Theofan Stilian Noli
|13th Prime Minister of Albania|
16 June 1924 – 23 December 1924
|Preceded by||Iliaz Vrioni|
|Succeeded by||Iliaz Vrioni|
|Born||6 January 1882|
Ibriktepe, Adrianople Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
|Died||13 March 1965 (aged 83)|
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
|Political party||Independent (Albanian nationalist)|
|Alma mater||Harvard, Boston University|
|Occupation||Writer, Bishop, Translator, Composer, Politician|
|Profession||Priest and Politician|
Theofan Stilian Noli, known as Fan Noli (6 January 1882 – 13 March 1965), was an Albanian writer, scholar, diplomat, politician, historian, orator and founder of the Orthodox Church of Albania, who served as Prime Minister and regent of Albania in 1924 during the June Revolution.
Fan Noli is venerated in Albania as a champion of literature, history, theology, diplomacy, journalism, music and national unity. He played an important role in the consolidation of Albanian as the national language of Albania with numerous translations of world literature masterpieces. He also wrote extensively in English: as a scholar and author of a series of publications on Skanderbeg, Shakespeare, Beethoven, religious texts and translations. He produced a translation of the New Testament in English, The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from the approved Greek text of the Church of Constantinople and the Church of Greece, published in 1961.
Noli earned degrees at Harvard  (1912), the New England Conservatory of Music (1938), and finally his Ph.D. from Boston University (1945). He was ordained a priest in 1908, establishing thereby the Albanian Church and elevating the Albanian language to ecclesiastic use. He briefly resided in Albania after the 1912 declaration of independence. After World War I, Noli led the diplomatic efforts for the reunification of Albania and received the support of US President Woodrow Wilson. Later he pursued a diplomatic-political career in Albania, successfully leading the Albanian bid for membership in the League of Nations.
A respected figure who remained critical of corruption and injustice in the Albanian government, Fan Noli was asked to lead the 1924 June Revolution. He then served as prime minister until his revolutionary government was overthrown by Ahmet Zogu. He was exiled to Italy and permanently settled in the United States in the 1930s, acquiring US citizenship and agreeing to end his political involvement. He spent the rest of his life as an academician, religious leader, and writer.
Fan Noli was born in 1882 in the Albanian village of Ibrik Tepe (Albanian: Qytezë), Eastern Thrace (then part of the Ottoman Empire) as Theofanes Stylianos Mavromatis. He was an Albanian of the Eastern Orthodox faith. He came from an Orthodox Albanian community who had fled socio-political turbulence (18th century) from what is today southern Albania and resettled in Thrace in areas that had been depopulated due to previous conflicts. During his youth, Noli received his education from Greek elementary and secondary schools. As a young man, Noli wandered throughout the Mediterranean Basin, living in Athens in Greece, Alexandria in Egypt and Odessa in Russia, and supported himself as an actor and translator. As well as his native Albanian, he spoke many languages such as Greek, English, French, Turkish, and Arabic. Having been a teacher in Athens, Noli went abroad to Egypt in 1903 and worked as a teacher in Greek schools of Alexandria using the name Theophanis Mavromatis and did not espouse Albanian national sentiments. Later in his work as a teacher and in Egyptian theater Noli embraced Albanian national sentiments. Through his contacts with the Albanian expatriate movement, he became an ardent supporter of his country's nationalist movement and moved to the United States in 1906. He first worked in Buffalo, New York, in a lumber mill and then moved to Boston, Massachusetts, and worked as an operator on a machine which stamped labels on cans. The Young Turks (CUP) had a hostile view of Albanian leaders such as Fan Noli who were doing political activities with the assistance of outside powers.
