GAVAZZI, ALESSANDRO (1809-1889), Italian preacher and patriot, was born at Bologna on the 21st of March 1809. He at first became a monk (1825), and attached himself to the Barnabites at Naples, where he afterwards (1829) acted as professor of rhetoric. In 1840, having already expressed liberal views, he was removed to Rome to fill a subordinate position. Leaving his own country after the capture of Rome by the French, he carried on a vigorous campaign against priests and Jesuits in England, Scotland and North America, partly by means of a periodical, the Gavazzi Free Word. While in England he gradually went over (1855) to the Evangelical church, and became head and organizer of the Italian Protestants in London. Returning to Italy in 1860, he served as army-chaplain with Garibaldi. In 1870 he became head of the Free Church (Chiesa libera) of Italy, united the scattered Congregations into the "Unione delle Chiese libere in Italia," and in 1875 founded in Rome the theological college of the Free Church, in which he himself taught dogmatics, apologetics and polemics. He died in Rome on the 9th of January 1889.
Amongst his publications are No Union with Rome (1871); The Priest in Absolution (1877); My Recollections of the Last Four Popes, etc., in answer to Cardinal Wiseman (1858); Orations, 2 decades (1851).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)