Saturday, 13 March 2021

Worship From a Distance

A former glass warehouse, originally that of the Venezia-Murano Glass and Mosaic Company, and an outpost of Protestantism may strike one as something of an odd connection. Notwithstanding, those of a curious disposition who have ventured into the Campo San Vio, with its outlook to the Grand Canal in Venice, will have almost certainly been drawn to the imposing doors of St. George's Anglican Church which, consecrated in 1906, has occupied the building to this day.

Lance Hattatt waiting for the service to start

Indeed, the entrance is not without interest, having been designed by Luigi Marangoni in 1920 and which, in part, serves as a memorial to the British soldiers, sailors and airmen who died in Italy in the Great War of 1914 - 1918. A slightly later, 1926, bas-relief by Napoleone Martinuzzi above the doorway depicts St. George slaying the dragon and, together with the statue of St. Michael, alludes to the British military order of valour, the 'Order of St. Michael and St. George'.

Front door of St. George's Church, Venice [Wikipedia image]

It is to St. George's that, when in Venice, we make our way on a Sunday morning, successors to those who in previous times would have been transported to the Campo in a flotilla of gondolas, in time for the Service of the Eucharist where the interior is flooded in light from a series of stained glass window and where the eye is directed towards the altar piece, a C19 copy of 'The Redeemer with Saints George and Jerome' painted by the Venetian Renaissance artist, Giovanni Buonconsiglio.

Sunday in Venice: Going to the English Church [of St George in Campo San Vio]

Drawing by W. Logsdail published in The Graphic, 6 July 1895



The congregation is not large. Made up of a handful of English speaking residents of Venice, it is supplemented by regular visitors, such as ourselves, to which may be added the occasional tourist who finds himself or herself en route for, and in search of, the Peggy Guggenheim collection. But no-one should be disappointed for, regardless of faith or belief, the service is always uplifting and the Chaplain, the Reverend Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, assisted by Philip Gwynne Jones, will always engender much upon which to reflect.

Interior of St. George's Church before removal of the wooden pews.
Image courtesy of Luisella Romeo of www.seevenice.it

And so, in these days of a global pandemic when to travel abroad is both restricted and unwise, we greatly miss our Sunday mornings at St. George's as they once were and will, most assuredly, be so again. Instead we 'Zoom'. Under the technical expertise of Philip, whose rôle as assistant curate now doubles with that of technician, and led by Father Malcolm from the Chaplaincy house, we are able to participate in an online service which, although different, reaches out to an ever growing number of participants.

Monument to Frederic Eden and his wife, Caroline,
who made a 'Garden of Eden'  in Venice 

Our Budapest drawing room may not contain a C19 classical frieze, is without an organ donated by the Dowager Duchess of Northumberland, cannot boast memorials and tablets to merchants, bankers and benefactors, contains not an echo of Browning or Ruskin, but each Sunday, accessing our computer screen, it serves to bring close to us a very real fellowship of people and a city that we know and love.  

93 comments:

  1. This gave me such a warm feeling, just reading it. My favourite city in the world - and I have travelled a lot. My first husband and I spent many October half term holidays there - wandering, popping into the odd building, the odd local resturant, soaking up the atmosphere. The year before it burnt down we went with friends to La Fenice theatre to see the Shanghai Opera - unforgettable.

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    1. Darling Pat,

      Thank you for your kind comment.

      We were so pleased that the post gave you a "warm feeling" for Venice is a city of which we are very fond and to which we return often, when we can.

      As you say, just to stroll among the buildings, invariably getting lost, and looking in wonder at the most amazing treasures contained within them is food for the soul. We should have been there in March 2020, almost a year ago to the day, and our hotel reservation keeps being transferred time and time again. The city has suffered a great deal as indeed have so many. We hold out a hope for Christmas 2021. We shall see...

      How wonderful to have had the experience of seeing the Shanghai Opera Company at La Fenice. We can well imagine how that memory will stay with you for all time. As it happens, we saw that same company, performing Turandot in Budapest. Remarkable singing and the most fabulous costumes.

      And, the late Autumn and Winter are such magical times to have visited. The city, largely empty of tourists, takes on its more sombre air but one can wander at will without inconvenience. Yes, unforgettable and the only way one can bear to leave is with the thought of returning.

