THE Church of England has moved towards gaining legal status and official recognition in Italy, after a treaty was signed between the Associazione Chiesa d’Inghilterra (ACDI) and the Italian government.
The President of the ACDI, the Ven. Vickie Sims, the former Archdeacon of Italy and Malta, signed the agreement, along with the Undersecretary of State at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Giancarlo Giorgetti, last month. It will apply to all chaplaincies and congregations that are part of the ACDI.
A statement from the diocese in Europe said that this was an “immensely important milestone towards the full legal recognition of the chaplaincies and congregations in Italy”.
The benefits of the treaty include: “The full legal recognition by the Republic of Italy of the Confessione Anglicana of the Church of England; allowing chaplains to access the Italian clergy pension scheme; permitting foreign clergy to apply for a ‘religious visa’ to live in Italy; recognising weddings celebrated according to the Anglican rite legally; consenting clergy to visit officially in prisons and hospitals.” It includes other rights for Anglican workers, students, soldiers, charities, and cemeteries.
It also allows the ACDI to benefit from tax breaks on donations, and tax rebates from the State.
The agreement was signed in the presence of the Bishop in Europe, Dr Robert Innes, and the British Ambassador to Italy, Jill Morris.
The statement said: “The signing ceremony also served as an occasion to offer our deep thanks to the those who, over the past thirteen years, gave freely and generously of their professional time and talent.
“We also thank all those members of the Italian government who guided us in this long and complex journey. Further steps do remain, including the passing of the appropriate Bill in the Italian Parliament.”