ANASTASIOS YANNOULATOS, Archbishop of Tirana, Durres, and All Albania (1992-), is Professor Emeritus of the National Kapodistrian University of Athens (1992-), Honorary Member of the Academy of Athens (2005-), Honorary Senator of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts – Salzburg, Austria (2019-). He has combined theological knowledge, research, and writings with Christian witness, pastoral diakonia, and social efforts.
He was born in Piraeus, Greece (November 4, 1929). He studied theology at the University of Athens (1947-1952 graduating with the highest honors). He continued post-graduate studies in the History of Religions, Mission, and Ethnology at the Universities of Hamburg and Marburg in Germany, with a scholarship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He became a Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) of the Theological School of the University of Athens (summa cum laude with special award) (1970). He speaks Greek, English, French, German, and Albanian; he reads Ancient Greek, Latin, Italian, and Spanish (he has worked with two African languages).
(In the Academic Field)
He has been Professor of the History of Religions (1972–1991) and Dean of Theological Faculty of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (1983–1986). He has been Corresponding Member of the Academy of Athens (1993-2005).
Studied and came to know the various religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Islam, African religions – in the countries where these flourish (India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Korea, Japan, China, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Mexico, and the Caribbean).
He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates of Theology or Philosophy from twenty Universities or University Schools or Departments (Greece, U.S.A., Romania, Cyprus, Georgia, Albania, and Italy). He was awarded the title of Honorary Professor of the School of Business Administration of the University of West Attica (2020-). He was granted the highest scientific distinction of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the “Golden Aristotle” (2018).
He has authored and published 24 books (religious research, missionary essays, Orthodox spirituality) and more than 200 studies and articles of theological and religious themes. His books and texts have been translated into 17 languages (see attached bibliography).
(Church and Social Diakonia)
Ordained to the Diaconate (1960), as a Priest - receiving the title of Archimandrite (1964), to the Episcopate as Bishop of Androussa to be the General Director of the “Apostoliki Diakonia of the Church of Greece” (1972-1991). He played a pioneering role in rekindling Orthodox foreign mission (from 1958). Acting Archbishop (Locum Tenens) of the Holy Metropolis of Irinoupolis (East Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania) where he realized a broad missionary and social work. He was recognized as “Great Benefactor of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa” (2009).
As Archbishop of Tirana, Durres, and All Albania (1992-), within tremendously difficult circumstances, he succeeded in restoring and reconstructing the Autocephalous Or¬thodox Church of Albania, which had been fully dissolved for twenty-three years. He developed a multifaceted work in the areas of education, healthcare, culture, the environment, and humanitarian and social welfare projects. (To create places of spiritual communion between people and with God, he erected 155 new churches, restored 63 ancient churches, and repaired 160 damaged churches. Moreover, he took initiative for the construction of more than 70 other buildings – schools, clinics, youth centers, etc.) He has struggled tirelessly to assist in relieving the many tensions in the Balkans. In 2000, after the pro¬posal of thirty-three members of the Academy of Athens and many personalities of Albania, he has been nomi¬nated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
He has been repeatedly elected to distinguished positions of leadership in Inter¬national Organizations. He was elected: Member of the theological Working Group of the WCC on Dialogue with People of Livings Faiths and Ideologies (1974–1983). Moderator of the Commission of World Mission and Evangelism (1984-1991). Member of the European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL) (2001-2012). Vice-President of the Conference of European Churches (2003-2009). President of the World Council of Churches (2006-2013). Honorary President of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (2006-).
He has been honored with the medals and awards (30) of many Orthodox Churches and various countries including the Grand Cross of the Order of Honor of the Hellenic Republic (1997); the Athenagoras Human Rights Award, 2001 (New York); the Award for "distinguished activities for the unity of the Orthodox Nations," 2006 (Moscow); the Medal of George Kastrioti Skanderbeg by the President of Albania (2010) for “his contribution to religious harmony and peaceful coexistence in Albania”; the Klaus Hemmerle Prize of the Focolare international movement (Aachen, Germany 2020) for his efforts as a “bridge builder among religious communities and various peoples.”
His contributions to theology, to Christian martyria, to inter-Christian rapprochement, to the inter-religious dialogue and to the peaceful coexistence of peoples and religious communities have been recognized internationally.