The Reformed Confession Grows In Milan

chiesa-riformata-filidelfia-congRenewed interest in the Reformed confession is not a uniquely American phenomenon. There are, of course, large confessional Reformed/Presbyterian bodies in South Korea, Nigeria, The (Democratic Republic of the) Congo, and elsewhere. We where we might not expect to find a Reformed presence in Italy, since it is overwhelmingly Romanist. Nevertheless, from the early 1540s there was a Reformed presence in Italy and there were Italian ex patriots who fled to Geneva, among them the Turretini family. You might be familiar with Francis Turretin (1623–87) and his Institutes of Elenctic Theology (3 vols) or Jerome (Girolamo) Zanchi (1516–90) and perhaps Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499–1562). These are among the more famous Italian Reformed theologians, each of whom had a significant influence on the shape of Reformed theology.

There is confessional Reformed congregation in Milan, Chiesa Riformata Filidelfia about whom the HB has reported previously. It is a church plant of Christ URC in Santee, CA. Pastor Andrea Ferrari (who has the coolest surname of any Reformed pastor I know) reports that the congregation now has 45 members (12 families and four other individual members with 12 baptized members heading toward profession of faith). Beside the morning and evening sermons they are studying the Belgic Confession in their adult class on the Lord’s Day mornings. Two of the members are teaching a Bible survey class to teenagers and they’re holding a Thursday evening class on the Heidelberg Catechism for some Chinese young people, who are at university in Milan. Who says that the Reformed faith isn’t international? Italian and Chinese Christians studying a Francophone confession and a German catechism!

He notes that there is an Italian translation of the Heidelberg Catechism. Here it is. If you know someone whom this might help, please let them know.

Pastor Ferrari says they do see visitors occasionally and they are reminded constantly that Europe is a post-Christian mission field. They covet your prayers and support.

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

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4 comments

  1. There is a significant reformed confessional presence throughout a number of French speaking West African countries. This is a recent phenomenon and it has had its fits and starts, as they say, but it is moving forward. I worked with a reformed body in a Muslim majority population country that experienced very fast growth. I’m behind on how many local congregations there are right now, but it is a significant number.

    • Keith, could you email me privately about these churches? Given what I do, I am very curious but it would be best to talk about it privately.

      Thanks,
      Jason

  2. The heritage of northern Italy is Lombard (Germanic) and they have always had a very different attitude to matters of both church and state than Italians further down the peninsula. Other parts of Europe where there has been a real growth in Reformed congregations among truly local people (typically younger and more educated people of some prior church background) since about 2000 are the St. Petersburg area of Russia, the east of Spain (around Valencia), and parts of Poland. Outside Europe, the most encouraging growth in Reformed congregations in our day is, to my mind, in Mexico.

  3. I feel so alone here in Ghana. I have totally embraced the reformed faith(the strand in line with R Scott Clark et al) yet have no idea of any reformed congregation here in Accra. someone told me there used to be a Dutch reformed church somewhere here but I’m still to no where exactly…will you please send someone to Ghana.

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