Kisha e Shen Mehilli pas grabitjes 22 qershor 2009
By Telnis Skuqi –
Gjirokastra – About a week ago, a 25-year-old-man was arrested for possession, but in the control of his apartment, the police revealed a lot century iconostasis, stolen long ago.
The looting of the iconostasis over 200 years old wooden carved with a high artistic workmanship, which was established after 1990 in the church of St. Mary in the Leuse village, about 3 kilometers far away of Permet.
Regardless of the District Police Directorate of Gjirokastra has made available the best specialists of criminology to identify the culprits, the situation for the maintaining of religious cults continues to be part of the “agenda” of looters.
According to the statistics of the Regional Directorate of National Culture for the District of Gjirokastra, from 1993 until now are stolen only 45 religious cults and only a bell over 100 years has been discovered.
“From 45 worth religious objects the police in the south of the country has been able to figure out after 14 years the bell of St. Nicholas Church in the Selcë village of municipality of Pogoni, while other facilities are still not detected “, worried Ofrea Beci, the representative of the Albanian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in South the country. According to him, the bell 50 centimeters high, 70 kg weigh, was hiding in a place called the Monastery hills,a kilometer over the Saranda-Ksamili national road and had destination the neighboring country.
St. Mehilli’s Church after the robbery June 22, 2009
“Unfortunately it was cobest ncluded that the thefts are committed by professional people who know these religious values, because so far no one has been identified by the local police during the past 16 years,” Beci says, noting that if the specialized institutions, such as the District Police Derectorate of Gjirokastra and Regional Directorate of National Culture, do not build medium and long term policies to protect the monumental buildings with the rare values, then the perpetrators will continue to undermine the culture of a nation.
The most important religious cults in the south.
According to the official data from the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, in the district of Gjirokastra there are over 100 churches, of which about 32 religious buildings classified incredibly important in terms of the typological and architectural values.
The rector of the University “Eqrem Çabej”of Gjirokastra, prof. Gëzim , says that the oldest religious object in the district of Gjirokastra is the monastery of St. Mary, about 2 kilometers away to the east of the ancient city of the Antigonea. It is built on a limestone conglomerate rock, known as Spile, due to the karsts caves, of which has been inhabited by people who stayed isolated from the world and trying to suffer their being sinful, as an atoning work before God (hermits).
The church of the Sleeping St. Mary, located in Labova e Kryqit village, about 17 kilometers away from the city of Gjirokastra is classified as a type cross church with a cupola. As the time of its construction is considered the VI century during the reign of the Emperor Justinian. Inside of the church highlights an iconostasis of carved and gilded wood. The church Labova e Kryqit is decorated with a fresco and then in another part with decorative floral motifs.
The church of St. Mary in the Leusë village, rises to a height that it dominates the valley of the River Vjosë and is visible from afar between the magnificent cypress trees and evergreen. Referring to the painted inscription on the gate of the north, the iconostasis of the Church shows that Leusës completed in 1817. Naosi is a central nave basilica with a dome, with internal dimensions x 18:20 14:20 m. Two rows of columns divide it into three naves, the central nave which has dimensions in the plan and in much larger space than those nefeve side. A string system in both directions between them link the columns and the perimeter walls, creating the core square and rectangular side naves in central Nephi. In central dome rises on a high drum over 10 meters. In eastern couple of the columns was established the luxury iconostasis (robbed a few days ago), adorned with deep engraving up to 7 cetrimetra, which together are considered masterpieces of Applied Arts.
The religious Cults, an opportunity to develop spiritual tourism.
The rector of the University of Gjirokastra, prof. Gëzim Sala , expert of the history of religious cults, says that in the south of the country due to historical circumstances and urban continuity of the spiritual life for thousands of years were built over the centuries many religious buildings, which in addition to growing evidence of the religion population, represent exceptional artistic values and cultural development can be used for the spiritual and religious tourism. “It is sad that the media informed that many of these cult objects made of looting booty. To think that the church of the Labova e Kryqit is robbed five times from 1997 to 2008 and in the latter case 18 icons were stolen, indicates that something is not working well,” said the professor Gëzim Sala. According to him, 32 religious buildings and orthodox Islamic which are located along the valley of Drinos can be used quite well by the local and foreign tourists and not lose, as is happening with these rare icons.
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