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Luigi Desanctis

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1808-1869. Parish priest in Rome, Protestant pastor, and theologian. Perturbed by the moral and doctrinal corruption of the church, he went through a long spiritual crisis and finally left the Roman Catholic Church, taking refuge in Malta (1847). There he revived the Chiesa evangelica italiana, collaborated in the first Protestant journal, and published Il cattolico cristiano, another of deeper theological content. After a stay in Geneva (1850-52) as evangelist to the Italian exiles, he was ordained pastor in the Waldensian* Church and sent to Turin, where his presence gave a great impulse to the community. Disagreements with the Waldensians caused him to leave them and work for ten years among the free Italian churches, mainly in Liguria and Piedmont. He joined A. Gavazzi,* attracted by his dream of founding a national Italian church, but finally returned to the Waldensians, moving to Florence as pastor and lecturing in their faculty of theology. He was a prolific author, and his Roma papale remains a document of great value for its detailed account of the religious life in Rome at the time of Pope Gregory XVI.

See also Risorgimento and Guicciardini.