The Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was dedicated this week. Seven dedicatory sessions over three days were completed. Local members of the Church from the greater Chattanooga area were in attendance.
The entire First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gathered for the historic event. The First Presidency is comprised of the Prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, and his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B.
Eyring. This is the first time in Church history that all 15 leaders have gathered in one location outside the United States.
To mark the occasion, Church leaders took a group photo
– the first photo taken in two decades. The photograph was taken at the Rome Italy Temple Visitors Center where the Church has recreated Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen’s iconic work featuring the Christus,a life-size statue of Jesus Christ, surrounded by scaled sculptures of the 12 New Testament apostles. The Church digitally mapped the statues in Copenhagen where Thorvaldsen crafted the originals, and used marble also quarried from Carrara, Italy, to accurately create the reproductions.
President Nelson tweeted the group photo, and also a photo of him standing next to the statue of Peter holding the priesthood keys, stating, “The Lord stands at the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As modern-day apostles of Jesus Christ, the message we share today is the same that apostles shared long ago – that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that this is His church.”
Rome has been linked to Peter, James, John and Paul. Peter and Paul preached the gospel of Jesus Christ in Rome. For centuries, Rome has been the center for Christianity. As Elder Massimo De Feo, a General Authority Seventy and native of Italy said, “Rome couldn’t be without a temple dedicated to Jesus Christ. Rome is also the Eternal City. We needed to have a temple in the Eternal City because it is a symbol of eternity. The temple is the place we learn that life is eternal.”
The Rome Italy Temple was dedicated by President Nelson. Of the dedication, he said, “This is a hinge point in the history of the Church. Things are going to move forward at an accelerated pace of which this is a part.” In the dedicatory prayer, he also stated, “In this ancient and great city that has stood since biblical times – in this historic nation of Italy – we acknowledge the ministry of two of Thy Son’s early Apostles, Peter and Paul, who once blessed this land with their labors. May the influence of their abiding testimony of Jesus Christ continue to be felt among the vital values of this great country.”
Prior to the Temple’s dedication, a free open house was held for the public. To take a virtual tour, visit at https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/virtual-tour-rome-italy-temple. President Nelson and Pope Francis also met at the Vatican prior to the Temple dedication. It was the first meeting between a Pope and a Prophet. The Rome Italy Temple is “the Church’s 162nd operating temple, with another 40 announced or under construction." Now that the Temple is dedicated, it will be used for sacred purposes where the teachings of Jesus Christ reaffirm that families can be united for eternity, officials said.