In Boston, some Albanian Christians were part of the Greek Orthodox Church, which was vehemently opposed to the Albanian nationalist cause. When a Greek Orthodox priest refused to perform the burial rites for Kristaq Dishnica, a member of the Orthodox Albanian community from Hudson, Massachusetts, because of his nationalist activities, Noli and a group of Albanian nationalists in New England created the independent Albanian Orthodox Church. Noli, the new church's first clergyman, was ordained as a priest in 1908 by Archbishop Platon (Rozhdestvensky) of the Russian Church in the United States under questionable circumstances. Through the creation of an independent church and Noli translating liturgy into Albanian, he hoped to diminish Greek influence in the church and counter Greek irredentism. Noli was a supporter of Albanian unity transcending Muslim and Christian religions and considered it important for those faiths to be practiced in Albanian and staffed by local Albanian clergy and not foreigners.
Political and Religious activities
In 1908, Noli began studying at Harvard, completing his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1912. During April 1912 Vatra (Hearth) an Albanian American diaspora organisation was founded with Noli and Faik Konica serving as its leaders and advocating for Albanian sociopolitical self determination with the Ottoman Empire. He returned to Europe to promote Albanian independence, setting foot in Albania for the first time in 1913. Noli returned to the United States during World War I, serving as head of the Vatra organization, which effectively made him leader of the Albanian diaspora. His diplomatic efforts in the United States and Geneva won the support of President Woodrow Wilson for an independent Albania and, in 1920, earned the new national membership in the fledgling League of Nations. Though Albania had already declared its independence in 1912, membership in the League of Nations provided the country with the international recognition it had failed to obtain until then.
In 1921, Noli entered the Albanian parliament as a representative of the liberal pro-British "People's Party" (Albanian: Partia e Popullit), the chief liberal movement in the country. The other parties were the conservative pro-Italian "Progressive Party" (Albanian: Partia Përparimtare) founded by Mehdi Frashëri and led by Ahmet Zogu, and "Popular Party" (Albanian: Partia Popullore) of Xhafer Ypi. The conservatives of Zogu would dominate the political scene. A Congress of Berat in 1922 was convened to formally lay the foundations of an Albanian Orthodox Church which consecrated Fan Noli as Bishop of Korçë and primate of all Albania while the establishment of the church was seen as important for maintaining Albanian national unity.
Noli served briefly as foreign minister in the government of Xhafer Ypi. This was a period of intense turmoil in the country between the liberals and the conservatives. After a botched assassination attempt against Zogu, the conservatives revenged themselves by assassinating another popular liberal politician, Avni Rustemi. Noli's speech at Rustemi's funeral was so powerful that liberal supporters rose up against Zogu and forced him to flee to Yugoslavia (March 1924). Zogu was succeeded briefly by his father-in-law, Shefqet Vërlaci, and by the liberal politician Iliaz Vrioni; Noli was named prime minister and regent on 17 July 1924.
Downfall and exile
Despite his efforts to reform the country, Noli's "Twenty Point Program" was unpopular, and his government was overthrown by groups loyal to Zogu on Christmas Eve of that year. Two weeks later, Zogu returned to Albania, and Noli fled to Italy under sentence of death.
Conscious of his fragile position, Zogu took drastic measures to consolidate his reassert in power. By the end of winter, two of the main leaders of the opposition, Bajram Curri and Luigj Gurakuqi, were assassinated, while others were imprisoned. Noli founded the "National Revolutionary Committee" (Albanian: Komiteti Nacional Revolucionar) also known as KONARE in Vienna. The committee published the periodical called "National Freedom" (Albanian: Liria Kombëtare). Some of the early Albanian communists as Halim Xhelo or Riza Cerova would start their publishing activities here. The committee aimed in overthrowing Zogu and his cast and restoring democracy. Despite the efforts, the committee's access and influence in Albania would be limited. With the intervention of Kosta Boshnjaku, an old communist and KONARE member, the organization would receive unconditioned monetary support from the Comintern. Also Noli and Boshnjaku would make possible for exile members of the Committee for the National Defence of Kosovo (outlawed by Zogu) to get the same financial support.
