Priest and Martyr – (1908-1946)
+ Anton was born in Kthellë, Albania.
+ After completing his seminary studies at the Pontifical French Seminary, he was ordained a priest on April 26, 1932, for the archdiocese of Tiranë-Durrës.
+ Father Anton served as the secretary to the archbishop and as vicar of Tiranë-Durrës.
+ Following the Communist takeover of Albania in 1944, thousands of Christians—both clergy and laity—were murdered for their refusal to deny their faith.
+ Anton was arrested on May 18, 1947, and imprisoned until he was shot to death on a beach near Durrës on December 31 for his refusal to break the seal of the confessional.
+ Blessed Anton Zogaj was beatified in 2016 along with 37 other clergy and lay Christians who were murdered in Albania under Communist rule.
December 31 is the Commemoration of Pope Saint Sylvester I. This important early pope served during the reign of the Emperor Constantine I, at the time when Christianity was legalized in the Roman Empire. He oversaw the construction of the Basilica of St. John Lateran and was an important opponent of the Arian heresy. Pope Saint Sylvester died in 314.
“While the persecutors dissolve like so many black shadows which are lost forever in the darkness of eternal oblivion, martyrs are guiding lights that shine in the sky of humanity, showing the true face of man’s goodness, his profound identity created in the image of God.”—Cardinal Angelo Amato at the beatification of the Martyrs of Albania
O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church by adorning blessed Anton with the victory of martyrdom, graciously grant that, as he imitated the Lord’s Passion, so we may, by following in his footsteps, be worthy to attain eternal joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For a Martyr)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.