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  2. Oh, how I would love "an organ donated by the Dowager Duchess of Northumberland". Alas, we do not have the room for it. Jx

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    1. Darling Jon,

      Thank you so much for your comment. How we have laughed!!

      The Dowager Duchess was known for her largesse but, perhaps, she would have given you a Fabergé egg if she had known that you were limited for space!:):)

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  3. What a glorious picture... The flotilla of gondolas, etc... I haven't been to Venice but for a moment I felt as if I had!

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    1. Dear C,

      Thank you for your kind comment.

      We are delighted that you enjoyed travelling with us, but can assure you that the real thing is far better than any words which we can muster here.

      We are in love with Venice and return again and again to immerse ourselves ever deeper in its magic and mystery. We do so hope that you might visit for yourself one day.

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  4. All I know of Venice is from the novels of Donna Leon. But since her characters love the city and walk a lot of it, that's not as remote a connection as you might think. She conveyed the same atmosphere as you did here. And thank you for the little bit of history, too.

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    1. Darling Liz,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Having read many of Donna Leon's novels, we can say that one does get a very good picture of Venice from what she writes. However, you might also be interested to look at the novels written by Philip Gwynne Jones [the link to his website is given in the post]which combine crime detection with an intriguing travelogue of Venice's many hidden treasures. We think that you would enjoy them. Philip lives in Venice as well as assisting at St. George's Church and he has written four novels to date with a fifth ready to be launched.

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    2. No sooner said than did! Thank you for the info and I'm about to read him on my Kindle.

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    3. Enjoy, darling Liz! There are four at present and a new novel on the way!!

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  5. Dear Jane and dear Lance, The Facade of St. George, so simple, so elegant and so beautiful. Our favorite time in Venice is in early evening, when all daytime tourists have left and we can stroll from one Gelato stand to the next...never running out.

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    1. Darling Gina,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Yes, both externally and internally the church has a simple beauty which brings a welcome oasis of calm in what is usually a very busy part of the city.

      The church also has very good acoustics and is used by the Venice Music Project which performs regularly there.

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  6. Hello Jane and Lance, It appears that many people's efforts and generosity have combined to make a gem of this church, one that inspires both those who officiate and those who participate. It takes you back to a day when a glass warehouse was built with such beauty and integrity that consecrating it as a church in such an architecturally significant sity as Venice was not a jarring thought.
    --Jim

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    1. Darling Jim,

      Thank you for your kind comment.

      The history of the church is indeed fascinating as is the very presence of the English in Venice since it is reported that the very first British Embassy abroad and the first chaplain was established in Venice in 1604.

      The warehouse was given by the director of the company in order to be used as a church in 1892 and then, through the generous donations of others, the church was decorated and finally consecrated in 1906. The stained glass windows, which are unusual in Venetian churches, commemorate many of those who were important benefactors.

      It is well worth a visit in Venice and is often overlooked as people make their way to the Guggenheim.

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  7. Such a long time ago since I was in Venice; love that city. Very clever how the colour of Lance's shoes exactly match the seat!

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    1. Darling Sue,

      Thank you for your comment.

      There is a wonderful shoe shop in Venice which we frequent since the shoes are always comfortable as well as stylish which we buy there. On our visit to Venice, shown in the photograph, we bought the red shoes and decided that it would be fun to photograph them around the city alongside other red items. As you say, the benches in front of the church were exactly the same colour, so we took the opportunity to immortalise the shoes, the church and the bench in one image!

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  8. I have visited Venice once- I was eighteen and was able to spend all of maybe eight hours there? Not even enough to truly take in the merest tiniest fingernail of it, of course, but still enough to fall into a spell of wonder.

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    1. Darling Mary,

      Thank you for your comment.

      How wonderful to have seen Venice at such a young age and, yes, eight hours may not seem long but it is depressingly the case that many tourists who pour from giant cruise ships spend even less time there or, even worse, never disembark from the ship.

      A lifetime is, perhaps, still not long enough to see and reflect upon everything in Venice as it is so full of riches. However, to be left with the feeling of wonder is delightful and may, of course, be that same feeling which will draw you back again one day.

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  9. I looked through my bookshelves and found the Opera Programme - the friends we went with had put a rough translation inside. It was not the Shanghai Opera - which I had always thought. It was the Peking Opera - or The Bejing Opera I think it would already be called then.

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    1. Darling Pat,

      Thank you for returning.

      Since your last comment, we have been talking about how wonderful your experience at La Fenice would have been so many years ago. So much has changed since then, not all for the best, but how delightful and magical that experience must have been.

      And, amazing that you still have the opera programme! What a fabulous find. That made us think and we now realise that we saw the 'China National Peking Opera Company' on tour in Hungary. A Chinese friend here in Budapest obtained the tickets as it sold out instantly it was announced. How perfect, we felt, that we should see them performing Turandot, something that will stay in our memories for all time too.

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  10. The photo of Lance is quite striking with his red shoes and sitting on a red bench. It looks like a work of art in itself! How I enjoyed this post with the lovely photos matched by your wonderful descriptions. It is a soothing post in many ways. I am glad you are able to continue your fellowship with this church and the wonderful people by way of zoom. Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Darling Bonnie,

      Thank you for your kind comment.

      The red shoes were new at the time and we were having fun photographing them all round the city in compositions with similar red things, such as the red bench. A fire hydrant and an Aperol spritz also were part of the photographic series!

      We have found the Zoom services a wonderful way to keep in touch with the community of the church. In normal times, we can only attend a small handful of services but, now, we can be in touch every Sunday. That is a great delight and, as you say, reassuring and comforting in these strange and difficult times.

      Hoping you too are enjoying a lovely day.

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  11. We visited Venice briefly back in the 1980s and I was entranced. My dear husband-to-be took lots of photos of the exquisite city only to find when we returned home that he had forgotten to put a film in his camera. Oh well. C'est la vie!

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    1. Darling JC,

      Thank you for your comment which did amuse us.

      The days of film. How we had forgotten them with their endless search for a camera shop and the inordinate wait for prints to be made upon returning home from adventures abroad.

      How infuriating that Venice has not been immortalised on film for you. Well, of course, you just have to return to take more, safely digitalised, images! Presto!

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  12. That is indeed a beautiful church. Nice that you're able to keep in touch via Zoom services!

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    1. Darling Debra,

      Thank you for your comment.

      the church has a quiet calm, so badly needed in this city which in normal times is heaving with tourists. And, it is delightful to have such a peculiarly English church here in the middle of Venice.

      Inside, there are many reminders of the significant English presence in Venice in the C19 and C20, so it serves as a memorial to them as well as a charming place of worship.

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  13. Thanks for sharing this lovely church. Makes me want to be there too.

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    1. Darling Linda,

      Thank you for your kind comment.

      We are pleased to have been able to take you there, even if virtually.

      Each Sunday in normal times the congregation is composed of a small handful of residents and a few intrepid tourists. However, thanks to Zoom, the congregation has brought people together from Italy, Venice, Britain, United States, Greece and Hungary so it is really reaching out worldwide.:):)

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  14. Shouldn't the photo be more realistically captioned, Lance Hattatt dozing in the warm sunshine?

    I am not a fan of dull, dreary and intimidating English churches and St Georges' looks so bright and uplifting, and not as large as I would have imagined.

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    1. Darling Andrew,

      Thank you for your amusing comment.

      We can assure you that Lance was posing not dozing. The red shoes were new and we had the silly idea of photographing them around the city in composition with other red things. The red bench outside the church provided a wonderfully serendipitous opportunity!

      Yes, the church is very bright since, in its upper storey, there are something of the order of a dozen extremely large stained glass windows which literally flood the interior with light. And, yes, the interior is more intimate than intimidating. We love it.

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  15. So much lost this past year, and tiny snippets gained. Who knew the little bits of technology we grasped onto would lead us to our best memories.

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    1. Darling Joanne,

      Thank you for your kind comment.

      These are such wise words.

      How could we have imagined the year which has just passed and how welcome the lifeline has been that technology has provided the means of connecting communities in these strange and difficult times.

      You are right that much has been lost and, perhaps, we shall all learn that the "tiny snippets" to which we have held tight might well educate us to respect those small details in life which truly matter and hold on to them closer than ever before.

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  16. I have read one of Mr. Gwynne Jones' books...he does seem a multi talented man, and thanks to his handling of the mysteries of technology one can share the mysteries of the Church.