In 1928, KONARE changed its name to "Committee of National Liberation" (Albanian: Komiteti i Çlirimit Kombëtar). Meanwhile, in Albania, after three years of republican regime, the "National Council" declared Albania a Constitutional Monarchy, and Ahmet Zogu became king. Noli moved back to the United States in 1932 and formed a republican opposition to Zogu, who had since proclaimed himself "King Zog I". Over the next years, he continued his education, studying and later teaching Byzantine music, and continued developing and promoting the autocephalous Albanian Orthodox Church he had helped to found. While in exile, he briefly allied with King Zog, who fled Albania before the invading Italians in 1939, but was unable to set a firm anti-Axis, anti-Communist front.
After the war, Noli established some ties with the communist government of Enver Hoxha, which seized power in 1944. He unsuccessfully urged the U.S. government to recognize the regime, but Hoxha's increasing persecution of all religions prevented Noli's church from maintaining ties with the Orthodox hierarchy in Albania. Despite the Hoxha regime's anticlerical bent, Noli's ardent Albanian nationalism brought the bishop to the attention of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI's Boston office kept the bishop under investigation for more than a decade with no final outcome to the probe.
In 1945, Fan S. Noli received a doctor's degree (Ph. D) in history from Boston University, writing a dissertation on Skanderbeg. In the meantime, he also conducted research at Boston University Music Department, publishing a biography on Ludwig van Beethoven. He also composed a one-movement symphony called Scanderbeg in 1947. Toward the end of his life, Noli retired to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he died in 1965. The branch of the Albanian Orthodox Church that he had governed eventually became the Albanian Archdiocese of the Orthodox Church in America.
Writing in his diary two days after Noli's death, Albanian leader Enver Hoxha gave his analysis of Noli's work:
As we are informed, Fan S. Noli died from an operation done last week in which, because of his age, he did not survive. A cerebral hemorrhage caused a quick death. Noli was one of the prominent political and literary figures of the beginning of this century. The balance sheet of his life was positive ... Fan Noli today enjoys a great popularity in our country, deserved as a literary translator and music critic. He was a prominent promoter of the Albanian language. His original works and translations, especially of Shakespeare, of Omar Khayyám and Blasco Ibáñez, are immortal. But especially his anti-Zogist, anti-feudal elegies and poems are beautiful jewels that have inspired and will inspire our youth, especially in creativity. He was also respected as a realistic politician, as a revolutionary democrat in ideology and politics. The Party has assessed the figure of Noli. As is deserved, we have had a patriotic duty to point out the really great merits of his in literature, the history of the arts, and his merits and weaknesses in politics. I think we will do our best in bringing his body to Albania, as this distinguished son of the people, the revolutionary patriot, deserves to bask in his homeland, which he loved and fought for his entire life.— Enver Hoxha
The following poems were written by Fan Noli:
- Hymni i Flamurit
- Thomsoni dhe Kuçedra
- Jepni për Nënën
- Moisiu në mal
- Marshi i Krishtit
- Krishti me kamçikun
- Shën Pjetrin në Mangall
- Marshi i Barabbajt
- Marshi i Kryqësmit
- Kënga e Salep-Sulltanit
- Shpell' e Dragobisë
- Rent, or Marathonomak!
- Anës lumejve
- Plak, topall dhe ashik
- Tallja përpara Kryqit
- Sulltani dhe kabineti
- Saga e Sermajesë
- Lidhje e paçkëputur
- Vdekja e Sulltanit
- Thernstrom 1980, p. 26.
- Brisku, Adrian (2020). "Renegotiating the Empire, Forging the Nation-State: The Albanian Case through the Political Economic Thought of Ismail Qemali, Fan Noli, and Luigj Gurakuqi, c. 1890–1920s". Nationalities Papers. 48 (1): 158–174. doi:10.1017/nps.2018.52. ISSN 0090-5992.
