The Evangelical Christian Churches “Assemblee di Dio in Italia” (A.D.I.) originated directly from the revival movement which arose at the beginning of the last century in several countries of the world. Christians from different denominations gathered in order to seek the power from on high, so they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the manifestation of the “glossolalia”, or speaking in other tongues, as it had happened the day of Pentecost and as it had happened at the beginning of every religious awakening.
These believers, filled by the power of God, were devout witnesses of the Gospel. They did not only preach about salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, but also about physical healing by faith and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, as a post-salvation experience, which manifested itself by the scriptural means of the tongues. Historically, the Italian movement is linked to the great revival that started in Los Angeles in 1906 and then spread in all the United States.
A group of Italian believers in Chicago was reached by this revival and started their own church. In this church there was a faithful servant of God called Giacomo Lombardi, a man of little education and of little theological knowledge, but full of the fire of the Holy Spirit and of passion for the lost souls. He came back to Italy and founded some small churches in Rome, in Liguria and in Abruzzo. In the following years, other churches were constituted as a consequence of the faithful testimony of other believers who had come back to Italy.
Then, from 1935 to 1944, there was a great persecution under the Fascism. During this period many believers who were discovered while they were celebrating their worship service to God, either in private homes or in the countryside, were arrested in mass and condemned to jail or to exile. However, the struggles did not destroy the work which had started. After the war, it was evident that the persecution had not stopped the church, in fact new churches had started as the result of the faithful testimony of those who had been exiled. The Pentecostal movement reacquired liberty and continued to fulfill God’s calling. A spontaneous and zealous evangelistic activity spread, as it was also generously supported by the Italian believers in USA.
The majority of these believers had reunited under the name “Christian Churches of North America”. New churches and groups started in all the country, although this evangelical revival came together with another kind of persecution which regarded the Pentecostal movement with prejudice and aversion. Because of this situation of intolerance, the leaders of the Italian churches met in a General Assembly in 1947 and demanded the juridical recognition to be free to have worship services and to diffuse the “All Gospel” message in Italy.
The government required a declaration act from an association of churches regularly constituted in other important nations in order to guarantee the serious intents of the Italian movement. In this way, intolerance would be stopped and a legal recognition would be possible. The Italian leaders expected to receive this declaration from the “Christian Church of North America”, but they had not constituted an association recognized by the state at that time. It was then that the Assemblies of God in USA, organization of churches which had been recognized in all the United States, decided spontaneously to help and subscribed the required documents.
Thus, the “Assemblee di Dio in Italia” obtained the juridical recognition with an official decree in December 1959 and became free to hold their public and private meetings and to devote themselves to the evangelistic work. The Italian churches keep fulfilling their task of proclaiming all the Gospel with the simplicity and the fervor of the church of the apostolic age. These churches received the generous support of the Italian churches abroad during the post-war reconstruction.
In addition, the Christian Church of North America and the Italian Pentecostal Church of Canada contributed to found new churches, provided assistance and supported the foundation of facilities such as “Villaggio Betania” and “Emmaus”.
Nowadays, they have converted in the “Evangelical Institute Betania-Emmaus” which provides assistance to children and to elderly people. The Assemblies of God in USA and the Italian District of the Assemblies of God in USA have also supported the activity of the Sunday School, the publications and the work of the Italian Bible Institute.
Another significant activity is the evangelistic and social work of the Christian Italian Churches of North Europe, which had been organized among the Italian immigrants in Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg and Switzerland. These Italian churches are supported by the Christian Church of North America and by the Assemblies of God in Italy, as they have close fellowship with the Italian churches.
After the Agreement between the Government of the Italian Republic and the “Assemblee di Dio in Italia”, in accordance with the Article 8, paragraph 3 of the Constitution, the evangelical churches A.D.I. have regulated their relationship to the State by the Law n. 517 of November 22, 1988.