“Hey, Brandon!” Vittorio, the preacher of the church in Roma, smiling slyly continues, “Hey, have they written you guys in Florence a book of the Bible yet? No? Oh, well, be sure to read the one written to us when you get a chance. It’s a great one!”
This fun little interaction has always been one of my favorite childhood memories from my days growing up in Florence, Italy (Firenze). You see, the Italians are a very city-centric people. Thus, your identity is far more based on what city or region you are from than just the national identity. To be a Florentine (a Fiorentino) is something I have always been proud of, but my brothers and sisters from the church in Rome would still remind me on most visits about “their book” – namely, the book of Romans in the Bible. For many of us, we may glide right over this little historical footnote, but to stand within the boundaries of the city of Rome and worship with the believers in Rome, while reading from the book of Romans, is, well, quite something. It is truly a special moment to comprehend.
Italy is my home – she is my “mother.”
She raised me in many ways and I learned much from her culture. It is with this in mind when I say I wish I could take you there right now so you could smell the cappuccino, see the busy cobble-stone streets swarm with mopeds and cars, and marvel at the history on every corner. From the Coliseum to the Catacombs, history, and especially early Christian history is on every corner. I wish we could walk the Catacombs together – a living representation of how 12 scared men in an upper room in Jerusalem would, within 3 centuries, turn the entire world upside down. From 120 believers on the day of Pentecost to an estimated 35 million Christians three centuries later – what an astounding story found within the Roman Empire that finds narrative after narrative culminate in the grandiose city of Rome.
But, alas, since I can’t take you there in person, I invite you on a visual journey into the heart of Rome with my father, Dr. Terry Edwards, as he speaks in Rome all about “The Historical Church: Rome.” I invite you to learn about Christian heritage, St. Peter’s Basilica, Early Christian Imagery, The Papacy, The Catacombs, and the Coliseum. Each one of these videos was shot on location and is provided at no charge by Hidden Bridge Media. We hope you will enjoy a journey into the depths of Rome and learn all about her beauty and history within the Christian faith.
May God bless you as you step into one of the most important cities in all of Christendom: Rome.
Brandon Edwards is a multi-talented individual who serves as the Global Mission Minster at the Nashville Church of Christ and the Creative Director at Hidden Bridge Media. In his spare time, he studies at Harvard University and teaches at the Harbinger Theological Seminary.