Country Profile

Italy

Members have been in Italy since 1850.

First among missionaries to Italy in 1850 was Elder Lorenzo Snow, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He and three other missionaries preached to the French Protestants in Piedmont Valley. Several Church publications were translated into French. By 1855, 50 members had emigrated to America and membership was 64. Progress was interrupted by the anti-Church activity outside of the Valley and the heavy legal requirements. Finally, after years of unsuccessful attempts, in 1964 the Church was allowed to resume missionary efforts. The first congregation of Latter-day Saints in Italy was organized on March 20, 1966, in Brescia.

The first Italian mission was opened in Florence on August 2, 1966. After that time missionaries were sent to many other Italian cities and the number of the members grew rapidly. By 1967, there were 66 members divided into two Italian congregations and seven congregations with both Italians and United States military servicemen. In 1985, membership was 12,000, and in 1990, it was 14,000.

In 1993, Italy gave formal legal status to the Church. That December, 50 Church missionaries were invited to sing on Vatican Radio from St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. In 2012, the Italian government granted the Church official status as a church and “partner of the state.” This legal status gives the Church greater freedom to do more good, both as a church and as a social institution.

In October 2016, Massimo De Feo, as first-ever Italian native, was called to be a General Authority Seventy.

On 9 March 2019, Russell M. Nelson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ became the first leader of the Church to have a formal audience at the Vatican with Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church. He was accompanied among others by M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Massimo De Feo, as the Church’s only Italian General Authority Seventy.

Between 10-12 March 2019, the Rome Italy Temple was dedicated in a total of seven dedicatory sessions. Russell M. Nelson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ conducted the symbolic cornerstone ceremony and read the dedicatory prayer. All living Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ were participating in these dedicatory services. The Rome Italy Temple dedication marked the first time in history when the entire First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gathered to one location outside of the United States.

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Ether Simoncini

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Raimondo Castellani

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