Hidden treasures

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

Unknown places & works
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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

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