Kosovar Catholics Rip Off Their Burkas

5 bob again to Nan!

Out of hiding, some Kosovars embrace Christianity
By Fatos Bytyci
Reuters
Sunday, September 28, 2008; 9:11 PM

KLINA, Kosovo (Reuters) – Hundreds of Kosovar Albanians gather on Sundays to attend religious services in a still unfinished red-brick church in the Kosovo town of Klina.

Turning away from the majority Muslim faith imposed by the Ottoman Turks centuries ago, these worshippers are part of a revival of Catholicism in the newly independent Balkan state.

“We have been living a dual life. In our homes we were Catholics but in public we were good Muslims,” said Ismet Sopi. “We don’t call this converting. It is the continuity of the family’s belief.”

Sopi has commuted 40 km (25 miles) every Sunday from central Kosovo to Klina to attend a morning mass since he formally became a Roman Catholic five months ago. This September was the first holy month of Ramadan during which no one in his 32-member family fasted.

The majority of ethnic Albanians were forcibly converted to Islam, mostly through the imposition of high taxes on Catholics, when the Ottoman Empire ruled the Balkans.

For centuries, many remembered their Christian roots and lived as what they call “Catholics in hiding”. Some, nearly a century after the Ottomans left the Balkans, now see the chance to reveal their true beliefs.

“Fifty or sixty percent of the population are linked emotionally with the Roman Catholic religion. This is because of feelings about what our ancestors believed,” said Muhamet Mala, a professor who teaches History of Religion at Pristina Public University.

EASTER EGGS AND CHRISTMAS

Originally Christians, the Sopis’ ancestors converted to Islam centuries ago during the Ottoman Empire but the family cherished Christian customs for centuries. They colored eggs at Easter and celebrated Christmas along with Ramadan.

“Islam started spreading in big numbers across Albanian territories when the Ottomans came in the 15th century. The majority of the people embraced Islam for economic reasons,” said Jahja Drancolli, a religion professor who also teaches at Pristina Public University.

“At the time, if you were a Catholic you had to pay a lot of taxes to the Ottomans.”

Around 90 percent of Kosovo’s Albanian population is Muslim, with just four percent Roman Catholics. The country is also home to dozens of medieval Serbian Orthodox monasteries and churches.

READ ALL HERE

Advertisements

4 Responses to Kosovar Catholics Rip Off Their Burkas

  1. Fr. J. says:

    I look forward to the day, God willing, when we learn in heaven how the prayers of Mother Theresa, an ethnic Albanian, has influenced these Catholics to come out of their 500 years of hiding. Theresa, ora pro nobis!!

  2. Tito Edwards says:

    I pray for more of these crypto-Christians to come out all over the Balkans and Turkey.

  3. aboriente says:

    Thanks for the post. I’m with Fr. J and Tito.

    Santa Maria, ora pro nobis!

  4. NEW CREATION says:

    GOD BLESS THE KOSOVAR CHRISTIANS. MAMA MARY TOGETHER WITH MOTHER TERESA PLEASE PRAY FOR THE SANCTIFICATION AND CONVERSION OF KOSOVA. LET THEM EMBRACE THE CROSS AND THE POWERS THAT LIES IN IT. AMEN

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: