By Devin Watkins
Centenary celebrations took place at the Cathedral of San Nicola in the southern Italian town of Lungro, in the Calabria region, on Wednesday, 13 February.
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, was on hand as the Italo-Albanese Eparchy of Lungro of Continental Italy celebrated 100 years since its foundation.
Bishop Donato Oliverio, head of the Eparchy, celebrated the Divine Liturgy to begin a special Jubilee Year. Albanian President Ilir Meta was also present at the event.
Memory of blessings
Pope Francis sent a telegram, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, to express his well-wishes for the anniversary.
He wished that “this important occurrence be an opportune time to lift up to the Lord a grateful memory of all that Divine Providence, in His faithful mercy, has carried out in this community throughout the past century”.
Pope Francis recognized that God had preserved the community’s identity, despite many historical vicissitudes.
The Pope prayed that God bestow “copious heavenly blessings” upon the Italo-Albanian faithful of the Eparchy.
Pope Benedict XV instituted the Eastern-rite Eparchy on 13 February 1919 with the Apostolic Consitution “Catholici Fideles”.