World Notes & Quotes

Albania in Geopolitical History

Kosovo, a Baltic region disputed by Serbian and ethnic Albanian occupants, seems an unlikely center of world attention. But Albania's political and religious history—and the brutality of its conflicts-have made it the center of much attention throughout the Christian era.

U.N. Special Envoy Robert Gelbard is quoted (The Washington Times, March 5) saying that the United States remains prepared to act militarily against Slobodan Milosevic and his “terrorist” crack-down on ethnic Albanians in the area, 24 of whom were killed over the weekend of March 1.

Such a development would not be extraordinary in Albania, whose deep Catholic roots and location on the border between the East and West have made it the center of attention throughout its history. Consider the following facts about Albania:

1 It was first evangelized by St. Paul.

1 The country was the birthplace of Emporer Constantine, who brought Christianity acceptance by the Roman Empire.

1 Legend reports Albania as the place where the Te Deum was written, and where St. Francis of Assisi established his first foreign community.

1 The nation and its legendary crusader Skanderbeg, were celebrated by several popes for its almost singlehanded turning back of attacks from the East.

1 In our day, Albania is known as both the birthplace of Mother Teresa and the place of the fiercest Communist persecution of Catholics—a persecution that ended in Albania proper only when thousands of Albanians attended an illegal public Mass in defiance of the government.

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