Pope Francis has begun his first official European visit, touching down in Albania on Sunday (21 September) morning.
The pontiff was greeted by the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, when he touched down in Tirana for a one-day visit.
The Vatican said the pope had selected the impoverished Balkan country – instead of one of the wealthier European nations – out of a desire to show his concern for people on the “margins”.
The trip, including giving mass on Mother Teresa Square in central Tirana, aims to highlight and promote harmony between different religions.
Catholicism has regained its place in predominantly Muslim, but largely secular, Albania.
Under the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, Catholic priests were persecuted.Furthermore, Hoxha banned all religions in 1967 in attempt to create an atheist state.
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