Pope says first trip to Europe will be to Albania
Published on Jun 15, 2014 7:25 PM
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Sunday his first trip to a European country would be to Albania in September to pay tribute to those who suffered under communism.
He will make a day trip to Tirana, the capital of one of Europe's poorest countries, on Sept 21, he told pilgrims and tourists in St Peter's Square.
The Vatican spokesman said the Pope wanted his first trip in Europe to be to a "country on the margins" with a past of social and religious persecution and continuing poverty.
Former dictator Enver Hoxha proclaimed Albania, for decades one of the world's most isolated countries, the world's first atheist state in 1967. Many mosques, churches and religious libraries were destroyed and imams and priests were arrested.
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