1 The Policy of the Orthodox Patriarchate Toward the Use of Albanian in Church Services Dr. Konstantinos Giakoumis University of New York Tirana Arguably, largely a mere reproduction of its earlier editions, the 2002 edition of the History of the Albanian People by the Albanian Academy of Sciences repeats stereotypically that in the 18 th and 19 th century while the neighbouring Slav Orthodox people preserved the tradition of using the vernacular (popular language) [sic] in church (services) and in education against the will of the Greek Patriarchate, the Albanians were deprived from the use of their mother tongue in church (services) and in education 1. The advent of the Albanian Enlightenment, according to the same book, was accompanied by a war waged against the protagonists of the Albanian Enlightenment by the Greek Patriarchate 2, which used religion for its political ends 3. Inter alia this edition reproduces the stereotype that the religion of Albania is Albanianism 4 and cauterizes the systematic efforts of the Greek Patriarchate and the chauvinist milieu of neighbouring states to drown the attempts to use Albanian is Church services and in schools 5. Such views, based on selective use and superficial interpretation of conveniently selected sources 6, in spite of existing opposing evidence 7, point out to a classical example of how a topic viewed merely in a local setting and isolated from its supranational dimensions drives to misleading conclusions, that were widely instrumentalized at the beginning of the 20 th century in a collective attempt to construct a national identity just after the establishment of the Albanian state. Pursuing discourse and text analysis from a constructivist and deconstructivist epistemological perspective, the aim of this paper is to reconsider the stance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate towards the use of Albanian in church services. The Orthodox Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople have always adhered to conservative lingual policies. All public statements of the Patriarchate or the Church of Greece are still formulated in kathareousa (purist) Greek. Yet, in the spirit of Orthodox ecumenicity the Orthodox Church contributed significantly to the making of the Cyrillic alphabet, while it did not 1 Islami S. (2002), Kultura dhe Arsimi në shek. XVI-XVIII, in Anamali S. Biçoku K. Duka F. Islami S. Korkuti M. Naçi S. Prendi F. Pulaha S. Xhufi P. (2002), Historia e Popullit Shqiptar, v. 1, p Pollo S. Prifti K. (2002), Rilindja Kombëtare Shqiptare dhe Veçoritë e Saj Dalluese, in Buda A. Frashëri K. Myzyri H. Pollo S. Prifti K. Shpuza G. Thëngjilli P. (2002), Historia e Popullit Shqiptar, v. 2, p Op.cit., p Cf. Note 4 and Pollo S. Prifti K. (2002), Rilindja Kombëtare Shqiptare dhe Veçoritë e Saj Dalluese, in Buda A. Frashëri K. Myzyri H. Pollo S. Prifti K. Shpuza G. Thëngjilli P. (2002), Historia e Popullit Shqiptar, v. 2, pp Op.cit., pp ; Buda A. (2002), Mendimi Politik dhe Kultura në Vitet të shek. XIX, in Buda A. Frashëri K. Myzyri H. Pollo S. Prifti K. Shpuza G. Thëngjilli P. (2002), Historia e Popullit Shqiptar, v. 2, p. 127; Myzyri H. (2002), Zhvillimi i Lëvizjes Kombëtare në Shqipëri në Vitet , in Buda A. Frashëri K. Myzyri H. Pollo S. Prifti K. Shpuza G. Thëngjilli P. (2002), Historia e Popullit Shqiptar, v. 2, pp Cf. Pollo S. (1993), Problemi i Kishës Ortodokse Autoqefale Shqiptare gjatë Rilindjës, in 70 Vjet të Kishës Ortodokse Autoqefale Shqiptare, Tirana, pp The primary sources were primarily based on the cases of: 1) Petro Luarasi: see Grameno M. (1905); Luarasi P.N. ( ) also available in Greek as: ibid. ( ); Sevo G. (1936). 2) Papa Stathi Melani: For his life and murder with the related literature, see Clayer N. (December 2005);. 3) Fr. Kristo Negovani: for a basic account see Jacques E.E. (1995), The Albanians: An Ethnic History from Prehistoric Times to the Present, Jefferson: McFarland, p. 315; to illustrate how reality became a myth by way of instrumentalization, cf. Logori L. (1980), Lament, Liria, v. 25, p. 4; 4) Fr. Pano Gjirokastra, for whom see Jani A. (1993), Papapano Gjirokastra Figurë e Shquar e Kishës Shqiptare, in 70 Vjet të Kishës Ortodokse Autoqefale Shqiptare, Tirana, pp ; and others, such as Fr. Vasil Negovani, Fr. Llambro Ballamaçi, etc. 7 See, for example, the letter of excommunication against Petro Nini Luarasi by Metropolitan Filaretos of Kastoria, published in excerpt, in which there is direct hint of the former s Protestant tendency [Myzyri H. (2002), Zhvillimi i Lëvizjes Kombëtare në Shqipëri në Vitet , in Buda A. Frashëri K. Myzyri H. Pollo S. Prifti K. Shpuza G. Thëngjilli P. (2002), Historia e Popullit Shqiptar, v. 2, p. 255] and the acknowledgement of the introduction of Albanian as a second language in schools conducted in Greek [Prifti K. (2002), Levizja Politike Kulturore në Shqipëri pas Shpalljes së Kushtetutës Turke ( ), in Buda A. Frashëri K. Myzyri H. Pollo S. Prifti K. Shpuza G. Thëngjilli P. (2002), Historia e Popullit Shqiptar, v. 2, p. 389].
2 prevent the formative forces of the Albanian language. In the centuries-old symbiosis of Albanianspeaking and Greek-speaking populations 8, Albanians seem to have felt little urge to use Albanian in Church services for many centuries. Bearers of a rich oral culture transmitted from older generations, old Albanian men women from Korça or Qiparo still sing the apolytikion Christ is Risen in Greek, as well as in their mother tongue. The matter of the Patriarchate of Constantinople s stance over the use of Albanian in church services can be periodized in two broad phases. The first phase begins with the first Orthodox liturgical texts translated in Albanian (14 th century, as is known to date) and ends probably in the late 70s of the 19 th century. From the late 1870s or the beginning of 1880s thereafter the language question gets instrumentalized and requires careful examination. As we shall demonstrate further below, during the first period of the matter of translation of liturgical tests in Albanian and using them in Church services the Orthodox Church, even if She did not encourage, at least did not prevent the first creative efforts to write in Albanian and use it in services. The first, complete written ecclesiastical text in Albanian is the 14 th century Easter Gospel and the apolytikion Christ is Risen, in the MS. Gr. 133 of the Ambrosian Library, Milan [Mt: 27, 62-66] 9. The manuscript with this excerpt was found in Southern Italy, where it was all-probably written and it must have been in use in church services. The Elbasan Gospel manuscript dating is one amongst the scarce but sufficient 18 th -century sources indicating that the sporadic use of Albanian in church services must have been much more spread than what has been recorded and was previously thought. Other such sources include the Albanian translations of various biblical, liturgical and other ecclesiastical texts by Theodore Haxhifilipi (ca ), Constantine of Berat (ca ca. 1825) later copied in 1822 by Constantine Cepi, an Orthodox writer of the mountainous village of Vithkuq, or the publication of Vangjel Meksi s translation of the Gospel of St. Matthew by Bishop Gregory (Argyrokastritês) of Euboea and Archbishop of Athens ( ) in a bi-lingual Greek- Albanian version without omitting the 1872 Bible translations by Kostandin Kristoforidhi ( ) 11. The sporadic use of Albanian was not confined solely in texts used in various ecclesiastical services, but it also extended to texts complementing imagery, as suggested by the use of Albanian (as well as Greek, Latin and Vlach) in a rare votive inscription dating 1731 of the engraving of the Virgin Ardevousa. The related text reads: Βήργκηνε Μάμε ε Περεντὶς οὐρὼ πρε νε φαϊτόρετ (Eng.: O Virgin, Mother of God, pray for us the sinners) 12. The text is ascribed to 8 On the matter of symbiosis of diverse communities in the region, see Giakoumis K. (2003), The Question of the Relative Autochthony of the Albanians in Epiros And the Albanian Immigration Movements of the Fourteenth Century: The case of the region of Dropull, Gjirokastër (Southern Albania), Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, v. 27, pp For the manuscript, see Lambros S. (1906), Σὸ Φριστὸς Ἀνέστη Ἀλβανιστί, Νέος Ἑλληνομνήμων, v. 3, pp ; Martini A. Bassi D. (1906), Catalogus Codicum Graecorum Bibliothecae Ambrosianae, Milan, v. I, pp ; Borgia N. (1930), Pericope Evangelica in Lingua Albanese del Secolo XIV da un Manoscritto Greco della Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Grottaferrata; cf. Elsie R. (1991), Albanian Literature in Greek Script: The Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth-Century Orthodox Tradition in Albanian Writing, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, v. 15, pp and ibid. (1991), The Earliest References to the Existence of the Albanian Language, Zeitschrift für Balkanologie, v. 27, No. 2, pp R. Elsie takes the dating of the manuscript to the end of the 15 th or the beginning of the 16 th century without citing any arguments thereof. On the matter of the use of Greek letters in Albanian in its wider context, see Zakhos Papazaharious K. (1972), Babel Balkanique: Histoire Politique des Alphabets Utilizés dans les Balkans, Cahiers du Monde Russe et Soviétique, v. 13 / 2, pp ( ). 10 Shtuteriqi Dh. (1949), Anonimi i Elbasanit, Bulletini i Institutit të Shkencave Shoqërore, v. 1, pp ; ibid (1976), Shkrimet Shqipe në Vitet , Tirana, pp ; Zamputi I. (1951), Dorëshrimi i Anonimit të Elbasanit, Bulletini i Institutit të Shkencave Shoqërore, v. 3-4, pp ; Domi M. (1965), Rreth Autorit dhe Kohës së Dorëshkrimit Elbasanas me Shqipërim Copash të Ungjillit, in Konferenca e Parë e Studimeve Albanologjike, Tirana, pp ; Elsie . 11 For these translations, see Elsie , where citations to the related literature. Sevi Guri praises the value of P. Luarasi s collection of books, old manuscripts and documents assembled hither and thither from monasteries and especially from Mount Athos [Sevo G. (1936), p. 90], many of which must have been written in Albanian. 12 See Popa Th. (1998), pp , Inscription No. 111 and Elsie  (Note 4), for the related literature.
