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Rome – Thanks to Adventists, a city square named after Martin Luther

Rome – Thanks to Adventists, a city square named after Martin Luther

Colle Oppio, Rome

A historical decision is made at the capital of Italy, which is home to the Vatican City, after centuries of hostility between Catholics and Protestants

September 02, 2015 | Rome, Italy. | Notizie Avventiste, D. Bognandi, A. Mazza, CD EUDNEWS.

Rome will soon have a square named after "Martin Luther – the German theologian (1483-1546)". A historical decision is made at the capital of Italy, which is home to the Vatican City, after centuries of hostility between Catholics and Protestants, starting with the publication of his famous 95 Theses, on October 31, 1517 on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg.  With the passing of time, the hostility between modern Christians changed into intense dialogue also in Rome, however on March 13, 2015 in a very friendly manner, came the final resolution by the Capitoline Executive Council and allocated a significant location in the city to the German Augustinian Monk.

The decision comes six years after the first petition was sent to the mayor of the municipality of Rome by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Lutheran Church.  In 2009, independently and without having consulted each other, they both presented a petition to name a street after Martin Luther. The request was assessed by the Commission for the Determination of Place Names, and on June 7, 2010, took a favourable stand. 

Also in 2010, the Conference of Evangelical Churches in Rome was organized including the  Waldensians, Methodists, Adventists, Lutherans, Baptists and the Health-conscious. To remember the Augustinian Monk's visit to Rome, which was particularly important in his journey of faith, the State Council, with the support of the director Paolo Masini, organized a day of study on Martin Luther in the Protomoteca Hall at the City of Rome. Participants included some high school classes and a large audience.

On that occasion, the Council, taking the request made a few years earlier by the two churches, sent a reminder to the mayor so that the Commission for the Determination of Place Names could make the decision.  At the same time a close study of the files was initiated by the Council by appointing some members for the task: Annemarie Dupré, Consultation Coordinator, Dora Bognandi, Deputy Coordinator, Jens-Martin Kruse, Treasurer and Carlo Giliberti, member of the Council. On several occasions the Commission urged the leaders of the City to follow through with the petition which has become the common cause of the evangelical world.

In 2014, during the 100-year celebrations of the Waldensian Church in Rome,  the new mayor, Ignazio Marino, immediately welcomed the request and openly promised that it would soon be settled. There has been a certain excitement due to the area to be chosen and dedicated to German Monk: a place should be chosen close to the centre, to recognize the important role he has played historically, somehow introducing Europe to modern times and giving a crucial contribution spiritually and culturally.

The site was identified in the central District of Monti, Municipality 1, Colle Oppio, near the Colosseum, along the Fortunato Mizzi Avenue. It is a lovely square with a central fountain where evangelicals will feel at home when visiting or even organizing public witnessing.

This Roman initiative is worthy of being duplicated in many other Italian cities looking forward to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation that will be remembered in just two years, in 2017. To accomplish this, cooperation and participation is encouraged among all the Evangelical communities who acknowledge the Reformation.

The inauguration, which will be also attended by representatives of the italian government, will be on September 16, 2015. Our News Editor, Andreas Mazza, will publish an exhaustive report on the event.

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