Sadik Bejko recounts the meeting with Father Arthur Liolini/ "A legend and a combination of miracles"

2023-09-29 21:15:00, Kulturë CNA

Sadik Bejko recounts the meeting with Father Arthur Liolini/ "A legend and

The writer and professor, Sadik Bejko, has given a message of condolence for Father Arthur Liolini, who passed away at the age of 80.

Bejko shows the meeting with Father Artur Liolini in the old Metropolis of Gjirokastra in 1991 and highlights some of his characteristics.

He describes the priest as a legend and a combination of miracles, while showing the radiance and charm that he conveyed, as he blessed the girocastrites and sprinkled them with basil water.

Sadik Bejko's full message:

Requiem for Father Artur Liolini

I was sad that you are no longer in this world. God bless that Arthur! Rest in peace and evangelical goodness.

I met Artur in Gjirokastër in 1991. In the old Metropolis, in the church of the Pazari i Vjetër neighborhood.

He was too charming a man to be a priest. So charming that the beard, the black camomile of the Orthodox clergy, went wonderfully with him. Tall stature.

Sadik Bejko recounts the meeting with Father Arthur Liolini/ "A legend and

His portrait was religious, as religious as if you had carved it on ancient clerical sculptures. His clear voice, in a clear pronunciation, in the tonality of warm bass came from Korçe. It was a combination of miracles. An elegant modern Albanian clergyman from America and at the same time a clergyman who led to the Renaissance and beyond.

A living legend in that church was coming around us. At the same time, a beautiful man, a priest, a fantasist and quite vulnerable. Cleric? Shrouded in mystery? No, a concrete man, with some sprigs of basil in his hands, basil dipped in water. It sang with a bass voice and splashed us. His holy water slipped over our hair, over our foreheads. Water and basil that we... a little while ago, after his request, had put in his hands.

He was a priest coming straight from Fan Noli's pulpit. And it had sprouted alive right there in front of us. Priest who... was spraying me with water. Whole branches from our basil were immersed in the container full of water... and Artur Liolini sprinkled it on us... loudly calling out prayers and psalms, calling out words, verses of gospel texts. But for us forgotten, misunderstood.

I baptized you with basil and "your" water, he would tell us. Only the voice and the prayers seemed to be his. Shin texts of the Gospel.

Arturi "baptized" me. I was wet with Gjirokastre basil water. From water and my basil. And I accepted this from him.

How beautiful, how gracious a cleric, what a handsome priest you... were to us!

I - a communist creature alienated from any religion, like everyone around me. Me - one flattened by the red communist iron on my head; a total coward of communism. That's how I was.

But the baptism with basil and water of my neighborhood from the hand of Father Liolini as a renewal from the heat and the long wind....I accepted it.

That cleric, that Arturi, with that throaty, ancient voice of the corsair was ours. In the life of lives, it was ours. And lo: it had come from afar. (Why did you delay us so long? Where were you, O ancient priest, why did you delay so long, O father?)

We were being sprinkled by his hands with water and our Gjirokastra basil.

He was taking us back to prayers and psalms that were over 2,000 years old. To the prayers and psalms that our grandfathers and great-grandmothers had sung for us in the cradle. But ... we had already forgotten them.

Hallelujah, hallelujah... Father Arthur was sprinkling us with basil and fresh water, with bloody well water. From the water of our wells.

Now you, Arthur, are no more. I feel bad.

Hallelujah! May Father Artur Liolin be in heaven! Hallelujah!

I accepted your irrigation in 1991 as a dry river bed, waiting for the streams of rain, waiting for the moisture of the streams of water wide and long above it. I agreed to get wet from that basil well water as in an ancient rite. In a rite where pagans undressed to get wet, to be cleansed, to be sanctified by water, when it rained from the sky, when it rained from the sky, when it rained and rained, rain... rain...

Hallelujah... heaven bless that Arthur! May you be high in eternal peace and goodness./ CNA

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