Republic in the southwestern part of the Balkan Peninsula. Over two-thirds Muslim, the remainder Catholic and Orthodox. The Albanians were subjugated by Rome in the Illyrian wars and probably received Christianity through the Roman traders. According to tradition, the first bishop of the country was Saint Cresarius, one of the seventy-two disciples; his successor, Saint Astius, was martyred under Trajan, A.D. 100. The country was overrun by Turks in the 14th century, and in the 15th century became entirely Mohammedan, though even among the Moslems Christian heroes are venerated and Christian traditions preserved, for apostasy was mainly the result of inadequate training and unwillingness to suffer exile. One prominent Catholic tribe, the Miridites, succeeded in practising their religion and at the same time serving as the sultan’s faithful bodyguard.
Ecclesiastically the country is governed by the archdioceses of
the dioceses of
and the Byzantine Apostolic Administration
- Albania Meridionale