To understand the complex panorama of Albanian religious affiliations in the Balkans, we should go back to the origin of the religious and political issues that generated it.
For historians, the mass conversion of Albanians from Christianity to Islam took place between the 15th and 17th centuries, a period in which, gradually and sometimes repressively, the Ottoman occupation contributed to their conversion.
In his book "Nation and Religion in Albania, 1920 - 1944", the Italian historian, Roberto Morozzo della Rocca, states that the great and noble Albanian families converted to Catholicism even before the Ottoman occupation to resist the assimilating pressure from the Greek and Orthodox Slavs, societies in which there was no distinction between religion and nation.
This is precisely the key to interpreting the various conversions of Albanians in history. Furthermore, there may have been to some extent a natural inclination towards the new religious philosophy of Islam.
From the point of view of political history, according to historians, the ancestors of the Albanians, the Illyrians, before the Christian era were pagans, but with the occupation of the Illyrian territories by the Roman Empire and with the choice of Christianity as the official religion of this Empire by Emperor Theodosius I, even the Illyrians converted into Christians like the rest of the Roman subjects.
From the division of the Roman Empire in the 395 dc into two parts the Western Roman Empire (with its center in Rome) and the Eastern Roman Empire (with its center in Constantinople) were formed, and the Illyrian territories, a kind of land of the border, have suffered a strong influence from both. It should be mentioned that while on the one hand these territories became part of the Eastern Roman Empire, on the other they continued to be under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Roman Papacy.
And the non-correspondence between political and religious jurisdiction has marked the historical destiny of the Albanians. The Albanian nation has had to live in the midst of the two empires, as in modern times (between the blocks of the east and the west), always in strong contradictions between them, making that the Illyrian territories, now Albanian, become forever a field for multidimensional, ie military, economic and cultural battles. Or in the metaphorical sense a bridge on which everyone wants to pass, but nobody lives and builds something ...
If you have the opportunity to pass through these territories, you will notice that part of modern European history is missing because wars always bring destruction and do not allow reconstruction ...
Version adapted by Alban Trungu & Eduart Rustemi with the permission of the author
[author title = "Artur Nura" image = "https://www.albanianews.it/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/fotonestudio1-180×180.jpg"] Kryeredaktor i NTV, Botues i Revistes telematike "Perqasje ... "Korrespondent Radio Radicale! [/ Author]
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