3 Nektarios Terpos, one of the fieriest Orthodox preachers of the 18 th century 13. Even though the text emanates the spirit of Balkan unionism of its time, attired to a conservative clergyman like Terpos, credited for the checking of Islamization in many regions of modern-day Albania, it is also certainly indicative of the Orthodox Church s policies towards Albanian. In spite of their paucity and fragmentation, the sources presented above indicate that Albanian must have been occasionally used complementarily to Greek in church services and other religious practices. Yet, as products of a provincial setting they do not reveal whether or not the patriarchal centre approved or even was aware of such initiatives. As we will demonstrate below from a variety of sources, the ecclesiastical centre was fully supportive. The attitude of the Ecumenical Patriarchate towards the use of Albanian this first period of the question at hand is revealed in a hitherto unpublished document extracted from the Archives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate 14. The document provides solid evidence of the catholic, ecumenical and open-minded spirit of the ecclesiastical capital centre. In or shortly before 1856, the Christian inhabitants of twelve Albanian-speaking villages in the Diocese of Pogoniani through their immigrants in Istanbul pled to the Patriarchate in line with an old custom to appoint an Albanianspeaking priest for the spiritual needs of their villages, since the priest appointed there did not speak Albanian at all. The source implies that this petition was previously not given appropriate consideration by the Metropolitan of Ioannina and Vella, since it was impossible for them [i.e. the local inhabitants] to come to terms with their own prelate ( ἀδυνάτῳ τό γε νῦν συνεννοήσει*ν+ μετὰ τοῦ Ἀρχιερέως των ); hence the inhabitants turned their hopes to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, whose Holy Synod decided to accept their petition and to instruct Metropolitan Ioannikios to appoint the Albanianspeaking priest of the inhabitants liking. The document reads: 1 Πρὸς τὸν ἅγιον Ἰωαννίνων καὶ Βελλᾶς κὺρ Ἰωαννίκιον. 2 Οἱ ἐν Βασιλευούσῃ παρεπιδημοῦντες χριστιανοὶ ἐπαρχιῶται τοῦ ἁγίου Πωγωνιανῆς καταγόμενοι ἐκ δώδεκα μικρῶν 3 χωρίων, ὑπαγομένων εἰς τὴν ἐπισκοπικὴν δικαιοδοσίαν τῆς μητροπόλεώς του ἤτοι τῆς Κωστένιανης, τῆς Βλέσοβας, τῆς Σζαρίνοβας καὶ τῶν 4 ἄλλων πέριξ αὐτῶν ἐννέα, ἀνηνέχθησαν πρὸς ἡμᾶς δι ἀναφορᾶς αὐτῶν, ἀναγγείλαντες ὅτι κατὰ παλαιὰν ἐπικρατοῦσαν συ 5 νήθειαν ἐν τοῖς χωρίοις, ἐν οἷς μόνη καθομιλουμένη διάλεκτος ὑπάρχει ἡ ἀλβανική, διωρίζετο παρὰ τοῦ κυριάρχου αὐτῆς 6 ἱερεὺς ἐπισκεπτόμενος τὰς πνευματικὰς αὐτῶν χρείας, εἰδήμων πάντοτε τῆς διαλέκτου ταύτης, καὶ ὅτι ἡ Ἱερότης του ἀγνοῶν 7 τοῦτο, διώρισε πρὸ πολλοῦ ἀρχιερατικόν του ἐπίτροπον ἱερέα τινά, κατὰ πάντα μὲν τὰ ἄλλα καλὸν καὶ ἐνάρετον, ἐλλειπῆ δὲ 8 καὶ ὅλως ἀνίδεον κατὰ τὸ κυριώτατον τοῦτο τῆς ἐπιτοπίου διαλέκτου ἀντικείμενον, ὥστε οἱ χριστιανοὶ ἄνδρες τε καὶ γυναῖκες μὴ 9 δυνάμενοι νὰ συνεννοηθῶσι μετ αὐτοῦ δίκα διερμηνέως ὑστεροῦνται πολλῶν θρησκευτικῶν καθηκόντων, καὶ πρὸ πάντων 10 τῆς ἱερᾶς ἐξομολογήσεως, ἐν ᾗ μὴ προαιροῦντες διερμηνέως μένουσιν ἀνεξομολόγητοι καὶ τῶν ἀχράντων μυστηρίων ἀκοινώνητοι, 11 ἐπιθυμοῦντες δὲ νὰ θεραπεύσωσι τὴν τοιαύτην σημαντικὴν καὶ πολλοῦ λόγου ἀξία ἔλλειψιν, ἐπεκαλέσαντο τὴν ἐκκλησιαστικὴν 12 ἡμῶν ἀντίληψιν ἐν τῇ π*ρ+οῤῥηθείσῃ ἐπ αὐτῶν διατριβῇ, καὶ ἀδυνάτῳ τό γε νῦν συνεννοήσει*ν+ μετὰ τοῦ Ἀρχιερέως των, ὅπως 13 ὀ μὲν ἤδη διατρίβων ἀρχιερατικὸς ἐπίτροπος καὶ ἱερεὺς αὐτῷν 13 Terpou Nektarios (1732), Πίζηις, Venice, pp ; cf. Glavinas A. (1999), Η ζςμβολή ηος Μοζσοπολίηη ιεπομονάσος Νεκηαπίος Τέππος ζηην ανάζσεζη ηων εξιζλαμιζμών, Γιεθνές σμπόζιο ΜΟΥΟΠΟΛΗ, Θεζζαλονίκη 31 Οκηωβρίοσ - 1 Νοεμβρίοσ 1996, Thessaloniki: Macedoniki Vivliothiki No. 91, pp ; Glavinas A. (1999), Ο μοζσοπολίηηρ ιεπομόνασορ Νεκηάπιορ Τέππος, έναρ οικοςμενικόρ σπιζηιανόρ, in Δικοζιπενηαεηηρικόν αθιέρωμα ζηον μηηροπολίηη Νεαπόλεως και ηασροσπόλεως κ. ΓΗΟΝΤΗΟ, Thessaloniki: Holy Metropolis of Neapolis and Stavroupolis, pp ; Tritos M. (1999), Νεκηάπιορ Τέππορ, ο μοζσοπολίηηρ διδάζκαλορ ηος γένοςρ, Ζπειρωηικό Ζμερολόγιο, v. 20, pp , where most of the earlier literature. 14 CPC, v. 30, p. 153.
