Catholic Kosovo: A Visitor’s Guide to Her People, Churches, Historical Sites, and Her 1,900 Year Journey

Catholic Kosovo: A Visitor’s Guide to Her People, Churches, Historical Sites, and Her 1,900 Year Journey

By Marilyn Kott

Available in Amazon Kindle e-book format).

Originally reviewed by Chris Deliso on March 6, 2016 here.

This very useful and illustrated book, published in November 2015, represents the most comprehensive guide (in English, at least) on all historical and modern sites associated with the Catholic Church in Kosovo. As such, it should prove a very handy asset both for those wishing to visit tourist attractions in Kosovo, or learn more about the historic and socio-religious aspects of life there.

Catholic Kosovo is divided into 17 chapters and four appendices. Most of the chapters are devoted to individual churches/Catholic sites in areas throughout Kosovo. The book includes an eclectic selection of factual descriptions and logistical data, bits of personal experience, historical episodes and interviews, including with Kosovo Bishop Dodë Gjergji.

The book starts with an overview of Kosovo’s Catholic sites, and offers handy tips on attending Mass there. An overview of the history of Catholicism in Kosovo is given, but this is enhanced further in the remainder of the book and visits to specific sites. While not every existing church is visited, an appendix provides details of 24 additional ones. Other appendices discuss historical Catholic personalities associated with Kosovo and provide helpful linguistic tips.

The churches and other Catholic-related sites discussed are treated more or less geographically. Pristina sites are discussed first, followed by those of Janjevo and Ferizaj. The southeast route along the northern edges of the Skopska Crna Gorna, is also covered, including Viti, Stublla and the important pilgrimage site of Letnica.

The remainder of the book picks up in the southwest, at the Catholic sites of Prizren and then up to Gjakova, Peja and Klina, before concluding with the sites at Kravasaria and Mitrovica to the northeast. The in-depth discussion of the churches and their histories are complemented by important facts like feast days and patron saints.

The helpful logistical information provided includes maps, directions, Mass schedules, church contact information and online resources.

One of the unique aspects of this book is its collective production process and ultimate beneficiaries. The author and her husband, a former US defense attaché in Kosovo, did not immediately plan to write the book when arriving in 2012. But as practicing Catholics, they quickly found like-minded local and international Catholics who introduced them to local practices and sites, and were thus able to compile a lot of experience and data into something useful for future visitors.

Kott emphasizes that the book was indeed a team effort and developed over time. In her acknowledgements section, the author thanks Msgr. Dodë Gjergji, who provided “access to essential records and photographs,” as well as to several individuals and NGO members who helped with research, translation and writing- people who, in the author’s words, “provided material for this book that only people who live and worship in Kosovo can.” She notes that income from book sales will go to the NGO AYA Pjetër Bogdani, Caritas Kosovo, and the Bishop of Kosovo’s building fund.