On the occasion of the Solemnity of St. John the Baptist, patron saint of the Sovereign Order of Malta, a Pontifical Mass was celebrated in Tirana Cathedral on Sunday, 26 June, during which His Most Reverend Excellency, Msgr. Arjan Dodaj, Archbishop of Tirana-Durres, received the investiture of Conventual Chaplain ad honorem of the Sovereign Order of Malta.
To the words pronounced by the Ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta in Albania, H.E. Stefano Palumbo, with which he announced that H.E. the Lieutenant Grand Master the late Fra’ Marco Luzzago and the Sovereign Council admitted H.E.R. Msgr. Arjan Dodaj into the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem, known as the Sovereign Order of Malta, the Archbishop replied: “with the help of Almighty God and the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Philermos, of St. John the Baptist and of Blessed Gerard, I commit myself to strive for the perfection of the Christian life according to our Catholic Faith, in accordance with the duties of my state and in the spirit and traditions of the Order, generously devoting myself to its service.
The solemn ceremony took place in St. Paul’s Cathedral in Tirana and was concelebrated by His Most Reverend Excellency Msgr. Luigi Bonazzi Apostolic Nuncio in Albania, Msgr. Henricus Veldkamp chancellor of the curia, Msgr. Jerome Ndo Mih President of the Foundation Our Lady of Good Counsel and Father Zef Bisha Parrish priest of the Jesuit church of Tirana and regional coordinator for Albania at the presence of His Excellency Asti Bakallbashi Bishop of the Orthodox Church of Albania, the Grand Mufti of Albania, His Eminence Bujar Spahiu President of the Sunni Muslim Community of Albania, and Pastor Ylli Doci President of the Albanian Evangelical Alliance.
Present at the investiture ceremony was His Royal Highness Crown Prince Leka II of Albania, accompanied by the Grand Chamberlain of the Royal Court, Mr. Armer Juka, together with numerous institutional authorities of the country and representatives of the diplomatic corps. In the role of master of ceremonies, Dr. Maurizio Bettoja, Knight of Honour and Devotion of the Order of Malta and sacristan of the Magistral Chapel, was also attending.