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Vatican sets date for Albania’s beatification of martyrs

Pope Francis delivers a speech flanked by Albania's President Bujar Nishani in Tirana in 2014 (AP)

The Catholic Church in Albania says that Vatican has set November 5 as the day of beatification of 38 Albanian religious martyrs killed by the former communist regime.

In April, Pope Francis officially recognised as martyrs archbishop Vincens Prenushi and 37 other priests who died in prison or were murdered between 1945-1974 by the late communist dictator Enver Hoxha’s regime, said a statement on Wednesday. Hoxha’s regime banned religion in 1967 and persecuted its leaders and believers.

During the Pope’s visit to Tirana in 2014 big posters of the 38 clergy were placed along the Martyrs of the Nation Boulevard.

Francis held up Albania, with a majority of Muslims and also with Orthodox and Catholic communities, as a model for interfaith harmony.