Eyewitnesses to Rebirth in Albania: Seminarians Take Missionary Journey

Seminarians from St. Vladimir's, Holy Cross, and St. Tikhon's comprised the mission team to Albania. (Photo: Anastasia Pamela Berksdale)Seminarians from St. Vladimir's, Holy Cross, and St. Tikhon's comprised the mission team to Albania. (Photo: Anastasia Pamela Berksdale)30 May 2011–11 June 2011 • Off-Campus Event

Three of our seminarians recently traveled to Albania, both to observe the phenomenal "resurrection" of the Orthodox Church since the fall of communism in that country and also to study missiology. Their extraordinary journey included an audience with His Beatitude Anastasios, archbishop of Tirana, Durrës, and All Albania; meetings, bible studies, and social time with university students; tours of cSt. Vladimir's seminarians Fr. Ignatius Warren and Richard Ajalat experienced firsthand the rebirth of the Orthodox faith in Albania.St. Vladimir's seminarians Fr. Ignatius Warren and Richard Ajalat experienced firsthand the rebirth of the Orthodox faith in Albania.hurches, church agencies, seminaries, and monasteries; and a visit with Metropolitan John of Korça.

Fr. Ignatius Warren (Class of 2011, and now assigned to St. Elias Church in Sylvania, Ohio), Dn. Timothy Yates (3rd-year student), and Richard Ajalat (2nd-year student) witnessed firsthand the incredible rebirth of the Orthodox Church in Albania since December 1990, when student protestors began to overthrow the religiously repressive government. All three seminarians were there as participants in a 3-credit summer course titled "The Missiology of Archbishop Anastasios (Yannoulatos) and Practical Evangelism." Students in the course analyzed the foundation and calling of missions, studied the resurrection of the Church of Albania over the past 20 years, and examined how well the Church has lived out the missiology of Archbishop Anastasios.

The course and trip were under the supervision of course leader, Fr. Luke Veronis, adjunct professor of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Seminarian Dn. Timothy Yates (with candles) serving with His Beatitude Anastasios. (Photo: Dn. Marty Watt).Seminarian Dn. Timothy Yates (with candles) serving with His Beatitude Anastasios. (Photo: Dn. Marty Watt).Brookline, Massachusetts. The endeavor was partly subsidized by The Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity and was among the Mission Team 2011 programs offered by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC). This was the second year in a row that seminarians from St. Vladimir's have participated in a mission trip to Albania.

"It was truly a blessing to witness firsthand the rebirth of faith among the Albanian people," noted Fr. Ignatius. "Archbishop Anastasios is a modern-day Apostle, Evangelist, and Missionary par excellence. The Missions Institute under Fr. Luke Veronis provides a much-needed link between the academic study of missiology and the firsthand witness of mission in the church. In addition, it was a great blessing to be with students from our sister schools, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School, and St. Tikhon's Seminary."

View a photo gallery of the trip, by Dn. Marty Watt,  in a related story on the Website of the Orthodox Church in America.