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Saturday, 26 January, 2002, 16:44 GMT
Albania gets a new cathedral

Hundreds of Roman Catholics gathered in the Albanian capital Tirana on Saturday to celebrate the inauguration of a new cathedral.

The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who led the mass, declared it an historic day for Albanian Catholic believers.

Tirana Cathedral was built to replace several earlier historical cathedrals in the capital that were vdestroyed by the communists.

Only one cathedral survived, in Shkodra - eighty kilometres north of Tirana.

It had been converted into a sports stadium.

Under communist rule, hundreds of priests and leaders of other religious faiths were shot and imprisoned and the country was declared atheist in 1967.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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