Memorie.al publishes some archival documents dating back to 1965-’66 when the Communist regime of Enver Hoxha launched an action to attack and destroy various religious sites of the three religions, ranging from churches, seminaries, monasteries, cathedrals, mosques, tombs. , tekke, etc., which drew mixed reactions not only from senior leaders of the Catholic Clergy, such as Bishop of Shkodra, Bishop Ernest Çoba, who sent a letter to Enver Hoxha protesting the demolition of the cult building where the Saint of Our Lady of Good Council, the horn of Rozafat, but also by various groups of believers, Catholics, Muslims and Orthodox, such as those of Elbasan who in their letter threatened Enver Hoxha, writing that if they would the mosque in Fushe-King was destroyed, they would go to Tirana… ?!
Although the Communist regime of Enver Hoxha had begun attacking religious institutions and clergy of the three faiths since his coming to power in December 1944, when executions or mass imprisonment and internment of hundreds of hundreds of clergymen began, the ban of religion and the demolition of various religious sites began only in 1965. Against the decision taken by the senior leadership of the SPL and personally by Enver Hoxha at that time, to ban religion and demolish all religious institutions and facilities various cults, which was initially camouflaged, attributed to the initiative and demand of some Tirana and Durres high school youth organizations, received strong opposition and backlash from both faithful and senior clergy. three religious denominations, which practiced their religious activity in our country. But the reactions of various clergymen and believers were even more aggravated when the APL senior leadership’s directive to demolish the cult facilities were being made a reality by senior party and powerful leaders in various districts of the country, who launched attacks on churches and mosques, initially targeting school students, military bases and fanatical activists of youth organizations. At that time, when the attack on religion and the destruction of various religious sites had just begun, some senior clerics and many believers remembered that it was really an initiative of school youth organizations. And to prevent what was happening, they began sending letter after letter to Enver Hoxha, denouncing the actions taken by religious leaders of the party and district authorities, hoping that the main leader would interfere with authority. its absolute and would stop that thing. Many of these letters and protests that were sent to Enver Hoxha at the time are in the Central State Archives, in Tirana, and some of them, which our editorial board decided to publish in this writing, are made public for the first time. .
Bishop Coba writes to Enver
One of those senior Catholic clergy who reacted to the APL leadership’s decision to demolish the churches was Bishop of Shkodra, Bishop Ernest Çoba, who, through a letter, complained directly to Enver Hoxha about what was happening. In that short letter he wrote:
Urgent to comrade Enver Hoxha
First Secretary of the ASP Tirana
I address you, the leaders of the people, hereafter: On the national road on the Roozafat Fortress, there is the Sanctuary of Thousand Years of Devotion, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Good Counsel, a continuing monument of religion and the homeland.
On 1.6.1966 we were informed by the Presidency of the Executive Committee of the People’s Council of Shkodra District that on the 6th of this month it will be included in the military zone and its operation will be suspended. We are ready to make sacrifices for the well-being of our homeland, even with our lives. However, we urge you, for the sake of your faith, to consider and act to continue the function of the saint in question”.
Ernest M. Choba,
Bishop, President of the Catholic Church of Albania
Shkodra. On 1.6.1966
But this letter of Mister Çoba seems not to have been delivered to Enver Hoxha, as one of the senior officials of the Central Committee of the APL Committee in Tirana, through information provided on the matter, considers it closed. that problem. That letter, dated July 16, 1966, entitled “Information on the Ernest Choba Telegram” reads:
“He is president of the Catholic Church. In a telegram to Comrade Enver, he writes that the Executive Committee of the District People’s Council has informed him that the Sanctuary of Our Lady, located on the national road, the castle of Rozafat, will be included in the military zone and suspended operation. Therefore, it is requested that this matter be considered. This was discussed once with Comrade N. K., who announced that the Executive Committee, in the light of its powers, had previously decided to designate that place a military zone. Ernest Choba then said nothing. Now complaining, she has been told to remove the loot she had inside the church, as her army friends would make some explosions and isolate the place. Comrade N. K. also reported that when Comrade Enver was in Shkodra they had been informed of this decision and had not been warned. Comrade Haki was also informed about this telegram, who talked to his friend L.D. himself to call and explain Ernest Çoba. Comrade L. D. called and clarified Ernest himself, but he is not a good man and confuses them at work. We think the matter should be considered finished. ”
Central Committee: find the author of the letter
The letter of Bishop of Shkodra, Monsignor Ernest Çoba to Enver Hoxha, appears to have raised concerns for senior officials of the Central Committee of the LPS of that time, as, according to documents in the General Directorate of State Archives, in Tirana, has sent a letter to the Central Committee in Tirana to the Party Committee in Shkodra, requesting that the matter be reviewed by her. But most worrying for the Central Committee in Tirana seems to have been anonymous letters sent to Enver Hoxha by a believer in the city of Shkodra, after responding to the Shkodra Party Committee (signed by the LR Secretary), sent to the Central Committee in the middle of further, it is said that the author of that letter could not find it. The letter, dated April 20, 1965, reads: “Explanation of Your Letter No./33/1 Dt. 21.I.1965. As you seek the above, we inform you that for the urgent need of the army and with the approval of the Catholic Ipezhk, the army was authorized to enter the cell of the Black Stone Church. But military command, given the huge needs that the church and cell had on the other side, is under one roof, so the movement of civilians nearby is not allowed and has occupied the church. We have been commissioned by the military command to take action to release the church as soon as possible, though this is a difficult task for them. On the other hand, this problem has also been raised with the people, that the church will be maintained for some time until conditions are set for its release. On the issue of going to work on Sundays and religious holidays, this has been voluntarily requested by cooperatives, taking into account the needs of working in the cooperatives and it is not true that administrative measures have been taken on this issue. We could not find the author of the letter”.
