Vatican City, Apr 27, 2016 / 10:41 am
Pope Francis on Tuesday gave the green light for the beatification of 38 Albanian martyrs, all of whom were killed by the country's atheistic, communist regime between 1945 and 1974.
In an April 26 meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis officially acknowledged the martyrdom of Archbishop Nikollë Vinçenc Prennushi of Durrës and his 37 companions.
Archbishop Prennushi, who was a member of the Order of Friars Minor, was jailed by the communist regime in the 1940s, and died in prison as a result of torture in 1949. The rest of his companions shared a similar fate, and were murdered by the regime from 1945 to 1974.
The martyrs were a key focus of Pope Francis' Sept. 21, 2015 trip to Albania, in which he urged the country to learn from their dark past, but look toward the future with hope.