Dr Arben Ramkaj, executive Dorector of IRI had the distinct privilege to give the first greeting speech at the opening of the honoring ceremony and the proclamation of Father Josif Papa Mihali as Honorary Citizen of the city of Elbasan.
Dr Ramkaj said among other things that ” Since I belong to a generation that lived very little under the communist regime, it has been difficult to understand the suffering, sacrifice, and hardship that clergymen of religious faith encountered during that period. However, I expressed my idea that history, if forgotten, is likely to be repeated. Thus, there is a need to remind the generations to come with all the possibilities, spaces, intellectual and civil capacities, the crimes and horrors of that dark period of history.
One of the forms of the greatest genocide that took place in Albania during the communist regime, was the beating of the clergy and the eradication of cult objects, something that even today in Albanian society has not been radically discussed, to see the causes and consequences it has left on beliefs religious that period.
Unfortunately, forgetting or feeling indifferent does not solve the problem of the current challenges facing the religious communities in the country, especially with the challenges of property restitution, clergy status or even other contemporary challenges that are under discussion within the communities and not for public discussion.
Yesterday were honored all those clerics who during the communist regime were denigrated, persecuted and insulted only because their only guilt is belief in God. One such example was Father Josif.”
Dr Ramkaj also expressed his gratitude to the Albanian Authority of the Files and the Municipality of Elbasan that awarded this deserved title to this renown cleric.