Not only the Mayor of Florence, Archbishop Giuseppe Betori, but also Ilir Meta, president of Albania celebrated yesterday, 1 November, the 90 years of Albanian Cardinal Ernest Simoni. The wishes also arrived from Pope Francis, read Thursday at the Mass of Ognissanti in the Duomo.
The day presented itself as a double party. The Mayor Nardella, gave the Seal of Peace to Don Simoni, a recognition that in the past was given to personalities like John Paul II, Michail Gorbachev and the Dalai Lama.
For years Don Simoni, appointed cardinal by Pope Francis in the 2016, has been accepted into the diocese of Florence as honorary canon of the Metropolitan Chapter.
"It is a great honor to give this recognition to Don Ernest Simoni for his testimony of a man of peace, freedom and peace". It is with these words that Mayor Dario Nardella delivered the Seal of Peace to Cardinal Ernest Simoni, who has been living in Florence for some time.
Thanks also came from the President Meta, who recalled the link between Florence and Albania, as well as the twinning of Florence with Tirana, which was restarted this year thanks to a visit by the Florentine Mayor to Tirana.
Don Ernest Simoni: the biography
For the simple fact of being a priest, in the 1963 - during the communist regime - Don Ernest Simoni was arrested and placed in an isolation cell. Subjected to torture and sentenced to death, he saw himself commute the capital sentence in eighteen years of forced labor, of which twelve were spent in the mine.
During the period of his imprisonment, Fr Ernest Simoni continues to celebrate the memorial Mass in Latin and to distribute the communion in secret.
After leaving the prison, he is again sentenced to forced labor: this time he is assigned to the maintenance of the sewers of the city of Scutari. Back free in the 1990, when the communist regime collapses.
With freedom of worship, for Don Ernest Simoni a period of intense pastoral activity begins, especially for reconciliation. In view of the writing of this book, the author personally interviewed Fr Ernest Simoni, whose words, often quoted verbatim, allow us to reconstruct a complete picture of the vicissitudes that involved him and his family. In the background, the climate of the dark years of the dictatorship, but also the hopes linked to the rebirth.
- Don Ernest Simoni, the Albanian cardinal who moved Francesco, turns 90 years
- Don Ernest Simoni. From forced labor to meeting Francesco, a book by Mimmo Muolo
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