By Merita B. McCormack-Washington DC/
On Wednesday, June 21, on the eve of the Summer Solstice, a group of the DC-area Albanian diaspora gathered for a spirited conversation with Professor Ines Murzaku of Seton Hall University.Dr. Murzaku is a renowned historian of Albanian origin whose studies focus on the early history of the Catholic Church and especially on the Byzantine Rite of Christianity. Throughout her research, she has demonstrated the many links between her area of focus and the development of Albanian history and culture. Indeed, from its earliest days, Albania, the Roman and Byzantine empires, and early Christianity exchanged ideas and traditions in a mutually impactful way, from the first Ecumenical Council which was attended by twelve Albanian bishops to the second-ever Benedictine monastery built in Shkodra (non-existent today). Dr. Murzaku noted that Albania has even left its mark on the culture of sainthood, Mother Teresa being the most recent example.
It is Dr. Murzaku’s hope that knowledge of Albanian history becomes more widespread. As a professor, she is working to fulfill this goal in the classroom, where she shares the details of Albania’s fascinating past with new generations of students and through lectures and talks outside the University Halls. She is also an extensive author of books and columns that focus on the Albanian connection to the early church history. Some of her work can be found here : http://academic.shu.edu/orientalia/
The event took place at “Steel Plate”, a great restaurant in the district’s Brookland neighborhood that is owned and operated by Mr. Diton Pashaj, an Albanian who frequently and generously hosts gatherings of his fellow citizens living in the region.
The talk with Dr. Murzaku was organized by members of Vatra DC Branch and Holti Banka from Albanian professionals of DC.
Photo credit : Mr. Arsim Cejku who always graces the gatherings with his presence and makes these memories possible.