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An Offer with Special Significance


The burning of churches and mosques, does not promote justice and peace, and certainly neither progress. On the contrary, it is a return to times and practices which led the Balkans to stagnation, divisions, and tragedies.


Indeed, those who involve religion in the violence are essentially violating the spirit of religion. No matter how much one is in the right, he must respect the sanctity and the purpose of sacred places of worship. These should become centers of reconciliation and peace, and not breeding grounds for maintaining animosities.


It is only with peaceful coexistence of the religious communities that genuine social progress can take place. This is the principal that we Christians and Muslims alike have adopted in Albania: to live together and to cooperate with each other in harmony.


The sobriety of religious tolerance and courage of love must overcome the blind hatred that can only lead to an escalation of conflicts. In the 21st century, worldwide and particularly in the Balkan region, we are called independent of the national or religious community in which we were born to work hard to coexist peacefully, with mutual respect and solidarity.


With this conviction, the Orthodox Archdiocese of Tirana has made the following decision:


We offer $600,000 for the restoration of a church and a mosque in Kosovo, or the construction of a youth center there that will promote peaceful coexistence. This sum comes from the funds that, with great effort, we have raised for the construction of the Orthodox Cathedral in Tirana. It will be dispatched appropriately, so that it be used equitably, according to the special significance of this initiative.


Tirana 26.3.2004



Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and All Albania



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