Father Antonio Bellusci, "The Spiritual Father of the Arbëreshë," Passes Away

 Today, Father Antonio Bellusci, a distinguished Arbëreshë figure, passed away. Throughout his life and work, he became deeply identified with the essence and culture of the Arbëreshë community in Italy over the past half-century. Born in 1934 in Frascineto, Calabria, Bellusci dedicated his entire life to preserving and cultivating the Arbëreshë heritage.

Father Antonio Bellusci with "Plis" on his head and Albanian flags can be seen in the background
Father Antonio Bellusci with "Plis" on his head and Albanian flags can be seen in the background

A Life Dedicated to the Arbëreshë Cause

Educated as a cleric, Father Antonio Bellusci quickly emerged as a prominent figure, not only for his religious role but also for his tireless commitment to Arbëreshë identity. His activities extended beyond the typical duties of a cleric, reaching the pinnacles recognized by the Arbëreshë world in our time. Known as "The Spiritual Father of the Arbëreshë of Italy," he was the most deserving figure for preserving and nurturing the values of the Arbëreshë community.

A Defender of the Albanian Cause

Father Antonio Bellusci provided countless testimonies in defense of the Albanian cause, especially that of Kosovo. He was a powerful and respected voice advocating for the rights and culture of Albanians, not only in Italy but also on the international stage. His contributions went beyond the religious sphere, encompassing scientific and humanitarian activities.

An Unmatched Scholar of the Arvanites of Greece

In particular, Bellusci was known for his support of the Arvanites of Greece, whom he studied and understood perhaps better than anyone else. His efforts contributed significantly to the recognition and preservation of the Arvanite heritage.

A Welcoming Address for Albanians Abroad

Father Antonio was an indispensable and hospitable address for almost all Albanians from "across the sea" who visited the Arbëreshë. He was always available to them, sharing his extensive knowledge and deep understanding of the Arbëreshë world. His personal library is a model of preservation, containing books and magazines from the entire Albanian world.

With his passing, the Arbëreshë community loses a central figure whose life’s work has left an indelible mark on the preservation and celebration of their unique heritage. Father Antonio Bellusci’s legacy will continue to inspire future generations to uphold and cherish the rich cultural tapestry he so passionately defended.
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