What is ELCI - Chiesa Evangelica Luterana in Italia

What is ELCI

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Italy (ELCI) was created immediately after the Second World War, long after the founding of its constituent communities, whose origins and historical developments differ completely from each other. When ELCI was established, it was intended that it would support the existence of the Lutheran communities in Italy, mostly with German members, who had to cope with a shortage of material aid from Germany after the dramatic post-war difficulties. The pastors of the community asked the help of the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva. This organisation at that time was working for to the refugees and prisoners of the war. The Pastors learned from LWF, they might get help through the financial support of Lutheran Churches in America, but the individual Lutheran communities must form a united church in Italy.

On October 1949 the ELCI was established as an independent Lutheran Church and also was also covered by Italian law. The only strange thing in the European context, that even today, the German Lutheran communities worldwide are considered as” community abroad”, and therefore they are dependent on the Evangelical Church in Germany (ECG).

In 1961, the President of the Italian Republic recognized the existence of the ELCI with a decree.

In 1967, the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy was established and ELCI was one of the co-founders. The FECI brings together the historical Protestant churches in Italy.

In 1995, Parliament ratified the text of the Entente with the Italian Republic that governs the relationship of the ELCI with the state.

Today, the ELCI is a bilingual church, where, in addition to the religious and cultural elements of German cultural origins, the Italian traditions and language have the same importance. The church has various communities and represents a unique group of Italian and European Protestants.

Lutheran communities in Italy

The oldest community: 

  • 1650, Venice

Established due to the influence of Helvetic or Ausburg Confession, in the former Habsburg Monarchy:

  • 1778, Trieste
  • 1861, Merano
  • 1889, Bolzano

Some communities were founded under the protection of the Prussian Legation:

  • 1819, Rome
  • 1826, Naples
  • 1899, Florence

The Ligurian communities:

  • 1870, Sanremo
  • 1896, Genoa

In Lombardia:

  • 1850, Milan


  • 1949, the headquarter is in Rome

The three communities of the Gulf of Naples:

  • 1952, Torre del Greco, St. Maria Bruna and Torre Annunziata (now united in the latter)

The second Lutheran community of Lombardy:

  • 1966, Ispra Varese

The Lutheran communities of Sicily:

  • 1991, Catania
  • 1996, out of the territorial jurisdiction of Naples and enter to ELCI

Continued growth of the CELI in Northern Italy:

  • 2008, Verona-Gardone
  • 2008, Merano
  • 2009, Turin