The feast of St. George in Venice

This year’s feast in the church of St. George of the Greeks in Venice, was very different. The sestiere (district) overseer was honored in an empty temple due to the measures taken for the coronavirus.

Metropolitan Gennadios of Italy officiated at the festal Divine Liturgy and wished to celebrate St. George next year “face to face”, as Patriarch Bartholomew said, with health and all together!

Saint George of the Greeks (San Giorgio dei Greci) is an Orthodox church in Venice in the sestiere (neighborhood) of Castello.

In 1498, the Greek community of Venice was given the right to establish the “Scuola de San Nicolò dei Greci” (School of St. Nicholas of the Greeks), a confraternity that helped the members of the community. In 1539, after protracted negotiations, the Catholic Church allowed the construction of the church of St. George which was financed by a tax on all ships from the Orthodox world.

Construction began by Sante Lombardo and from 1548, by Giannantonio Chiona. The bell tower was built in 1592. In the interior there is a monument to Gabriele Seviros (1619) by Baldassarre Longhena.On the dome of the church there is a fresco of the Last Judgement (1589-93), made by Giovanni Kyprios under the supervision of Tintoretto. The iconostasis was made by the Cypriots, Tommaso Bathas, Benedetto Emporios and Michael Damaskinos. Emanuele Tzane frescoed the Saints Simeon and Alypios, ascetic hermits. Inside the church there is also a marble plaque with an inscription of 1564 in Greek stating that the church was dedicated to Christ and St. George by the Greeks who moved to Venice (“τους αεί καταίροντας Ενετίαζε των Ελλήνων” -“the Greeks who were constantly arriving at Venice”).