Ernest Simoni

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Ernest Simoni
Cardinal-Deacon of Santa Maria della Scala
Cardinal Ernest Simoni in 2016.
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
ArchdioceseRoman Catholic Archdiocese of Shkodër-Pult
MetropolisArchdiocese of Shkodër-Pult
Appointed19 November 2016
Installed11 February 2017
PredecessorStanisław Nagy
Ordination7 April 1956
Created cardinal19 November 2016
by Pope Francis
Personal details
Birth nameErnest Simoni
Born (1928-10-18) 18 October 1928 (age 92)
Troshani, Albania
DenominationCatholic (Latin Rite)
MottoAlbanian: Zemra jeme dotë triumfojë (My Immaculate Heart will Triumph)
Coat of armsErnest Simoni's coat of arms
Styles of
Ernest Simoni
Coat of arms of Ernest Simoni.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal

Ernest Simoni Troshani (born 18 October 1928) is an Albanian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

He was created a cardinal in a consistory held on 19 November 2016 by Pope Francis.[1]


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.[2] He celebrated Mass using smuggled bread and grapes. By the late 1990s, he exercised his ministry in several Albanian villages.

On 21 September 2014 he met Pope Francis during his apostolic visit to Albania and provided the pope with his own testimony on his experiences under the Communist regime.[3]

On 9 October 2016,[4] Pope Francis announced that he would create Simoni a cardinal in the consistory held on 19 November of the same year.[5] 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.


In 2017, he received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement presented at an awards ceremony in London.[6][7]


  1. ^ "Il Papa annuncia un concistoro per il 19 novembre" (in Italian). La Stampa. 9 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "Paoline Ufficio Stampa – Don Ernest Simoni". 9 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  4. ^ "Mgr Ernest Simoni, simple curé nommé cardinal albanais". 21 November 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  5. ^ "Da sacerdote a cardinale: ecco chi è Ernest Simoni, uno dei 17 nuovi porporati voluti dal Papa" (in Italian). 9 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  7. ^ "2017 Summit Highlights Photo". Two members of the Class of 2017: fashion designer Valentino Garavani, the “Living Martyr” of Albania, Cardinal Ernest Simoni, with the Academy’s 52nd annual International Achievement Summit Host, Catherine B. Reynolds.
Additional sources

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Stanislaw Nagy
Cardinal Deacon of Santa Maria della Scala
19 November 2016– present
Succeeded by