Gruppo del Rosario

An Italian religious movement centered around the mystical and apocalyptic visions of its charismatic leader.

Religion: Christianity
Denomination: Catholicism
Founder: Antonio Naccarato
Leader: Lidia Naccarato
Founded: 1973
Ended: 1989 (remnants existed as late as 2010)
Location: Turin, Italy
Size: 1,000

Gruppo del Rosario, also known as the Rosary Prayer Group, was an Italian apocalyptic cult active primarily between 1973 and 1989, with some remnants existing as late as 2010. Founded by Antonio Naccarato in the late 1970s, the group initially centered around his charismatic leadership and spiritual visions, which often emphasized apocalyptic themes and the urgency of spiritual renewal. After Antonio Naccarato’s death in 1983, his niece, Lidia Naccarato, took over as the leader of the group.

The cult is best known for its controversial practices and the tragic events that unfolded in May 1988, leading to the arrest of 35 members, including Lidia Naccarato. This incident was sparked by the brutal murder of a fellow cult member, which caught the attention of the Italian authorities and the public. The police raid on their headquarters in San Pietro di Amantea uncovered a masseria (farmhouse) transformed into a convent-like structure where bizarre and fanatic rituals were conducted, including prayers for the resurrection of the founder and processions to a cave for meditation.

Investigations revealed that the Gruppo del Rosario was involved in more than just religious fanaticism. The police discovered a man shackled and fatally shot, alongside a significant arsenal of weapons, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and nearly a billion lire in cash, checks, and bank deposits. Additionally, a photograph of a kidnapped boy from Turin, Marco Fiora, was found, hinting at the cult’s involvement in more extensive criminal activities possibly linked to drug trafficking, kidnappings, and connections with mafia groups.

The group’s practices and beliefs drew attention not only from law enforcement but also from psychiatric professionals and researchers. Italian psychiatrist Mario Di Fiorino conducted several studies on the sect, examining its apocalyptic beliefs and the impact on its members and the wider community.

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