Albanian Roots open letter to President McShane S. J of Fordham University
Dear President Joseph M. McShane, S.J,
We, the Albanian community, both in Albania and diaspora, are appalled at decision to honor a man such as Anastas Janullatos with above all a “Peace Honor”. Janullatos has done everything else but brought peace to the region. In fact, ever since he was appointed ahead of the Albanian Church the gap between the Albanians and the Greeks has widened. He was appointed to restore the Albanian Church and improve the relations between Albanians and the Greeks but what he has done is restore Albanian churches to resemble Greek Orthodox architecture while Hellenizing the Albanian people in an effort to colonize Southern Albania. He has conducted sermons in Greek and not in Albanian while the Albanian churches bare Greek lettering on their walls. If you consider stripping Albanian Orthodox of their identity and assimilating naïve and starved masses of the Albanian population to serve the chauvinistic agenda of the malevolent Greek Government while taking advantage of the weak and corrupt Albanian Government a “peaceful” act, then the Archbishop deserves the Noble Peace Price. This man serves not as man of Christ to the people whom he has been appointed to represent nor his birth country for that matters.
In terms of improving relations among the two countries, Albania and Greece, while they share a common history, are more apart today than ever. The Cham Albanians, even though they were Greek citizens, have been stripped of personal property, slaughtered like sheep and banned from Greece to never return, while no resolution for this injustice was ever discussed. The remaining Albanian minority is Greece have no civil rights while Albanian immigrants, even though legal, suffer discrimination on the daily bases. The past between countries has a bloody trail leading to the doorsteps of Athens. All the while, Greek government denies acts of genocide against its Albanian minority with the “Law of War” still in existence from 1944 as Janullatos demands memorials to be built in Albania for the fallen Greek soldiers who died in WWII; who ravished villages of Albanians while fighting the German occupants under the alleged term “Liberation of Northern Epirus”. You are asking, what does the Geo-political issue have to do with a priest? You are forgetting that Greece is a non-Secular State where the Church and Country are one. So even though Albania, unlike Greece, has separation of Church and State the Archbishop in a sense serve an ambassador to its people, thus he needs to have the best interest of the Albanian people in mind and not just those of the Greek minority. In addition, we must draw a clear distinction between Albanian Orthodox and Greek minority as the two are no synonyms! This is something that our present Church often confuses for the sake of political leverage in the benefit of the Greek Church.
Let us be absolutely clear, that this is not to be taken as an attack again the good people of Greece. Truth be told, we have blood relations and what separates us is our religious views and no more is this testimony than in Albania where intermarriages are very common. We simple want to emphasis that even though Janullatos may be a good person and a great priest, we feel that he has not addressed the Albanian issues mentions above. For this, and this alone, we feel he is undeserving of your honors and the fact that he is Greek has little to do with it.
Let this written statement hold self-evident of the Albanian testimony that we, the Albanian people, will stand in protest to any malevolent and chauvinistic intentions that cause separation among the Albanian people; Of any ill intent to cause any distress between the Albanian people and their neighbors in the Balkans, being that Christian or otherwise. That we love, respect, and accept all people of the different faiths or lack thereof, as we bind ourselves under the honorable code of the Albanian Besa. May this written letter stand testimony that our Father of the Church and Father of our country, Fan S Noli, intended the Albanian Orthodox Church to be the symbol of unity of all Albanians, indiscriminative of neither creed nor region, and that it may stand proud and autocephalous of any other entirety, being that neither another Church nor State, as we, the Albanian people, are perfectly able of governing ourselves! Janullatos is the “horse of Troy” in Albania today.
Best regards, Albanian Roots NGO