In what is being touted as one of the biggest displays of Christian humility and unity, Christian leaders who met in Albania are repenting of persecuting one another. Albania is across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, and Greece is to its south. About 41 percent of the people are Christians, with the Muslim religion not very far behind at about 38 percent.
Albania was once a communist country and is a part of the 10/40 window. Back in 1967, their president, Enver Hoxha, had declared that he had "abolished" the Christian religion throughout Albania, and that it was the first atheist country in the world. Over 700,000 were killed or imprisoned when it was an atheist- communist country. So it's quite the statement for Albanian Christian leaders to have one of the largest gatherings of Christian leaders, about 145 groups represented and two billion Christians, coming together to repent of persecuting other Christians. The gathering was hosted by the current president
The meeting was attended by delegates from the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), the Pentecostal World Fellowship, the Vatican, and the World Council of Churches. They released a statement in which they said, "We repent of having at times persecuted each other and other religious communities in history, and ask forgiveness from each other and pray for new ways of following Christ together."
The focus of the meeting was "discrimination, persecution, and violence" toward Christians. Interestingly, WEA global ambassador Brian Stiller said, "We had not planned to discuss the question of Christians discriminating against and persecuting Christians, even though it came up in the discussions from the very beginning."
However, the WEA's theological commission chair, Thomas Schirrmacher, said in a press release that, "The heads of the delegation of the Catholic Church proposed that any call to stop the persecution of Christians should mention first that also Christians in history have persecuted other religions and other churches."
The group met at the very location where Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral once stood. A hotel now stands at that location. On the corner opposite that, there is a museum that holds memorabilia and photos of those who were persecuted under the country's communist-atheist reign. The cathedral was rebuilt near its original spot. That and the museum serve as a way to bring hope and a witness of encouragement to Christians in other countries where they are persecuted. The intended message is that even when the leader of a country attempts to declare that Christianity is "dead," a government built on such prideful arrogance will eventually fall, and The Lord will make His presence known.