- Spahiu & Mjeku 2009.
- p. 175. William Paul. 2003. English Language Bible Translators. Jefferson, NC & London: McFarland and Co.
- Skendi 1967, p. 162.
- Curtis 1994, p. 465: "Born Theophanus Stylianos Mavromatis in Imbrik-Tepe, a predominantly Albanian settlement in Thrace, then part of the Ottoman Empire, Fan Stylian Noli was educated in the Greek Gymnasium of Edirne (Adrianople)."
- Stavrou 1996, p. 40: "Fan Noli was born Theofanis Stylianou Mavromates in the village of Ibrik-Tepe of Adrianoupolis (today in Turkish Thrace) in 1882."
- The Central European Observer 1943, p. 63: "But Theophanus Mavromatis, which was Fan Noli's original name, came in 1900, after assisting in an ironmonger's shop, to Adrianople, where the good teachers gave him an education."
- Baerlein 1968, p. 76: "... year 1900 his name was Theophanus Mavromatis, which is Greek."
- Free Europe 1941, p. 278: "The one personage as to whom Mr. Robinson seems to be misinformed is Bishop Fan Noli, who has for many years lived in the United States and whom Mr. Robinson probably did not meet ... He says that this former Premier was born in the south of the country, was educated at Harvard and was consecrated a Bishop in Greece. The facts are that he was born near Adrianople and that his original name was Theophanos Mavromatis, which does not necessarily imply that he was Greek."
- Irénikon 1963, p. 266: "Il était connu alors sous le nom de Théophanis Mavromatis."
- Ekdotiki 2000, p. 538: "158 Stylianou Theophanes Noli or Mavrommatis."
- Giakoumēs, Vlassas & Hardy 1996, p. 184 "His full name was Theophanis Stylianos Mavrommatis, and he was born in Adrianople and studied in Athens and the USA. ... "
- Skendi 1967, p. 162. "Fan Stylian Noli was born in 1882, in Ibrik Tepe (Alb. Qytezë), an Albanian settlement south of Adrianople, in Eastern Thrace."
- https://books.google.com/books?id=1TPUAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA34&dq=theofan+noli+albanian&hl=en&sa=X&ei=p0JOU7jGEMndtAbxhIHQCQ&redir_esc=y "one of the most colorfull Albanian politicians"
- Constance J. Tarasar (1975), Orthodox America, 1794–1976: Development of the Orthodox Church in America, Syosset, N.Y: Orthodox Church in America, Department of History and Archives, p. 311, OCLC 2930511,
It was from his family that Fan Noli received a sense of identity as an Albanian
- Jorgaqi 2005, p. 37. "Në disa studime greke per Trakën nuk mohohet ekzistenca e një bashkësie ortodokse shqipfolëse në prefekturën e Adrianopojës, e cila gjatë shekullit të kaluar lëvizte nga 15-25000 banorë. Madje, sipas tyre, ardhja e shqiptarëve të emigruar nga Shqipëria ka ndodhur për shkak të zbrazëtive të krijuara në Trake nga luftrat dhe shkrëtimet pas renies së Konstandinopojës."; pp. 38-39. " Ekziston dhe një gojëdhanë tjeter, por që tregohet në Shqipëri, e cila flet për një eksod masiv në drejtim të Trakës nga fshatrat e Kolonjës. Fshatarë nga Gostvishti, Perasi, Qafëzezi, Vithkuqi e Qyteza, për shkak të padrejtësive të pushtuesve dhe të fushës feudale, braktisen tokat e trye malore dhe i sistemuan në fushat e Trakës. Koha e kësaj shpërnguljeje hamendësohet të jetë e shekullit XVIII.", p. 42. "Gojëdhana që përcillej nga një brez në tjetrin, rrëfente se të parët e tyre kishin ardhur në Ibrik-Tepe nga Kolonja e Epirit. Atje ata kishin lënë Qytezën e vjetër, rrëzë malet e Rodonit...
