Diocesan Codices Unveiling Local History: First Presentation of The 'Codex of Gjirokastër' (S. Albania)


Konstantinos Giakoumis


The present paper presents a first set of conclusions drawn from the study of the “Codex of Gjirokastër”. Compiled upon the accession of Bishop Dositheos of Dryinoupolis and Gjirokastër, the codex extends from 1760 to 1858, namely well beyond the end of his prelacy (1760-1799). Kept in the Metropolis of Gjirokastër until shortly before the Italian bombardment of the city, the codex was transferred to Tirana. Previously thought to be lost, it is now held in the Archives of the State, under the classification number F. 139, D. 2. It is written in Greek, the official language of the Church at that period, and records several documents that reflect the competences and privileges that Christian prelates enjoyed at least in issues of ecclesiastical administration and civil law. The focus here is first on the role of laymen in the accession of Bishop Dositheos in the Diocese of Dryinoupolis, then on the issue of divorces in the regions of Gjirokastër between 1786 and 1858. Placing the “Codex of Dositheos” in its context, the study underlines the importance of diocesan codices as documents of religious, cultural, social, economic, educational, administrational and juridical history.

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