Gjerasim Qiriazi (1858–1894) was an Albanian who lived when Turkey still ruled much of southern Europe. It was a time of great upheaval, as the different peoples of the Ottoman Empire strove for national independence.
Born to a poor family, Qiriazi was apprenticed full-time to a shoemaker when he turned thirteen. His unlikely rise to the forefront of Albania’s National Awakening is a remarkable tale of courage, sacrifice and sheer determination.
His activities incurred the wrath of both church and state. Powerful and ruthless men opposed him at every turn. Assassins tried to kill him. Mountain brigands held him hostage. But he withstood their violence and carried on his ‘sacred task’ until the day he died. His legacy changed a nation.
A triumph of biographical storytelling, A Sacred Task draws upon hundreds of newly-discovered documents to bring this story to life, shared here in full for the first time.
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About the Author
John Quanrud studied Albanian language and literature at Prishtina University in Kosovo from 1988 until the closure of all Albanian-language departments there in 1991. He then moved with his family to Tirana, Albania, where he helped to re-establish Albania’s protestant community following decades of state-enforced atheism. John currently lives in London.