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Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America

4,630 bytes added, April 6
title updated
jurisdiction=[[Church of Constantinople|Constantinople]]|
founded=19671949|bishopmetropolitan=[[Ilia (Katre) of Philomelion|Bp. Ilia]]|
hq=Las Vegas, Nevada|
The '''Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America''' is a [[jurisdiction]] of the [[Church of Constantinople|Ecumenical Patriarchate]] in the United States. Its current leader is [[BishopMetropolitan]] [[Ilia (Katre) of Philomelion]](Vicar General since 1982 and bishop since 2002), who lives in Las VegasBoston, Chicago, and Nevada.
After In the first half of the 20th century, the Orthodox Albanian communist government was formed communities in the wake America were loosely affiliated with one another, with six of World War II fifteen communities claiming "independent" status and also the others not incorporated as [[diocese]]s until after the destruction Second World War. The return of the Bp. [[Church Theophan (Noli) of AlbaniaDurres|Theofan (Noli)]] from exile in 1967, Orthodox Albanians living Germany in 1932 had reopened the [[diaspora]] (most discussion of whom were in the US) found themselves without need for a canonical protectionAlbanian diocese in North America. Most American Albanians formed (Metropolitan Theofan had been consecrated in 1922 as Bishop of Durres by the Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese Church of Albania, which did not claim any jurisdiction in North America, which now belongs to and thus could not gain recognition as head of a diocese in the [[OCA]] as its [[Albanian Archdiocese (OCAAmericas.)|Albanian Archdiocese]].
A small group With the controversy around Bp. Theofan's status, the end of Albanian faithful in WWII, and the US instead preferred to become part increasing suppression and manipulation of the jurisdiction [[Church of Constantinople in Albania]] by the US and thus formed new Communist government, a significant portion of Orthodox Albanian-Americans petitioned the Albanian Orthodox Diocese Patriarch of AmericaConstantinople, which currently consists [[Athenagoras I (Spyrou) of two Constantinople|Athenagoras]] (himself of Albanian ancestry), to send a canonical bishop. The Rt. Rev. [[parishMark (Lipa) of Levka]]es, one organized the Diocese in 1949-1950 and accepted into it the large community in Chicago and an older parish, the other first of three Albanian Orthodox parishes to locate in South Boston, Massachusetts. Bp. Mark immediately took his seat as a full member of [[SCOBA]].
The Ten other Albanian Orthodox [[diocese]] is also a member of [[SCOBAparish]]es incorporated under Bp. Theofan's Archdiocese and two parishes persisted in an "independent" status.
==External links==*[http://wwwIn 1965 at the passing of Albanian Orthodox Diocese] at Theofan, without an Archdiocesan nomination and under the cloud of Communist influence, the website Church of Albania consecrated his successor, the then Rev. [[Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Stephen (Lasko) of AmericaBoston|GOAStephen (Lasko)]]*[ Eastern Christian Churches: Albanian , who was not accepted throughout the Archdiocese and who likewise could not gain canonical recognition by the other Orthodox Diocese of jurisdictions in North America], . The situation was further irritated by Ronald Robersonthe complete public suppression of all religious communities in Albania, with only the most stalwart Orthodox believers maintaining a Roman Catholic priest and scholarclandestine liturgical life.
Bp. Mark and the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America reasserted their status as the lone canonical Albanian Orthodox jurisdiction in the Americas. He regularly published the newspaper "Drita e Vertete" with the help of diocesan clergy such as Rev. Ilia Katre. By October 1971, with the acceptance of Bp. Stephen and the Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America as a [[Albanian Archdiocese (OCA)|constituent diocese]] of the [[OCA]], the primary canonical controversy between the two organizations was ended.
The Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America played a crucial role in the resurrection of the Church of Albania. In 1990, the Diocesan [[clergy]] and laity petitioned the Ecumenical Patriarch, [[Demetrius I (Papadopoulos) of Constantinople|Demetrios]], during his visit to North America, to prepare a plan for the restoration of the Church of Albania. In 1991, the (then) Protopresbyter Ilia Katre, who had served for many years as Dean of Students at [[Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (Brookline, Massachusetts)|Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology]] in Brookline, MA, took up residence in Albania, organized and opened the Resurrection of Christ [[Seminary]] with the blessing of the newly-arrived Patriarchal Exarch, Anastasios. The Very Rev. Ilia also directed the enthronement of Anastasios as Archbishop of All Albania in August 1992. Individuals and delegations from the Diocese made major financial contributions to the Church of Albania as well as applied pressure on the government for the return of confiscated property to the Church. In 2002, His Grace, Bp. Ilia, returned to lead the Seminary for three years during which he expanded, strengthened, and lengthened the course to a full four year programme.
In North America, the Diocese has successfully integrated many pious, talented, and successful Albanian Orthodox immigrants into positions of leadership in her established communities in Boston, Chicago, and Las Vegas. In addition, His Excellency serves a Mission Parish in Toronto and made outreach to other communities in Montreal, Washington, Baltimore, and Florida a priority with the hope that they may also be able to form permanent Albanian Orthodox churches in the near future. For the time being, however, it only consists of three parishes in the United States and a mission in Canada. Additionally, a chapel in Stowe, Vermont has been dedicated by His Excellency to St. Katharine of Alexandria on private land for use by one of the clergy families. The Most Reverend Ilia also recently accepted under his omophorion the St. Nicholas Orthodox Academy of Reno, NV which is staffed by diocesan clergy.
In 2019, in recognition of the numerous contributions of Bishop Ilia to Orthodoxy in North America, Albania, and elsewhere, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople elevated him to titular Metropolitan of Philomelion.
== External links ==
* [ Albanian Orthodox Diocese] at the website of the [[Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America|GOA]]
* [ Eastern Christian Churches: Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America], by Ronald Roberson, a Roman Catholic priest and scholar
* [ Albanian Orthodox Library]
* [ The Albanian Orthodox Church]
[[Category:Ecumenical Patriarchate Dioceses]]
[[Category:Orthodoxy in America]]
[[ro:Eparhia Ortodoxă Albaneză din America]]

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