Waldensians. In Turin thousands to the streets for the first bonfire of freedom

Torino, piazza Castello, 16 febbraio 2017 - falò della libertà in occasione del XVII Febbraio dei valdesi (foto: Luca Bemportato)

Rome (NEV), February 17, 2017 – The celebration for the lighting of the “bonfire of freedom” in Piazza Castello in Turin – the first since 169 years, when King Carlo Alberto granted the civil and political rights to the Waldensians in 1848 – ended with a moment of silence around the plaque dedicated to the Waldensian preacher Goffredo Varaglia, burned on the scaffold on March 29 1558, precisely in that square. Shortly before, from the stand set up for the occasion, could be heard the traditional song “Il Giuro del Sibaud”, the oath of allegiance to God, sung by the Waldensians in 1689, after their coming back from exile.

The evening, to which the whole town was invited, was organized in collaboration with the local Waldensian Church and with the Turin Municipality. Waldensian pastor Paolo Ribet, who chaired the event, underlined the plural and secular character of the ceremony along with the commitment in favor of all those whose rights are still denied today.

An evening dedicated to the freedom for everyone, in fact the participants were believers of different faiths and non-believers. In particular it was recalled the granting of the same rights to the Jewish people, a few weeks after the ones given to the Waldensians, with the presence of the President of the Turin Jewish community, Dario Disegni. On the stand also representatives of the Atheists and rationalist agnostics Union, Refugees and LGBT Associations.

“History teaches us that it is not always easy to guarantee freedom to everyone – said the Mayor, Chiara Appendino -. I hope and believe that these are the occasions in which the differences become values and opportunities of growth for each one of us. Let’s learn to know each other and not to be afraid of the others. This is strongly needed in the present historical moment”.