Hidden treasures

The chapel of Saint John the Almsgiver in the Church of San Giovanni in Bragora

Unknown places & works
giovanni-elemosinario

The chapel of Saint John the Almsgiver in the Church of San Giovanni in Bragora

In Venice there is a church dedicated to Saint John the Almsgiver... But his body is in a different place!

Saint John the Almsgiver was born on the island of Cyprus in 556. After becoming a widower and finding himself alone, he dedicated his life to the poor, so much so that his fame spread throughout the Far East.

From 609 to 619 he held the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria under the name of John V. He relentlessly dedicated himself to charitable deeds, promoting the building of shelter homes for the poor, hospitals, orphanages, churches and schools, both in Cyprus and in Egypt. He died in Cyprus in 617.

In 1249 Lorenzo Bragadin, general of the Venetian fleet, brought the body of the saint to Venice. In the Rialto area there was already a church named after him, and as such it had good reason to house the relics ... but these instead remained in the Bragora Church. The fact was interpreted as the will of heaven: a circumstance that the devout stories on the numerous miraculous events allude to and which, according to tradition, prevented the body from being transported to Rialto.

The chapel that today houses the relics was built at the end of the fifteenth century, but the decorations of the time, of which only the wooden urn pediment with the relief image of the Saint remains, were lost during the 1743 redecorations. Now the chapel has a typical rococo decoration based on a project by Giorgio Massari and with paintings by Jacopo Marieschi.

The church of San Giovanni in Bragora is located in the Castello district, a few steps from the Arsenal and Pietà water bus stops.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Treviso: The curious legends about the origin of Treviso Red Chicory

radicchio_CC.Mon CEil
Did you know that...

Did you know that, according to an ancient popular saying, red chicory (radicchio as it is known in Italy) seems to have been born as a...

View

Venice: Acqua Alta: when a normal phenomenon becomes tragic

Acqua-alta-a-Venezia
Did you know that...

Did you know that ‘Acqua Alta’ is an expression of Venetian dialect used by its inhabitants to describe the high tides that occur p...

View

Venice: Mars, Adam and Eve: the Doge's Palace celebrates their return

restauro-adamo-eva-ducale
Unknown places & works

After four years of delicate restoration work, the three fifteenth-century statues by the great artist Antonio Rizzo will be exceptiona...

View

Romano D' Ezzellino: Why do they say ‘If you can't sleep, count sheep’?

contare-le-pecore
Figures of speech

It all started in Romano d’Ezzelino in the province of Vicenza when Ezzelino da Romano, who suffered from insomnia, hired a storytell...

View

Top posts

Venice: The red lights of St Mark’s Basilica in memory of the poor ‘fornareto’

il_fornareto
Mysteries & Legends

If you find yourself wandering around St Mark’s Basilica in the evening, take a look at its southern façade ... you will notice two ...

View

Treviso: Why is Prosecco wine called precisely Prosecco?

colline-del-prosecco
Did you know that...

On 7 July 2019, Veneto and the whole of Italy toasted to the Prosecco Hills, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site! The World Heritage Commi...

View

Venice: The origins of the Spritz cocktail

spritz-veneziano
Local Traditions

Spritz, the typical Venetian aperitif, has nowadays become the iconic cocktail of Happy hour not only in Italy, but all over the world....

View

Belluno: The mystery of the Pietrificatore from Sospirolo

pietrificatore
Mysteries & Legends

Nestled inside the Dolomiti National Park, in the province of Belluno lies the small village of Sospirolo. A peculiar man was born here...

View