji) in Vlorë.

It is claimed that Apostolic Administration of Southern Albania constitutes the only component of the particular (sui juris) Albanian Greek Catholic Church. Such claims have been questioned by some leading Eastern Catholic experts.

Arberia Parish

The Arberia Parish (Italian: Parrocchia ortodossa arbëresh del Patriarcato di Mosca) is an Eastern Orthodox Christian parish subordinated to the Russian Orthodox Church (Patriarchate of Moscow). It serves the minority Orthodox Christian community of the Arberesh people of Italy, who are predominantly adherents of the Italo-Albanian Greek Catholic Church. Its head church (Italian: Chiesa di Santa Caterina Megalomartire, Acquaformosa) is in Acquaformosa near Cosenza and is headed by Father Giovanni Capparelli, who is a subordinate of the Patriarch of Moscow. The patron saints of the Arberesh Orthodox Church are Saint John of Kronstadt and Saint Catherine Megalomartyr.

Canon law

Canon law (from Greek kanon, a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for the government of a Christian organization or church and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law, or operational policy, governing the Catholic Church (both the Latin Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches), the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the individual national churches within the Anglican Communion. The way that such church law is legislated, interpreted and at times adjudicated varies widely among these three bodies of churches. In all three traditions, a canon was originally a rule adopted by a church council; these canons formed the foundation of canon law.

Catholic Church in Albania

The Catholic Church in Albania is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.

According to some sources around 16-17% of the population of Albania were Catholic, but in the 2011 census the percentage of Catholics was 10.03%. Catholicism is strongest in the northwestern part of the country, which historically had the most readily available contact with, and support from, Rome and the Republic of Venice. Shkodër is the center of Catholicism in Albania. More than 20,000 Albanian Catholics are located in Montenegro, mostly in Ulcinj, Bar, Podgorica, Tuzi, Gusinje and Plav. The region is considered part of the Malsia Highlander region of the seven Albanian Catholic tribes. The region was split from Ottoman Albania after the First Balkan War. There are also scattered Albanian Catholics in Kosovo and Macedonia, with the greatest concentration being in the vicinity of Gjakova.

There are five dioceses in the country, including two archdioceses plus an Apostolic Administration covering southern Albania.

Donato Oliverio

Donato Oliverio (Cosenza, 5 March 1956) is the Bishop of the Eparchy of Lungro, a diocese of the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church in Calabria, Italy. He replaced the most rev. Ercole Lupinacci.

Eastern Catholic Churches

The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, and in some historical cases Uniate Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian particular churches sui iuris in full communion with the Pope in Rome, as part of the worldwide Catholic Church. Headed by patriarchs, metropolitans, and major archbishops, the Eastern Catholic Churches are governed in accordance with the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, although each church also has its own canons and laws on top of this, and the preservation of their own traditions is explicitly encouraged. The total membership of the various churches accounts for about 18 million, according to the Annuario Pontificio (the annual directory of the Catholic Church), thus making up about 1.5 percent of the Catholic Church, with the rest of its more than 1.2 billion members belonging to the Latin Church, also known as the Western Church or the Roman Catholic Church.

The Maronite Church is considered the only one of the Eastern Catholic Churches to have always remained in full communion with the Holy See, while most of the other churches unified from the 16th century onwards. However, the Melkite Catholic Church and the Italo-Albanian Greek Catholic Church also claim perpetual communion. The largest five churches based on membership are: the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (Byzantine Rite), the Syro-Malabar Church (East Syriac Rite), the Maronite Church (West Syriac Rite), the Melkite Catholic Church (Byzantine Rite), and the Armenian Catholic Church (Armenian Rite). These five churches account for about 80% of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

Full communion constitutes mutual sacramental sharing between the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Latin Church, including Eucharistic intercommunion. On the other hand, the liturgical traditions of the 23 Eastern Catholic churches, including Byzantine, Alexandrian, Armenian, East Syriac, and West Syriac, are shared with other Eastern Christian churches: the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Ancient Church of the East. Although some theological issues divide the Eastern Catholic Churches from other Eastern Christian ones, they do admit members of the latter to the Eucharist and the other sacraments, as governed by Oriental canon law.Notably, many of the Eastern Catholic Churches take a different approach to clerical celibacy than the Latin Church does and allow the ordination of married men to the priesthood (although not to the episcopacy).

