Bishop Nikon visits Albania

BOSTON, MA [OCA Communications] — His Grace, Bishop Nikon of Boston, New England, and the Albanian Archdiocese of the Orthodox Church in America left on May 3, 2006 for an eight day visit to Albania.

This marks the first time Bishop Nikon has visited Albania.

During his visit, Bishop Nikon will meet with His Beatitude, Archbishop Anastasios, Primate of the Orthodox Church of Albania, at which time he will convey greetings from His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America.

Bishop Nikon will concelebrate the Divine Liturgy with Archbishop Anastasios at the Annunciation Cathedral in Tirana, the nation’s capital, on Sunday, May 7. His Excellency, Albanian President Alfred Moisiu, also will receive Bishop Nikon at the Presidium of the Republic.

Bishop Nikon is also expected to visit the Resurrection Orthodox Seminary and Monastery of Saint Blaise near Durres, where he will be hosted by His Grace, Bishop Ilia [Katre] of Aneaion, director of the seminary, and meet with the faculty and students. [The OCA Albanian Archdiocese currently has a second-year student studying at the seminary, Anthony Gjonej.]

In addition, Bishop Nikon will visit the Home of Hope foster home and orphanage, a project of the Church of Albania in conjunction with the UN’s Development Program.

His Eminence, Metropolitan John [Pelushi] will host Bishop Nikon in the Diocese of Korce, where they will concelebrate the Divine Liturgy and tour the icon museum, the historic 10th cnetury church in Mborja, and outlying 17th century churches in Pogradec and in Boboshtica—the ancestral village of Bishop Nikon’s family. He also will visit the historic 15th century redoubt of Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg and museum in Kruja and Tiran’s National Historic Museum.

Finally, Bishop Nikon will meet with Orthodox missionary teams, composed of several US faithful sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, as well as leaders of the country’s other faith traditions.

Bishop Nikon will return to the US on May 11. The long-anticipated, semi-official visit is being funded by the OCA’s Albanian Archdiocese.