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    1. Darling Helen,

      Thank you for your comment.

      What fun that you have read one of Philip Jones's books. We find them an interesting mix of fact and fiction and enjoy travelling through Venice with a detective in tow.

      Philip is indeed an interesting person and has held a variety of wide-ranging posts in his varied working life. As you say, he can turn his hand to murder mysteries as well as mysteries of faith and we are certainly grateful that the mysteries of Zoom have also not defeated him!:):)

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  17. What a comforting post this was. Your words and photos combined in such a way that I could almost visualize and hear the services. The photo of the beautiful interior transported me back in my memories to the incredibly beautiful churches Europe has...some regally majestic, and other crudely simple (at least some I was fortunate enough to visit in more remote regions of Spain) - both equally magical and captivating in their spells. I was blessed to have visited Venice once very briefly but, as I was a student with (incredibly) limited funds and sporting a heavy, bulky, several-day-travel backpack, I was a bit "limited" in what I was able to take in. I had always thought I would be able to return, but that did not turn out to be. You are fortunate that Venice is (relatively speaking) close to Budapest. And I adore that photo of Lance awaiting service...it needs to be painted!! ~Robin~ (PS: I am curious as to why they removed those beautiful wood pews??)

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    1. Darling Robin,

      Thank you for your generous comment.

      We are delighted that you found comfort in the post. It certainly brought back fond memories of the services in St. George's Church as well as the City in general when we were composing it.

      The churches of Venice are certainly well worth exploring as they are indeed treasure troves of the most wonderful riches in terms of art and architecture. And, even at the height of a tourist season, they are often empty to be enjoyed at leisure and away from the searing heat of a Venetian summer.

      The wooden pews were removed in May 2019 as part of a decision by the Chaplaincy Council to make the church a more usable space for other events than religious services. The church's upkeep, always a problem in Venice with flooding, depends upon income from other sources than the weekly collections. So, it has been a venue for art exhibitions in the Biennale and, more often, a concert venue for the Venice Music Project which focuses on bringing early music to audiences in Venice and around the world. So, the pews made way for stackable chairs which are much more flexible in their use. They were taken away on a barge down the Grand Canal and images of this can be seen on the St. George's Church website, the link to which is in the post.


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  18. As I read your post this sunny Sunday morning, I am transported back to beautiful Venice, and walking through the area seeking Peggy Guggenheim, exactly as you describe. Alas, we did not stumble on St. George's which looks so elegant and serene. Services there would be so inspiring, and I am glad you can at least attend via Zoom. What a helpful invention it is, arriving just in time for a Pandemic! A lovely post, thank you.

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    1. Darling Patricia,

      Thank you for your kind comment.

      Yes, you probably did walk past St. George's on your way to the Guggenheim which is only a few metres away. However, the church is not open except for services, so it would have been very likely that it was closed and, so, is extremely easy to overlook.

      Whatever, how wonderful that you have been to Venice and seen the Guggenheim which is another favourite haunt of ours. A friend was a guide there but, in recent years, there has been much change and many of the gallery assistants were not kept on. A pity, we felt.

      Yes, Zoom has become a friend in the Pandemic in terms of keeping us connected with our students, friends and St. George's Church. Throughout Lent a series of Art Talks based on images of the Crucifixion have also been transmitted so that has combined our love of art with a spiritual experience which has been wonderful.

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  19. Very elegant church! Our church livestreams each Mass, and many can "attend" that way. I hope you will soon be able to travel safely to Venice and again be there in person.

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    1. Darling Holly,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Yes, many churches seem to be using all kinds of technological platforms to maintain and even strengthen their congregations during these lockdown days.

      Indeed, at St. George's when we attended in person, the congregation, at its height might have numbered 10 people. Now, there are regularly over 30 people online.

      We usually travel to Venice by bus which takes just 10 hours overnight from Budapest. We had booked to travel in March 2020 and our hotel reservation has been rebooked several times since. We live in hope of Christmas 2021.

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  20. Love Venice and all her churches so beautiful!

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    1. Darling Catherine,

      Thank you for your comment.

      So many churches and all, as you say, offering something of interest. It is an enjoyment of ours to know something of the history of the church when visiting as we find that often there are small details which really add to the overall experience. That is certainly true of St. George's.

