Albanian-born cardinal. Imprisoned by the Communist regime for 18 years, his death sentence commuted. Arrested on the day he was celebrating a Mass on the anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy.
SP - Signed Photograph: 7.25"x5" color, matte-finish closeup image. Signed in-person in Rome circa November 2016.
Simoni entred the Franciscan college in 1938, remaining there until 1948 when the Communist regime of Enver Hoxha closed the college in a wave of anti-religious sentiment and persecution. Simoni was ordained on 7 April 1956.
On 24 December 1963 Simoni was imprisoned by the Communist authorities because he celebrated Mass in memory of President Kennedy. He was sentenced to death but the sentence was converted into prison and penal labor for 25 years. He was released after 18 years. By the late 1990s he exercised his ministry in several Albanian villages.
On 21 September 2014, Pope Francis met Simoni during his apostolic visit to Albania. At that meeting Simoni provided his own tstimony on his experiences under Communism. Two years later, Pope Francis named him a cardinal.
Certain to be considered for sainthood.
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