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Pogradeci and surroundings in religious coexistence
Written by Zenun Fero 21 Nëntor 2023
It is the latest book of the author Muharrem Xhydollari, (Hudënishti) Pogradeci is a book with messages about coexistence, living together with others, in certain relationships, is a rare interreligious pact. The author has set out to fill the reader's sense of religious coexistence in Albania and in the Pogradec region, already in the hands of readers, researchers and historians, etc. Muharrem Xhydollari is one of the best researchers in the Pogradec District, engaged in the field of journalism and publishing. "Pogradeci and surroundings in religious coexistence", is the fifth book of this author. The book, there is no gossip, there is no revenge, it is written with coolness, truth, without embellishments. There is pity, as the author resides in the USA since 2001, where he lives with his family. - The book is written using accurate sources of Pogradec's thought, in oral creativity, in the most tangible biblical characters, etc. The great writer Hygoi emphasized: "Believing is the second power, the first is loving". Even the author Muharrem Xhydollari's book is a message of patriotism which describes the entire book. The main word of the book is the birthplace, Pogradeci.. These messages make you stop, meditate, and reflect. - The motherland begins with the family, is nourished and supported by it, grows to new dimensions, when it leaves the family it joins the great homeland. - In Pogradec, the researcher and historian Gjergji Gusho wrote books about Christianity, "On the spread of Christianity and churches in the district of Pogradec". Pogradec-2000. - A dedicated work of this researcher and in the press of the time, and in the newspaper "Mokra" from 1999-2023, the book is based on historical documents, in Albanian letters, in the oral creativity of the inhabitants of Pogradec. The Pelasgians, in the prehistoric era, were pagans, because they believed in many gods, and the most widespread cult was that of the sun. In the first century, after the death of Jesus Christ, Paul became a Christian and made Christianity a world religion. The Christian religion became more human, made man braver against evil, and softened the wounds of the soul. Why does man believe that he needs a source of hope, a source of humanity, a sedative, especially for bad cases, for people in need. -Christians and pagans have been in fierce conflicts for survival. The pagans did not accept Christianity, and they persecuted and killed them. World history has many cases, but Christianity won in its mission. The war continued for three centuries until the year 313, when Emperor Constantine declared Christianity the official religion and condemned the pagan cult. - With the division of the Roman Empire, in the year 395, two Empires, the Roman one and the Byzantine one, where Christian cults and religious beliefs spread more and more, and this lasted for 10 centuries until 1385, where it was conquered by the Ottomans. In 395, many foreign invaders attacked the country, such as the influx of Huns, Goths, and other Avars. They destroyed the churches of the Balkans, clergymen were massacred, church servants were killed, others. - In the year 475-565, many invaders attacked Albania, but he stands in defense of the country and as a result of the existence of the church and faith. For this, the emperor Zeno determined at all costs: "Each city must have its own bishop". -In 1054, the churches were divided into Catholic churches of the West and Orthodox churches of the East. Orthodox Christianity met Pogradec, and in the 10th century, as an important religious center, in South Albania, Ohrid became, from which the province of Pogradec, Korça and even Shpati i Elbasan, among others, depended. -Orthodox religion, realized its mission with the believers, religious people of its own religion, created its clerical hierarchy, priest, monk, infrastructure, created religious education. - The representative of the Orthodox religion was the priest, the word comes from the old Greek "to set in motion, to have the will to do, to accomplish something". While the Orthodox religion got its name in 1054, from the Greek "Orthos"-right, dhosa "glory" and teaching, faith, right and true faith. The Muslim faith was born in the 7th century, by Muhammad in the year 622. The word Islam has five letters, and each letter has a meaning: - I- free - S- behavior - L- happiness - A- future - M- goodness . Hegel emphasized: "Islam is the continuation of Judaism, which comes from Christian positions." Islam is love and feeling. Arab theologians, but almost all of them were also doctors. -In Albania, Ottoman Islam in 1385, at first spread slowly and in the 16-17th century, it spread widely, due to