Pope Francis during his November 27, 2019, General Audience in St. Peter’s Square offers prayers for the victims of the recent earthquakes in Albania.

“I would like to send my greeting and my closeness to the dear Albanian people, which have suffered so much in these days,” the Holy Father said. ” Albania was the first country of Europe that I wished to visit. I am close to the victims; I pray for the dead, for the wounded, and for the families. May the Lord bless these people that I love so much.”

At least 21 people were killed when the most powerful earthquake to strike Albania in decades shook the capital Tirana and the country’s west and north on Tuesday, tearing down buildings and burying residents under rubble, reported Vatican News.

Residents, some carrying babies, fled apartment buildings in Tirana and the western port of Durres after the 6.4 magnitude quake struck shortly before 4 a.m. local time.

The Balkan country was jolted by 100 aftershocks after the main tremor, two of them of magnitude 5, testing strained nerves.

The following is the telegram of condolences for the victims of the earthquake that struck Albania yesterday, sent on behalf of the Holy Father Francis by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to the President of Albania, His Excellency Mr. Ilir Meta:

His Excellency Ilir Meta

President of the Republic of Albania


His Holiness Pope Francis sends heartfelt condolences to Your Excellency and to the families of those who have died following the earthquake that struck your country. Commending the souls of the deceased to God’s mercy, he assures the injured and all those affected by this disaster of his closeness in prayer. Upon the emergency personnel in their relief efforts, His Holiness invokes blessings of strength, and he entrusts the people of Albania to the loving providence of the Almighty.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin

Secretary of State

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