Ambassador Stefano Palumbo and his wife had the pleasure of joining the reception organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Albania to the Holy See and the Sovereign Order of Malta, with the initiative of the Chargé d’Affaires, Majlinda Dodaj, on the occasion of the Independence Day of Albania and the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Albania and the Holy See.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania H.E. Edi Rama, accompanied by his wife Mrs. Rama and his son, as well as the Vatican Secretary of State, His Eminence, Cardinal Pietro Parolin joined the celebrations. Among the distinguished guests were the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Ms. Olta Xhaçka; the Vatican Undersecretary for Relations with States, Monsignor. Miroslav Stanislav Wachowski; the Assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, Monsignor. Luigi Roberto Cona.
During his speech, the Albanian Cardinal, His Eminence Ernest Simoni, noted that, despite the difficulties throughout history, Albanians have managed to bring their best values everywhere in the world, such as generosity and interfaith dialogue.
On this occasion Cardinal Parolin received the highest honour awarded by the Albanian Prime Minister, the Grand Cordon with Benemerenti Star modelled on the Albanian national colors and the arms of Skanderbeg, Athleta Christi.
“I find it difficult to express enough gratitude to the church and Catholics. Today, more than ever, I would like to thank you for the brotherhood that has united the Holy See and the Republic of Albania for 30 years”, said Rama during his speech.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin thanked Rama for the honour, adding that the papacy will continue to endorse interfaith dialogue in the European integration path for Albania.
The official visit to the Vatican had the aim of laying the foundations for a joint committment on the future agreement with the Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome to facilitate the free treatment of Albanian children suffering from serious diseases and the construction of the first shrine dedicated to saint Mother Theresa in Albania through a gift of land in Tirana by the Albanian government.