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 The Albanians of Boston

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MesazhTitulli: The Albanians of Boston   26/9/2010, 14:56

The Albanians of Boston



1886 -- The first immigrant from Albania to America, Koli Kristofer, arrives in Boston.



1892 -- Koli Kristofer (later ordained as a priest), after returning to Albania spoke of the wonders of the "new world" to his countrymen, comes back to Boston accompanied by 17 other Albanians.



1906 -- Sotir Petsi publishes "Kombi" (The Nation) in Boston, considered to be the cornerstone of Albanian national consciousness.



1907 -- The first Albanian drama (3 Acts) "Israelites and Philistines" by Fan S. Noli portraying the old conflicts between these two factions is produced in Boston.



1907 --The Albanian-American Society "Besa-Besen" (Oath of Loyalty) to enhance and consolidate Albanian nationalism is founded in Boston.



1907/8 -- With the refusal of the Greek clergy to offer a Christian burial to an Albanian patriot in Hudson, Massachusetts, Albanian leader Fan S. Noli is asked in Boston to lead the movement for an Albanian Orthodox Church. Noli is ordained to the priesthood, and Saint George Albanian Orthodox Church is organized at the Knights of Honor Hall on Tremont Street in Boston. The church later evolves into Saint George Albanian Orthodox Cathedral - the seat of the Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America - which eventually relocates to South Boston.



1909 -- "Dielli" (The Sun), now the oldest, continuously-published Albanian language newspaper in America, begins publication by the Society of Besa-Besen in Boston.



1909 -- Lady Edith Durham authors "High Albania" in Boston and London. Her book becomes one of the most comprehensive studies of northern Albania, and, because of its continuing importance, was reissued in 1994.



1911-- Albanian volunteers from Boston return to the motherland to fight for the liberation of Albania. Their uniforms were adorned with the Albanian national colors, black and red, and their caps bore the motto "Freedom or Death."



1912 -- The Pan-Albanian Federation "Vatra" (The Hearth), one of the most influential voices of Albanian nationalism, is organized in Boston. The Albanian newspaper "Dielli" (The Sun) becomes its organ for fostering Albanian nationalism.



1916 -- Prof. Thoma Nassi organizes first choir at Saint George Church in Boston. He also later forms the Pan-Albanian band "Vatra" (The Hearth) which tours Albania for morale purposes including the Battle of Vlora between Italy and Albania in1920 (won by the Albanians) where Nassi composed the patriotic Albanian song "Vlora, Vlora." Nassi returns to Boston and then becomes director of the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra.



1918 -- First Albanian historical calendar is published in Boston.



1919 -- The Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America is founded in Boston headed by Archbishop Fan S. Noli.



1920 -- The Albanian Federation of America "Vatra" (The Hearth) meets at the Copley Plaza hotel in Boston and serves as the defacto government in exile of Albania.



1921 -- Holy Trinity Albanian Orthodox Church is founded in South Boston.



 1934 -- The Voice of Albania radio program under the initial direction of Nu?i Cojo begins broadcasting without interruption to the present day.



1935 -- Saint John the Baptist Albanian Orthodox Church is organized at the Charles Street Meeting House and later relocates to South Boston. It becomes the third Albanian Orthodox church in South Boston.



1936 -- It is estimated that there are now about 14,000 Albanians living in Massachusetts with about 8,000 in the Greater Boston area.



1939 -- The Albanian Freedom Committee is formed in Boston to protest the invasion of Albania by Italy on April 7th (Good Friday) and to call attention to the plight of the Albanians as they sought to resist the first days of Italian aggression where human casualties exceeded 2000.


1941 -- The Albanian Freedom Committee holds a convention at the Ritz Plaza Hall on Huntington Avenue in Boston that was attended by delegates from Albanian communities across America. After three days of deliberations, the Free Albania Organization was formed and, soon afterwards, began regular publication of the Boston-based Albanian-American newspaper "LIRIA" (Liberty) which included reports of the struggle of the Albanians against Italian fascists.


1944 -- Albanian Relief Fund to help Albania recover from the devastations of WWII is established in Boston by Dr. Nicholas J. Prift.


1946 -- Albanian-American War Veterans is organized in Boston by Dr. Andrew Elia. It continues to this day under the leadership of William Kosmo.


1973 -- The Fan S. Noli Library and Archives is established in Boston which the Harvard Encyclopedia of Ethnic Groups lauds as "the finest repository of Albanian culture in the Western Hemishphere."


1975 -- The first Albanian Youth Chorale is organized in Boston under the direction of Van Christo.


1978 -- The Horatio Alger Award is accorded to Albanian immigrant and acclaimed restaurateur, Anthony Athanas, founder of Anthony's Fine Restaurants including Anthony's Pier 4 on Boston's waterfront.


1982 -- Centennial symposium of the birth of Archbishop Fan S. Noli is held at Harvard.

1987 -- Mother Teresa, of Albanian origin, established Missionaries of Charity in the Roxbury section of Boston.


1988 -- A Boston Albanian Orthodox priest, the Very Rev. Arthur Evans Liolin, is the first clergyman dressed in religious garb to enter "atheist" Albania where religion was outlawed by the Communist government in 1967 and reinstated only in 1989-90.


1990 -- President Ramiz Alia, the first Albanian leader in office to visit the USA, arrives in Boston.


1991 -- Albanian Humanitarian Aid Committee is established in Boston sponsoring the first shipments of food and clothing to Albania. It also organizes ESL classes for new Albanian arrivals.


1992 -- First democratically-elected president of Albania, Dr. Sali Berisha, visits Boston.


1993 -- Kosova leader, Ibrahim Rugova, visits Boston.


1994 -- The Frosina Foundation, later known as the Frosina Information Network, is formed in Boston by Van Christo to serve as an Albanian immigrant and cultural resource.


1995 -- Boston Albanian-American restaurateur, Anthony Athanas of Anthony's Pier 4 fame, is named Honorary Consul of Albania.


1995 -- Faik Konitza, former Ambassador of Albania to the USA, former Editor of "Dielli" and other Albanian publications and newspapers, who died in Boston in 1941 is reinterred from Forest Hills Cemetery to Tirana, Albania, where his remains are received with high honors.


1998 -- Second democratically-elected president of Albania, Prof. Dr. Rexhep Meidani, visits Boston.


1999 -- Saint George Albanian Orthodox Cathedral in South Boston is placed on National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Massachusetts Historical Commission.


1999 -- Prime Minister of Albania, Pandeli Majko, Europe's youngest premier (age 31) visits Boston.


1999 -- First Orthodox Bishop consecrated in Albania in 30 years,

Metropolitan John Pelushi, visits Boston.


1999 -- It is estimated that there are now over 35,000 Albanians living in Greater Boston including some 1000 Kosovar Albanians.

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