Located just off of the main boulevard in the nation’s capital, and open to both Catholics and non-Catholics alike, St. Paul’s Cathedral offers a nice site to rest, enjoy mass, or even on occasion, see a concert.
St. Paul’s Cathedral has quickly become a reference point for the entire Catholic population of the capital, and even beyond. Although the structure it relatively new, it is immediately recognisable by its unique architectural style, making it a memorable religious icon in the city. The striking structure attracts both local believers and visitors alike, in celebrating their faith.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is located in the Zhan D’Ark Boulevard, right in the city centre. Its central location makes it easily reachable by any mode of transportation, from walking or driving, to the public bus lines and taxis. Once you arrive, you’ll find that it’s a pleasure to walk around this area. Indeed, the entire area surrounding the cathedral is full of historical objects, gracefully intertwining the city’s architectural past and future.
Construction and History
The cathedral’s construction began towards the end of the 1990s, and was completed on the eve of the new millennium. The cathedral was finally consecrated in 2002. In terms of the Catholic Church, this cathedral represents the Archdiocese of Tirana and Durrës. In ecclesiastical liturgy, St. Paul is the apostle who spread the word and love of God throughout the world and sacrificed his earthly life to serve Christianity. A statue of St. Paul is located on the front façade of the Cathedral, at its highest point. The raised hand of the Apostle seems to indicate the invisible connection between heaven and earth.
The church complex is surrounded by a spacious courtyard, inside which the visitor can distinguish the main building: the cathedral. The cathedral itself is a modern building which does not resemble a traditional church. The back part of the complex includes the offices and residences of the priests and the Metropolitan Archbishop of the diocese of Tirana and Durrës.
A statue of Mother Teresa – the Albanian Catholic nun and missionary who was proclaimed a saint by Pope Francis – stands in the main courtyard. Another noteworthy element of the church’s architecture is the cornerstone laid by Pope John Paul II during his visit to this site in 1993.
The interior of St. Paul’s Cathedral is simple and minimalist in style, which suffices to convey its powerful message. The great hall, where mass is held, is adorned with statues of the apostles and crosses, while the large hall space is separated by a circular balcony that runs across the entire second floor. In front of it stands the great statue of the crucified Christ, illuminated by the windows with boldly-colored frescoes.
The church is a wonderful venue for classical concerts, which it organises and holds from time to time. Please also note that the church holds mass in both Albanian and English at different days and times. For more information on church events and activities, you can contact the church directly.