Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias congratulated Archbishop Anastasios of Albania for receiving Albanian citizenship after 25 years of service in the country, and charitable services that benefited all Albanian citizens regardless of religious affiliation, including a fully equipped healthcare clinic in the capital of Tirana.

The Albanian government’s granting of citizenship is considered in part a result of the message of unity sent out at the June, 2016 by the Holy and Great Synod of Orthodox Churches that took place in Crete.

For his part, Anastasios expressed his joy and heartfelt gratitude to Albanian President Ilir Meta for his decision and for his accompanying letter. He stressed that since his election to the post of Archbishop, he has always felt and acted as a responsible citizen off the country.

At their meeting at a Christmas reception at the presidential mansion in Tirana, Anastasios told the Albanian president that this decision makes all Orthodox Christians in Albania glad, as it fulfills their longstanding desire and just patience.

‘’In certain cases, as with wine, time adds value. Certainly, the experience of 25 gives this decision an added weight and significance,’’ he said.

New Democracy speaks of well-deserved, due recognition

‘’The granting of Albanian citizenship to Archbishop Anastasios is a positive and well-deserved recognition by the Albanian state of a unique figure of Orthodoxy, who enjoys international acclaim. His words and deeds have contributed decisively to the reconstruction of our neighbouring country,’’ New Democracy shadow foreign minister Yorgos Koumoutsakos, a former career diplomat and Greek foreign ministry spokesman, wrote on Twitter.