Pope Visits Albania

Pope Francis will travel to the capital of Albania on Sunday, meeting with political and religious leaders. According to Father Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, the...
A view of the pictures of 40 Catholic priests who were executed and persecuted by the former Albanian communist regime, on display, on the Martyrs of the Nations Boulevard, in Tirana, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 where Pope Francis will pass during his one-day visit Sunday. The Vatican says it's not taking any extra security measures to protect Pope Francis during his weekend trip to majority Muslim Albania despite reports of Islamic militants returning from the Mideast.  (THE Frontliner Photo/Vedat Xhymshiti)

A view of the pictures of 40 Catholic priests who were executed and persecuted by the former Albanian communist regime, on display, on the Martyrs of the Nations Boulevard, in Tirana, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 where Pope Francis will pass during his one-day visit Sunday. (THE Frontliner Photo/Vedat Xhymshiti)

Pope Francis will travel to the capital of Albania on Sunday, meeting with political and religious leaders. According to Father Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, the pope’s trip to Albania will be his fourth international voyage and his first trip to a European country outside of Italy. Pope Francis will spend his time in Albania honouring the “victims of atheistic Communism,” Vatican Radio reports. He will also aim to encourage inter-religious coexistence, as Albania is the only European nation with a Muslim majority of its population.

In his 11 hours in Albania, the pope will meet with Albanian President Bujar Nishani and other civil leaders, preside over a mass in Mother Teresa Square, and meet with the nation’s bishops before a meeting with religious leaders. While in Albania, the pope is expected to make all of his speeches in Italian.

About 15 percent of Albanians are Catholic and more than 60 percent are Muslim.

Francis has said he wanted to visit Albania to highlight the rebirth of Christianity that was brutally wiped out during communist rule, and to showcase how Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims are working together now to govern the country. The Vatican says it’s not taking any extra security measures to protect Pope Francis during his weekend trip to majority Muslim Albania despite reports of Islamic militants returning from the Mideast.

Vedat Xhymshiti; is an independent journalist and war correspondent. He has reported on a number of Middle Eastern conflicts from the Arab Spring in 2010 to the current Syrian civil war. He has been published in various media including Der Spiegel, NY Times, TIME, Paris Match, Le Monde ect. He is specialized in International Relations and Diplomacy. Xhymshiti is also a print media critic, a columnist for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, and founder of THEFrontliner.net

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