4 διαμένῃ πάλιν εἰς τὴν θέσιν του καὶ εἰς τὰ χρέη του, συν 14 αποκατασταθῇ δὲ καὶ ἕτερος ὁ παπα-νικόλαος, ἐκτελῶν κυρίως χρέη πνευματικοῦ, ὡς εἰδήμων τῆς ἀλβανικῆς διαλέκτου ὅστις 15 καὶ ἄλλοτε διετέλεσεν εὐδόκιμος παρ αὐτοῖς. Σὴν θερμὴν ταύτην αἴτησιν τῶν χριστιανῶν τούτων ὡς εὔλογον καὶ δικαίαν 16 καὶ ἀναγκαιοτάτην σπεύδοντες νὰ πραγματοποιήσωμεν ἵνα μὴ μένουσιν οἱ χριστιανοὶ ἀνεξομολόγητοι καὶ τῶν θείων μυστηρίων 17 ἀκοινώνητοι προτρεπόμεθα ὡς ἐκ γειτόνων οἰκούσῃ διὰ τῆς παρούσης πατριαρχικῆς ἡμῶν ἐπιστολῆς, ὅπως προσκαλεσαμένη 18 τὸν ἐπιζητούμενον τοῦτον ἱερέα, ἀποστείλῃ εἰς τὰ χωρία ταῦτα τοῦ ἁγίου Πωγωνιανῆς, συνιστῶσα αὐτὸν ἀπὸ προσώπου τῆς Ἐκ 19 κλησίας πρὸς τὸν ἐκεῖσε ἀρχιερατικὸν ἐπίτροπον τῆς ἱερότητός του ὡς πνευματικὸν καθό εἰδήμονα τῆς τοπικῆς διαλέκτου ἵνα 20 ἐξομολογῇ τοὺς χριστιανούς, οἵτινες μετὰ πόθου καὶ λόγου δικαίου ἐξαιτοῦνται αὐτόν. Ἡ δὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ [χάρις εἴη μετἀ τῆς Ἱερότητός του]. Ἔτη αωνδ (1856). To the Holy [Metropolitan] Ioannikios of Ioannina and Vella. The Christian inhabitants of the province of the holy [Bishop of] Pogonianê who live in Constantinople and whose origin is from 12 small villages subjugated under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of your metropolis, i.e. Kostenianê, Vlesova, Tzarinova and nine others around them filed a report with us. [In this report] they stated that according to an old prevailing custom in these villages, where the only spoken language is Albanian, a priest was appointed by the Lord of the [Metropolis] to cater their spiritual needs, who was always a master of this language. [They also reported] that, His Holiness ignoring this [custom], a long time ago he appointed as archbishopric vicar a certain priest, who is good and virtuous in all others, but he is inefficient because he does not speak the local language at all. This defect is so important, as the Christian men and women in their inability to communicate with him through an interpreter are deprived from many religious duties and especially from confession, because they do not want [to use] an interpreter; hence, they remain without confession and the Holy Communion. And since they want to correct this important and much noteworthy deprivation, they pleaded to our ecclesiastical understanding in their aforementioned report, since it was impossible for them to come to terms with their own prelate, so that the archbishopric vicar and priest already staying there remains in his seat and duties, but another one, father Nikolaos, is jointly appointed to serve the duties of a spiritual father as master of the Albanian language, who was also liked by them in the past. We are therefore rushing to satisfy their petition as well-grounded, just and most necessary, so that the Christians are not deprived from the Holy Communion because they can t confess. We are [therefore] enjoining you through this patriarchal letter of ours, since you live nearby, after inviting the requested priest, to send him to these villages of the sacred [Bishop] of Pogonianê recommending him, in the name of the Church to the archbishopric vicar of His Holiness residing there, as spiritual father, because he is a master of the local language so that he officiates the confession of the Christians, who have requested him with desire and good reason. And may God s grace be with your Holiness. [In the] year This document is the earliest hitherto known evidence of the stance of the Patriarchate of Constantinople toward the use of Albanian in church life. Is this document valid when one is to consider the earlier policies of the Ecumenical Patriarchate toward Albanian language? Critics may indeed question the validity of retrospective projection of a 19 th century document into earlier practices. I would argue that for three reasons such anachronistic projection on the basis of this particular document is sufficiently reliable. First, there is clear mention in this document that this custom is old ( κατὰ παλαιὰν ἐπικρατοῦσαν συνήθειαν ). Even though the age of the custom is not further specified, the objectivity of Patriarchate s course of action, which, despite the moderate language used, exposes the inertia of the provincial Church centre on this matter, indicates how careful the Patriarchate was in investigating such matters and the diversity of information channels it utilized to get accurate data on a conflictual matter; hence, it leaves fairly little grounds to doubt
5 about the accuracy of the statement regarding the old age of this custom. Second, the document demonstrates the continuously strong influence of laymen in ecclesiastical decision-making, a lobbying practice which was already known from the earliest centuries of the Ottoman domination over the Balkans 15 and locally palpably manifested in the 1760 appointment of Bishop Dositheos of Dryinoupolis, where one is struck by the use of extortive language by the local inhabitants addressing to a prelate to plead their cause 16. Thus, the practice of petitioning to the Patriarchate to plead for a cause was also customary and not extraordinary. Thirdly, because such Patriarchal deliberation was much more difficult in the 19 th century than ever before; for the construct of national identities in the 18 th and especially the 19 th Balkans was deeply founded on the imposition of a single language at the expense of local idioms of dialects 17 and the newly-founded Greek state was no exception thereof. Hence, by this deliberation the Patriarchate of Constantinople must have been fully aware that it did not cater for the interests of the nascent Greek state with its gradually emerging irredentist plans and lingual policies in the Balkans. In my view, this document is manifesting the Patriarchate s genuine ecumenicity and lingual tolerance. Careful juxtaposition of the sources cited above with other relevant sources provides interesting clues on the liturgical parts in which Albanian was used. The patriarchal document clearly mentions that the communication problem deprived the local Christians from many religious duties and especially from confession and the Holy Communion. Several sources reveal that the Albanian language was not used solely in confession, but also extended in the liturgy. The archive of the Metropolis of Korytsa (Korça) kept in the Central Archives of the State, Tirana, reveals some important details on the matter. In a codex recording the 1877 deliberations of the Korça Council of Elders we learn that by then it was already an established practice that a deacon was paid a fixed salary to read the Sunday Gospel in Albanian 18. The reading of the Gospel Lectionary and the apostolic excerpt in Albanian in church services was not confined only to the city of Korça, but also extended in the province, as we learn from the life of Petro Luarasi, where we also see the link between the Albanian translation of liturgical texts and their use in church services 19. Later sources on this matter confirm the spread of this practice: writing in 1926, Bishop Vissarion Xhuvanni 20 speaks of controversies raised on the use of Albanian in church services not only after the publication of the Gospel in Albanian by Konstandin Kristoforidhi, but also before; the very existence of controversies on the matter of using Albanian in church services confirms that such a practice, though rare, did exist, as also evidenced by Petro Luarasi s writings For the interference of laymen in Church affairs, see Zachariadou E. (1996), pp (for the 15 th and 16 th c.); Konortas P. (1998), Οθωμανικές Θεωρήζεις για ηο Οικοσμενικό Παηριαρτείο (17ος-αρτές 20ού αιώνα), Athens: Alexandreia Ed., pp (for the 18 th and 19 th c.); and Stamatopoulos D. (2003), Μεηαρρύθμιζη και Δκκοζμίκεσζη. Προς Μια Αναζύνθεζη ηης Ηζηορίας ηοσ Οικοσμενικού Παηριαρτείοσ ηον 19 ο αιώνα, Athens: Alexandreia Ed., pp passim (for the 19 th c.). 16 Codex of Gjirokastër, kept in the Central Archives of the State, Tirana, F. 139, D. 2, f. 2r. 17 From the rich related literature, see indicatively Giubernau M. & Rex J. [eds.] (1997), The Ethnicity Reader: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and Migration, Oxford: Polity Press 1997, pp and Smith A. D. (1991), National Identity, Reno-Las Vegas: University of Nevada Press, pp A.Q.Sh. F. 141, D. 107, f. 74 r-v. This practice is also confirmed in a letter of Thimi Mitko to Geronimo De Rada debriefing him on the latest development in regard of the Albanian language [A.Q.Sh. F. 24, D. 35, f. 20]. 19 Sevo G. (1936), pp , where it is mentioned that in 1885/6 almost half of the church service were conducted in Albanian, thanks to translations by Petro Luarasi [p. 16: Tani, si mësonjës në fshat, Petroja kish filluar të përkthejë librat e Kishës dhe mesha nisi të behej pothuase gjysma shqip ]. For the use of Albanian in the city of Gjirokastër from Metropolitan Neophytos, see Jani A. (1993), Papapano Gjirokastra Figurë e Shquar e Kishës Shqiptare, in 70 Vjet të Kishës Ortodokse Autoqefale Shqiptare, Tirana, p Xhuvanni V. (1926), p Petro Luarasi commenting on his 1892 excommunication letter speaks of illegal prevention of reciting the Gospel lectionary and the apostolic excerpts in Albanian [Luarasi P. ( ), p. 45, while he also confirms that this practice was old [op. cit., p. 53; cf. P. 76]; for convenience I used the Greek version of this book and double-checked its accuracy comparing it to the Albanian version].
