Bishop Fan Noli


Fan Noli

Fan Noli

“a great procession with lights and songs came to do honour to me…I was thunderstruck. I went on the balcony and heard a speech in English given by a young American Albanian (Fan Noli) but was too overpowered to reply properly…” — EDITH DURHAM (1921)

Albania’s most reform-minded leader of the twentieth century, or perhaps ever, Fan Noli was an Albanian-American who having previously been in opposition among the leaders of the Popular party, gained power by the so-called democratic bourgeois revolution of June, 1924. This was achieved through the success of a revolt against a government dominated by Zog, at that time minister of the interior.

The adhesion of some important military garrisons swung the balance of power in favor of the new government, which was formed on 16 June 1924 with Noli as president. It immediately presented a program aimed at abolishing feudalism and introducing democratic freedoms and at carrying out a series of reforms, including agrarian reform. The internal resistance of feudal and landowning classes and others, abetted by extreme right-wing governments in neighboring states (Yugoslavia, Italy) or by other states (Great Britain) proved too strong, however, and Noli’s appeal for support to the League of Nations went unheeded. In December 1924 the Noli government was overthrown by Zog who entered Albania from Yugoslavia with the connivance of various European states.

In the early 1930s, wearied and disillusioned, he retired to the United States where he headed the Albanian Orthodox church and in 1960 edited a volume on its fiftieth anniversary.

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