Blessed Kolë Shllaku

Blessed Kolë ShllakuMemorial

Also known as

  • Brother Gjon


Son of Loros and Marë Ashtës. Studied at Franciscan schools, and became a Franciscan Friar Minor novice on 4 October 1922, making his perpetual vows on 13 September 1928 and taking the name Gjon. Studied theology in the Netherlands. Ordained a priest on 15 March 1931. Studied science, history and philosophy in Louvain, Belgium. Received a doctorate in philosophy from the Sorbonne University in Paris, France in 1937. Back in Albania he taught philosophy and French at a number of levels, and served as a spiritual director to many of his students. An open anti-Fascist, he was forced to flee to Yugoslavia when the Italians invaded Albania. Returning home, he ministered to those suffering in the privations of World War II, and continued to speak against Fascism and Communism. Helped found the Christian Democrats in Albania which led to his arrest by the Communist regime that took power after World War II; he was arrested in a class room in the middle of a lecture. He spent several months being tortured in prison, was finally given a show trial, found guilty of treason against the Communist government, and on 22 February 1946 he was sentenced to death. Martyr.



  • shot by a machine-gun squad at 6am on 4 March 1946 at the cemetery in Shkodrë, Albania
  • the body was left laying outside for a day to show the locals what would happen to those who opposed the Communists
  • buried with other martyrs in a mass grave near the nearby river bed on the night of 5 March; rubbish bins were stacked on the grave to conceal it



Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Kolë Shllaku“. CatholicSaints.Info. 31 August 2021. Web. 20 October 2021. <>