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  21. Dearest Jane and Lance,

    Venice must be your spiritual home! And the wonders of modern technology to take you into your lovely church each week - you are rather lucky to have such forward thinking and technically-minded incumbents. I had a little look at PGJ's website. To list working for ESA and a blogger (haha!) among his many talents; what an interesting man!

    You'll be back there before too long!

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    1. Darling Pip,

      Thank you for your kind and generous comment.

      If we were to have a spiritual home, then Venice would be a chosen spot. On each occasion, the City never fails to disappoint and always offers something more, allowing us to go ever deeper into its magical mysteries.

      We are delighted that you have looked up Philip. He is indeed a master of many trades and talents. And, we are deeply grateful that he spearheaded the technological link that has kept the St. George's community spirit high during these troubling times.

      We, like so many of us in lockdowns worldwide, cannot wait to return in person, to travel safely and to be reconnected with people at close quarters once more.

      Take care and stay safe, dear friend. xx

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  22. Glass was always a magnificent industry in Venice and so we will happily accept that the impressive warehouse was originally that of the Venezia-Murano Glass and Mosaic Co. I know from guided tours that as early as the 13th century, the local glass guild was essential.

    So it is interesting that the building greatly changed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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    1. Darling Hels,

      Thank you for your interesting comment.

      The building of St. George's Church is indeed filled with interest. Perhaps surprisingly, given the glass industry in Venice, the majority of the stained glass windows in the church were made by the Whitefriars Glass Company in London through connections with benefactors of the church in the C19 and C20.

      The church is unusual for Venice in have stained glass windows and they are remarkable both in the size and in their quantity. As a result, the church is flooded with light which does make it a wonderfully uplifting place to be.

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  23. I will tell you both, it's quite something how this pandemic has gotten us all used to, and a step closer to this online technology. I'm not even that old, and being stuck in, some days I feel when I do emerge, I should be called the Dowager of Bucks County. The man I am/was seeing thanks to the virus, Warbucks, and I talk on Instagram, on live feed. He moved to Budapest, right after our last ruler 44 was sworn in. They didn't see eye to eye lets say. When we took the Orient Express to Vienna in the summer of 2019, we stayed for a few weeks. He wanted to swing into Budapest to show me the city, but I didn't want to rush the tour, so I missed out. I haven't seen him now for over a year and a half. I miss traveling so.

    And what a lovely church. Several year ago I saw some of the most jaw dropping churches and cathedrals in Buenos Aires when we went. Talk about a fun, cultural and lively city.

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    1. Darling Mistress,

      Thank you so much for your comment.

      You are absolutely right about the online technology. WE have certainly learned all manner of new tricks on a variety of platforms in order to stay connected with the outside world.

      How funny to think of you as the Dowager Duchess of Bucks County. Such a great idea. We are certainly now thinking of ourselves as Dowager Duke and Duchess of the Danube and shall, perhaps, style ourselves as such from now on!

      How extraordinary that we are neighbours with Warbucks. Drastic action to come to Budapest to escape Ruler 44 but how wonderful to have taken the Orient Express. These strange times do seem to call out for extraordinary lengths to be carried out.

      For reasons too boring to explain, we only saw Buenos Aires whilst en route for Montevideo. South America is certainly another chapter for another day! Zoom, Zoom as they say:):)

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    2. Oh dear, that should have read ruler 45! My!

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    3. We guessed that you must mean Donald.... our Mathematics is often dodgy too!!:):)

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  24. A great reminder of time, mumblety-odd years ago, that Venice was my first holiday from my first grown-up job, and the first time I simply bought a ticket to somewhere and arrived on spec, finding a hotel on arrival at Santa Lucia (from a big board of adverts with a telephone attached!), and walking out on to the Grand Canal and the vaporetto station. Magical (I've been meaning to digitise those photographs for ages, and am feeling inspired to get on with it!)

    Small footnote: my understanding is that "St Michael and St George" is mostly awarded for services to diplomacy and international relations. If I recall correctly, its ascending ranks are known in the Foreign Office as:
    CMG = Call Me God
    KCMG = Kindly Call Me God
    GCMG = God Calls Me God

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    1. Darling A,

      Thank you for your most interesting comment.

