THE ARTICLE 63.2 OF 2016:

In March 2016, the Clergy & Laity Assembly of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania (OACA) approved further amendments to the Statute of the Church. New statutory changes were introduced in Articles 8, 18, 37, 53, 55, 61, 62 and 69, in order to further personalize the synodical tradition in the country and especially the finances of the Church.

The most controversial change was with Article 63, which compromises the autocephalous status of a local Church. Furthermore, this new article opposes the pre-existing canonical tradition in the Albanian Church, by excluding the Archbishop from any synodical judgment and canonical proceedings.

The Article 63.2 of 2016 states:

“When a judgment is made against the Archpriests, for a denunciation or violation, a broader Synod with a larger number of members should be called, consisting of twelve Hierarchs. This includes all members of the Synod, except the person being judged. The Holy Synod petitions the Ecumenical Patriarchate, who has granted the Tomos of Autocephaly, in order to designate the Metropolitans and fill in the necessary number. This broader Synod with more members is chaired by the Archbishop.”

This article is opposing the previous Statutes of 1950 and 1929 in Albania, but also the canonical tradition and practices in other patriarchates and autocephalous Churches.

Firstly, a national Orthodox Church is truly independent and autocephalous when there is no administrative interference from other Churches. In the previous Statutes of OACA there was no invitation to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to intervene in Albania, in case of violations by local Hierarchs. If such violations occur, they should be resolved through the canonical procedures of an independent and Autocephalous Church.

Secondly, which other Autocephalous Church has made such change in their Statutes? This article simply compromises the autocephaly and surrenders the independence of the Church. It does not abolish the autocephaly in principle, because such title is needed by Archbishop Anastasios in order to be fully independent and uncontrolled. In this way the funds and finances are personalized and used privately, by maintaining an absolute control over a mafia group that co-governs the Church with cultist and anti-Christian methods: All ruling hierarchs and senior officials are from Greece and from Albanian Muslim families, as well as their relatives and intimate friends, who are all supported financially and employed by the Church.

Thirdly, the Article 63.2 is uncanonical for the very fact that the “broader synod” of twelve hierarchs must be chaired ex officio by the Archbishop. This is a clear violation of the Orthodox canonical practice and tradition: The Archbishop cannot exempt himself from human nature and potential errors and faults, regardless of his wealth and political support. It is the Church who is above the Primate, and not vice versa. No other autocephalous Orthodox Church has made such doctrinal amendment and accept the ineffability of the Primate.

In our digital library below you can read:

The Statute of the OACA with the 2016 amendments in Albanian
The same Statute in the original Greek
The previous Statute of 2006
The previous Statutes and other legislative texts of the OACA:

Fr Foti Cici
29 September 2018

The Nativity of Christ Church, Tirana 2015:
“The Descent from Heaven of Archbishop Anastasios”
This afresco is painted in the western wall inside the Church, by Christos Papanikolaou, pictured below.

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