the measures taken by the Muslim religion. -In the Ottoman census of 519, Mokra had 8660 Christians, and there were 30 Muslims, and this later goes on increasing. In the first steps of the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, 87% of the population was Christian, but the Ottoman sultans followed a balanced policy of "even the kulach and the sausage" along with the "sword" and the sword, as an anti-human tax while Sultan Murat I , Mehmet II, and Suleimani also followed the policy of religious tolerance. -Unable to face the Ottoman invaders through war, a part of the Albanian aristocracy submitted, accepted vassalage and converted to Islam, becoming the follower of Islam in Arberi. As the core of the spread of Islam, the "Muslim Brotherhood" served as the highest expression of devotion to Islam in the broad strata of the Arber population. In 1720 over 80% of the population in the district of Pogradec had converted to the Muslim faith, this structure of the population remained unchanged until our days in 2023. In the district of Pogradec, they did not change the Christian faith were: - Lin villages partially , Peshkepi, Tushemisht, Pogradec City partially. - In Gora, the village of Nica. - In Mokër, the village of Podgozhan, Pevelan Pleshisht, Llëngë, a neighborhood of Hoshteçë. - The war between the Christian religion and the Muslim religion has been long and bloody. The Christian religion from 1159-1967 had built over 50 churches in the district of Pogradec, and over 31 clergy had given their religious contribution in the years. -The Muslim religion in Pogradec built mosques from 1720-1967, in 1967 Mokra e Sipërme, there were 7 mosques and 7 clergy, a Bektashi tylbe in the village of Çezmë e Madhe. - In Mokëra e Poshme from the beginning until 1967, when the mosques were demolished, there were 14 different mosques, from the infrastructure and 14 Muslim clerics. - After 1991, when religious belief was allowed, a mosque was built in the village of Vërri and one in Senisht. - In Albania in the 19-21st century, there were 3-4 religions, but one culture. The two faiths, Catholic and Orthodox, had a cross, while the Muslim faith did not. The three faiths had mutually accepted the legality of each one and this was: - The basis of the rare pact, of religious coexistence. The philosophy of the pact "Religious coexistence" was simple, there were three faiths, but one nation. In the beginning, religious coexistence was only understood as an understanding between two Christian churches, while in the 20th century, religious coexistence has a new, all-inclusive meaning, which has to do with dialogue and coexistence between different religions. - The mistakes made by religions could be corrected through culture, people fed by the culture of religious coexistence would find the right way to God. The change of religions would cause turmoil, conflicts, which would also hinder the project of the common culture, of the Albanian religious faith. In Albania in the 19th-20th century, a common culture was created with a western orientation, to which the following contributed: • Muslims, Bektashis, Naim Frashëri, Sami Frashëri, and Avdyl Frashëri. • Orthodox, Jani Vreto, Mihal Grameno, Fan-Noli • Catholics, Pasko Vaso, Father Gjergji Fishta and many others from all religions. We have religious coexistence in Pograde: - For the freedom of Albania, Muslims and Christians are named in the book among the captains. - For the opening of the Albanian school in the district of Pogradec, there was no distinction between who was Christian and who was Muslim. - The poet Llazar Gusho (Lasgushi Poradeci) had a special association and friendship with Shefki Muçollar, Vërdovë. - Orthodox clerics, Muslim clerics and Muslim clerics visited the Orthodox. They used to give good messages to their devotees. - They worked in agriculture together, Muslims and Christians, according to the need they each had. - They helped each other in Leni's stables, they were there for each other. - Religious beliefs were not separated in the monastery of Llënga, Muslims and Christians went. - Engagements and marriages have taken place between Christian Muslims and this has strengthened religious coexistence. - Religious holidays have been celebrated together, congratulating each other - Religious coexistence, an epoch-making success, has surprised European and international observers. It is one of the biggest events in the world. This religious coexistence, not only united believers, but opened new ways of cooperation, Albania - Europe. In the end, I want to thank all the authors who have written about Pogradec, and the author Muharrem Xhydollari (Hudënishti) for this book, as interesting as it is attractive for the topic itself, as interesting as it is tangible, evaluating this as an act of high moral and patriotic.