Rome (NEV), January 24, 2020 – Maria Vingiani, founder of the Secretariat for Ecumenical Activities (SAE), died on the eve of the 2020 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (SPUC), on the night of January 16th, in Mestre.
The Waldensian theologian Paolo Ricca remembered her as the main architect of ecumenism in Italy. A teacher of ecumenism not only for the Catholic church, but for the Protestant churches as well.
Baptist pastor Luca Maria Negro, president of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI) added: “We are grateful to the Lord for the long life and for the ecumenical commitment of Maria Vingiani who taught us, among other things, that ecumenism requires great respect for the identity of all partners in dialogue. For this reason she founded the ‘lay’ movement – the Secretariat for Ecumenical Activities (SAE) – in which no church could be hegemonic.
Maria Vingiani (1921-2020), Venetian, of a southern family, grows in Venice in the plurality of the Christian Churches: Greek Orthodox, Waldensian, Methodist, Lutheran, Anglican, active within the perimeter of the historic center of the lagoon city. The division between Catholics and Protestants was the subject of her degree thesis, discussed at the University of Padua in 1947.