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102

JUNE 2016

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

roots of Catholi-

cism that continue to

flourish there today.

Catholic Kosovo

, by the

spouse of the former

military attaché to U.S.

Embassy Pristina, Mari-

lyn Kott, helps us uncover

those roots.

Don’t let the title

of the book fool you. Kosovo’s major

ethnic groups and religions are all so

entwined that this book is not just about

Catholicism’s significant role in this

predominantly Muslim society; it is also

a one-of-a-kind guide to some amaz-

ing out-of-the-way places all over the

country.

Kosovo was a crossroads of trade

before, during and after the Roman

Empire planted its flag in the ancient

city of Ulpiana, just outside the mod-

ern-day capital, Pristina. The Roman

ruins there are mesmerizing in their

simplicity as they reveal Christianity’s

ancient connection to this timeless

country. The graves of the second-

century Christian martyrs Florus and

Laurus, for example, were recently

unearthed in the ruins of the cathedral

in Ulpiana.

Kosovo also straddled the border

between the two competing parts of the

ancient world, Rome and Constanti-

nople. The country was a thriving min-

ing and trade center when

Byzantium emerged from the

ashes of the Eastern Roman

empire, and for centuries

remained a frontier of the

Ottoman empire, acting as

a buffer between it and the

Austro-Hungarian world.

Kosovo is a melting pot

of empires and cultures, and

Catholic Kosovo

reveals all of that and

more. Compiled and edited with care by

Ms. Kott, who lived in Kosovo for over

two years while her husband worked

at the U.S. embassy, the book was

researched by the author and a commit-

ted cadre of local writers.

Kott traveled the length and breadth

of the country, broke bread with tradi-

tional villagers, met with Catholic clergy

and immersed herself in the culture

and history of Europe’s newest nation.

She and her fellow contributors provide

the reader with detailed information

on more than 50 sites of historical or

cultural interest, along with more than

80 photographs and diagrams to help

readers plan a visit.

“I think that anyone interested in

history will find Kosovo’s Catholic influ-

ence a fascinating lens through which to

view the region,” explains Marilyn. “The

people have experienced a lot over the

centuries, and the result is a remarkable

history and culture, shaped by many

influences.”

During her sojourn in Kosovo Kott

was also active in creating and assisting

a variety of nongovernmental organiza-

tions that serve the local and Mission

communities in Pristina, receiving the

annual AAFSW-Secretary of State’s

Award for Outstanding Volunteerism

Abroad for this work. She has arranged

that all profits from her book go to

charities in the country.

Kosovo was, and remains today, a

crossroads of history. It is a fascinating

country to visit and explore, and there

is no better guide to helping make that

happen than

Catholic Kosovo

. Best of

all, profits from its sale—every single

penny—go to charities in Kosovo.

The author can be reached at

MarilynKott@outlook.com

.

n

Douglas E. Morris is the partner of an FSO,

living with her in Turkey, Brussels and

Kosovo. He is the author of 11 books, in-

cluding the travel books

Made Easy Travel

Guides to Italy

(https://sites.google.com/

site/madeeasytravelguidestoitaly/) and

Open Road’s Best of Italy

(www.BestofItaly

Guide.com).

Kott traveled the length

and breadth of the country,

broke bread with traditional

villagers, met with Catholic

clergy and immersed herself

in the culture and history of

Europe’s newest nation.

You Are Our Eyes & Ears! Dear Readers: In order to produce a high-quality product, the FSJ depends on the revenue it earns from advertising. You can help with this. Please let us know the names of companies that have provided good service to you — a hotel, insurance company, auto dealership, or other concern. A referral from our readers is the best entrée! Ed Miltenberger Advertising & Circulation Manager Tel: (202) 944-5507 Email: miltenberger@afsa.org