Orthodox Church of Albania Conducts First-Ever Memorial for Cham Genocide

For the first time, a memorial mass was held in the Orthodox Church for the 80th anniversary of the Cham genocide.

The Memorial for Cham Genocide by the Orthodox Church of Albania 
In the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania, a memorial service was conducted for the first time to honor all Orthodox Albanians from Chameria who were killed during the genocide perpetrated by Zervist forces in 1944.

"Albania will avenge me" were the last words of Spiro Çalluka, the director of Albanian education in Paramythia, 80 years ago. On June 30, 1944, after days of torture, his eyes were gouged out, and he was dragged through the city by car until he died. Subsequently, together with other Orthodox Albanians from Chameria, he was left hanging for three days in the town center as an example that Orthodox Albanians could stay in their homes but would face a cruel fate if they declared themselves as Albanians.

The ceremony took place at the Church of the Metamorphosis in Tirana, attended by dozens of worshippers. The memorial service was held for Spiro and Thoma Çalluka, Gaqo Pasko, Dhimo Kasari, Ilia Nasto, Thimi Gogozoto, Petro Sharra, Ilia Konomi, and all other Orthodox Albanians killed by Zervist forces during the genocide against the Albanians of Chameria.

The church priest, Father Kristo Sharko, conducted the memorial service in their memory. All of them worked for their homeland, Albania, until their last moments. Particularly, Spiro Çalluka, the director of Albanian education in Paramythia, who died under inhumane torture at the age of 87 and was left hanging for three days in the middle of the town to show other Orthodox Albanians the fate they would suffer if they declared themselves Albanian.

The memorial service is an Orthodox liturgy prayed to commemorate the deceased. This marks the first time that the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania has held a memorial service for the Orthodox Albanians of Chameria.
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