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But these challenges have not prevented the Orthodox Church of Albania from carrying out an aggressive campaign to rebuild the nation. The church has distributed thousands of tons of food, clothing and medicines to ease both the plight of families living in poverty as well as those seeking refuge from the Balkan’s many internecine conflicts. Health care initiatives, such as mobile dental units and polyclinics, extend care to remote mountain villages. And large- scale agricultural development projects, including irrigation works and road building, have eased the burden of Albanian families, who are considered the poorest in Europe.

The church’s “actions and presence,” writes Metropolitan Anastasios, “have shown it to be a force to be reckoned with in bringing spiritual, cultural and social progress to Albania.”

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Michael La Civita is the executive editor of ONE magazine.



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Tags: Cultural Identity Church history Albania Balkans