The Significance of Catholicism for Albanian National Renascence and the Construction of the Albanian State (Second Half of the Nineteenth Century - Early Twentieth Century)
Existing literature on the subject correctly accentuates the fact that the conception of Albanian national identity is essentially based on non-religious factors. This thesis is usually supported by the opinion of Pashko Vasa, one of the prominent ideologues of the Albanian renascence: 'The religion of the Albanians is Albanianism'. Without undermining heretofore findings, the presented text draws attention to the question, often neglected by researchers, of the significance for the national Albanian revival (the turn of the nineteenth century) of numerous and varied undertakings pursued in the domain of the creed. Important accomplishments for the formation of modern Albanian identity, the progress of Albanian culture, and the construction of an Albanian state should be ascribed to the activity of Albanian Christians representing both rites (Western and Eastern). The text focuses on the cultural, educational and political achievements of Albanian Catholics. The accomplishments of individuals and monastic orders (especially the Jesuits and the Franciscans) were truly imposing. Another noteworthy fact is the connection between Albanians and Catholicism (particularly conspicuous among the Mirdits) which contributed to a situation in which Albanian political strivings and the national liberation and state-oriented projects from the turn of the nineteenth century enjoyed the understanding and backing of states playing an important political, economic and cultural role in the Balkans. This holds particularly true for Austro-Hungary and Italy.
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