OK…I wasn’t expecting that . The only thing that could have surprised me more would have been a Beijing temple.
UPDATED: OK, since I’m getting a lot of web hits, here are some more details from this Deseret News article :
The 12th European temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be built in Rome. . . .
The Rome Italy Temple will be the first to be constructed near the worldwide headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church. It will serve church members from a variety of countries and greatly reduce travel time and expense to the Latter-day Saints living in the area, the release states. . . .
Reaction was emotional. Italy Rome Mission President Jeffrey Acerson, who has been in Rome sine July 2007, was moved by the news.
“The Saints in Italy have waited a long time,” Acerson said, his voice cracking. “We ‘re excited, we’re anxious and we’re very humbled by the decision of a prophet of the Lord to move forward with a temple in Rome.”
When he heard the news, Acerson said at first he wanted to react like Italian soccer fans, who take to the streets when their teams win.
“I felt like all the Saints here in Italy wanted to go into the streets to let everyone know a temple is coming,” he said.
The LDS Church has more than 22,000 members in Italy, where preaching first began in 1850 by then-Elder Lorenzo Snow, who later became president of the church. The first congregation of Latter-day Saints in Italy was organized in Brescia on March 20, 1966. The first Italian mission was opened in August that year, but the church didn’t have formal legal status until 1993.
Though a temple site hasn’t been announced, many Italian church members think a location on church-owned land on the northeastern side of Rome would be a perfect fit, Acerson said.
Tullio Deruvo, church spokesman in Italy, said the site many members speculate about is typical Roman countryside adorned with Mediterranean pine trees. The land is located with easy access to a freeway on the outskirts of Rome, Delruvo said.
And Rome is likely to be closer for Saints in Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia, members who currently travel to Bern, Switzerland, for temple work. Though the Rome temple is likely to draw Church members, who coordinate temple service with vacation time, from all over Europe.
Go read the whole article.
The LDS Church newsroom has given information on the history of the LDS Church in Italy , but no real details on the temple itself.
[UPDATE] And here are some interesting thoughts on Temple Square vs. the Vatican, as well as some suggestions for the architecture and interior artwork for the Rome temple.
[UPDATE]: Here’s a Google Maps link showing the location of the temple in Rome (hat tip to Temple Study). ..bruce..