6 There is little doubt that this ancient custom lasted well beyond what the paucity of related sources demonstrate 22. Further details are provided in a patriarchal letter dating June 02, 1909; the letter is addressed to Metropolitan Gervasios Orologas of Korça instructing him to provide accurate information on his concession, under the pressure of the proponents of the Albanian nationalists (τῶν ἀλβανιζόντων), to allow in church services the reading of the Apostle, the Gospel, the Lord have mercy and certain other parts in Albanian 23. In conclusion, the selective translations of the Lectionary of the Gospel and other liturgical excerpts from the 14 th century thereafter must not have been a mere intellectual exercise; these excerpts were translated to be used in church services, hence their duplication in more than one copies. In its ecumenical pastoral spirit the Patriarchate of Constantinople had realized that, in the missionary legacy of Sts. Cyril and Methodios, lingual challenges needed innovative solutions for the optimal pastoral care of the faithful 24 ; hence, the translation of selected liturgical and biblical passages was not clandestine and possibly enjoyed Patriarchal approval. The second phase of the matter of the Patriarchate s stance toward the use of Albanian in church services (late 1870s thereafter) marks an increasing concern about the instrumentalization of the Albanian language question in pursuit of establishing an indepdent Albanian state. It would be a serious omission if one neglected evidence of opposition to the endeavour of introducing Albanian in church services even in sources earlier than the late 1870s. The 1856 letter above already mentions that the petitioners had failed to come to terms with their own prelate before pleading to the Patriarchate. The 1877 excerpt of the Korça Council of Elders records tension between those who asked that the agreement with the deacon reading the Gospel in Albanian be renewed for another year and one of the elders, D. Zographos, who blamed them for using inappropriate language before the Council 25. In his letter to Geronimo De Rada, Thimi Mitko reports on the same matter that the Metropolitan of Korça and a few traitors from the same city responded that they did not want the Albanian language because Christ spoke Greek 26. Controversies on this matter get aggrevated at the eve of the 20 th century. In 1908 the Ecumenical Patriarchate addresses a letter to several Metropolitans whose jurisdictions included Albanian-speaking populations, in which the tone of the 1856 letter changes [Appendix 1]. The letter draws a clear division between our [Orthodox] Christian and Albanians [verses 12-14], commands that Albanian-speaking Orthodox Christians should noway side themselves with Albanian nationalists regardless of their religion [14-17], but should instead remain faithful to fatherly traditions [18-21], be taught Albanian only when inevitable need emerges, while no Albanian can be allowed in church services [21-29]. The rationale of this synodal decision stands with the statements: 1) Albanian-speaking Orthodox Greek [18-19], echoing the consistent characterization of Albanian as dialect and not a language [Patriarchal letter of 1856, verses 5, 8, 14 and 19] 27, or 22 In his account of Petro Luarasi s life, Sevi Guri records the 1909 visit of the Metropolitan of Kastoria in the city of Korça, in which Petro Luarasi and his milieu chanted in both Greek and Albanian, but when the Metropolitan asked the Credo to be recited in Greek they denied to comply, which the deacon entrusted to recite it in Greek felt threatened of being buttered and recited sloppily [Sevo G. (1936), p. 97]. 23 Appendix 3. and in specific: ἡ αὐτῆς Ἱερότης ἐνέδωκεν ἐπιτρέψασα ἵν ἀναγιγνώσκηται ἀλβανιστὶ ὁ Ἀπόστολος, τὸ Εὐαγγέλιον, τὸ Κύριε Ἐλέησον, καὶ ἄλλα τινά. 24 The alienation of the Albanian people from the church services due to lingual barriers is mentioned in several passages by Luarasi [Luarasi P. ( ), pp. 23, 33, 36, 38], who, however, recognizes that such lingual barriers exist also for Greeks [op.cit., p. 48 and 61]. Guri [Sevo G. (1936), pp ] also narrates the emotional experiences of simple Albanian faithful when such barriers were occasionally removed. 25 A.Q.Sh. F. 141, D. 107, f. 74 v. 26 A.Q.Sh. F. 24, D. 35, f I am not certain that scientific distinctions between the terms language and dialect were clear in the writer of the 1856 letter, terms whose content was crystallized much later [for a brief overview of the related literature, see Derberoudi R. (2001), Γλώζζα και Γιάλεκηος, Athens]. While in the 1880s Albanian is characterized as a non-existent language [see the note below], the word dialect used to describe the Albanian language in the Patriarchal letter of 1856 sounds certainly much more affectionate toward Albanian than what the term lingual fabrication used in a Patriarchal letter issued in April 25, 1911 does towards the modernist (vernacular) Greek, when characterizing the language of A.
7 the even more radical non-existent Albanian language of the letter of P. Luarasi s aphorization 28 ; 2) and the exclusive usage of Greek as consecrated (καθιεπωμένηρ) Church language in ecclesiastical services [27-28]. Both statements denote the content of fatherly traditions. What were the driving forces that in slightly more than half a century seem to have transformed the ecumenical spirit of the Patriarchate emanated in the 1856 letter to what can be perceived as a subjugation to irredentist ideas of the nascent Greek state s Megali Idea? To answer this question, we need to investigate separately the instrumentalization of the language issue in the process of constructing a uniform Albanian national identity, as well as the historical, political, ideological and theological circumstances that set the stage on which the Patriarchate was obliged to operate, prior to intertwining them to draw conclusions on this second phase of the matter of the Patriarchate s stance toward the use of Albanian in church services. 1. The Instrumentalization of the Language Issue for Constructing an Albanian National Identity. The process of constructing a national identity passed, among others, through the imposition of a single, uniform and standardized national language and the identification of common enemies of the national group 29. In French revolutionary ideas one can already trace an attitude towards the standardization of language at the expense of local dialects which were thought to be a relic of the feudal society; heterogenous lingual variations, to the extent that threatened to become languages, were considered as potential fragmentizing tendencies in a unified nation, insofar that they referred to local bonds potentially in conflict with national ties 30. The absence of religious uniformity in Albania, much more evident than in Greece, Romania, Serbia or Bulgaria where Orthodox Christianity was also used as an instrument to construct a national identity, compelled the proponents of the establishment of an independent Albanian state to focus efforts on sweeping over lingual diversities. It is noteworthy that as late as the 30s of the 20 th century people often communicated in Pallis and his proponents [A.Q.Sh., F. 141, D. 345, f. 1 r-v, cited in Appendix 4]. I am not aware whether the selection of the term dialect emanates in any way ideas that later led P. Koupitoris to the statement that Greek and Albanian belong to the same family of languages [Koupitoris P. (1879), Ἀλβανικαὶ Μελέται Πραγματεία Ἱστορικὴ καὶ Φιλολογικὴ περὶ τῆς Γλώσσας καὶ τοῦ Ἔθνους τῶν Ἀλβανῶν, Hydra]. 28 Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 15; cf. ibid. ( ), p From the vast literature on this matter, one could cite: Altermatt U. (1999), Ethnonationalism in Europe, Sofia; Anderson B. (1991), Imagined Communities: Reflection on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism, London & New York: Verso Publ.; Berberoglu B. [ed.] (1995), The National Question: Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict and Self- Determination in the 20 th Century, Philadelphia: Temple University Press; Bieber, F. (2002), Nationalism Mobilization and Stories of Serb Suffering: The Kosovo Myth from 600 th Anniversary to the Present, Rethinking History, v. 6, No. 1, pp ; Brubaker R. (1996), Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood and the National Question in the New Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Denitch B. (1994), Ethnic Nationalism: the Tragic Death of Yugoslavia, University of Minnesota Press; Eriksen T. H. (1993), Ethnicity and Nationalism: Anthropological Perspectives, London: Pluto Press; Frasheri M. (1943), Nacinalizma Shqiptare, Tiranë; Frasheri M. (1944), Problemet e Shqipëtare, Tiranë; Gagnon J. (1994-5), Ethnic Nationalist Conflict and International Conflict. The Case of Serbia, International Security, v. 19, No. 3, pp ; Gellner E. (1983), Nations and Nationalism, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983; Giubernau M. & Rex J. [eds.] (1997), The Ethnicity Reader: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and Migration, Oxford: Polity Press 1997; Hobsbawm E. J. (2008), Nations and Nationalism Since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality, Cambridge: CUP; Horowitz, D. (1985, reprint: 2000), Ethnic Groups in Conflict, Berkeley: University of California Press; Kolstø P. (2005), Myths and Boundaries in South-Eastern Europe, London: Hurst & Company.; Kupchan Ch. A. [ed.] (1995), Nationalism, and Nationalities in the New Europe, Ithaca: Cornell University Press 1995; McCrone D. (1998), The Sociology of Nationalism: Tomorrow`s Ancestors, Routledge; Misha G. (2000), The Balkans. Nationalism, War and the Great Powers, New York: Viking Penguin Publishers; Pfaff W. (1993), The Wrath of Nations, New York: Simon & Schuster Publ.; Setton-Watson R.W. (1966), The Rise of Nationality in the Balkans, New York: Howard Fertig; Smith A. D. (1991), National Identity, Reno-Las Vegas: University of Nevada Press; Smith A. D. (1999), Myths and Memories of the Nation, Oxford: Oxford University Press; Snyder, L. L. (1954), The Meaning of Nationalism, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. 30 Haugen E. (1972), Dialect, Language, Nation, in Pride J.B. Holmes J. [eds.] (1972), Sociolinguistics: Selected Readings, London: Penguin Books, pp
8 foreign languages to each other, still in a casual daily setting, both in cities 31 and in the provinces 32, even though since 1926 the last bulkwark of resistence against the generalized use of Albanian in the newly-founded Albanian state, the Orthodox Church, had already adopted the Albanian as the sole liturgical language in Orthodox church services 33. The language cause was pleaded with unswerving fanaticism. In P. Luarasi s words language only is the natural diacritic of a nation or human being, while the language and the nation were the sole silver coins, which God entrusted for the purpose of trying our merit amongst the other nations of the earth 34. It was for the sake of the Albanian language and nation that Albanian priests like father Stathi Melani, Kristo Negovani and others, as we have mentioned before 35, died for. While modern Albanians manifest an outstanding ability to learn foreign languages without feeling threatened of losing their national identity, at the end of the 19 th century P. Luarasi would prefer to have his children dead than be given Greek names 36. Ironically, the very scholar had to use Greek, besides Albanian, to sweep over Greek language from people s daily lives and church services, as evidenced by the very bilinguality of his most renowned published work 37. More often than not, lingual fanaticism was also accompanied by demonizing the enemy, whether from within or from without. From within, whoever did not share the lingual views of Albanian patriots was either Greco-maniac ( grekoman ) or Turco-maniac ( turkoman ) 38. Thus, those Qestorat peasants who did not like Koto Hoxhi s patriotic views were grekomanosur, after S. Guri 39, who also believed that a certain old man from Penkollarët, Miti Kosta, who in 1908 visited Petro Nini Luarasi at the latter s home upon his return from the U.S.A. and greeted him in a rather friendly fashion, had hated him since that time that he [P. Luarasi] had cursed the beard of the 31 In the city setting one could cite several examples, yet, I shall suffice myself to a couple of sources: 1) The minutes of the meetings of Kavaja s Council of Elders, written in Greek up to as late as 1924, even though the signatures of the signees clearly indicate Albanian names [Codex of Kavaja s Council of Elders, manuscript preserved in the Orthodox Seminary at Shën Vlash, Durrës]; 2) and Sevo G. (1936), p. 57 ( Kurrë s e dëgjova [Petron] të fjalosej greqisht ose turçe me ndonjë shqipëtar; kur se sot, që kemi Shqipëri të plotë, kur vete në kafene në ndonjë qytet të vendit t onë, s është e mundur të mos dëgjosh dy zyrtarë të shtetit shqipëtar të mos flasin në një gjuhë të huaj ). 32 See the episode of the Albanian patriot Koto Hoxhi from Qestorati, Gjirokastër, cited in Sevo G. (1936), p. 11 and also the comment of S. Guri op. cit, p Xhuvanni V. (1926), p Luarasi P.N. ( ), pp Such ideas also circulated by earlier representatives of the Albanian Renaissance: see for example: Frashëri S. (1879), Alfabetare e Gjuhësës Shqip, republished in Frashëri S. (1988), Vepra, v. 1, edited by Z. Xholi, Tirana, p See note Sevi Guri [(1936), pp ] narrates a story, after which Petro Nini Luarasi, to avoid having his third child baptized with a Greek name, since their godfather, Thanasi, would decide about their name and would announce it only at the very time of baptism, or after peasant beliefs the child would die, handed a list of Albanian names to the third child s godfather stating that it is better my children to die that get foreign names. 37 Luarasi P.N. (1911 1&2 ). Guri Sevo [Sevo G. (1936), pp ] claims that Luarasi s The Reproach of Albanian Letters and the Defence of the Albanian was also written in Greek in his intention to address it to Greeks. Yet, the very epilogue of Petro Nini s book leaves little doubt that the target group of this book s Greek version was these Albanians who could not understand Albanian [Luarasi P.N. ( ), pp and ibid. ( ), pp ]. It begins with an exclamation addressed to the Albanians ( You Albanians ), it continues with instructing that you do not walk in the darkness of ignorance and barbarism and that each of you should try what is good for his self, yet, it proceeds with enjoinments addressed to the first person in plural: let us not be childish, deceited etc., but let us defend our righteous interest, since looking with our eyes and listering with our ears that all civilized nations on earth have progressed and developed through their own language, let us proceed towards progress and civilization through our sweet tongue, the Albanian ; and our nation is the total of Albanians and our language is Albanian [op. cit., p. 70 of the Albanian version and p. 95 of the Greek]. Luarasi also implies the target group of his book s Greek version when he commands: do not step back brothers from the inventions and fabrications of certain Albanians denying their own country who admit two languages for the Albanian, one mother tongue the Albanian and one father tongue the Greek! [pp and respectively]. 38 From the plethora of sources, both primary and secondary, on this matter, see Sevo G. (1936), p Inter alia Sevo G. (1936), p. 11, 23; comparable with the bad Greco-maniac Albanians of Kolonja [Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 25, 42].
