Chiesa Americana marks colourful centenary

Published June 1, 2008

St. James church in Florence, also called la chiesa Americana, or “the American church,” recently celebrated 100 years of ministry in the Italian city known as the cradle of the Renaissance.

The festivities culminated on Sunday, April 27, with a centennial rededication ceremony and service of the eucharist. In recognition of the role that St. James has played in the life of the broader community, the gonfalone, the heraldic flag of the city of Florence, arrived well before the service began, accompanied by the chiarine, gaily-clad traditional standard bearers and trumpets.

Bishop Pierre Whalon, bishop-in-charge of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe attended, as did Canon Charles Robertson, representing Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the U.S. Episcopal Church.

“The 100th anniversary of St. James is a wonderful testimony to the enduring contribution of Anglicanism in continental Europe,” said Bishop Whalon.

St. James is the fourth member-parish of the convocation to pass the 100-year mark, said Bishop Whalon. “We have since become a truly international church, now serving Episcopalians in the U.S., Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, and South America.”

The parish played an important role in Florence after a devastating flood in 1966. The community helped to raise $425,000 in flood relief and then co-ordinated the distribution of the funds into weekly grants for families and businesses.


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