|Population 59,235,000||Roman Catholic 81%|
|No Professed Religion 14%||Evangelical 2%|
Italy sets on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in southern Europe. It was united as a single state in 1870, and has been a Republican democracy since 1946. It is a current member of the European Union.
Italy covers an area of 187,033 square miles (301,000 sq. km.). It is roughly twice the size of the state of Georgia. It consists of a long, mountainous peninsula that protrudes into the Mediterranean Sea and two large islands to the south - Sardinia and Sicily. Throughout its long history, Italy has gained renown for its achievements in science, government, art, literature, and culture.
Italy boasts a current population of approximately 60 million inhabitants, making it the 23rd most populated country in the world. The capital city of Rome has a population of 3,362,252 inhabitants. Other major cities are Milano (3 million), Napoli (2.3 million) and Torino (1.7 million). Although 93% of Italy’s population is native Italian, there still exists deep historical and cultural differences between the north and the south, and between the many distinct Italian cultures and dialects. Italy has the seventh largest economy in the world, but a notable contrast exists between the highly industrialized and affluent north and the less prosperous south, where employment is widespread.
The capital city of Rome is also the seat or headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican (the palace and official residence of the Pope). Therefore, it is no surprise that nearly 85% of the population (50+ million) identifies with Catholicism, while Evangelicals make up little more than 2%. Yet, despite being the homeland of Catholicism, less than 15% of Italians are actually “practicing Catholics.” Some studies show that the number is as low as 3%. Correspondingly, the number of new priests entering the ministry has also severely declined. The spiritual darkness of Roman Catholicism has had a devastating effect upon the spiritual and moral climate of Italy. Secularism, eastern mysticism, new age practices, paganism, occultism, and even Satanism are on the rise. In fact there are 150,000 practicing soothsayers, prognosticators and healers, in contrast to approximately 50,000 Catholic priests! Those Catholics who do pray, are more likely to pray to Padre Pio (37%) or Saint Anthony (21%) than to Jesus (10%).
Protestantism has existed in Italy for over eight hundred years. However, unlike other countries in Europe, Italy never felt the impact of the Reformation or experienced any major revival. Rather it has languished under the shadow of Roman Catholicism and its persecution of Reformers, Protestants, and Evangelicals. The Waldensian Church, which developed in northwest Italy, suffered centuries of unspeakable persecution at the hands of the Pope and Roman Catholicism.
Although faithful Evangelical missionaries have labored in Italy for decades, only 2% of the population considers itself to be Evangelical. Among those who are Evangelical, there is great need for doctrinal and practical instruction from the Scriptures. There is good reason why Italy is often referred to as the “grave yard of missionaries.” Many good workers come from abroad, but the vast majority leaves after only a few years. The primary reasons are: lack of results, spiritual depression, government bureaucracy, and corruption. At the moment, 70% (approximately 8,100) of Italy’s cities and villages are without a Bible-believing Evangelical church. There are nearly two million unreached university students, an estimated 500,000 drug addicts, and 1.5 million Muslim immigrants, both legal and illegal.
In 2013, Paul Washer traveled to Italy to preach a series of meetings with “Coram Deo” of Italy and to investigate the possibility of partnering with churches, pastors, and ministries in this greatly neglected country. After months of prayer and deliberation, HeartCry decided to begin to work with biblical churches and elders that are already established in Italy in order to: (1) train and send indigenous missionaries throughout Italy; (2) promote the publication of sound gospel literature for the evangelization of the lost and the edification of God’s people; (3) sponsor regional and national Bible conferences.
Sources: Operation World - Italy,
The Joshua Project - Italy,
The World Fact Book - Italy
Pastor / Church Planter – Caltanissetta, Italy
Nazzareno (Reno) pastors a church in Caltanissetta, Italy where he is working to train men to advance church planting and provide leadership for the groups of believers that are forming throughout the region. Brother Reno is also the founder and director of Alfa & Omega – a publishing ministry dedicated to translating and publishing theologically sound resources in Italian... read more
Pastor - Catania, Italy
After observing the gospel's power for salvation in the life of his mother, Giuseppe was later converted and brought to an experiential knowledge of the mercy and forgiveness found only in Jesus Christ. Some time after his conversion he became very involved in evangelism and teaching, and eventually became an elder in his congregation... read more
Church Planter / Coram Deo - Porto Mantovano, Italy
Andrea Artioli serves as a church planter in Mantova, Italy. Along with his pastoral labors in the local church, he is also the leader of Coram Deo (Latin: “in the presence of God”). The vision of Coram Deo is to educate pastors and laypeople... read more
Pastor / Church Planter - Comiso, Italy
Ivan is a lawyer who runs his own law firm but has the heart of a pastor. He recently just transitioned into part time ministry in order to give significant time to planting and pastoring the budding church in Comiso. He has been sent out and is under the oversight of the church in Caltanissetta and Pastor Nazzareno Ulfo... read more
Francesco grew up in a Christian family on the island of Sicily. He was converted at a young age, and is receiving theological training through the Metropolitan Tabernacle School of Theology—the church that Charles Spurgeon and Peter Masters. He is currently church planting in the city of Messina... read more