9 Metropolitan of Kastoria 40. Furthermore, after P.N. Luarasi, those who admitted one mother tongue (Albanian) and one father tongue (Greek) are moved to state so by a third language, that of interest, which they kept for themselves, thereby creating betraying and childish fabrications in the service of foreign ends 41. In this ideological frame it is not strange that the opposition from within was not rarely countered violently 42. The demonization of the enemy from without followed a similar instrumentalization path. The role of the enemy from without in the matter in question was given primarily to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its agents in the region, the nascent Greek state with its irredentist plans, but also the Serbian and the Romanian Churches, which with their presence in Albania, in the words of Bishop Vissarion Xhuvanni, offended the national dignity of the Albanian Church 43. The Ecumenical Patriarchate was blamed systematically by the representatives of Albanian Renaissance as an instrument of Greek nationalism 44. As we shall demonstrate below, stuck in its own historical, political and theological insecurities and inconsistencies, the Ecumenical Patriarchate appeared to crystallize a hostile attitude toward the Albanian nationalist movement for reasons to be described in the related section [cf. Appendix 1]. As agents of the Ecumenical Patriarchate were considered to be the members of the higher clergy dispatched to Albania. The assassination of Metropolitan Photios in September 1906 by an Albanian çeta (band) in retaliation for the assassination of papa Kristo Negovani and his brother, a priest too, and the displacement of other Greek Metropolitans from their jurisdiction in Albania 45 are culminant events in this process of the enemy s demonization. Following the political and ecclesiastical autonomistic movements of Romanians and Aromunians in , certain Albanian patriots were encouraged to push for similar developments in Albania. In 1905, Mihal Grameno, a young intellectual from Korça living in Romania, publishes his book, largely based on P.N. Luarasi s information, to denounce the curse against the Albanian language by the high clergy functioning as spies of Greece 47. It is, therefore, not coincidental that, though based on events and developments that occurred in the last two decades of the 19 th century, it was only in 1911 that P.N. Luarasi publishes his own book and in 1936 that Sevi Guri publishes his memories of P.N. Luarasi s life. Both accounts, besides leveling the aforementioned accusations against the Patriarchate, also demonize the figures of Metropolitans Cyril, Gregory and especially Philaretos of Kastoria 48. Cyril, the first Metropolitan to issue an excommunication against P.N. Luarasi, is described as evil (yet, less evil compared to his descedents), flatterer, player of the soft feelings of innocent people with intrigues and fomenter of divisions driven by foreign propaganda aiming at killing Luarasi 49. Metropolitan Gregory (1889) is portrayed as a narrow-minded man, whose soul was filled with sheer fanaticism against any thoughts and actions that were incompatible to his particular 40 Op. cit., pp Luarasi P.N. ( ), pp and ibid. ( ), pp Sevi Guri [(1936)] records a shocking event related to the use of violence against those who disagreed to the mainstrem lingual policies and practices of the nationalists. A certain Papa Stefan Kici, a priest from P. Luarasi s native village, Luarasi, took the side of the Metropolitan of Kastoria in the case of P. Luarasi s excommunication (p. 23). In 1896, when P. Luarasi became muftar (administrator), papa Stefani, the brave Albanian priest, in Guri s words, was forced to flee the village when the villagers punished him on allegations of accepting the standard presents in marriages (pp : Fshati e dënoi ). The dots of the text indicating the omission of words leaves no doubt that it referred to corporal punishment; for another example of the climate of terror that such violence created, see the event described in Note 22 above. 43 Xhuvanni V. (1926), p Luarasi P.N. (1911 1&2 ) in various passages throughout the entire work. 45 Clayer N. (December 2005). 46 Peyfuss M.D. (1974), Die Aromunische Frage. Ihre Entiwicklung von der Urspriingen bis zum Frieden von Bukarest (1913) und die Haltung Österreich-Ungarns, Wien: Bôhlau, pp Grameno M. (1905). 48 Luarasi P.N. ( ) and ( ). 49 Sevo G. (1936), pp , 26, 31; Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 6.
10 religious policy and who used the clergy for his causes taking advantage of the authority bestowed by the Ottoman state to Metropoles to maintain order 50. When our sources come to describe Metropolitan Philaretos, though, the battle of the proponents of Albanian learning against him and his actions acquires mythical and legendary dimensions. In every myth there is a dragon symbolizing the evil and a good fellow saving other good fellows from the power of the evil. In P.N. Luarasi s highly instrumentalized work Metropolitan Philaretos acquires the attributes of the evil, who not daring to tell the truth, demonstrates his soul s weakness, which, lacking the bravery to endure the bitterness of truth, always lies ; a tyrant and anti-gospel hierarch, engaging in intrigues he is portrayed as the prosecutor, judge, legal advisor and witness of a trial against P.N. Luarasi and Albanian learning 51. Metropolitan Philaretos did not suffice himself in excommunicating P. Luarasi but wished to sow his evil weeds to Petro s family as well through preventing the participation of his family in church services 52. Aiming, as described above, primarily at legitimizing the autonomistic movements in Albania in the pattern of Romania 53, in his Mallkimi i Shkronjave Shqipe dhe Çpërfolja e Shqiptarit, Petro Nini Luarasi attempts to decontruct the statements leveled against him in his excommucation letters. With a feigned air of objectivity 54, he objects allegations of his ties with Protestant and Masonic movements 55, and statements that the Albanian language is non-existent 56. Luarasi pursues a literary analysis and interpretation of the stereotypical expressions of his excommunication letter 57 to support the thesis 50 Op. cit., pp ; Luarasi P.N. ( ), pp Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 28, 81, Luarasi P.N. ( ), p The motive of his book in his own statement, though, is to provide evidence that the Patriarchate of Constantinople prevented through excommunications and other illegal means the progress of Albanian learning and the civilization of Albanian Christians in the frame of a related controversy between the newspapers TIMES, issued in London, and Ekklesiastike Aletheia, issued by the Patriarchate [Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 13; cf. Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 7]. 54 The book starts by citing events in a chronological order, in which Luarasi, even though the author of his work refers to himself in the third person as if the author was someone else, e.g. In August 1887, after he was accused by his fellow-patriots to the Metropolitan Cyril of Kastoria for his Albanian convictions Petro, in spite of Cyril s insistence, instead of repenting opened a private school in Erseka [Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 6; cf. Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 2]. The same is repeated when reference is made to his fellow Albanian patriots and their work: Many Albanian patriots embraced these ideas of spreading Albanian learning and working jointly for the educational Renaissance of the nation [Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 24; cf. Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 19] aimed at countering the attempts of Metropolitan Philaretos of Kastoria to hellenize the languageless [i.e. those who spoke more than one languages] Albanians [Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 36; cf. Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 27]. Even though this promises to stage the events in some sort of objectivity, several expressions used in relation to Metropolitan Philaretos reveal Luarasi s heavy emotional charge: see for example, In September 1892, after returning to Korça in a desperate condition, he [i.e. Metropolitan Philaretos] vommeted [Note: instead of issued or the like] a reproach and excommunication against Petro and his fellows [Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 11; cf. Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 6] or the horned owl is blinded by the sun s light and the saintly Philaretos does not dare to tell the thuth [Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 68]. Not rarely this charge transforms to irony: [Metropolitan] Philaretos will be caught by wrath (that is he will get so angry that he will explode), due to the disobedience of Albanian Orthodox, and then he will order the earthly and the celestial forces through the Holy Spirit to launch a campaign against the Albanian Orthodox who desire Albanian learning [Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 64], where he calls Metropolitan Philaretos and his proponents with the prejorative Philaretos and Co. [Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 76], or he comments that Gehazi s leprosy [Kings 5:27] does not scare the Albanian more than the Philaretan leprosy [Luarasi P.N. ( ), p. 82]. 55 Luarasi P.N. ( ), inter alia pp. 22, 26-27, 50-51, Op. cit., inter alia p Luarasi P.N. ( ), pp All curses accompanying letters of excommunication are stereotypically reproduced from late Byzantine times until the 20 th century [Michaelaris P. (1997), Αθοριζμός: Ζ Προζαρμογή μιας Ποινής ζηις Αναγκαιόηηηες ηης Σοσρκοκραηίας, Athens; Gerouki A. (1992), Σςλλογικέρ νοοηποπίερ και Ιζηοπία ηος Δικαίος. Οι αθοπιζμοί ζηην Βενεηοκπαηούμενη Κέπκςπα ( ). Μεθοδολογικέρ πποζεγγίζειρ, Πρακηικά ΗΒ Πανελληνίοσ Ηζηορικού σνεδρίοσ (Μάιος 1991), Thessaloniki, pp ; Gerouki A. (June 1988), Ο θόβορ ηος αθοπιζμού, Σα Ηζηορικά, v. 5, No. 8, pp ]. I find it hard to believe that P.N. Luarasi with his solid ecclesiastical education and extensive research in respectable libraries of time [see Note 11] was unaware of it, as he must have been aware that, in spite of his later literary interpretation and countering of the aphorizartion s curses, for simple people, whether Albanianspeaking or Greek-speaking, the curses content were incomprehensible [see Note 24].
