Tirana- December 2013. His Excellency Lulzim Basha, Mayor of the City of Tirana, presented the highest municipal award of the Albanian capital city – the ‘Gratitude of Tirana’ – to HRH Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro and HE Renato Raffaele Cardinal Martino.
The citation to HRH The Duke of Castro which was read out by Mayor Basha said: “The Gratitude of Tirana is awarded to His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro and Grand Master, in recognition of his personal merits and those of the internationally recognised Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George which over many centuries has fostered the growth of religious, charitable, humanitarian and hospitaller assistance to those most in need across the world. This award is made conscious of the historic ties which exist between Albania and southern Italy since the time of Albania’s national hero Skanderbeg, and as a mark of esteem and illustration of the high regard which the City of Tirana holds for your ancient office as Grand Master and as Head of the Royal House of Naples. This award further recognises the contribution you have made and will make to furthering more meaningful and mutually beneficial relations between our two institutions and our two noble peoples and nations.”
The citation to HE Cardinal Martino which was read out by Mayor Basha said: “The Gratitude of Tirana is awarded to His Eminence Renato Raffaele Cardinal Martino, On the Second Day of December, Two Thousand and Thirteen, in recognition of his personal merits and those in his capacity as Cardinal Grand Prior of the internationally recognised Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George which over many centuries has fostered the growth of religious, charitable, humanitarian and hospitaller assistance to those in need across the world. This award further recognises his lifetime global contribution to justice and peace in his capacity as President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace for the Holy See and as the Holy See’s representative for over nineteen years at the United Nations. This award recognises the contribution Cardinal Martino has made and will make to furthering more meaningful and deeper relations between the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith communities of Albania, Italy and the wider world.”
The hour long visit which included private talks before the ceremony was held at City Hall in the centre of Tirana and was attended by senior City officials including the Mayor, Deputy Mayors and other departmental chiefs.
During the talks the Mayor thanked the Constantinian Order for its charitable and humanitarian support in Tirana over the past 10 years and especially for its global activities in inter-religious matters.
Among previous recipients of this award were: Hillary Clinton, Feim Ibrahimi, Lord Mayor of London Sir David Gifford, Johanna Neumann and the Emir of Qatar.
Following the ceremony a formal lunch hosted by the Mayor of Tirana in honour of the delegation took placer at ABA 21 restaurant. Among those attending were HE Mr. Lulzim Basha, Mayor of Tirana, HRH Crown Prince Leka Zogu II, Deputy Mayor Mrs. Nevila Xhindi, Deputy Mayor Mr Enno Bozdo, Mr Etion Kapedani, General Administrator, Mrs Greta Deljani Chief of Staff.
Among those attending from the Constantinian Order were HRH The Duke of Castro, HE Renato Raffaele Cardinal Martino, HE Ambassador Nobile Giuseppe Balboni Acqua, Secretary General of the Royal House, HE Mr Anthony Bailey, Delegate for Great Britain & Ireland and Grand Magistral Delegate for Inter-Religious Relations, Dr Alberto Janelli, Private Secretary to HRH The Duke of Castro and delegation members Cyril and Lorna Woods of Slane and Mr and Mrs Nadhmi Auchi.
The Ambassadors of the Italy, United Kingdom and Hungary accredited to and resident in the Republic of Albania were also present.
To download the Speech of HRH The Duke of Castro click here.
To download the Speech of HE Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino click here.