NEV AGENCY – EVANGELICAL NEWS
PRESS SERVICE OF THE FEDERATION OF EVANGELICAL CHURCHES IN ITALY
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MUNICIPALITY AND THE WALDENSIAN TABLE WELCOME MATTARELLA TO TORRE PELLICE:
“THE EUROPEAN DREAM WAS BORN HERE. A CHALLENGE TO BE COMPLETED”
ON 31 AUGUST, TWO MEETINGS: WITH LOCAL CIVIL INSTITUTIONS AND WITH THE VALDESE CHURCH
IN THE AFTERNOON, HISTORICAL CONFERENCE ON “THE EUROPE OF ALTIERO SPINELLI. THE IMPORTANT LEGACY OF A FEDERALIST”.
Rome (NEV/CS15), 4 August 2023 – A plaque to commemorate the figure of Altiero Spinelli, guest at Torre Pellice of the Waldensian Mario Alberto Rollier, a member of the Partito d’Azione, a central figure in the spread of the idea of Europeanism. But also an occasion to pay homage to a very significant “first time”: Altiero Spinelli’s first speech as leader of the European Federalist Movement.
The plaque will be unveiled in the morning of Thursday 31 August in Torre Pellice in the presence of the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, with a day divided into two distinct moments: one will involve the local civil institutions and one will be dedicated to the Waldensian Church, a historical reality of reformed Protestantism. The afternoon will continue with a historical conference promoted by the Municipality and the Waldensian Cultural Centre Foundation. The conference, entitled “The Europe of Altiero Spinelli. The important legacy of a federalist’, will take place at the Teatro del Forte at 4.30 pm.
‘It will be a historic day not only for the community of Torre Pellice but for the entire Pinerolo area and the Waldensian Valleys of Piedmont,’ says the Mayor of Torre Pellice, Marco Cogno. ‘The President’s presence and attention to small communities like ours honours us and strengthens us in our daily actions. Eighty years after 1943, the President’s presence takes on an even deeper meaning for our territory thanks to the democratic and republican values enshrined in our Constitutional Charter’.
“We are honoured by President Mattarella’s visit on such a significant occasion for a Church that has always combined a faith lived in the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a passionate civil commitment,” says the moderator of the Tavola Valdese, Alessandra Trotta. A type of commitment that for an entire generation of young Waldensians in our Valleys and elsewhere, exactly eighty years ago, also became, dramatically, a commitment of resistance to Nazi-Fascism, guided by a broad vision of an Italy and a Europe founded on principles of freedom and democracy, respectful of the plurality of ideas and values, lovers of peace and intent on promoting solidarity and human rights’.
It should be remembered that in Rollier’s Milan home, between 26 and 28 August 1943, the founding meeting of the Italian section of the European Federalist Movement took place, with Spinelli also present. Spinelli himself would later be Rollier’s guest, a few days later, in Torre Pellice where he delivered that first historic speech eighty years ago.
A concrete utopia and a project yet to be completed, therefore, the idea of a federalist Europe did indeed experience a key moment with the Ventotene Manifesto (written in 1941 by Ernesto Rossi and Spinelli), but it also had a fundamental passage in Torre Pellice.
A few months later, on 19 December 1943, we find Rollier in Chivasso, where a mixed group of anti-fascists from Valle d’Aosta and representatives of the Waldensian valleys met to draw up the so-called ‘Declaration of Chivasso’. It called for a federalism that recognised small cultural and linguistic autonomies as expressions of freedom in the face of an authoritarian and centralist vision of the State. The same Waldensian group that inspired this document played an important role in organising the “Ciabàs Theological Days” (1-2 September 1945) whose theme was, precisely, “Christian ecumenism and European federalism”.