Përmet, Albania, November 9, 2023
A priest in southern Albania is working to restore an old church that has been abused and turned into a cattle stable.
The Church of St. Athanasios the Great in Përmet was built 120 years ago, but was turned into a cultural center by the communist regime of the previous century.
After decades of neglect, the church is now used by locals as shelter for their cattle, reports the Hellenic information Team, with reference to Albanian media.
Today, only a few wooden icons remain as a testament to the building’s religious past.
The local priest, Fr. Elias, expressed his sorrow and called for the prompt reconstruction of the church, saying, “There used to be a chapel for weddings and Baptisms. The only thing left of the church is the masonry. Everything is in ruins; it’s 120 years old. It used to be a beautiful church, but it was turned into a cultural center. That’s why I want to call on people to restore this church as soon as possible.”
The cultural heritage department in nearby Gjirokastër clarified that the Church of St. Athanasios is not included in the list of protected objects.
Albanian Church has spent nearly $11 million restoring 63 churches since 1991Many of the restored churches had previously been desecrated and used as movie theaters, cultural halls, gymnasiums, and warehouses.
“>OrthoChristian reported in 2020 that the Albanian Church had by that time spent nearly $11 million restoring 63 churches since 1991.
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