11 that the entire attack and excommunication was not directed against him in person, but rather against the Albanian language and learning. Even Luarasi s death was intrumentalized: he was allegedly poisoned by the servants of the Greek Church and the Turkish government who further allegedly engaged in an effort to defile his corpse 58. In reality, the relations between the Orthodox representatives of the Albanian Renaissance and the Orthodox Church at a local and central level were far different than what is implied in the gross exaggerations of Mihal Grameno s or P.N. Luarasi s writings. The life of the latter is very informative in this respect. Sevi Guri records three very humane meetings of P.N. Luarasi with Metropolitan Philaretos, in the first of which Metropolitan Philaretos asked Petro whether he wanted to get ordained as a priest and got a negative response from him, because this would limit his possibility to move from place to place 59. Another time Luarasi visited Metropolitan Philaretos in one of his visits at a neighboring village to confess with the intention to restitute his relations with him; in an indication of respect for P.N. Luarasi, Metropolitan Philaretos asked all village elders present in the room to leave to allow them some privacy 60. The third meeting took place in P.N. Luarasi s home, where he invited Metropolitan Philaretos as a guest. In their meeting Philaretos suggested once again that Petro is ordained priest as a way to cleanse his sins. Petro seemed to be convinced to do so, and the word was spread in the village that the following day he was to be ordained. Early in the following morning, when the elders of the village came at Luarasi s home to accompany Metropolitan Philaretos and Petro Nini Luarasi to the church, Petro appeared to the metropolitan very concerned about a nightmare he experienced the previous night while at sleep. When asked by Philaretos who who was concerned about whether the ordination should take place or not what this was, Petro responded I saw I were a priest 61 These events indicate that, in spite of the excommunication and the spirit emanated in the writings of Mihal Grameno, P.N. Luarasi, S. Guri and others, the relations between the high clergy and the Albanian nationalists at a daily and casual level were far from being characterized by enmity 62. Fairy tales, though, do not contain only evil presences; they also include good heroes. The process of constructing a national identity and using it later in the process of state building passed from the Romantic creation and exaltation of model-heroes 63. Heroes were deemed to be necessary in awakening and inspiring others in the present and the future. Their traits included self-sacrificing bravery, poverty and avoidance of luxuries, loyalty to the common cause and ethical impeccability. The biography of Petro Nini Luarasi by Sevi Guri is a good example of the Romantic exaltation of the hero; yet, ironically, the very author also cited details that contradict the myth. Luarasi is described as loyal, life-long friend who never played cards and never drank or smoked save for a social setting 64. He was not rich, but he had his old house extended with new rooms, one of which was better decorated than the others, aimed at hosting friends 65. He conducted a frugal peasant lifestyle throughout his entire life, yet, in spite of his poverty he had his daughters educated at the Qirjazi School in Korça and his son at the Agricultural School of Thessaloniki 66, while even though he had no more income than what was necessary ( nuk kishte më tepër ), when he invited people at his own, he also invited his house s servants and the Muslim farmers working at his family s walnut lands 67. His frugality and simplicity did not prevent him from either having a wardrobe with different sets of clothes for the village, the city and for when he became a muftar (administrator), or keeping a 58 Sevo G. (1936), pp The inaccuracy of such statements is indicated in the same excerpt: a close friend of the Committee informed the newspapers that Petro died (and not Petro was killed or the like) [p. 110]. 59 Sevo G. (1936), p Op. cit. 61 Op. cit., pp His irritable character against his opponents is described by S. Guri [p. 70]. 62 Cf. Op. cit., pp and On this matter see Notes 3, 4 and 195, where this matter is placed in its international dimensions. 64 Sevo G. (1936), p Op. cit., p Op. cit. 67 Op. cit., pp
12 firearm throughout his life 68. He had family needs, but his convictions would not allow him to accept the proposed salary of 50 liras per year [to work] as director or inspector of the Greek schools 69. While he stated that I can never say that God does not exist and he often preached and chanted in Albanian, on the other hand he never spoke of religion 70. In his deliberations as muftar, he maintained clean books, but when he was asked by the Turkish government to hand the first instalment of the taxes he had collected from villages he did not give account of his acts and would not hand his seal 71. Even though as muftar he swore loyalty to the Turkish government, he also maintained relations with bandits to whom he read books in Albanian 72. It is further unknown how he managed to get in hold of two passports with two different names (Petro Nini and Petro Konstatini) 73, the latter of which saved his life, because, when persecuted by the Turkish government, he used his second passport to made his way to the U.S.A. Last but not least, considering that heroes deserve a glorious end, it is astonishing to notice the similarities between Luarasi s death and Christ s Resurrection, as described by Leko Dhosi, Sevi Guri s cousin and recorded in the latter s book: He returned from Manastir [Bitola] and we went for a visit the day of [the Dormition of the Virgin] Mary [August 15, 1911], we went to the church, where Petro preached in the liturgy. I am telling you, dear cousin, it was worth for all peasanst and friends to bear in mind these so beautiful words. And after three days he went to Erseka, where he got sick and came back up to Negostivisht where he delivered his soul 74. In his impressive alas very brief book on nationalist discourse in Albania, Enis Sulstarova engages in a carefully delineated analysis of the related discourses during the Albanian Renaissance, in which the instrumentalization of the language issue, the stance of the nation toward religion and the other are carefully interwoven with the creation of national myths 75. The modest contribution of this section could perhaps add one more national myth created in the process of instrumentalization of the language issue in church services and elsewhere: the myth of the evil enemy versus the good and virtuous patriot. 2. The Patriarchate s Stance Toward the Albanian Language from 1880s to The Patriarchal letter of 1908 [Appendix 1] is indicative of a gradual ideological and political shift that must have taken place between the 1856 letter and the one under discussion, a process that was dictated by historical, political, ideological and theological circumstances. In his well-balanced book on the Later Pashalik of Ioannina M. Kokolakis has convincingly demonstrated the volatility of identities in the regions of Epiros and Albania and how until the late 1870s the different ethnic and lingual populations of these regions continued to identify themselves in religious terms 76, in spite of the functioning of Greek schools in Epiros and Albania for most parts of the 19 th century (and up to ) as part of the ambitious but weak and dependent Greek kingdom s Great Idea programme. As late as in 1870s Christos Christovasilis, descedent of a family originating from one of the most privileged Greek-speaking regions of Epiros, recollects his surprise when, at his childhood and after many years of attendance of such schools he got his first national baptism by D. Paschidis, a graduate of the Athenian Didaskaleion; in his own words: The word little Greek was like an electric shock for me, because up to that moment I knew I was a little Roman (Ρωμιόποσλο) and Christian (Υριζηιανόποσλο) and not a little Greek and that all my fellow patriots were Romans and Christians, as opposed to Turks, and not Greeks; for Greeks were those 68 Op. cit.. 69 Op. cit., p Op. cit.; cf. also Note Sevo G. (1936), p Op. cit., p Op. cit., pp Op. cit., pp Sulstarova E. (2003), pp Kokolakis M. (2003), pp
