The celebration of St. Sava Day in Shkodra

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At the church “Holy Trinity” in Vraka on January 29, 2017 Orthodox believers and members of the Serb-Montenegrin minority in Albania celebrated the Saint Sava Day, the first Serbian Saint. On this occasion, the Divine Liturgy was led by His Eminence Archbishop of Cetinje Metropolitan of Montenegro Amfilohije, with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop of the Albanian Orthodox Church Anastas, with the assistance of the clergy of Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral and the Albanian Orthodox Church.

Todays day also marked the 25-th anniversary since the first Holy liturgy was held at the church of Alexander Nevsky after decades of communist regime rule.

Metropolitan Amfilohije after the liturgy addressed to believers, reminding them that the city of Shkodra has always been a center of Orthodoxy in which a large number of innocent worshipers and priests were killed in times of ungodliness. He mentioned in his speech that at the time many churches were demolished such as the Church of Alexander Nevsky and the Church of St. Archangel Michael which had a cemetery with 8 thousand Montenegrin and Serbian soldiers who gave their lives for the liberation of the city of Shkodra of centuries of Ottoman slavery at the beginning of the 20th century.

– Their sacrifice is a living foundation union between the honorable Albanian people and our nation, because they actually sacrificed their lives for their neighbors and freedom of this city- added Metropolitan.

We’re gathered here today also to celebrate our Lord Jesus Christ and St. Peter and to pray to God for the repose of the souls of 400 American volunteers who 101 years ago came here sacrificing their lives for freedom- continued his sermon Metropolitan Amfilohije.

After Communion the Metropolitan Amfilohije blessed with the clergy and cut the Feast cake in honor of the first Serbian Archbishop, St. Sava. He among other things reminded that in 1934 in Shkodra existed and school named after the Saint Sava.

Afterwards a group of believers visited Medovo near the town of Shengjin and the memorial site where the ship, “Brindisi” sank 101 years ago carrying 400 American volunteers who came to help in the fight for freedom as part of the contingent coming from US and Canada during the First World War.

During the ceremony Amfilohije mentioned all their known names and wreaths were laid in their honor by the Serbian Ambassador in Tirana, Mr. Miroljub Zaric, representatives of Serbs from Montenegro and representatives of the Association of Serbian-Montenegrin national minority ‘Moraca-Rozafa “and the Orthodox Association” Sveti Jovan Vladimir “.  On this occassion , The US Ambasador in Albania, Donald Lu sent his apologies for not being able to participate to this event and expressed his gratitude for the commemoration in honor of american volunteers , as a simbol of closeness between Balkan and US people.

In the evening in the crowded hall of the theater “Migjeni” of Shkodra, which carries the acronym of the names of our great writer Albania nationalities Milos Nikolic, it was held the Saint Sava Academy. On behalf of the Orthodox Church of Albania Shkodra priest Nikola Petani welcomed the public as well as the President of the Association “Moraca-Rozafa” Pavlo Brajović. Part of cultural performances were artists Željko Bugarin and Stevan Vujacic and children groups from Shkodra, Podgorica and Herceg Novi presented to public audience songs and musical pieces.

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