The Orthodox Clergy has expressed criticism over a ceremony held by the Albanian Institute of Monuments of Culture on the premises of the Orthodox Church of Labove, Gjirokastra.
According to the Orthodox Church, three Roman Catholic priests from Italy, along with a group of Italian tourists, performed the "First Mass" a Catholic ceremony in the Orthodox Church of Labova, a Byzantine building recognized by the historians and archaeological community.
The Institute's director Mrs. Arta Dollani and other people attended the event while restoration was taking place on the site.
The Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania had no prior knowledge that the Institute had planned a Catholic Mass to take place on the premises.
The Orthodox Clergy made a statement expressing dissatisfaction and calling the event a violation of the separation of church and state clause.
"We protest for this new violation of the law, which states that" the state can only use an object of worship only for the needs of major interests and only after it has received the consent of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania ".
However, the Orthodox Church says it is an internationally recognized fact that the state has no authority to give arbitrary permission to churches or clergy of other religions to use a cult object.
This claim has no legal backing. There is no effort from the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania of solving the matter in a more peaceful way without making it a political debate and questioning the country's religious coexistence.