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Anastasios, the archbishop of Tirana and the primate of the Autocephalous Albanian Orthodox Church. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Revival in the Balkans

During the 1990s, perhaps 150,000 people perished in the hellish violence that raged over the Balkan peninsula. Al­though the conflicts were largely defined by ethnic differences, religion played a critical role in the three-sided war be­tween Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics, and Muslims. Armed gangs would burst into a house and demand that residents make the sign of the cross. Your life could depend on whether you made the horizontal bar from right to left (Orthodox) or vice versa (Catholic). Across Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina, ancient places of worship were desecrated and their artistic treasures vandalized.


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