Nikollë Bojaxhiu

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Nikollë Bojaxhiu
Nikollë Bojaxhiu.GIF
Born c. 1874
Prizren, Kosovo Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
Died c. 1919
Skopje, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Occupation Businessman
Spouse(s) Dranafile Bernai
Children Aga
Parent(s) Lazar Bojaxhiu

Nikollë Bojaxhiu (c. 1874c. 1919) was an Albanian businessman, benefactor, politician and the father of the Roman Catholic nun and missionary Mother Teresa. His company constructed the first theater of Üsküb (now Skopje) and participated in the development of the railway line that connected Kosovo with Skopje – a project which he personally financed.

An active Albanian rights activist, he was also the only Catholic to be elected to the city council of Skopje. Bojaxhiu died in 1919 in obscure circumstances, which led to reports that attributed his death to poisoning by Serbian agents. His children included Lazar, and Agnes Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa).


Nikollë was born in 1874 in Prizren to Lazër and Çilja Bojaxhiu. Bojaxhiu moved to Skopje in the Kosovo Vilayet (present-day Macedonia) after 1900, where he first worked as a pharmacist and later became a partner in a construction company.[1] He was a polyglot; as well as Albanian he also spoke French, Italian, Macedonian, Serbo-Croat and Turkish. In the early 1900s, he married Dranafile Bernai with whom he had three children: Aga (b. 1905), Lazar (b. 1908) and Agnes (b. 1910), with the latter becoming later better known as Mother Teresa. Nikollë Bojaxhiu's company constructed the city's first theater and part of the railway line that connected Skopje with the region of Kosovo.[2] He was also the owner of a wholesale food company and the only Roman Catholic member of the city council of Skopje.[2]

On the day of the Albanian Declaration of Independence (November 28, 1912) he hosted a meeting that was attended by Bajram Curri and Hasan Prishtina among others.[2] After the region's incorporation into Serbia, Bojaxhiu joined various Albanian rights political organizations. He died in 1919, a few hours after he returned from a political meeting in Belgrade. Several biographers have attributed his death to poisoning by Serbian agents.[2] The location, purpose and participants of the meeting remain unknown. His son Lazar considered the theory of poisoning to be a certainty, while his daughter Agnes described it as unconfirmed.[2]

His funeral process was attended by large numbers of people and representative of all the religious communities. As a sign of respect, that day all school children were given dedicatory handkerchiefs and jewellers' shops remained closed.[2] After his death, his partner appropriated the entirety of their companies' assets and left nothing to his widow and offspring.[1]

Ethnicity controversy[edit]

Nikollë Bojaxhiu was born into a Kosovar Albanian family.[3][4][5][6][7]In 2003 Albanian scholar Aurel Plasari claimed that Nikollë Bojaxhiu could have been of Aromanian origin, mainly based on a document, found by Macedonian author Stojan Trencevski, which asserted that Mr. Bojaxhiu was, at some point, the representative of the Aromanian community of Skopje.[8] However this hypothesis has been rejected by scholar Albert Ramaj, who, based on the testimony of a contemporary, Lalush Lalevski, argues that the representative of the Aromanian community at the time, whose last name was Boiadjijev, was another person, and entirely unrelated to Nikollë Bojaxhiu.[9] Ramaj's position was later endorsed by scholars Ukshini and Xhufi.[10] Mother Teresa had said: “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the heart of Jesus.”[11]


  1. ^ a b Maasburg, Leo; Miller, Michael J. (2011-10-01). Mother Teresa of Calcutta: A Personal Portrait. Ignatius Press. pp. 71–. ISBN 9781586175559. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Alpion, Gëzim (2006-12-26). Mother Teresa: Saint or Celebrity?. Taylor & Francis. pp. 148–51, 157–8. ISBN 9780415392464. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Poplin, Mary (28 January 2011). The Marriage Devotional: 365 Simple Ways to Celebrate Your Love. InterVarsity Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0830834723. Mother Teresa, Albanian Catholic Nun Founder of the missionaries of charity 
  4. ^ Group, Salisbury (28 January 2011). The Salisbury Review, Volumes 19–20. InterVarsity Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0830834723. Mother Teresa, Albanian by birth 
  5. ^ "Kosovo to Honor Mother Teresa". Zenit. 6 March 2007. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Mother Teresa Beyond the Image". New York Times. 1997. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  7. ^ Alpion, Gëzim (2006). Mother Teresa: Saint or Celebrity?. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0203087518. Retrieved 15 November 2014. the nun's mother was born in Prizren in Kosova, her family came originally from the Gjakova region, also in Kosova 
  8. ^ Plasari, Aurel (29 September 2003). "Bojaxhite e Nene Terezes". Shekulli. 
  9. ^ Ramaj, Albert in "Stublla 15 November 2003, p. 12
  10. ^ Alpion, Gëzim (December 2004). ", ethnicity and patriotism—the Balkans ‘unholy war’ for the appropriation of Mother Teresa" (PDF). Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans. 6 (3). Retrieved 2012-10-29. 
  11. ^ Mazzuca, Nate; Noble, Avery. Those Who Came Before Us. p. 244.