Gambelli Appointed Archbishop of Florence


Monsignor Gambelli with Cardinal Betori

Following the retirement of 77-year-old Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, 54-year-old Don Gherardo Gambelli, a missionary, will take his place as the new archbishop of Florence. Betori sent in his letter of resignation to Pope Francis over two years ago upon reaching the age limit for his position. In Spring 2024, Pope Francis appointed Gambelli as the replacement. Betori said he believed Gambelli to be perfectly suited to the role.

Betori, appointed Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI, served as the general secretary of the CEI, the Conferenza Episcopale Italiana or the Italian Episcopal Conference, with Cardinal Camillo Ruini. He also held the title of titular bishop of Falerone from 2001 to 2008, shortly after which he became the archbishop of Florence. Given Betori’s diverse range of experiences within the Church, it was natural for Pope Francis to seek a successor with similar breadth of experience and a distinct outlook.

Gambelli, born in Viareggio and raised in Castelfiorentino, was ordained in 1996. He began working as the parochial vicar of the church of Santo Stefano in Pane in Rifredi. During this time, he obtained a degree in Biblical Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He later served as an administrator of the Parish of Sant’Andrea in Cercina before receiving his Doctorate from the Theological Faculty of Central Italy in 2007. After this, he was the parish priest at the Immaculate Conception and San Martino in Montughi until 2011 when he was a missionary in Chad until 2022. 

Gambelli believes that his appointment is a sign of trust from Rome and plans to draw on his missionary experiences. He plans to focus on reaching out to smaller communities on the periphery and giving special attention to those not directly in the limelight, a carry-over from his previous work in Chad and when he was an apostolic vicar in Mongo, attempting to establish a diocese in the more remote city. Due to high levels of religious diversity in Chad, Gambelli adopted an ecumenical approach during his stay, cooperating with other groups on the basis that they were Christian. This attitude of helping those on the periphery also extends to Gambelli’s work as a prison chaplain. It is expected that Gambelli will drive his mission forward according to his attitude that he learned as a missionary, that of extended outreach. (Daniel J. Capobianco)

To read more, visit Florence’s La Repubblica news site.