In the rectory of Kosovo’s Cathedral of Saint Mother Teresa, a few days ahead of the consecration ceremony in September, Father Lush Gjergji can hardly contain his excitement. Casually clad in shirtsleeves and clerical collar, the diminutive but ebullient priest eagerly hands me an English translation of one of his many books about Mother Teresa.
Gjergji is something of an expert on the region’s most famous Catholic, who was born in Skopje, now the capital of Macedonia, when it was still a part of the Kosovo province of the Ottoman Empire. He met her more than 20 times — in Kolkata (then Calcutta), Kosovo and Albania — and accompanied her to Oslo when she was awarded the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize.
And so it’s only appropriate that Gjergji is the general vicar of a Catholic diocese dedicated to her memory. The cathedral is the first to have been built in the capital of Kosovo since the city was sacked by the Ottomans in the late 1600s.