On June 20, 2016, the humble servant of God, Demetri (Taki) Kobuzi, reposed in the Lord. He was a man deeply integrated in the Orthodox faith in a quiet yet powerful way. Taki was Archbishop Anastasios’ car driver. He was his chauffer from the early 90’s until the time of his repose. Archbishop Anastasios has made incredible strides rebuilding the Orthodox Church in Albania over the past 25 years, and Taki was by his side through all of it.

In the earliest chapters of post-Communism in the Albanian Orthodox Church, from 1991-1992, it was still very dangerous to be a Christian. Although Communism had fallen, Orthodox people were still afraid of being arrested for their faith. It was hard to know who to trust. One out of ten people were part of the Secret Service and were turning people in for being a Christian, a religion that was still constitutionally illegal. Taki and just a few other faithful Orthodox Christians began to attend church in spite of the fearful situation they existed in. Taki persevered in his unwavering vigor and dedication to the Orthodox Church throughout the rest of his life.

He was not a theologian. He trained as a car driver during the reign of Communism. Being a chauffeur was not simple during the Communist Era. You had to learn how to be a mechanic, an exceptional driver, and had to know all the ins and outs of motor vehicles. Although Taki was not a theologian, he wanted to use his gifts for the church. So, he became Archbishop Anastasios’ automobile driver. Taki was by the Archbishop’s side without fail for the rest of his years.

Presbytera Renee Ritsi, who knew Taki personally, recalled a time about a year ago when she and her son, Deacon Stephanos (OCMC long-term missionary in Albania), were in Albania at the Archdiocese picking up some lost luggage that had been delivered there. It was 9:30pm, and the Archbishop was staying at the Metropolis that night. She remembers that, other than the night guard, no one was there except Taki working late on the car and tinkering around. Presbytera and Deacon Stephanos asked what he was doing there so late, and his response was, “The Archbishop is still up, so I’m here.” This is just one example of his loyalty to the Archbishop. He gave up his personal time to be available to him for the service of Christ.

Taki used his gifts for God and the service of the church. He was not a seminarian or a great theologian, but he dedicated his life to God by humbly serving the Archbishop and using his specific skills. Let us follow his example and utilize the skills given to us by God for the glory of His name. May his memory be eternal, and may he find rest in the eternal Kingdom of God!

 

Photo: Taki (top right) with his wife and two children, Archbishop Anastasios, along with Stephanos and Nicole Ritsi

 

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