3E Cultural Routes

Saint Friday Church, Çetë

The Church was built as a Catholic church, in the XIII century, in the period of the Albanian Kingdom (Regnus Albaniae). It consists of thealtar, the narthex, and the nave. The floor of the nave has the sun depicted in a circle, probably a vague reminder of pre-Christian symbolism. It is the only church with Gothic Romanesque architecture in the territory of Albania. In 1691, the church passed the Orthodox rite and was painted by the Zografi brothers. Some of its icons were
burned in a fire in the years when Albania was declared an atheist country. Of these, 16 icons and the iconostasis that separated the nave from the altar were painted by Konstantin Shpataraku.

According to the legend, the church was built by three knights who were going from Rome to Constantinople along the Egnatia road, which actually passes near the church. They had set out to liberate Jerusalem and the tomb of Christ in a Crusade. After spending the night in the village of Çetë, in the morning they told each other that they had seen the same dream:
The saints had told them not to continue on the road without building a church in the village of Çetë, since the good place and faith in Christ would serve the people of the area.