The Crypto-Christianity (Hidden Christianity) And The Assembly Of Arbni Cover Image
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The Crypto-Christianity (Hidden Christianity) And The Assembly Of Arbni

Author(s): Ferit Duka
Subject(s): History
Published by: Qendra e Studimeve Albanologjike
Keywords: religious panorama of Albania ; Ottoman reign; Christianity; crypto-Christianity; Islam; Catholic and Orthodox population in Albania; the Assembly of Arbni; Turks; Albania; Albanian History;

Summary/Abstract: With the establishment of the Ottoman rule in Albania took place radical changes in the political, economic and cultural aspects, but also in the religious aspect of the Albanian society. The Christian belonging of the Albanians (partially of the Catholic rite and partially of the Orthodox one) began to become narrower in favour of the gradual spread of the Islamic religion. One of the characteristic phenomena which accompanied the process of changes in the religious panorama of Albania during the Ottoman rule has been the hidden Christianity (crypto-Christianity). The hidden Christianity represented a transitional state of two faiths, during which Christian individuals (Catholics or Ortodoxes) embraced Islam only formally to evade the payment of xhize (tax for head) (a specific obligation only for the Christians in the Ottoman Empire) and to enjoy equality with the Moslems in social life. In public such elements presented themselves as Moslems, bore names of the Islamic faith, frequented the mosque, etc., whereas, in a hidden way, they practiced the Christian faith. The hidden Christianity has been present both among the Catholic population and the Orthodox one. The hidden Christianity was expression of a transitional state in the life of the believers, which in the majority of the cases, ended with the definitive abandonment of Christianity and the full embrace of the Islamic faith. Starting from such a fact, and, also, valuating it as irreconciliable with the Christian morale, the structure of the Catholic church in Albania, the Holy See of Rome itself took an official clear-cut and consequent stand against the phenomenon of the hidden Christianity. That’s why even the Assembly of Arbni devoted a particular attention to the question of the hidden Christianity ranking it among the main dangers threatening the Albanian Catholic Christianity. Taking into consideration the debates and confusion which caused from time to time in the high circles of the Catholic clergy the existence of the phenomenon of double-facedness when it had to do, especially, with the administration of the church services for the crypto-Christians, this high church forum decided to put an end to the hesitations giving orders that from now on to these individuals to be performed the saint services only if they abandon the Islam and accepted publicly the Christian faith. To the Catholic clergymen it was prohibited to perform the services for the Catholic women married with islamized men as well for the women whose men were islamized after the marriage. Despite all the clear-cut decisions taken by the Assembly of Arbni, in the daily practice the Catholic clergyman again continued to show themselves liberals as regards the performance of the religious services for the hidden Christians.

  • Issue Year: 2003
  • Issue No: 03-04
  • Page Range: 031-041
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: Albanian