Albanian Church

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The first community of Byzantine Catholic Albanians was a small mission along the coast of Epirus that existed from 1628 to 1765. A second group was established in about 1900 by a former Albanian Orthodox priest, Fr. George Germanos. By 1912 his community numbered about 120 and was centered in the village of Elbasan. In 1938 monks from the Italo-Albanian monastery at Grottaferrata came to assist them. An Apostolic Administration of Southern Albania was set up for the community in 1939, and was temporarily placed under the pastoral care of the Apostolic Delegate in Albania, Archbishop Leone Giovanni Nigris. By 1945 it had about 400 members, but in that year Archbishop Nigris was expelled from the country. The group vanished after 1967 when Albania was declared an atheist state. In 1996 Hil Kabashi was appointed the first bishop of the Apostolic Administration since 1945. The Apostolic Administratorship of Southern Albania has 3,200 Catholics in 9 parishes, with 11 churches, and is served by 4 diocesan and 10 religious priests, 10 male and 97 female religious, who administer 10 schools and 20 charitable institutions. The great majority of these are of Latin, not Byzantine, Rite.

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