Indefatigable Anastasios visits Kathimerini offices
Anastasios, Archbishop of Albania, illuminated Kathimerini's expectant office at Neo Faliron on Thursday with his gracious personality, wise words and a smile that springs from love and experience. There to greet him was Kathimerini's chairman, Aristides Alafouzos, with editors and many journalists. When Anastasios took up his post in 1991, Albania was in turmoil, and his task of preserving what was left of the Greek Orthodox community extremely difficult. At first he went there as an exarch, "as a visitor," said Anastasios. "I was 62 years old and I didn't know Albanian. I stayed there and learned it, as a child does, without a teacher." Anastasios, who later became archbishop, has given new impetus to the Church in Albania. Young people flock to services where his Greek sermons are translated into Albanian. Those who initially opposed him now support him, and in 1997 Albanian policy toward the Greek minority softened. In fact, the archbishop is like an unofficial ambassador for Albania in Europe. He travels frequently and participates in conferences as vice president of the Congress of European Churches. Anastasios discussed theology as well as internal Orthodox and inter-creed disputes, always expressing unshakeable optimism. "Where there is a dead end," he said, "God's door opens."