The Church of Theth

The Church of Theth

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This passage provides a glimpse into the history of Thethi, a village in Albania, focusing on the significance of its church and the role of Father Shtjefen Gjeçovi in education and cultural preservation.

In 1892, an exceptional church was built in Thethi, a village with predominantly Roman Catholic inhabitants. This church has remained standing in its original location with its original foundations intact to this day. During its construction, a presbytery was attached to the east wall, serving as the residence for the priest. Father Shtjefen Gjeçovi, one of the most renowned priests in Albanian culture, was associated with this church.

Father Gjeçovi was instrumental in establishing the first school in Thethi where children were taught in the Albanian language. This school opened in 1917, marking a significant milestone in the village’s educational history. The tradition of teaching in Albanian was continued by subsequent priests of the church. In 1921, the government officially recognized the school’s opening, with Father Marjan Prela assuming leadership.

The commitment to education extended beyond the church, as evidenced by the support of Education Minister Ahmet Zogu, who allocated funds for the education of Thethi’s children. Despite challenges such as the atheist communist regime, priests like Father Daniel Gjeçaj continued to serve their community, even from abroad.

The church itself faced challenges during the communist era, being repurposed as a health and pregnancy center. However, through the efforts of Thethi’s diaspora, particularly those residing in the USA, the church has been reconstructed and restored to its former glory, once again serving the village as a place of worship.

This passage highlights the resilience of Thethi’s community, their commitment to education and cultural preservation, and the enduring significance of their church in the village’s history.

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