Prime Minister Edi Rama received in audience by Pope Francis at Apostolic Palace 

Prime Minister Edi Rama paid a visit to Vatican today, marking the 30th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties between Albania and the Holy See.

The government head, accompanied by his spouse Linda Rama and his son Zaho, was received by Pope Francis in audience at the Apostolic Palace on Saturday morning. This is the second meeting between PM Rama and the Holy Father Francis. The cordial talks highlighted the very good relations existing between the Holy See and Albania and the common with to further strengthen bilateral ties.

Following their discussions, both leaders offered a traditional exchange of gifts. Pope Francis presented Prime Minister Rama with a bronze bas-relief of Noah. He also gave him papal documents, including this year’s message for the World Day of Peace on the theme “A culture of care as a path to peace”, the document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, and the volume Statio Orbis of 27 March 2020 recalling the extraordinary moment of prayer during the pandemic lockdown in Italy. 

On his part, Prime Minister Edi Rama offered Pope Francis an icon of the “Madonna dell’Avvento” (Our Lady of Advent) and an icon of Saint Francis. He also presented him with two paintings and a letter from Fr. Gjergj Fishta, an Albanian Franciscan who was a poet, philosopher, and considered one of the most influential Albanian writers of the 20th century.

Earlier on the day, PM Rama was received by His Eminence, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of His Holiness, whom the Prime Minister awarded the Grand Cordon with the Star “Benemerenti” at a special ceremony. Expressing gratitude on behalf of the high representatives of the Secretariat of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin said: “The honour is an expression of gratitude for what the Holy See, the Pope and his associates, have done and are doing for Albania and for strengthening the bilateral relations.”

During his visit, PM was also received by the Prefect of the Papal Household and His Holiness at the Vatican Apostolic Palace. 

The government head laid wreath at the tomb of the Albanian origin Pope Clement XI, also known as Pope Albania, as well as at the tomb of Pope John Paul II, a precious friend of Albania.