Gavazzi, Alessandro(älĕs-sän`drō gävät`tsē), 1809–89, Italian preacher and patriot. A Barnabite monk, he left the order in 1848. His liberal ideas and disillusionment with the social order in Italy led him to emigrate from the Papal States to London, where he joined the Italian Protestant community and led an antipapal campaign. Upon his return to Italy (1859) he was twice Giuseppe Garibaldi's army chaplain (1860, 1866). Later he organized in Rome the Free Christian Church in Italy, also known as the Evangelical Church in Italy.
Born Mar. 21, 1809, in Bologna; died Jan. 9, 1889, in Rome. Figure in the Italian national liberation movement, an outstanding popular orator.
During the Austro-Italian War of 1848-49, Gavazzi was a chaplain in a volunteer detachment. In the Roman republic of 1849 he was the chief priest of the people’s army. Gavazzi made flamboyant patriotic speeches and conducted a campaign among the masses against the papacy, against tyranny, and against the cowardly policies of the liberals. Gavazzi’s speeches had a tremendous revolutionary influence on the masses. From 1859, Gavazzi was an inseparable companion of G. Garibaldi in almost all his military campaigns (1859, 1860, 1866, and 1867). In the struggle against the secular power of the pope and against the abuses of the clergy, Gavazzi founded the Evangelical Church in Italy, which became the Free Christian Church in 1865.
V. E. NEVLER