Eastern Catholic Churches have their origins in the Middle East, East Africa, Eastern Europe and India. However, since the 19th century, diaspora has spread to Western Europe, the Americas and Oceania in part because of persecution, where eparchies have been established to serve adherents alongside those of Latin Church dioceses. Latin Catholics in the Middle East, on the other hand, are traditionally cared for by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi

The Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi (Italian: Eparchia di Piana degli Albanesi; Arbëreshë Albanian: Eparhia e Horës së Arbëreshëvet) is an eparchy (Eastern Catholic diocese) of the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church sui iuris (Byzantine Rite in Albanian language and Greek language) covering the Italian island of Sicily, where it has 15 parishes. Its cathedral episcopal see is the Cattedrale di S. Demetrio Megalomartire dedicated to the marty Deemetrio, in Piana degli Albanesi, province of Palermo.

It also has a Marian Co-Cathedral, which is a World Heritage Site: Concatedral Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio Concatedral Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, in Palermo.

Full communion

Full communion is a communion or relationship of full understanding among different Christian denominations that share certain essential principles of Christian theology. Views vary among denominations on exactly what constitutes full communion, but typically when two or more denominations are in full communion it enables services and celebrations, such as the Eucharist, to be shared among congregants or clergy of any of them with the full approval of each.

George Germanos

George Germanos (in Albanian: Jorgji Germanos, Elbasan, 1858 - April 1929) was a former Albanian Orthodox Archimandrite converted to Eastern Catholicism and founder of the Albanian Greek Catholic Church.

Giuseppe Schirò (archbishop)

Giuseppe Schirò (1690-1769) was an Arbëreshë writer of the 18th century, and Catholic priest of the Byzantine Rite. In 1736, he was appointed Byzantine Catholic Archbishop of Durazzo.

Greek Catholic Church

The Greek Catholic Church refers to a number of Eastern Catholic Churches following the Byzantine (Greek) liturgy, considered collectively or individually.

The terms Greek Catholic, Greek-Catholic, Greek Catholic church and Greek-Catholic Church may refer to:

Individually, any 14 of the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches which use the Byzantine rite, a.k.a. Greek Rite:

the Albanian Greek Catholic Church

the Belarusian Greek Catholic Church

the Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church

the Greek Catholic Church of Croatia and Serbia

the Greek Byzantine Catholic Church, in Greece and Turkey

the Hungarian Greek Catholic Church

the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church

the Macedonian Greek Catholic Church

the Melkite Greek Catholic Church

the Romanian Greek Catholic Church (officially the Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholic)

the Russian Greek Catholic Church

the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church

the Slovak Greek Catholic Church

the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

Any other group of Eastern Catholics following the Byzantine rite:

the Georgian Byzantine-Rite Catholics

an Ordinariate for Eastern Catholic faithful without proper ordinary, in 6 countries

The Catholic Church in Greece, a Roman Catholic hierarchy following the Latin rite in the country of Greece

Index of Eastern Christianity-related articles

Alphabetical list of Eastern Christianity-related articles on English Wikipedia

Italo-Albanese Eparchy of Lungro

The Catholic Eparchy of Lungro (Italian: Eparchia di Lungro; Albanian: Eparhia e Ungres) is in Calabria, Italy of Italo-Albanian Catholic Church.

Italo-Albanian Catholic Church

The Italo-Albanian Catholic Church (Italian: Chiesa cattolica Italo-Albanese; Albanian: Kisha Bizantine Arbëreshe), Italo-Albanian Byzantine Catholic Church or Italo-Albanian Church, is one of the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches which, together with the Latin Church, compose the Catholic Church. It is a particular church that is autonomous (sui juris), using the Byzantine Rite and the ancient Greek language (the language that was the principal of all peoples in the tradition of the Eastern Churches) or the Albanian language (the mother language of the community) for the liturgy, whose Italo-Albanian (Arbëreshë) members are concentrated in Southern Italy (Abruzzo, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria), and Sicily.