- Austin 2012, pp. 3–4.
- Kyrou (or Kyros) Ad. Alexis, Our Balcanian neighbors", 1962, p. 28 : "... όταν υπηρέτει ακόμη ως δημοδιδάσκαλος εις τα Ελληνικά σχολεία της Αιγύπτου και δεν είχεν, εισέτι, ανακαλύψει τον "Αλβανικόν" του πατριωτισμόν, ωνομάζετο Θεοφάνης Μαυρομάτης ...".
- Skoulidas 2013. para. 28.
- Skendi 1967, pp. 160, 162.
- Hanioğlu, M. Șükrü (2001). Preparation for a Revolution: The Young Turks, 1902-1908. Oxford University Press. p. 256. ISBN 9780199771110.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Biernat 2014, pp. 14–15.
- Vickers 2011, p. 61.
- Austin 2012, p. 4. "Noli... Hoping to eliminate Greek influence within the Albanian Orthodox Church, he focused his early activities on translating the church liturgy into Albanian and establishing an independent Albanian Orthodox Church. The latter he considered as vital to Albania's evolution into a unified nation and as a major blow to the supporters of the Greek 'Great Idea'."
- Skendi 1967, pp. 179–180.
- Austin 2012, p. 4.
- Skendi 1967, p. 453.
- Austin 2012, pp. 18, 20.
- Austin 2012, pp. 4–5.
- Austin 2012, p. 32.
- Brisku 2013, p. 75: "Two political groupings: the pro-British People's Party, headed by the colorful leader, Fan Noli, and the pro—Italian Progressive Party, led by Mehdi Frashéri, came to dominate the political scene."
- Bogdani & Loughlin 2009, p. 122: "The first Albanian political parties, in the western meaning of the word, appeared in the early 1920s, the most prominent being: the Progressive Party led by Ahmet Zogu, the People's Party led by Fan Noli, and the Popular Party led by Xhafer Ypi."
- Austin 2012, pp. 31, 95.
- Austin 2012, p. 29.
- Austin 2012, p. 30.
- Austin 2012, pp. 39–40, 45–46.
- Austin 2012, pp. 46–47, 51, 159.
- Austin 2012, p. 40.
- Austin 2012, pp. 59–74, 80–82, 146–150.
- Austin 2012, pp. 152–155.
- Vllamasi & Verli 2000, "Një pjesë me rëndësi e emigrantëve, me inisiativën dhe ndërmjetësinë e Koço Boshnjakut, u muarrën vesh me "Cominternin", si grup, me emër "KONARE" (Komiteti Revolucionar Kombëtar), për t'u ndihmuar pa kusht gjatë aktivitetit të tyre nacional, ashtu siç janë ndihmuar edhe kombet e tjerë të vegjël, që ndodheshin nën zgjedhë të imperialistëve, për liri e për pavarësi. Përveç kësaj pjese, edhe emigrantët kosovarë irredentistë, të grupuar e të organizuar nën emrin "Komiteti i Kosovës", si grup, u ndihmuan edhe ata nga "Cominterni"."
- Ersoy, Górny & Kechriotis 2010, p. 155.
- Austin 2012, p. 155.
- Noli, Fan Stylian (21 February 2018). "George Castrioti Scanderbeg (1405-1468)". Retrieved 21 February 2018 – via Internet Archive.
- Hoxha, Enver (1989). "Ditar: 1965". Tirana: 8 Nëntori Publishing House. pp. 172–174.
