Die Apostolische Nachfolge
|von Martin Wolters
In Albania, communist partisans led by Enver Hoxha came to power after the Italian occupation ended in 1944; 1946 the People's Republic was proclaimed. The obscure regime became - besides North Corea - the most brutal dictatorship worldwide, and in 1967 Hoxha declared the country as the first atheistic state on earth. Even after the dictator's death in 1982 nothing got better until the system's overthrow in 1990. In February 1947, Bishop Gjergj Volaj of SapŽ was murdered by the regime, and on March 11, 1948 Bishop Frano Gjini of LezhŽ was shot as martyr after having refused the establishment of a national church. Finally, NikollŽ VinÁenc Prennushi, O. F. M., Archbishop of DurrŽs, died on March 19, 1949, as consequence of torture in prison.
At 1950s beginning, there was only one bishop left as follows:
1911 - 1956 Bernardin Shllaku, O. F. M., Bishop of Pult.
Secret Bishop Consecrations 1952 - 1956:
20.04.1952: Ernest Maria «oba, Ap. Administrator of ShkodrŽ, by Bernardin Shllaku
20.04.1952: PjetŽr Dema, Capitular Vicar of DurrŽs, by Bernardin Shllaku
25.04.1957: Antonin Fishta, Capitular Vicar of
Pult, by Ernest Maria «oba
25.03.1959: NikollŽ Troshani, Ap. Administrator
of DurrŽs and of LezhŽ, presumely by Ernest Maria «oba
Martyr Bishop: Mgr. Antonin Fishta, O. F. M., of Pult
Additional consecrations obviously did not took place. Bishop Fishta died 1980 in prison, and bishop Coba was beaten to death by his guards also in 1980.
The first consecrations after the end of dictatorship Pope John Paul II personally celebrated on April 25, 1993, when he paid a visit to Albania:
Robert Ashta, O. F. M., Bishop of Pult
Frano Illia, Archbishop of ShkodrŽ
Rrok K. Mirdita, Archbishop of DurrŽs-Tirana
Zef Simoni, Auxiliary Bishop of ShkodrŽ.
Mikel Cardinal Koliqi and Ernest Cardinal Simoni
In consistory of November 26, 1994, the Pope
created the 92 years old prelate Mikel Koliqi, long-time vicar general of ShkodrŽ
and in prison for faith, as a cardinal. However, he never was consecrated a
bishop. In the consistory of November 19, 2016, Pope Francis created
Reverend Ernest Simoni as cardinal, a priest from ShkodrŽ-Pult archdiocese, who
survived communism in spite of having been condemned to death.
On November 5, 2016, Pope Francis beatified the Servants of God archbishop NikollŽ VinÁenc Prennushi and bishop Frano Gjini.
The photos from this page are coming from the archive of Hofrat Dr. Manfred Kierein, Vienna. The picture of Cardinal Simoni: with courteousy by Holger RŲhren, Paderborn.
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