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Emarildo Bani Gerold Tola

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1 Emarildo Bani Gerold Tola
Religion In Albania Emarildo Bani Gerold Tola

Albania is a multi religious country, in which, for many centuries, have coexisted four traditional religious communities – the Muslims Suni, the Orthodox, the Catholics and the Muslims Bektashi (in Albania is established the Holy See of World Bektashism). The relationships between them are very good ones, characterized by peace, harmony and collaboration.

The four traditional religious communities are tolerant and collaborative with other religious groups, which have been established in Albania since the year 1990, when religious life restarted and our country was opened to the World after a pause from 1967 when religious practices were officially banned in Albania, making the country the first and only constitutionally atheist state to ever exist. Also, present in Albania are: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), the Baha`is, the Jehovah’s Witness, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamat in Albania and some others.

In Albania, more than 98 % of the population have their religious identity within the four traditional religious communities – Muslims, Orthodox, Catholics and Bektashi, which are not conditioned by the percentages of the believers of a definite faith. Despite the difference in their numbers, all believers feel themselves equal and they are equal factors in the life of the country. The four traditional religious communities and the other ones, enjoy all the freedom and space for practicing their religious mission.

During all its very ancient history, there have never been significant religious conflicts in Albania. Even when, in certain moments of our history, any delicate problem has appeared, the believers and the intellectual clergymen have been able to resolve them peacefully. Albanians protect this very precious treasure of interfaith harmony, with care and love, as an authentic, extraordinary value that Albania offers to the world history and culture. The excellent interfaith relations in Albania radiate even in other Balkan countries where Albanian populations are present, as in Kossova, Macedonia, Montenegro etc.

6 Communist albania The Agrarian Reform Law of August nationalized most property of religious institutions, including the estates of monasteries, orders, and dioceses. Many clergy and believers were tried, tortured, and executed. All foreign Roman Catholic priests, monks, and nuns were expelled in 1946.  Religious institutions were forbidden to have anything to do with the education of the young, because that had been made the exclusive province of the state. All religious communities were prohibited from owning real estate and from operating philanthropic and welfare institutions and hospitals. 

7 Communist albania Between 1945 and 1953, the number of priests was reduced drastically and the number of Roman Catholic churches was decreased from 253 to 100, and all Catholics were stigmatized as fascists. May 1967, religious institutions had been forced to relinquish all 2,169 churches, mosques, cloisters, and shrines in Albania, many of which were converted into cultural centres for young people. As the literary monthly Nendori reported the event, the youth had thus "created the first atheist nation in the world.”

8 Communist albania The clergy were publicly vilified and humiliated, their vestments taken and desecrated. More than 200 clerics of various faiths were imprisoned, others were forced to seek work in either industry or agriculture, and some were executed or starved to death. After the death of Enver Hoxha in 1985, his successor, Ramiz Alia, adopted a relatively tolerant stance toward religious practice, referring to it as "a personal and family matter." Émigré clergymen were permitted to reenter the country in 1988 and officiate at religious services. Mother Teresa, an ethnic Albanian, visited Tirana in 1989, 

9 ISLAMISM IN ALBANIA During the Ottoman rule in Albania, the majority of Albanians converted to the Muslim affiliation (Sunni and Bektashi).  According to 2011 census, 58.79% of Albania adheres to Islam, making it the largest religion in the country. Majority of Albanian Muslims are Sunni with a significant Bektashi Shia minority.

10 Ethem Bey Mosque, Tirana

11 Ethem Bey Mosque, Tirana
The Ethem Bey Mosque is located in the center of the Albanian capital, Tirana. Construction was started in 1789 and finished in 1823 by Haxhi Ethem Bey. Closed under communist rule, the mosque reopened as a house of worship in 1991, without permission from the authorities. 10,000 courageous people dared to attend and remarkably the police did not interfere. The event was a milestone in the rebirth of religious freedom in Albania.

12 Bektashism Founded in the 13th century by Hajii Bektash Veli, true descendant of Prophet Muhammad , upon who be the Peace and Blessings of Allah It became a structured organization with a uniform set of doctrines and rituals at the end of the 15th century Present in Anatolia region, Balkan countries, Egypt, Iraq, USA etc. The highest virtues to be a true follower of Bektashi Way: striving for knowledge, living in brotherhood and friendship, and having love for humanity.

13 BEKTASHISM Bektashi community do not frequent mosques and do not necessarily pray in the same manner as Sunni Muslims, and Bektashism allows the use of alcohol. Located in Albania, southern and southeastern part, 20% of Muslims are considered as part of Bektashi coumminity, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria(the turbes of Kidlemi Baba, Demir Baba ect), Turkey, Bosnia, Egypt, Iraq, Hungary…

14 Bektashism in albania

15 Bektashism in Albania It started with the occupation of Ottoman Empire and the process of conversion to Muslims The most famous followers: Ali Pasha Tepelena (the ruler of Pashalik of Yanina) and Naim Frasheri (poet and one of the most prominent figures of the Albanian National Awakening) In 1925 the forbiddance in Turkey of all Sufi orders from Kemal Ataturk, brought all the leading babas in Albania (most of them had Albanian origin) and leadership was now in Tirana In 1967 the prime minister Enver Hoxha banned all religions and most of babas and dervishes were executed or interned (still Bektashi community was practicing and preserving their sacred traditions in secret).

16 Christianity in Albania

17 Christianity in Albania
Christianity first arrived in Albania with Saint Paul during the 1st century. Saint Paul wrote that he preached in the Roman province of Illyricum, and legend holds that he visited Durres. However it was with Constantine the Great, who issued the Edict of Milan and legalized Christianity, that the Christian religion became official in the lands of modern Albania.  The Albanian government gives the percentages of religious affiliations with only 38% Muslim, 16% Eastern Orthodox, 17% Catholic and 25% atheist or nonreligious.

18 Roman Catholicism

19 Roman Catholicism The Roman Catholic Church in Albania is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and curia in Rome.  In 2011 census the percentage of  Catholics was 10.03% due to emigration, especially to Italy. Catholicism is strongest in the northwestern part of the country, which historically had the most readily available contact with, and support from, Rome and the The Republic of Venice.   There are five dioceses in the country, including two archdioceses plus an Apostolic Administration covering southern Albania.

20 Christianity in Albania

21 Eastern orthodoxy Eastern Orthodoxy is practiced by about 20% of Albanians within Albania.  With the split of the Church,Orthodoxy became the religion for those Albanians inhabiting the areas under the Byzantine rule.  Although Orthodox Christianity has existed in Albania for centuries, and the Orthodoxy historically(before the arrival of Islam) constituted about 50% of the population of Albania, the first Orthodox liturgy in the Albanian language was held not in Albania, but in Massachusetts. Subsequently, when the Orthodox Church was allowed no official existence in communist Albania, Albanian Orthodoxy survived in exile in Boston (1960–1989). 

22 Autocephalous Orthodox Church


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