The Italo-Albanian Church is in full communion with the Pope of Rome, directly subject to the Roman Congregation for the Oriental Churches, but follows the ritual and spiritual traditions that are common in most of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Church members are the descendants of the exiled Albanians who fled to Italy in the 15th century under the pressure of the Turkish persecutions in Albania and the territories inhabited by Albanians in the Balkans and the Peloponnese. The Albanian population in Italy has maintained until today the language, customs and religious rites of their origin. This Church maintains their heritage, the ethnic, cultural and religious tradition of the Albanians fathers, keeping alive the spiritual and liturgical tradition of the Eastern Church from the time of Justinian (6th century).

The Church is the only remaining Byzantine-rite community in Italy, unique in the Latin rite-majority Western Europe. It is securely inclined to ecumenism between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Jason Smogorzewski

Jason Smogorzewski (born as Jan Smogorzewski; Polish: Jason Junosza Smogorzewski; 23 August 1717 – 13 May 1779) was a bishop of the Ruthenian Uniate Church, Metropolitan bishop of Kiev, Galicia and all Ruthenia. He became the first ethnic Polish who headed the Ruthenian Church. Smogorzewski became the first metropolitan being elected and confirmed following Russian annexation of Polotsk where he was archbishop.

In 1731 he joined the Order of Basilians and changed from Latin-rite to Byzantine-rite.

On 31 December 1758 Smogorzewski was ordained by archbishop of Durrës Joseph Schiro (Albanian Greek Catholic Church) as a coadjutor archbishop of Polock becoming a vicar bishop of Vitebsk. On 18 July 1762 he succeeded archbishop Florian Hrebnicki.

Following the death of Leo Szeptycki, in 1779-1781 Smogorzewski served administrator of the Metropolitan see.

On 25 June 1781 he was confirmed as the Metropolitan bishop of Kiev, Galicia, and all Ruthenia.

He consecrated following bishops Peter Bielanski, Michael Stadnicki and Theodosius Rostocki.

Smogorzewski died in 1788 in Radomyshl where he started to build new metropolitan complex for the Ruthenian Church.

List of religions and spiritual traditions

While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who defined it as a

[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic." A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category." Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.

Pontifical Greek College of Saint Athanasius

The Pontifical Greek College of St. Athanasius (it.: Pontificio Collegio Greco di Sant’Atanasio, gr.: Ελληνικό Κολλέγιο Αγίου Αθανασίου) is a Pontifical College in Rome. It was founded in 1577 by Gregory XIII as a college and seminary for priests and seminarians from anywhere the Greek Rite is used, namely Greece, the Ruthenians and Melkites of Egypt and the Levant and refugees from the Greek-speaking parts of southern Italy. Its patron saint is Saint Athanasius. The college Church of Sant'Atanasio is also a titular church and the national church of the Greek community in Rome.

Sui iuris

Sui iuris, also spelled as sui juris ( or ), is a Latin phrase that literally means "of one's own right". It is used in both civil law and canon law by the Catholic Church. The term church sui iuris is used in the Catholic Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches (CCEO) to denote the autonomous churches in Catholic communion:

A church sui iuris is "a community of the Christian faithful, which is joined together by a hierarchy according to the norm of law and which is expressly or tacitly recognized as sui iuris by the supreme authority of the Church" (CCEO.27). The term sui iuris is an innovation of the CCEO, and it denotes the relative autonomy of the oriental Catholic Churches. This canonical term, pregnant with many juridical nuances, indicates the God-given mission of the Oriental Catholic Churches to keep up their patrimonial autonomous nature. And the autonomy of these churches is relative in the sense that it is under the supreme authority of the Roman Pontiff.

—Fr. Thomas Kuzhinapurath, Salvific Law, 1998

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