The Pol­i­tics of Chris­tian­iza­tion in Albania

Since 1913, when the state of Alba­nia came into exis­tence, the only Mus­lim state of Europe has con­tin­u­ous­ly been attacked by vir­u­lent Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ary orga­ni­za­tions which aim to Chris­tian­ize its pop­u­la­tion. The worst waves of Chris­tian­iza­tion has been after 1991, when the com­mu­nist régime col­lapsed in the coun­try. The com­mu­nists, who destroyed Islam very bad­ly in its reli­gious and cul­tur­al infra­struc­ture, cre­at­ed all the need­ed con­di­tions for the Chris­tian­iza­tion of de-Islamized Alba­nia. As Miran­da Vick­ers points out in her book Alba­nia : From Anar­chy to a Balkan Iden­ti­ty, Alba­nia of 1990’s became a bat­tling ground for many Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ist orga­ni­za­tions, whose aim was to evan­ge­lize the lost Mus­lim pop­u­la­tions of the Ottoman Balkans.

The Chris­t­ian orders that invad­ed Alba­nia ranged from the Christ’s Cam­pus Cru­saders, Jeho­vah’s Wit­ness, Adven­tists, Mor­mons, Pres­by­te­ri­ans and all oth­er types of Chris­t­ian Protes­tants which pumped up into Alba­nia from the Chris­t­ian belt of Amer­i­ca as well as many west­ern Euro­pean coun­tries. How­ev­er the major play­ers in the field of evan­ge­liza­tion has been the old Ortho­dox and Catholic cen­ters of Chris­tian­i­ty which lie just next door to Alba­nia : in Greece and Italy.

The meth­ods that the Chris­t­ian orga­ni­za­tions use for con­vert­ing Alba­ni­ans in the reli­gion of Christ, range from the rewrit­ing of the books of the his­to­ry, to the spread of hate –- anti-Islam­ic lit­er­a­ture — to forced con­ver­sion into ortho­doxy for the Alba­ni­ans who want to get a stay­ing per­mit in Greece, to polit­i­cal black­mails and door to door preach­ing. Protes­tant mis­sion­ar­ies such as Edwin Jacque have writ­ten even a best­seller book on the Chris­tian­ized his­to­ry of Alba­nia, while Catholic and Ortho­dox church­es run a num­ber of pub­lic schools, uni­ver­si­ties, radios and TV programmes.

The Chris­t­ian pros­e­lytism receives polit­i­cal sup­port even from the West­ern embassies that oper­ate in Alba­nia. This can be seen clear­ly in the pol­i­tics of the US, Greek and Ital­ian embassies. In the Amer­i­can embassy, in many cas­es peo­ple who get the top jobs there are Alban­ian rene­gades, like A. N. who is the clos­est advis­er to US ambas­sadors. After denounc­ing Islam and work­ing for Chris­t­ian Protes­tants, he — as many oth­er con­verts — become the most trust­ed advis­er of the Amer­i­can ambas­sadors, and is a per­son who pen­e­trates every meet­ing and back­side deals that the pow­er­ful embassy car­ries with Alban­ian politi­cians and politics.

How­ev­er the pol­i­tics of the employ­ment are not the only exam­ple. Oth­er exam­ples of US embassy’s reli­gious pro­pa­gan­da can be seen in the orga­ni­za­tion of morn­ing prayers that the embassy does time after time with Alban­ian politi­cians, min­is­ters and the pres­i­dent with the help of top US preach­ers. But apart from the Amer­i­cans, the Ital­ians and Greeks also have a high pro­file in the sup­port of Chris­t­ian pro­pa­gan­da in the coun­try. Thus, while the Ital­ians have in many cas­es become the spokeper­son of the Vat­i­can in Tirana — as the exam­ple of 23 Octo­ber 2005 showed — when the Ital­ian ambas­sador orga­nized the Moth­er There­sa” marathon, the Greeks have always stood behind Arch­bish­op Yanolatos and his aggres­sive pro­pa­gan­da against Islam in the country.

In places like in Korça, the Greek con­sulates are even built in the premis­es of the Ortho­dox Church­es. The Greek embassy in every cer­e­mo­ny it orga­nizes in the coun­try has always the Greek bish­ops in its back and often it sends warn­ings to the Alban­ian state about the rights of its Greek Church in the coun­try. The same can be said about the Ital­ians who have in many cas­es spon­sored build­ing of Church­es, spon­sor­ing plen­ty of catholic reli­gious pro­grams and sup­port­ing through their insti­tu­tions the prop­a­ga­tion of the Catholic cul­ture. In their embassy in Tirana, when one goes to obtain a visa, one can see how the walls of the embassy are hung with the por­traits of Vat­i­can’s saints.

Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ar­ies in Alba­nia are supe­ri­or in com­par­i­son to the Mus­lim and Bek­tashi com­mu­ni­ties of Islam. In my arti­cle Alba­ni­ans and Islam, Between Exis­tence and Extinc­tion”, I gave a list of what they poss­es in the coun­try. Byget­ting the year­ly bud­gets of mil­lions of US dol­lars, they have built church­es and open Chris­t­ian cen­ters in almost every town and vil­lage of the coun­try. Their huge bud­gets allow them to have even heli­copters at their dis­po­si­tion and enable them, in many cas­es, reach even the most remote areas of Alba­nia which can­not be accessed even by the gov­ern­ment of Tirana itself.

The Chris­tian­iza­tion poli­cies in Alba­nia reached their peak in 2002, when Alba­nia, final­ly after 600 years of Mus­lim his­to­ry had its Prime Min­is­ter, Pres­i­dent, Min­is­ter of Inte­ri­or, Chief Spy, May­or of Tirana, Chief Librar­i­an, Chief Judge, Chief Aca­d­e­mi­cian, Chief State Con­troller, Chief His­to­ri­an and so on, as Chris­tians. The rule of 20% Chris­tians upon the rest of the 80% Mus­lim Alba­ni­ans is ongo­ing even today. Thus, Alba­ni­ans at present, apart from hav­ing most of their major rulers from the ortho­dox back­grounds in the polit­i­cal and cul­tur­al sphere, are faced with a cul­tur­al inva­sion from the Catholic propaganda.

Since some peo­ple believed that Moth­er Tere­sa was an Alban­ian, her cult of per­son­al­i­ty is spon­sored aggres­sive­ly in the coun­try. Alban­ian school­child­ren are forced by the min­istries of Edu­ca­tion and Cul­ture to orga­nize mass ral­lies in her mem­o­ry. Those mass­es are spon­sored by the Vat­i­can and Ital­ian embassy. Apart from this, by using their influ­ence on the Alban­ian state, the catholic pro­pa­gan­da has man­aged to push the politi­cians of Alba­nia to put her name in every cor­ner of the coun­try. Thus the only air­port of Alba­nia is named after the recent­ly made Catholic saint ; Moth­er Tere­sa’, the main boule­vard in Tirana is named Moth­er Tere­sa”, the main hos­pi­tal in Tirana is named Moth­er Tere­sa”, while many oth­er streets, clin­ics, schools, uni­ver­si­ties, etc. are named after Catholic saints through­out the coun­try. Exam­ples of these names are the Don Bosko street, Padre Lui­gi Mon­ti Clin­ic, The Lady of the Good Coun­cil Uni­ver­si­ty, etc.

The pol­i­tics of forced con­ver­sions of Alba­ni­ans into the Catholic sphere was seen even on 19th Octo­ber 2005, when all school­child­ren of Alba­nia were forced to observe as a state hol­i­day, the day when Vat­i­can beat­i­fied moth­er There­sa. On the 23rd of Octo­ber, the Ital­ian embassy in Tirana, in coöper­a­tion with the Min­istry of Cul­ture, closed all the streets of Mus­lim Tirana, since the Pope had issued a bul­la” for the sub­ject­ed Alba­ni­ans to orga­nize the Moth­er Tere­sa peo­ple’s march” in the streets of Alba­ni­a’s cap­i­tal. In 9 Novem­ber 2005, the Ortho­dox pres­i­dent of Alba­nia, Alfred Moi­siu, declared at a meet­ing in the Oxford Union that all Alba­ni­ans were Chris­tians, and that Islam is noth­ing but a for­eign reli­gion in Albania. The Politics of Christianization in Albania 1Endmark






One response to “The Pol­i­tics of Chris­tian­iza­tion in Albania”

  1. Rezi Avatar

    In Alban­ian Language

    Selam ale­jkum

    Hajde ols had­je, tani na je bere nderkombetare.
    Idete e tua i ke shteru­ar né shqiperi dhe mendon
    se duhet eksportu­ar neper bote ?

    P.s. Pas pak do te na flase­sh edhe per trinitetin.



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