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The Evangelical Church of the Waldensians (Valdese) of Favale

(the following is taken form the website - http://www.chiesavaldese.org)

Castello - The Church of the Evangelical Valdese (Waldensian) and the house of the Cereghino (Sciallin). From book "Il mio Paese" by Padre Celso da Favale - page 137

     In 1849 in the valley of Fontanabuona at the village of San Vincenzo (Castello), community of Favale, province of Chiavari, begins the unique history of family Cereghino (Sciallin), traveling singers.   The Cereghino were authors of words and music, the three most active of this large family were Andrea, Giovanni and Stefano.

     They wanted to find new topics for their songs, and in them arose the idea to build on some topics of the Bible.   Stefano Cereghino, wrote: "In 1849, in Genoa, Andrea Cereghino, by the grace of the Lord God took the Holy Bible, returned to Favale, and read day and night, very carefully. The divine spark penetrated into the hearts of the parents, children, spouses, numerous grandchildren and others."   This was the Bible translated by Diodati.

     When the parish priest of Favale, Don Christopher Repetto, discovered that the house of Cereghino had undertaken reading the Bible, a struggle began without truce.  Easter 1852, the pastor did not grant communion to Cereghino, singers of the parish.  In the same period, the parish priest refused to perform the marriage of a Cereghino with a young woman from a neighboring town because the bridegroom's house was reading the Bible.

     Stefano Cereghino, during one of his trips to Torre Pellice,  was impressed by the simplicity and authenticity of that evangelical climate.  He was told this was a Waldensian Evangelical Church, then expressed the desire to meet with the pastor.   "I had - then tell - an evangelical lesson."  

     (1852 in Favale), Stefano Cereghino wrote to the Tavola Valdese to get information on how to create a Christian Church of the Valdese in Favale.  On November 12, 1852 he received a visit from Pastor Geymonat.   This angered the parish priest.  He therefore filed a formal complaint with the mayor, who was the expert authority in reference to the offence provided for in the Criminal Code. 

Chiavari jail about 1900 - Cereghino imprisoned in 1852 - shared by Ginger Staral

     (November 13, 1852) The Cereghinos’ were then accused (and arrested) of conspiring against the state religion, that is, against the Apostolic Roman Catholic Church. (Several of the Cereghinos’ were then put into prison in Chiavari.)  Agostino  was locked in the highest part, where it was colder, Andrea in the lower part, where there was no light and ventilation.  The news came to the Chamber of Deputies, where it aroused the disappointment of Deputies Lorenzo Valerio and Brofferio.

     (December 12, 1852 - The request of 32 members of the Cereghino family, to be admitted in the Waldensian Church, was sent to the Tavola Valdese.  The Cereghino family was then accepted into the Evangelical Valdese religion.)

     (February 1853)  After taking the floor (during the trial), they (Deputies Valerio and Brofferio) said,  "while I have the honour to speak, oh lords.  These are the brothers Cereghino, and for many months they have been held in prison in Chiavari.  Now today comes the painful news of a re-arrest of a young girl (Maria Cereghino) ... not yet sixteen years old,  for speeches caused by the reading of the Bible.  This news has lead me to ask whether we are really in Piedmont in 1853 or whether, do we live under the Office of Rome in the days of the Middle Ages. " (Acts of Parliament document).

Stairs and entrance of The Church of the Evangleical Valdese of Favale (1849 - 1919). From book "Il mio Paese" by Padre Celso da Favale - page 139

     Years later in Favale, Stefano Cereghino, after his studies in Torre Pellice for the dual ministry of evangelist and teacher, he founded, with his wife Catherine Malan, an evangelical school in Favale.  The school was for children in the daytime and adults in the evenings.  Later they (Cereghino family) built a cemetery (1855), an evangelical chapel (May 1861),  and pastoral house, all of which exists today.

  The work of Stefano Cereghino continued until his death (1919).  The evangelical presence in Favale disappeared around 1920, when the last evangelical emigrated to North America (Portland, Oregon).

Line drawing of the Church of the Evangelical Valdese of Favale - shared by Steve Cereghino
Land assets and inventory document of The Church of the Evangelical Valdese of Favale - shared by Steve Cereghino
Front door of The Church of the Evangelical Valdese of Favale - shared by Steve Cereghino
Plaque next to front door - "Sciallin" Cereghino family - shared by Steve Cereghino