Meet the Founder

Professor Matteo Calisi

Professor Matteo Calisi is the founder of United In Christ. He was born in Bari (Italy) on 11th February 1958, is married to Giovanna De Pascalis. They together have two sons, Daniele and Francesco. Matteo studied Music at the Conservatoire, and Theology and Byzantine Studies at the Ecumenical Faculty of Bari, his hometown.

Professor Matteo Calisi

At the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) Pope John XXIII had led the Church in praying for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, “Lord, renew your wonders in this our day as by a new Pentecost”. The Council called all Catholics to commit to work for the unity of Christians. In 1975 Pope Paul VI went on to say that the experience of the New Pentecost was a new opportunity for the Church and was not an option for Christians. It is against this backdrop that Matteo’s role in the Charismatic Renewal was birthed Matteo life was significantly shaped by input and life into Matteo’s of two men, Cardinal Suenens and pastor David du Plessis.

At Rimini in 1978 Matteo met Cardinal Suenens, one of four moderators of the Second Vatican Council and a supporter of the renewal movement. Through further meetings at the Vatican their friendship developed the Cardinal encouraged Matteo to start the Community of Jesus, with its particular emphasis on unity and reconciliation within the Body of Christ. He visited the infant Community later that same year.

With the encouragement of Cardinal Suenens, Pope John XXIII had invited David du Plessis, a Pentecostal minister with a passion for the unity of the Church, to attend the Second Vatican Council. In May 1981 Matteo attended an international conference in Rome at which David du Plessis was one of the speakers. As Matteo talked with David, a defining moment took place which was to set the direction for Matteo’s future ministry. The minister took off his own lapel badge depicting – “70 x 7” – a reference to Jesus’ words on the need to forgive, and pinned this onto Matteo, saying “My dear son, may you become an ambassador of reconciliation.”

Matteo is also President and Founder of the Community of Jesus, an international association, which is devoted to worship, evangelization and Christian reconciliation. It was founded at Pentecost 1983 and has spread to Europe, Africa, Latin America Latina and North America. The Community of Jesus is present in the Anglican tradition. From 1978 to 1997 Matteo held national offices in the Renewal in the Spirit in Italy. From 1993 to 2004 he served as Vice-President and Representative for South Europe and member of the Doctrinal Commission of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS. From 2002 to 2013 he served as President of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships (CFCCCF). In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as a Member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. He has personally met Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis on several occasions.

Since 1992 he has been serving as Co-President, together Pastor Giovanni Traettino, of the Italian Charismatic Consultation (CCI), a dialogue between Catholic Charismatics and Pentecostal Evangelicals in Italy.  In 1993 in Dallas, Texas (USA) Matteo was instrumental in an reconciliation initiative between Catholics and non-denominational Evangelicals which in 2001 founded the International Centre for the Reconciliation of Christians the late Dr. Eric Belcher, Vice-president of Christ for the Nations Institute was co-initiator of the Centre. In 2006 this movement became was is today know as “United in Christ” USA and most recently “United in Christ” Canada 2010.

In 1995 Matteo was asked to be a member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (SPS) in USA.
In 2004 in Argentina, together with other Evangelical leaders, he helped found the Comunion Renovada de Evangelicos y Catolicos en el Espiritu Santo (CRECES) with the participation of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires in this 2008 (now Pope Francis) this movement spread to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and was named Encontro de Cristão na busca da Unidade e Santidade.
In 2010 Matteo expanded his ministry’s reach and founded the International Fellowship of the Community of Jesus (IFCJ). Most recently, in 2014 together Pastor Giovanni Traettino and other Evangelical leaders, the John 17 Movement was birthed based out of Phoenix, Arizona, (USA). Overall Matteo has participated in various international dialogues with Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Orthodox, Messianic Jews and others. Matteo serves in various capacities at the different level:

• Member of Charismatic Leaders’ Fellowship initially convened by the late Rev. Dennis Bennett in Washington, Seattle USA in the year 1971 (formerly, Charismatic Concerns Committee or the Glencoe Group);
• Conversation between Roman Catholic and Non‐denominational Christians, sponsored by Centro Pro Unione in Rome;
• International Charismatic Consultation (ICC);
• Lausanne Conversation for the friendship and exchange between Catholics and Evangelicals.

He has organized conferences on renewal, unity and reconciliation all over the world. He has traveled extensively to 80 countries around the world in which he has been invited as a speaker by numerous academic institutions, seminaries and Catholic and Protestant universities such as: Notre Dame University, South Bend Indiana (USA), Oral Robert University, Oklahoma City (USA), Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia (USA), Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey (USA), Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio (USA), Christ for the Nations Institute, Dallas Texas (USA), Catholic Faculty of Theology in Liublijana (Slovenia), Catholic Pontifical University of Argentina, Buenos Aires (Argentina), Catholic Pontifical University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Waldesian Faculty of Theology, Rome (Italy), “Saint Nicholas” Institute of Greek Byzantine Ecumenical-Patristic Theology of the Pontifical University Saint Thomas Aquinas of Rome, section of Bari (Italy), Pontifical Lateran University, Rome (Italy).

International Conferences with a political emphasis Matteo organized include defending human rights, family and religious freedom. Such areas at parliamentary level in Albanian, Italian Republic, the Senate of the Italian Republic and the Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome. He has attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. (USA), with the participation of the President of the United States of America.

He is the Director of the magazine “Tempi di Unità”. He has written texts on Ecumenism, Evangelization and Worship. He edits articles of ecumenical interest for some International Pentecostal and Charismatic Magazines. He has received two awards for the importance of the ecumenical minister he has carried out: a Certificate of Merit, which was conferred on him by the Pontifical University Saint Thomas Aquinas of Rome in 1996 and the International Fellowship Award, obtained in 2001, on the occasion of the Christian Leaders Conference at Princeton, NJ, (USA).