Child molester ordained in Fier, Albania

In December 2017 Metropolitan Nikolla (Hyka) of Apollonia and Fier ordained into diaconate Mr Nikolla Davidhi. This event caused disturbance among the Orthodox faithful, since Mr Davidhi had been expelled from the Church since 2003, when he molested a boy in the Orthodox summer camp of Zvërnec, Vlorë. Here is a chronology of events.

1. In 2003, when the child molestation occured, Mr Nikolla Davidhi was employed full time by the Church as a catechist.

When the victim’s parents complained to Archbishop Anastasios, by showing the bruises in their child’s body as a result of molestation, His Beatitude immediately dismissed the sexual abuser.

Furthermore, and due to the fact that the sexual abuse was repetitive, all catechists who were present during that term in the summer camp were suspended for six months without pay.

For the record, the victim’s father is a respected Priest in Albania.

Mr Davidhi’s then Parish Priest had questioned his integrity and had removed him from his role as educator with youth and children. He advised Nikolla to shift career, as he was not suitable to be ordained in the Orthodox Church.

2. In 2016, when two new dioceses were established, Mr Davidhi’s home town became a Metropolis and his old friend and roommate in the Theological Academy, Bishop Nikolla of Apollonia, became the first Metropolitan of Fier. Mr Davidhi began working in secrecy with the new Metropolitan, in order to rectify his status and return to full time ministry, against his spiritual father’s instruction.

His Eminence Nikolla, who is a convert from a Muslim family of Fier, directed N. Davidhi to a priest of his choice, in order to grant the certificate letter required as canonical witness, that there was no impediment for ordination.

The Letter was a sure thing, since the son of the new spiritual father was of similar qualities and yet employed full time in Church: He had several criminal records, including driving under the influence of narcotic substances, when he intentionally crushed the Church’s vehicle he was driving into several parked cars, including a police car, in an attempt to commit suicide. He was returning that night from the wedding of his ex girlfriend! The Church paid for all his legal expenses and he was released from detention. His criminal behavior was justified because of his “mental illness.”

3. In December 2017 Davidhi was ordained and was appointed by Metropolitan Nikolla in charge of youth and children education, together with his wife. Deacon Nikolla became very active on his Facebook profile and appeared frequently in the Church’s online postings.

In April 2018 he was part of Archbishop’s team on receiving His Holiness Patriarch Kirill in Albania. (See attached photo)

The reactions from within the Church were supressed very quickly in the name of ‘repentance’ and ‘public image of the Church’, by imploring and imposing ‘Orthodox’ silence and oblivion…

The Albanian Church is so centralized and does not have any bylaws of internal regulations, let alone a canonical and legal process for sexual misconduct. For the record, the victim’s parents and all witnesses are still employed by the Church and fear hardship and persecution.

It is still a taboo to speak publicly about child abuse in Albania. The legal system and the media is so corrupt, that families who have attempted to pursue justice have been victimized, intimidated and have suffered isolation and financial losses. In Albania things are resolved “in private.”

4. In May 2018, after the first Facebook posting in Albanian, “Pedophile clergyman in Fier”, by Shqiptar Ortodoks – Albanian Orthodox page, the Metropolis of Apollonia and Fier posted a sybilic response on their Facebook page by stating that Deacon Nikolla Davidhi had the blessing of his Spiritual Father, who found no impediment for his ordination.

Immediately after our posting, the issue was broadcasted repeatedly by all major media and newspapers in the country, albeit twisted into a right wing campaign of nationalistic anti-Greek passions and sentiments. Yet, the abuser was an Albanian Orthodox and the ordaining hierarch was a member of an Albanian Muslim family. There were no Greeks in the story.

After the media attention which lasted for several days, the Metropolitan removed Deacon Nikolla from his role in charge of youth and children, and from his liturgical duties at St George Cathedral of Fier. The Deacon himself deleted his Facebook profile and went in hiding for three months.

5. For three months (May 18 to August 23 2018) Deacon Nikolla Davidhi was kept away from youth and children and from the churches of Fier. There were rumors that he had been suspended, but he served instead discreetly with Metropolitan Nikolla in the villages outside of Fier.

On August 23 2018 the faithful of Fier were tested to see the child molester serving next to Archbishop Anastasios during Vespers, on St Kosmas’ celebrations, as nothing had happened. (See attached photo)

Metropolitan Nikolla disclosed to his priests that he had spoken with the Archbishop and was granted permission to ordain Deacon Nikolla into priesthood for the village parish of Vajkan, far from the eyes of Fier.

Before endangering with such decision, His Eminence must answer to a few questions:

First, if the accused deacon is innocent, why was he removed from his job in May 2018 and why was he banned from having contacts with children and adolescents?

Second, if Nikolla Davidhi is not suitable to work with children in Fier, how is he fit to be a Priest, vested with emotional and psychological power, especially in a village parish, where awareness, observation and control over him is limited?

Third, if the sexual abuse in the summer camp did not occur, why was he dismissed and expelled from the Church for so many years, and why is he not compensated for such “injustice”?

Fr Foti Cici
21 September 2018

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