Anonymous letter from Shkodra: “Comrade Enver, here’s what the party leader is doing”
In one of the other letters sent to Enver Hoxha, a believer living in the city of Shkodra, who is anonymous, states:
“The party, as the organizer and inspirer of all the victories of our people, has given evidence of self-sacrifice in every respect. In this letter, I am referring to some inappropriate measures being taken by the Party Committee. During the war N.Ç. the enemy and, in the first place, the Clergy, waged a great war and propaganda against our Party, saying that the Communists did not trust God, destroy churches and mosques, etc. At the same time, their thesis is strongly opposed, moreover, measures have been taken against those Communists who are atheists. What’s happening today? However, today the words of the Clergy are proving to be bad because in our town churches and mosques have been destroyed and some have turned into state depots and what has most frustrated the people of Shkodra is the leadership of the Party Committee of our city. at the top PT, which has a lot of cult development and what PT says will be done or otherwise taken by the devil. He has reached the pinnacle of my opinion on religious matters; he is today seeking to emerge as a new reformer against religion, using some inappropriate forms and methods that you as a Party leader have not fully given such guidance. Here’s what this remarkable personality did: he ordered special forms to be filled in by the secretaries of the Party at the work centers at these points:
Who holds the icons in the house and will you keep or remove them.
If any of your family members die, you will bury them with a priest or a hox.
Who among the employees or members of the family celebrated religious holidays such as Eid, other holidays.
Who refrains from Ramadan and will you do it to ruin your moms and dads?
He has instructed school principals to ask the child up to grade 9 if they are circumcised and will wear them.
He forced state apparatus officers to go around the neighborhood and take him home to ask if he had come up and drunk a glass of water.
It has banned the bell ringing not only for religious holidays but also for the clock which is the greatest ignorance.
(CSA F 14 / A. / Year 1965 D. 1014 p.2)
Elbasan Believers: “Comrade Enver, protect our mosques, we will come to Tirana”
Comrade to Enver Hoxha Tirana.
This is the second letter we are sending to you, Comrade Enver, and for a while, the workers were stopped for demolishing the Ballje mosque, well today. 27.X.1965 began the demolition of the mosque in Jamaat and the believers were saddened and demanded that the mosque in question not be demolished and remain in place. We know that religion is free and enjoy all religious rights, and therefore we demand that the Ballja mosque be historic, but if we do not accept it historically, beautify and regulate it but only let the mosque stay in place and not be demolished. From the religious, Jamaat and believers of Elbasan. Only your order prohibits any action. We remain hopeful. 27.X.65 Enver Hoxha This is the third letter we send to you and no one did it for the Ballje glass in Elbasan, but they continue to break it. It is a great sin to break a mosque like this, which is very good and in the middle of the city. I go to the Chairman of the City Committee that the mosque that would have been destroyed if it had been a church would not have ended, and the Mufti of Elbasan, along with the religious leader in Tirana, look to get money and not ask about the mosques. , but they look to fill their pockets, and for the mosques, they have no galley but one thing is that the mosques have been hit by the people and the people ask how bad it is that the mosques are ruined today and that they have deposited many of them they seem to be in town. As for the Mufti of the city, she has done as she pleases, the town and village clerics are afraid that so with the cobblestones in her belt and her as she says she fears to threaten them, so all that has come about The Mufti of the City is done, so we demand that the mosque not be demolished until it is too late if we, as religious people, enjoy all the rights like the unbelievers, see our rights, or order that all mosques be demolished that we may know that we as a believer do not enjoy the rights as all but perish, along with the Mufti of the City who has the delinquency of religion to this state. We demand that the mosque is not demolished until it is too late and that the Mufti be removed from our religion at all. Unless the demolition is stopped and the mosque is repaired, on Tuesday, the 2nd, we will meet with a group of believers to meet with you to clarify. Sincerely, Jamiat and believers of the city and villages of Elbasan. Highly hopeful lesson. 30.X.65 (A.Q.Sh. f.14 / A.P. S.T.R. V.1965 D.1014 p.76)
Letters from Gjirokastra
Dear and dear friend Enver
I’m glad to be healthy with whatever your soul desires.
Two or three days ago, you came out of Tekke of Zaynel’s father in Shuqur Çuci’s pivot, but when they performed the bones of the father of Shuqur, they left without a Turkish written stone that this stone should be placed where the bones were placed. This is a stone written in Turkish letters indicating the name of the other date ie. it’s a memory. If you would like to write to the Committee here to take it and put it on the shoulder, hugs are healthy.
Honors, Abidin Çano,