- Bank of Albania (2004–2012). "Banknotes Withdrawn from Circulation". Bank of Albania. Archived from the original on 2009-03-06. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
- Athene (1944). Athene. Chicago, IL: Athene Enterprises, Incorporated.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Austin, Robert Clegg (2012). Founding a Balkan State: Albania's Experiment With Democracy, 1920–1925. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-1-4426-4435-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Baerlein, Henry (1968). Southern Albania: Under the Acroceraunian Mountains. Chicago: Argonaut.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Biernat, Agata (2014). "Albania and Albanian émigrés in the United States before World War II". In Mazurkiewicz, Anna (ed.). East Central Europe in Exile Volume 1: Transatlantic Migrations. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 9–22. ISBN 9781443868914.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Bogdani, Mirela; Loughlin, John (2009) . Albania and the European Union: The Tumultuous Journey Towards Integration and Accession. Library of European Studies. London: I. B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84511-308-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Binder, David (2004). "Vlachs: A Peaceful Balkan People" (PDF). Mediterranean Quarterly. Duke University Press. 15 (4): 115–124. doi:10.1215/10474552-15-4-115.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Brisku, Adrian (2013). Bittersweet Europe: Albanian and Georgian Discourses on Europe, 1878–2008. New York: Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-0-85745-985-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Curtis, Ference Gregory (1994). Chronology of 20th-century Eastern European History. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8103-8879-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Ekdotiki, Athenon (2000). The Splendour of Orthodoxy: 2000 years history, monuments, art. Discourses of Collective Identity in Central and Southeast Europe. 3. Budapest and New York: Ekdotiki Athenon. ISBN 978-960-213-398-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Ersoy, Ahmet; Górny, Maciej; Kechriotis, Vangelis (2010). Modernism: Representations of National Culture. Discourses of Collective Identity in Central and Southeast Europe. 3. Budapest and New York: Central European University Press. ISBN 978-963-7326-64-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Free Europe (1941). Free Europe: Fortnightly Review of International Affairs (Volumes 4–5). London: Free Europe.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Giakoumēs, Geōrgios K.; Vlassas, Grēgorēs; Hardy, David A. (1996). Monuments of Orthodoxy in Albania. Doukas School. ISBN 978-960-7203-09-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Irénikon (1963). Irénikon (Volume 36) (in French). Amay, Belgium: Monastère Bénédictin.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Jorgaqi, Nasho (2005). Jeta e Fan S. Nolit: Vëllimi 1. 1882–1924 [The life of Fan S. Noli: Volume 1. 1882–1924]. Tiranë: Ombra GVG. ISBN 9789994384303.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Naval Society (1928). The Naval Review (Volume 16). London: Naval Society.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Skendi, Stavro (1967). The Albanian national awakening. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9781400847761.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Skoulidas, Elias (2013). "The Albanian Greek-Orthodox Intellectuals: Aspects of their Discourse between Albanian and Greek National Narratives (late 19th - early 20th centuries)". Hronos. 7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Spahiu, Avni; Mjeku, Getoar (2009). Fan Noli's American Years: Notes on a Great Albanian American. Houston, TX: Jalifat Group. ISBN 978-0-9767140-2-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Stavrou, Nikolaos A. (1996). "Albanian Communism and the 'Red Bishop'". Mediterranean Quarterly. 7 (2): 32–59.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
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- Thernstrom, Stephan (1980). Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University. ISBN 978-0-674-37512-3.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Vickers, Miranda (2011). The Albanians: a modern history. London: IB Tauris. ISBN 9780857736550.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Vllamasi, Sejfi; Verli, Marenglen (2000). Ballafaqime Politike në Shqipëri (1897–1942): Kujtime dhe Vlerësime Historike. Tirana: Shtëpia Botuese "Neraida". ISBN 99927-713-1-3.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Pearson, Owen (2004). Albania and King Zog: Independence, Republic and Monarchy 1908–1939. London: Center for Albanian Studies. ISBN 978-1-84511-013-0.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fan Noli.|
- Elsie, Robert. "Classical Authors: Fan Noli". Albanian Literature in Translation. Archived from the original on 2010-02-01.
| Prime Minister of Albania
June 16, 1924 – December 26, 1924