PRESIDENT SEJDIU’S SPEECH AT THE MOTHER THERESA CATHEDRAL INAUGURATION CEREMONY

I feel more than privileged to be here among you today and to participate in the wonderful event of inaugurating the Mother Theresa Cathedral. As it happens to all of you I believe, when I look at this impressive building, two great personalities in our newest history come to my mind – President Ibrahim Rugova and Bishop Mark Sopi, who have chaired the solemn ceremony of laying the cornerstone of this national, religious, spiritual and cultural temple on 26 August 2005.

Honorable Bishop of the Kosovo Catholic Church, Mr. Dodë Gjergji,

Honorable Monsignor Zef Gashi, Archbishop of Tivar Catholic Church,

Honorable Prime Minister Kuqi,

Honorable Minister Haziri,

Honorable Members of Assembly and Ministers,

Honorable Mr. Yves de Kermabon, Head of EULEX,

Honorable Ambassadors accredited in Prishtinë and other guests from friend countries,

Honorable Mayor of Prishtinë, Mr. Isa Mustafa

Honorable representatives of institutions of education, science and culture,

Ladies and gentlemen,


I feel more than privileged to be here among you today and to participate in the wonderful event of inaugurating the Mother Theresa Cathedral. As it happens to all of you I believe, when I look at this impressive building, two great personalities in our newest history come to my mind – President Ibrahim Rugova and Bishop Mark Sopi, who have chaired the solemn ceremony of laying the cornerstone of this national, religious, spiritual and cultural temple on 26 August 2005.

The first, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, our historic president, was rightly called the first statesman of Kosovo. The second, Monsignor Mark Sopi, a man of his word and subtle preaching, earned the love and enjoyed the reverence of all the people of Kosovo.

It was these two colossuses of Kosovo that have given their blessing to the foundations of the Mother Theresa Cathedral, which bears the name of our Albanian woman Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, who has been announced globally as the Personality of the 20th Century, by elevating thus the name of Kosovo and Albanians around the world.

Five years following that day of August 2005, we are inaugurating the Mother Theresa Cathedral, here in the Prishtinë of Flor and Laur, the two first martyrs of Christianity, who have fallen in 177-135 B.C. respectively.

Hence, we are accomplishing the great will that these two prudent men of Kosovo have left to us. By virtue of their farsightedness, they have helped our beloved Republic of Kosovo make friends around the world.

President Ibrahim Rugova used to say that the Mother Theresa Cathedral would serve a symbol of unity, tolerance and understanding, just like the work and the philosophy of Mother Theresa and our people.

“It will thus be an important religious, cultural and national centre for all. It will undoubtedly be a symbol of light and stronger belief in God and the good.” (President Rugova, 26 August 2005).

Much honored guests,

Dear citizens of Republic of Kosovo,


Kosovo, our sacred country, rejoiced at the 70th recognition yesterday. The Republic of Honduras joined other world democracies that have recognized the independence of the Republic of Kosovo. The good news preceded the great event that we are experiencing here today in Prishtinë.

We believe time has come for other countries that have not recognized our state yet to do so as soon as possible, because, this way, they would contribute not only to Kosovo, but also to the future of the entire region.

Kosovo is an independent state by the will of its people. The International Court of Justice sealed the legality of our statehood in July. Accordingly, we invite countries around the world to announce the recognition of our state and pave the way for an irreversible integration into the Euro-Atlantic community to this part of the South-East Europe from now on.

Kosovo is a sovereign and democratic country of all its equal citizens, irrespective of their nationality or religion.

Kosovo represents an incredible mosaic of diverse ethnicities, cultures and religions that have lived together and in a singular harmony for centuries.

Kosovo Albanians themselves, who belong to different religious backgrounds, are an excellent example of harmony and love for each other and others, in spite the fact that they have changed their religion in the course of history.

This is an argument enough to display the magnificence of this nation, which, much as it suffered a series of apocalyptic ordeals, it has never had a feeling of intolerance for others. Having emphasized this extraordinary virtue, which reveals best the peace-loving and noble spirit of the people of Kosovo and Albanians in general, we must note that that Mother Theresa was the trademark of the sacred spirit of Albanians and the entire human race.

Dear participants in the ceremony,

The people and institutions of Kosovo have also displayed a strong national and state culture by honoring and not forgetting all those who have contributed to our quest for freedom, independence and democracy.

President Rugova has established a positive tradition of honoring and decorating personalities and institutions that have provided an extraordinary contribution to overcoming extremely difficult situations, in the darkest moments that the Kosovo people have gone through and especially during the last decade of the 20th century. As a follow-up to the tradition incepted by Dr. Rugova, based on my obligations and authority as President, on this great day for Kosovo, I have decided to award the Mother Theresa Medal of Humanity to the following distinguished institutions and personalities:

1.    Monsignor Nikë Prela, Bishop of Kosovo Catholic Church (post mortem);
2.    Terry Heselius (post mortem), Director of Mercy Corps International Humanitarian Organization, which has assisted Kosovo during the gravest period of 1998-’99;
3.    Rupert Neudeck, President of Grune Helme Humanitarian Organization and former Head of the German Cap Anammur Humanitarian Organization, which has assisted Kosovo in the reconstruction of houses, schools and other buildings burned and destroyed during the war in Kosovo for years, particularly during the emergency phase;
4.    International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC);
5.    Annalies Scheneller, distinguished humanitarian activist;
6.    International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC);
7.    Mother Theresa Humanitarian and Charitable Society;
8.    Red Cross of Kosovo;
9.    Halit Ferizi (HANDIKOS), Kosovar distinguished charity activist.

I have awarded the Presidential Prize for Excellence in Research to Dom Lush Gjergji, the greatest biographer and writer on the life and the work of Mother Theresa, the prudent priest and indefatigable activist of human rights and freedoms of all the people without distinction.

Medals and acknowledgments will be handed over at a separate ceremony to be organized by the Office of the President of Republic of Kosovo.

Of course, institutions of our country will not forget many other institutions and individuals that have helped our country in difficult times and ways. They are many indeed and all have done an incredible job.   

God Bless the Mother Theresa Cathedral!

God Bless Republic of Kosovo and her people!

God Bless friends, wherever they come from!