13 who lived beyond the Greek-Turkish borders. And I asked him: Am I a little Greek, teacher? 77. Till then, the Greek or pro-greek trend in regions of the Ottoman Empire represented a nearby version of the European civil liberalism acquiring dimensions of a social vision 78. Signed at the end of the Russian-Turkish war, the Treaty of Berlin (1878) marked the new political and ideological status quo of the Balkans. In spite of territorial losses, the Ottoman Empire survived and sultan Abdul Hamit preserved his authority avoiding the transformation of his state to a British and French protectorate by allying with Kaiser s Germany. While the omnipotent bureaucracy of the capital centre was entirely set under the control of the sultan, the ideology of the Ottoman nation proved to be unable to cope with the evident advances of local nationalisms 79. The movement toward Panislamism that Abdul Hamit seemed to promote aiming at restituting the glory of the Khalifate was not convincing juxtaposed with the racial propaganda of Panslavism 80. The failure of the Ottoman territorial integrity in 1878 and in 1881 in favour of the nascent Greek state and the realization of the Slavic danger marked another phase in the relations of the Orthodox Christians in Epiros and Albania with the Greek state, which now infiltrated in these regions with the proliferation of Consulates, bonuses to local elders and an increase in the number of Greek schools, which were now no longer staffed by local self-taught teachers or priests, as before, but by teachers educated in Greece and sent in the region by Greek Associations for the Advancement of Education. The principal opponent in the spread of Hellenism from 1880 thereafter was the Albanian national movement, which ended any prospect of Greek-Albanian cooperation and made these regions future partition rather inevitable 81. The movement of the Young Turks (1908) and the adoption of a constitutional government only put a tombstone to the older system, even though it was unable to form the new order that was to replace it. This historical stage must have posed great dilemmas and conditions of particular insecurity to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. While it is possible that such dilemmas and conditions of insecurity compelled the Patriarchate to turn for support to the nascent Greek state, the back-stage of its policies toward the Albanian language in the late 1870s early 1880s was also marked by the 1872 tomus of a Synod against ethno-racism 82. While the historical circumstances of this Synod have hitherto been linked with the separatist claims of the Bulgarian Exarchate ( ) 83 especially under the leadership of exarch Anthimos ( ), one might view this as the other part of the Panislamism coin during Abdul Hamit s reign. Etho-racism was defined as racial distinctions and nationalistic controversies, zeals and separatist attitudes in the Church of Christ. Ethno-racism, as opposed to the ethno-religious concept of the Ottoman millet, was condemned as heresy in 1872; yet, the separation of the Greek Church soon after the establishment of the Greek state schismatic at the outset, but granted an autocephalous status in 1850s and the independence of the Serbian Patriarchate consisted a precendent hard to overcome by canonical stipulations for any other nationalist movement viewing the ecumenical spirit of the Patriarchate as an ideological relic of the dying Ottoman Empire, selectively applied for some but not for others. Still, the 1908 Patriarchal 77 Christovasilis C. (1940), Γιηγήμαηα ηοσ Μικρού κολειού, Athens, p Kokolakis M. (2003), pp It is in this ideological frame that one could interpret the wish of the Muslim from Prrënjas that Greek borders reach his townlet so that the beys and agas be expelled, everybody can get a plot of land and Muslims can get enlisted in the army to safeguard a monthly salary [Bérard V. (1987), Σοσρκία και Δλληνιζμός, translation of the 1896 original in French by M. Lykoudis, Athens, p. 131; cf. Amadori-Virgjil G. (1908), La Questione Rumeliota e la Politica Italiana, Bitondo, pp ]. 79 Kokolakis M. (2003), pp Kushner D. (1977), The Rise of Turkish Nationalism, London. 81 For these developments, see Kokolakis M. (2003), pp For the Synod against ethno-racism, see KB) Ὅρος τῆς ἐν Κωνσταντινουπόλει Σοπικῆς υνόδου τοῦ 1872 κατὰ τοῦ Ἐθνοφυλετισμοῦ, in Θρηζκεσηική και Ζθική Δγκσκλοπαίδεια, v. 11 (1967), Athens: Martinos Publ., verse 519; Ierotheos, Metropolitan of Naupaktos (no date), Γέννημα και Θρέμμα Ρωμηοί, Naupaktos, chapter 4 The rule of the local Synod of 1872, pp For a collection of Patriarchal documents on this matter, see Gedeon M. (1908), Έγγραθα Παηριαρτικά και σνοδικά περί ηοσ Βοσλγαρικού Εηηήμαηος ( ), Constantinople.
14 letter [Appendix 1] reflects the spirit of condemnation of ethno-racism, whose traces can also be found in Luarasi s work 84. Another political, ideological and theological factor that influenced the Patriarchate s stance toward the teaching of Albanian language and the use of Albanian in church services was related to the spread of Protestant propaganda in its jurisdictions and the particular ties of Albanian patriots with Protestant missions. The excommunication letters issued against Petro Nini Luarasi were first and foremost rationalized against his Protestant and Masonic ties and the funds he got from them to establish Albanian schools that were supposed to be used for the spread of Protestant and Masonic ideas and plans 85. While little is known about the Masonic spread and movement in Albania, there is scarce but accurate information about the Protestant mission there 86. Active since 1824, when London s British and Foreign Bible Society published in Corfu its first biblical literature in Albanian, the Protestant mission in Albania maintained a prolific partnership with Kostandin Kristoforidhi from 1857 to 1874 in Albanian translations of the Bible, yet, the first Protestant parish in Albania was established as late as in 1889 by Gjerasim Qirjazi, who as part of his activities also opened the first Albanian-language school for girls (Korça, 1891). Gjerasim Qirjazi, together with other of like mind, including P.N. Luarasi, formed the Albanian Evangelical Brotherhood (Vëllazëria Ungjillore) with its own paper and statute (used in the early 1990s in the legal process of recognition of the Protestant Evangelical Brotherhood), in which two of the three-fold aims of the Brotherhood were the publication of Albanian literature and the establishment and direction of Albanian schools 87. The association of Luarasi s milieu with Protestant or Masonic movements is testified by Sevi Guri 88, while Luarasi himself, while nominally denying his ties with the Protestant movement 89, virtually admits such relations disclaiming that for the sake of materials gains [yet not for the spread of Albanian language] I never came to terms with the Protestants on a religious cause 90. While there is no direct evidence that P.N. Luarasi was personally maintained by Protestant funds, when the Albanian schools of Kolonja were banned and he remained unemployed, he only distributed Albanian books including Protestant literature I suppose and thus must have earned his sustenance until he was elected muftar 91. It is ascertained that ties with the Protestant mission in Albania were viewed with great suspicion by the Orthodox Church and its community both at the local 92 and the capital centre 93. Still, the widespread reluctance or opposition by the capital 84 Luarasi P.N. ( ), p Luarasi P.N. ( ), pp. 22 and On this matter, see primarily Jacques E. E. (1994), Protestantism in Albania, Liria (January 1994), pp. 8-10; Muca F. (2007), The Legacy of the Albanian Evangelicals and Its Continuation Post-1990, in Pettifer J. Nazarko M. [eds.] (2007), Strengthening Religious Tolerance for a Secure Civil Society in Albania and the Southern Balkans, Tirana, pp. 77 ff; and the monographic work of J. Quandrup on Gjerasim Qirjazi, Quandrup J. (2002), A Sacred Task: The Life of Gjerasim Qirjazi, Milton Keynes: Ichthus and Authentic Lifestyle Edition. If there was no Masonic movement in Albania, I assume that the secrecy necessary for the functioning of the Protestant Albanian Evangelical Brotherhood, which had been outlawed by both the Ottoman state and the Orthodox Patriarchate must have looked like the more rumoured than seen organization of Masons. 87 This account was reconstructed on the basis of the literature provided above, in note Sevo G. (1936), pp. 41and It is also known that Petro s daughters studied in the Protestant-led Albanianlanguage school for girls directed by Gjerasim Qirjazi [op. cit., p. 54]. 89 Luarasi P.N. ( ), pp Op. cit., p. 27 and on pp , where Luarasi states that the sums of money raised by the Albanian Evangelical Brotherhood were used for the establishment of Albanian schools and not, as he was blamed, for a direct protest against our Orthodox faith. 91 Sevo G. (1936), p In the 1896 Regulations of the Orthodox Christian Community of Korça an entire article is devoted to ensure that those who attended Protestant teachings or sent their children to foreign proselytist schools were outcasted from the community: Article 6: Those who send their children to foreign proselytist schools and those who frequent the teachings of Protestants do not enjoy the right of neither the elector nor the eligible candidate [A.Q.Sh., F. 141 (1896), D. 8, f. 1 v ].
