Alex Goodwin serves as the Communications Director at the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) in St. Augustine, Florida, where he lives with his wife and two children. Alex has participated on multiple mission teams to Africa. His duties at the Mission Center include broadening awareness of, and participation in, Orthodox missions among the faithful of North America.
In May 2012, I am being sent by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) to bring back stories and images of the Church leaders and missionaries who will undertake this work.
In Orthodox missions, the resurrection of the Orthodox Church in Albania following the collapse of Communism has been a source of awe and wonder. When understood in context, it is easy to see why the story of the Church in Albania has been lauded by so many over the past 20+ years.
In 1947 over 20% of the Albanian population was Orthodox Christian. After religion was outlawed in 1967, 95% of the 1,600 Orthodox churches, monasteries, and cultural centers were razed to the ground, with the remainder being converted for secular use. In the years that followed, thousands of Orthodox Christians were jailed, sent to labor camps, or executed. Under Communism, the attempt to stamp out religion was more severe in Albania than anywhere else in the world.
Since 1991, under the care and guidance of His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios, Orthodox missionaries in partnership with Albanians of all generations and from all walks of life have reestablished the Church where once there was only rubble and painful memories. Today it is difficult to know exact numbers, but approximately 20% of Albanians identify themselves as Orthodox Christian, and over 400 church buildings have been restored, rebuilt, and reopened.
Building on the foundations of this glorious and miraculous resurrection, the Church in Albania is entering a new phase as it strives to become more self-sustaining and self-propagating. In May 2012, I am being sent by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) to bring back stories and images of the Church leaders and missionaries who will undertake this work. I will try to share the lives of the Albanian people, with whom the Christian faith will be shared in the coming years.
Please pray for this journey and for our brothers and sisters in Albania.
Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. You can find the Orthodox Christian Network on Google+.