|Cardinal-Deacon of Santa Maria della Scala|
|Church||Roman Catholic Church|
|Archdiocese||Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Shkodër-Pult|
|Metropolis||Archdiocese of Shkodër-Pult|
|Appointed||19 November 2016|
|Installed||11 February 2017|
|Ordination||7 April 1956|
|Created cardinal||19 November 2016|
by Pope Francis
|Birth name||Ernest Simoni|
|Born||18 October 1928|
|Denomination||Catholic (Latin Rite)|
|Motto||Zemra Jeme Dotë Triumfojë|
|Coat of arms|
Ordination history of
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
Ernest Simoni was born in 1928.
He entered the Franciscan seminary in 1938 while remaining there until 1948 when the Communist regime of Enver Hoxha closed the college in a wave of anti-religious sentiment and persecution. He was ordained to the priesthood on 7 April 1956.
On 24 December 1963 he was imprisoned by the Communist authorities because he celebrated a Mass in memory of assassinated President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He was sentenced to death, but the sentence was converted into a prison term and he spent 28 years at penal labour, first in a mine and then in a sewage canal. By the late 1990s, he exercised his ministry in several Albanian villages.
On 9 October 2016, Pope Francis announced that he would create Simoni a cardinal in the consistory held on 19 November of the same year. He was given special dispensation not to be consecrated a bishop prior to the consistory.
At the consistory, he was assigned the titular church of Santa Maria della Scala.
- "Il Papa annuncia un concistoro per il 19 novembre" (in Italian). La Stampa. 9 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- Glatz, Carol (11 October 2016). "This priest's story of persecution brought Pope Francis to tears. Now he's making him a cardinal". America. Catholic News Service. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
- "Paoline Ufficio Stampa – Don Ernest Simoni". paoline.it. 9 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- "Mgr Ernest Simoni, simple curé nommé cardinal albanais". lalibre.be. 21 November 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
- "Da sacerdote a cardinale: ecco chi è Ernest Simoni, uno dei 17 nuovi porporati voluti dal Papa" (in Italian). ilsole24ore.com. 9 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- Additional sources
- "Albania's new cardinal: a priest who spent 28 years in labour camps". Catholic Herald. Associated Press. 10 October 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
- "Simoni Card. Ernest". Holy See Press Office. Archived from the original on 4 September 2017. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
- Glatz, Carol (11 October 2016). "This priest's story of persecution brought Pope Francis to tears. Now he's making him a cardinal". America. Catholic News Service. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
- Speech delivered in September 2014 during the visit of Pope Francis to Albania, Rome Reports, 17 November 2016
|Catholic Church titles|
| Cardinal Deacon of Santa Maria della Scala
19 November 2016– present