15 ecclesiastical centre and its functionaries in Albania to support a more generalized use of Albanian in church services and in schools should not be entirely attributed to the said Protestant associations and can be viewed as a hostile attitude towards Albanian and Albanian nationalists 94. This conclusion would have vindicated the views of the Albanian historiography that the Patriarchate and its agents in Albania were instrumentalized in the service of the nascent Greek state s Great Idea (Μεγάλη Ιδέα) 95, had the Ecumenical Patriarchate not likewise kept the same firm stance condemning the translation of the Gospel from the language of the original to the purist or vernacular Greek of the time 96. Indeed, the purist language (καθαπεύοςζα), though firmly entrenched also by ecclesiastical milieux, was not unchallenged and once challenges escalated the matter of language was as hot as any other political matter giving rise to political incidents. Shortly after the Greek-Turkish War of 1897 Queen Olga, of Russian descent, had identified the need for a translated Bible, when injured soldiers would not accept Greek Bibles she donated them on the accounts that they could not understand them. Queen Olga commissioned her secretary, Julia Somaki, to translate the Bible in Modern Greek. The translation, written into the formal and purified καθαρεύοσζα dialect of Modern Greek in 1898 was approved by Archbishop Procopius II of Athens and all Greece. When a little later Alexandros Pallis, a London-based Greek author, wrote another translation into the every-day vernacular dialect called Demotic Greek, which was published by the Athenian daily Ἀκρόπολις in series from September 9, 1901 until October 20, 1901, his translation was attacked by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Theological School of the University of Athens, the parties of the Opposition, leading purists, a multitude of other institutions, societies and intellectuals alike, and eventually by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece. The translation was considered to be antireligious, anti-national, full of vulgar words and degrading the true spirit and meaning of the Gospel. The Ecumenical Patriarchate took a firm stance on the matter. On October 8, 1901, prior to the completion of the translation s publication, the Ecumenical Patriarchate issued a circular letter addressed to the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, in which, after denouncing the translation and those who made it possible, cried for measures to be taken to prevent the circulation of this most vulgar and degrading translation 97. The Holy Synod of Greece indeed condemned as sacrilegious any and every translation of the original text of the Gospels into simpler modern Greek; yet, this decision was only communicated in the form of an encyclical three weeks later in the midst of serious riots and political crisis with civilian casualties 98. On November 25, 1901 priests read from every pulpit in Athens and all over Greece a decree of the Holy Synod which prohibited on pain of excommunication, the sale or reading of any translation of the Gospels 99. To indicate the seriousness of the matter, suffice it to mention that as late as in 1911, in the drafting of the new constitution, Prime Minister E. Venizelos was forced to include in Article 2 that the text of the Holy Scriptures shall be maintained unaltered. Its rending into any other language type, without the Patriarchate s sanction, is absolutely forbidden Besides the excommunication letters against Luarasi, the level of discomfort of the Patriarchate towards the Albanian language, perhaps also attributed to the ties of the leaders of the Albanian awakening movement with Protestant missions can also be viewed in the correspondence cited in Appendices Judged on the basis of Appendices 1-3 and other reports of a certain Jani to Lef Nosi [A.Q.Sh., F. 32, D. 55/1, ff and 76-77], after which, while in Elbasan and Korça ecclesiastical committees were formed to petition the use of Albanian in churches, the students in Albanian schools are few, because the majority calls Greece their fatherland; yet, after the flight of His Evilness Metropolitan Basil, who publicly preached that whoever reads Albanian is excommunicated, there are hopes of reversing this trend. 95 See Notes For the Gospel riots in Athens, see Carabott P. (1993), where citation to the related literature; cf. Dakin D. (1972), The Unification of Greece, London: Ernest Benn Ltd., p. 256; Politis L. (2003), Ηζηορία ηης Νεοελληνικής Λογοηετνίας, 13 th edition, Athens: MIET, pp Δκκληζιαζηική Αλήθεια, v. 45 (November 09, 1901), pp Carabott P. (1993), pp Op. cit., p Kakoulidi E. (1970), Για ηη Μεηάθραζη ηης Καινής Γιαθήκης, Thessaloniki, p. 23.
16 While the source cited in Appendix 4 reflects the spirit of securities instituted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to prevent any recurring phenomenon of translations of the Holy Scriptures in any other language form 101, at this section s closure I shall draw a parallelism between P.N. Luarasi s excommunication with the curses leveled against the sacrilegious translators of the Bible in Demotic Greek. Here is the way that a certain D. Ameras addresses to the said translators: May they be anathematized and cursed in the current and the future life all desecrators of the Holy Bible and the God-bearing fathers of the Greek language 102. By way of conclusion, the question of the Ecumenical Patriarchate s stance toward the use of Albanian language in church services and in schools appears far more complex than what was previously thought. As we have demonstrated in this section, the Patriarchate demonstrated its ecumenicity in permitting translations of excerps from the Holy Bible and liturgical texts in church services and ensured that Albanian-language populations were not deprived of the vital lingual tools to exercise their religious needs without lingual barriers up to the late 1870s. From the late 1870s thereafter, the Patriarchate seems to gradually acquire a rather hostile attitude toward Albanian due to historical, political and theological reasons and the instrumentalization of the language issue by Albanian nationalists. Still, its stance toward similar initiatives of translating the Bible in Modern Greek demonstrates a consistent attitude toward all language modifications of the Holy Scriptures, rather than any sort of its instrumentalization in the service of Greek irredentism. It is, therefore, my suggestion that the much misunderstood policies of the Orthodox Church towards the use of Albanian in worship were much more often than not dictated by lingual conservatism, the ties of several Albanian translators of the Bible with Protestant Churches and the proclamation of nationalism as a heresy. 101 For the claimed deficiencies of Μodern Greek to convey the messages of the Bible, see indicatively Kousoulas I. C. (1902), Μελέτη περὶ τοῦ Γλωσσικοῦ Ζητήματος, Athens, especially p Ameras D. (1901), Οἱ Πρόμαχοι τοῦ Ἱεροῦ Εὐαγγελίου, Athens, p. vi; a work in verses similar to Mihal Grameno s work.
18 35 γένει συναφῶν. Ἐπειδὴ δὲ πρὸς τούτοις καλὸν ἐκρίθη ἵνα διορι 36 σθῶσι καὶ πρόσωπα κατάλληλα δυνάμενα ἵνα κατηχῶσι τὸν ὀρθόδο 37 ξον ἀλβανόφωνον πληθυσμὸν ἐν τῇ ἐμμονῇ εἰς τὰς πατρῷας παρα 38 δόσεις καὶ τῇ ἀδιασπάστῳ ἐνότητι μετὰ τῆς Μητρὸς Ἐκκλησίας 39 καὶ τοῦ ὀρθοδόξου ἑλληνικοῦ λαοῦ, προαγόμεθα ἀξιῶσαι αὐτὴν ἵ 40 να ὑποδείξῃ τῇ Ἐκκλησίᾳ τοιαῦτα κατάλληλα πρόσωπα, ἐὰν ὑπάρχω 41 σιν αὐτόθι, ὅπως ἀναλάβωσι τὸ ὡς ἄνω ἔργον, ἐκτελοῦντα ἅμα καὶ 42 καθήκοντα ἐποπτῶν τῶν σχολῶν, ἐπὶ μισθῷ 90 λιρῶν Σουρκίας ἐτη 43 σίως, ἐκτὸς τῶν ὁδοιπορικῶν, ἰδιαιτέρως πληρωνομένων. Ἐν τέλει 44 δὲ ἐπιδηλοῦντες ὅτι ὁμοίως γράφομεν καὶ πρὸς τοὺς Ἱερωτάτους 45 Μητροπολίτας αἰτούμεθα, κτλ. A.Q.Sh. F. 141, D επτεμβρίου, To the metropolitans of Andrianoupolis, Ioannina, Didymoteichon, Korytsa, Kastoria, Dyrrachion, Belagrada, Prespai, Dyinoupolis, Paramythia, Moglena, Bellas. Whereas the nationalist tendencies started manifesting themselves more apparently since the proclamation of the Constitution (Albanian nationalist tendencies that started manifesting in Didymoteichon and some other places) and threaten to effect conflicts and divisions to those Albanian-speaking Christians who to date remain faithful to the ecclesiastical regime; Whereas Synodal deliberation took place on the basis of information also sent from the brothers in Christ you live there with regard to the most appropriate conduct of the Holy Metropoles; The following [decisions] have been approved: 1. Our Christians, wherever they may come in contact with Albanians, need to maintain excellent relations with them regardless of their religion. 2. Our Albanian-speaking Christians ought no way to link their fate in the way that certain Albanians, whether Christian or Muslim, that have other goals and ambitions. 3. All possible action must be taken so that the Albanian-speaking Greek Orthodox, who remains faithful to Orthodoxy and the traditions of their fathers, do not henceforth deviate from this path. 4. In regard of schools and churches in communities with Albanian-speaking Orthodox, if inevitable need emerges, the teaching of Albanian as an elective course can be introduced in these communities to avoid additional adversities; with regards to the order persisting in holy churches and the
19 exclusive use of Greek as the consecrated Church language from the outset it is not possible to permit any change. Thus, this is the general outline of what was decided on the aforementioned matter. We are therefore proceeding though this current Patriarchal letter of ours with this announcement to inform and direct his Holiness requesting no less [his Holiness] to submit to us his thoughts on the measures deemed expedient in Synod and all other related matters. In addition, considering that the appointment of persons properly capable of catechizing the Albanian-speaking Orthodox population to remain [faithful] to the traditions of its fathers and the indivisible unity of the Mother Church and the Greek people was deemed good, we address commanding you to suggest such appropriate persons, if there are there, who shall assume the said task, simultaneously performing the duties of school supervisors upon a yearly salary of 90 Turkish liras, on the top of travel expenses which shall be paid separately. Finally, stating that similar letters have been addressed to the most-holy Metropolitans of we plead, etc. *that God s grade and infinite mercy be with your Holiness]. September 12, 1908
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