Today I had a trip out of my Valleys and I came to Turin, capital city of Piedmont… and necessarily linked to the events of Waldensian people!
Right here, in fact, Savoy family used to live… and for a long time they opposed Waldenses and tried to eliminate them from their territories, since they considered Waldenses as heretics.
Before 1848, just like what used to happen in the Valleys, Waldensian people of Turin were not allowed to live in the city and celebrate their cults. Religious functions were celebrated in the Chapel of the Protestant Legations in the Embassy of Prussia, thanks to the intervention of a minister of the Prussian King. According to a request of the Legations, a pastor was sent from the Valleys as chaplain, and it was forbidden to Catholics to attend cults.
In 1700 in Turin a foreign community of Protestant confession used to live, mainly formed by soldiers and traders, who sometimes housed Waldensian ministers who came from the Valleys to officiate cults; this was a reason for complaining both by Catholic Church and by merchants from Turin, who did not appreciate the presence of foreign competitors.
Finally on February 17th 1848 the Patent Letters were issued, and the small Waldensian community of Turin had the opportunity to build their own temple, provided that it did not resemble a church and that it was financed by the members of the community themselves.
On the initiative of Colonel Charles Beckwith it was decided to build the temple in a central location of the city, so it was built in the San Salvario area, along the King Avenue (known today as Corso Vittorio Emanuele II).
The building of the temple required huge financial efforts to members of the community, despite the fundraising by Beckwith and the financial support of the banker Joseph Malan. In spite of all of these difficulties the temple, built in Gothic Revival style (typical of the period and due to the Anglican influence of the Colonel), was inaugurated in 1853 afore the Ambassadors of Prussia, England, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Well, now I guess I’ll keep on walking through the streets of Turin, to discover other interesting places… and if I’ll find something attractive, be sure that I will inform you immediately!!!
Do you want to read the tale in Italian ?