the domination of communism in the world

“The first atheist country in the world”

The Albanian clergy, especially the Catholic Church, became the next target of the new
people's government when it had already dealt with the “classes of possessors and
collaborators”". The scale of persecution of clergy in Albania was unparalleled in all the
countries of the Soviet bloc, except for the Soviet Union itself. Despite the appearances of an
initial peaceful coexistence, it quickly became clear that there would be no room in the new
totalitarian system of Albania for any institutions that were not subordinate to the
communists to operate. The death of Father Lazare Liga Kumci, who died in 1945 as a victim
of the "spontaneous wrath of the people" against the collaborators, was a bleak
announcement of the coming bloody trials against the Church. The case of Bashkiy Shqiptar,
a conspiratorial group of Catholics and Muslims alike, operating at the Albanian Pontifical
Seminar in Damage, discovered by the Department of People's Defense in December 1945,
served as a pretext for taking action against the clergy. The break-up was followed by mass
arrests, the victims of which were, among others, the Vice-Provincial Minister, Gijon Fausti's
father, and Daniel Dajani, the Rector of the Seminary. They were sentenced to death in a
trial with Franciscan Gion Shllaku and the leader of the organization, Marko Cuni, and shot
on 4 March 1946 in Shkoder.
Recognising that the goal of repression, to break the ties between the Albanian Church and
the Vatican, is not being achieved, the authorities have stepped up their course against the
clergy. On 8 March 1948, Franco Gjini, an apostolic nun, was executed for practicing anti-
communist propaganda. Albania's Primate Gaspar Thaci, Archbishop of Shkoder, died under
house arrest, and Vincent Prendushi, Archbishop of Durresi, was sentenced to thirty years of
hard labour, after which he died in February 1949. In total, on the back of a wave of anti-
religious terror in Albania, by 1949, 40% of the Catholic clergy had been repressed, 43 of
whom had been murdered and 43 of whom had died in prison. The rest were either expelled
from the country or fled on their own. The fight against churches and religious associations
was waged in Albania until 1967, when Hoxha announced that Albania had become "the first
atheistic state in the world". In the country the practicing of any religion is legally forbidden.
According to the calculations of the communists themselves, all religious places of worship
were transformed, closed or destroyed in Albania - a total of 2170 temples, including 327
Catholic sanctuaries.