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Week of Religious Liberty - The Italian Adventist Church celebrates 150 years

Week of Religious Liberty - The Italian Adventist Church celebrates 150 years

The Headquarters of the Italian Union, Rome

Rome, Italy [Dora Bognandi; BIA; CD EUD News]. Commitment to religious freedom is one of the characteristics of the global Adventist Church. Reaching the 150th anniversary is an important milestone and leads us to reflect on the church's history, meaning,

February 19, 2014 | Dora Bognandi; BIA; CD EUD News;

Rome, Italy [Dora Bognandi; BIA; CD EUD News]. Commitment to religious freedom is one of the characteristics of the global Adventist Church. Reaching the 150th anniversary is an important milestone and leads us to reflect on the church's history, meaning, and presence in society. The week of February 15-22 has been dedicated to Religious Liberty of the Adventist Church in Italy.

In 1864, Michael Belina Czechowski, a former Polish priest who was converted to Adventism in the United States, brought his new faith to Europe. He started in the Waldensian Valley in the Piedmont region where a few years before (1848) Waldensians and Jews were granted civil and political rights. It was difficult to introduce the Adventist faith in Italy because the observance of the biblical Sabbath made life very difficult for new converts, both at work and school. Several people who lost their jobs or did not get hired because of the Sabbath, began to work as colporteurs selling Bibles, religious, health and informative books. This work contributed significantly to the spread of Adventism in Italy.

For this anniversary occasion, the Department of Religious Liberty of the Italian Adventist Union published the book "150 years (1864-2014) of Seventh-day Adventist presence in Italy. Our history, mission, challenges and testimony ", published by Edizioni ADV, Florence. It traces the history, the sense of its presence among other faiths in Italy, its social commitment, the services offered, the theological, ethical, cultural and multicultural challenges to cope better with the present and the future.

The book concludes with interviews with several non-adventists, such as Professor Paolo Naso, Pastor Anna Maffei and Professor Valdo Spini. They all freely express their opinion on the Adventist Church.

One of the characteristics of the Adventist World church is its commitment to religious freedom. In fact, it was the first department being formed at a global level. Some biblical words of meditation in favor of religious freedom have been sent to all church communities so that, in celebrating the anniversary, we remember that this freedom is not just individual, but also collective. It is an inalienable right.

picture: Dora Bognandi, Director of the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) Department in the Italian Union;

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