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Kosovo's Parliament Honors Mother Teresa On 100th Anniversary

Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa
PRISTINA, Kosovo -- The Kosovar Parliament held a special session today to honor the Catholic missionary Mother Teresa, an ethnic Albanian, in honor of the 100th anniversary of her birth, RFE/RL's Balkan Service reports.

Parliament speaker Jakup Krasniqi said the Albanian nation is proud that "Gonxha Bojaxhiu -- known as Mother Teresa -- was born and grew up as part of our tradition and culture."

Today's ceremony in parliament was one of several events in Kosovo organized to mark 2010 as the "Year of Mother Teresa."

Dom Dode Gjergji, the Catholic bishop in Kosovo, said he is thankful to God "for the opportunity to honor our great mother and sister in the parliament of an independent Kosovo."

Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910, into an ethnic Albanian family based in Skopje, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire. Her parents were from Prizren and Gjakova in south and southwestern Kosovo.

Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, in 1950, and cared for poor and sick people until her death. The charity eventually operated 610 missions in 123 countries.

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and in 2003 Pope John Paul beatified her -- the first step in becoming a saint.

A new Catholic cathedral named after Mother Teresa will be inaugurated on September 5 in Pristina, the Kosovar capital. The cathedral will be among the biggest in the Balkans.

Kosovo, which has some 2 million inhabitants, is predominantly Muslim but has significant numbers of Orthodox believers and Roman Catholics.