Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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ISKCON Italy Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Prestigious Gathering and Ratha Yatra
By Parabhakti Dasa   |  Jun 04, 2024

Parabhakti Dasa speaking at the event. Seated to the right: Ugo Papi, Msgr. Michael Santiago, and Madhu Sevita Dasa.

June 1, 2024, marked a historic turning point for Yatra Italia as it moved closer to achieving the Agreement with the State, the highest recognition for a religion in Italy. This status will enable devotees to access grants, media spaces, schools, hospitals, prisons, and many other opportunities. A conference was held at the prestigious Protomoteca of the Campidoglio to celebrate this significant milestone and honor Srila Prabhupada, who visited Rome exactly fifty years ago and sanctioned the birth of ISKCON Italy.

The event was attended by prominent figures such as Ugo Papi, from the Mayor of Rome’s office, the Indian Ambassador to Italy, Mrs Vani Sarraju Rao, Monsignor Michael Santiago from the Roman Catholic Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue (DID), the famous Italian sociologist of religions Massimo Introvigne, Nuccia Colosimo, the lawyer who has long been assisting ISKCON Italy in the recognition procedures, and Senator Giulio Terzi of Sant’Agata.

Representing the devotees, speeches were made by Madhu Sevita Dasa, president of the Italian Congregation for Krishna Consciousness and GBC member, Dananjaya Dasa with his wife Bala Gopala Dasi, and Ali Krishna Dasi, the first Italian devotee. This wonderful and highly dedicated trio started the movement in Italy. A team of senior devotees, including several disciples of Prabhupada, worked for months on the realization of the event: Mrtyuhara Dasa, Dayanidhi Dasa, Citrarupini Dasi, Sanatana Dasa, Mukundananda Dasa, and Harikirtan Dasa, coordinated by Parabhakti Dasa, who also presented the event.

The 300 guests were deeply touched by the heartfelt stories of the movement’s early sacrifices in Italy. The dignitaries’ words of respect and gratitude enhanced admiration for Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON, strengthening devotees’ sense of belonging and pride in being part of Lord Chaitanya’s movement.

As per Hare Krishna tradition, the conference ended with a wonderful bhajan led by young devotees and an excellent prasadam buffet offered by Rajib and Yuliana, owners of the renowned vegan restaurant Vrindaa, the first of its kind in Rome.

The day continued in the afternoon with the Ratha Yatra in the famous Piazza Navona, which was exceptionally granted to host the parade of Lord Jagannath and his devotees, making the event even more extraordinary and memorable.

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