Albania Religion

By | December 15, 2021

The Albanian people follow two religions: Islam and Christianity.

Islamism. – It was imported to Albania with the Turkish conquest of the century. XV, first professed by the conquerors alone and then propagated with violence and the confiscation of the assets of rich people. Many of those who did not want to apostatize emigrated and found easy employment in various Italian states, mainly in the realm of Naples. The example of the rich chieftains, the spirit of union among the various members of the same tribe, the forced conversions, the growing influence of Muslim customs and the deficiency of the Christian clergy contributed to increase, over the centuries, the number of Muslims. among the Albanians. Nevertheless almost all are pure Albanians and have only religion in common with the Turks. Before the fall of, and the Albanian guard of the sultan was considered most faithful. According to the 1923 census, over a total number of 817,378 residents, Muslims rose to the number of 560,348. Like all Western Muslims, they are Sunni. The Grand Muftī resides in Tirana.

Catholicism. – Christian propagation in Albanian lands took place according to two great currents: while the northern part of the country received the revelation of the Gospel from Latin missionaries, the central and southern part accepted it from Greece. So two confessions: Catholic with the Roman rite, and Orthodox with the Byzantine one. A few years ago a small community of Byzantine rite Catholics was formed in Elbasan, in the center of Albania, which can count at most 150 souls. In the seventeenth-eighteenth centuries, as a consequence of the relations of the Albanians with the popes in the era of the Turkish wars, due to the arrival in Rome of some Orthodox archbishop of Ochrida towards the end of the century. XVI and the beginning of the XVII, the Apostolic Vicariate of Cimarra was formed in the district of Cimarra (Chimara), at N. on the island of Corfu, whose owners were often Basilians of Italy, and who observed the Byzantine rite. Begun towards the middle of the century. XVII, said mission had to be definitively abandoned in the second half of the XVIII. Some of its holders held the office of ordaining prelates for the Byzantine rite in Rome and bore, in memory of their ancient mission, the title of Metropolitan of Durres. For Albania religion, please check

Roman Catholicism is represented today in Albania by the archbishopric of Durazzo, immediately subject to the Holy See, and by the metropolis of Scutari, with the three suffragans of Alessio, Pulati, Sappa. There is also the nullius dioeceseos prelature of the Benedictine abbey of S. Alessandro dei Mirditi, near Orosi.

The origins of the see of Durres are legendary: the first historically known bishop is Eucario, the name of which is found among those of the fathers of the ecumenical council of Ephesus (431): but since Durres was already the seat of an important metropolis, the Christianity can perhaps date back to the century. III. The province of Durres was part of western Illyricum and followed its historical vicissitudes. It belonged to the patriarchate of Rome until the year 733, when it entered that of Constantinople. Nonetheless, the Byzantine rite was observed there, and the Latin archbishopric only began at the beginning of the century. XIII, when, after the conquest of Constantinople by the Crusaders, that stretch of town passed under the Venetian rule. The suffragan bishoprics erected by the Venetians all disappeared after the Muslim conquest of the century. XV. Today the jurisdiction of the Durres office extends over all central and southern Albania. The service is disengaged by the secular clergy assisted by the Franciscans; the archbishop resides in Delbinisht.

In northern Albania, the two sites of Scutari and Alessio historically date back to the century. IV; that of Pulati was built before 877, and that of Sappa perhaps in the century. XIV. First metropolis of Prevalitana, Scutari was in the century. XI submitted to the Latin metropolis of Bar. After the Turkish conquest of 1478, for a long time the bishop was forbidden to reside there, and only in the century. XVII he was able to return to his residence. In 1867 Scutari was elevated to the rank of archiepiscopal, but always united to Antivari, from which it was separated to become a metropolis in 1886, considering all the bishops that until then depended on Antivari. The Albanians of the three dioceses of Alessio, Pulati and Sappa mostly belong to the extended tribe of the Malissori and speak the ghego dialect, while those of the Archdiocese of Durazzo speak the Tuscan dialect. The exempt prelature of S. Alessandro d’Orosi draws its origin from an ancient Benedictine abbey abandoned and entrusted first to the secular clergy, then to the Franciscans. The dominant tribe there is that of the Mirditi: the spirit of natural independence to the Albanians advised the erection (in 1888) of the ancient abbey as a prelature. nullius dioeceseos. The prelate has been titular bishop since 1921.

The pastoral care of Albanian Catholics is made very difficult by the almost complete lack of roads and, on the moral side, by the long contact with Muslims. The rat, concubinage, superstitions of various kinds, blood revenge, still persist and the apostolate has not yet been able to eradicate them completely. Gregory XIII had planned the erection of an Albanian college for the formation of the clergy at the time very deficient: but it could not be started until 1858. It has its headquarters in Scutari and is entrusted to the Jesuits of the Venetian province: it has about forty students who carry out all their studies there up to the priesthood. An apostolic delegate was installed in Shkodra in 1920.

The Albanian Orthodox. – They are 172,610 in number, according to the 1923 census, and mainly live in central and southern Albania. The eparchies or dioceses have Durazzo, Berat, Còrizza, and Gjirokastra for their seats, cities that were subsequently part of western Illyricum subjected to the patriarchate of Rome, but with the Byzantine rite, of the patriarchate of Constantinople, of the Greek-Bulgarian archbishopric of Ochrida and again of the patriarchate of Constantinople. After the proclamation of Albanian independence (1912) a movement was started for the constitution of an autocephalous church, that is, independent of the patriarchate of Constantinople. The initiative came from the Albanians who emigrated to North America, led by the archimandrite, later bishop, Fan (Teofano) Noli. After long negotiations, Constantinople had to yield to circumstances and grant autonomy, which has been a fait accompli for several years. The cultural level of the new Church is rather low. Under the Greeks, all the places in sight were occupied by Hellenes: the competent staff of Albanian race and language is still almost entirely missing; there is no school for the education and training of the clergy; in the liturgical field, Greek, up to now exclusively in use, is gradually replaced by Albanian.

There is no Albanian religious literature, apart from the doctrines translated as early as the century. XVI by the Catholic bishop Pietro Budi, which together with prayer booklets constitute the oldest monuments of the written language. The Vatican Library (Stampati, RG, Liturgia, III, 194) has a copy of a kind of missal translated into Albanian, printed in 1555, which would be the first book published in Albanian.

The documents up to the year 1406 are collected by Thallóczy, Jireček and Sufflay, Acta et diplomata res Albaniae mediae aetatis illustrantia, Vienna 1913-1918, vols. 2. For the medieval Greek period, Miklosich and Muller, Acta Patriarchatus Constantinopolitani, Vienna 1860-1890, vols. 6, is still the only source available, until the Corpus der griechischen Urkunden des Mittelalters und der neueren Zeit of the Academies of Munich and Vienna is completed. The numerous Greek works relating to Epirus contain many texts relating to the bishops’ seats of the Byzantine rite of today’s Albania. The history of the Catholic Church in Albania has never been written: the most precious archival source is the Propaganda fide archivein Rome, but dates back to 1622 at the most. For the beginnings of the apostolic vicariate of Cimarra, see. C. Korolevskij, in Bessarione, 1911-1913 (not continued). A rather superficial picture of the Catholic missions in Albania in V. Vannutelli, L’Albania, Rome 1886.

Albania Religion