      You should definitely digitise those early photographic records of your visit to Venice. We always tell anyone going to Venice for the first time to arrive by train since the experience you recall here of walking out from a very ordinary train station onto the Grand Canal is just so extraordinarily beautiful that it remains in the mind for all time.

      It is interesting what you write about the 'Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George' since it is an honour which has changed over the years. St. Michael and St. George are known as 'military saints' and, initially, the award was to those British military personnel who had given distinguished service abroad. So, this was entirely in keeping with St. George's Church which, in part, was a memorial to the many servicemen and servicewomen who gave their lives supporting the Italian army in the Napoleonic Wars and, particularly, protecting Venice from invasion. However, the Order has changed in recent times and now, as you write, it is awarded to those, most often British Ambassadors, who have given important non-military service abroad.

      We love the Foreign Office translations of the acronyms!:):)

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  25. Venice seems to be made up from one impressive landmark after another. In other places you have to look up all the time, but in Venice you pop out of a dark and narrow alley and they are there on your level as if they have been waiting for you.

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    1. Darling Tom,

      Thank you so much for your comment.

      Perfectly put. The stones of Venice can indeed tell so many incredible and magical stories that a single lifetime is insufficient to know them all. There is always something still waiting to be discovered and so one must return to dive ever deeper!

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  26. I loved the words "when in Venice". It made me smile and feel sad at the same time. If only.

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    1. Darling Jean,

      Thank you for your kind comment.

      Yes, a bittersweet post in so many ways.

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  27. My second favourite city in the world after London &, we will have walked passed St George’s Anglican Church ( probably after visiting the Guggenheim collection !!!!! ) .... we may have ventured in but, having walked virtually every nook and cranny of Venice, there have been many churches that we have visited that I can’t quite remember !!!! Can’t wait to visit beautiful Venice once more and, St George’s will be on my list and you will both be on my mind when we visit. XXXX

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    1. Darling Jacqueline,

      Thank you for your comment, it is so lovely to be reconnected once again.

      Yes, you probably did walk past St. George's on the way to the Guggenheim but as it is only open for services, it is more than probable that it was closed and is easily overlooked. However, you might be intrigued to visit when next in Venice since its history as an outpost of the Anglican Church is quite fascinating.

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  28. Dearest Jane and Lance,
    Firstly, I need you both to know that I am having much trouble, commenting on some blogs .... I write the comment { which I carefully consider ! } and it just disappears ! Here's hoping this one goes through { I'm trying different platforms } !
    Venice is my second favourite city after London ...... I love it SO much. We have more than likely passed, even ventured into St George's Anglican Church, probably after visiting the Guggenheim collection !!I think that we have walked our feet off down every alleyway, street and square, up towers and been aboard Vaporetto's on most of the
    canals !Hopefully it won't be too long before we can visit again and we shall be sure to visit St Georges and I will think of you both. XXXX

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    1. Ooops .... looks like two comments got through 🤣 XXXX

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    2. Darling Jacqueline,

      Thank you so much for your persistence in leaving a comment.

      It is a most frustrating aspect of Blogger that all manner of things....posts, comments and, even blogs.... disappear without reason or trace. It takes stamina as well as creativity these days to blog!!

      Whatever, we are delighted to be reconnected once more as we missed our blogging chums on our six year break and it is good to know that so many, including you, are still hear telling tales!!

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  29. Thank you for sharing the St George's Anglian Church. Like you I have visited Venice many times and have indeed been inside the church on my first ever trip in fact with my historian guide from Norwich, Rodney, now sadly departed from this life.

    I have been longing to take a secret trip to Venice during the Pandemic in fact. Can you imagine how pleasant it would be with few people around? I understand there are some British folk who had the vision to rent accommodation there at the very beginning of the Pandemic and working from home has become working from Venice, and home schooling has become home schooling in Venice.

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    1. Darling Rachel,

      Thank you for your comment.

      We are aware of your trips to Venice and are delighted to hear that you managed to discover St. George's when open. That is quite a feat! The history of the church is quite fascinating, not least as the first chaplain in Venice was part of the first British Embassy abroad in 1604. Remarkable, we think.

      Venice has had an extremely hard time of it over the past year or so with highly damaging floods as well as the absence of tourist income. It is a love hate relationship with tourists and one can only hope that a new equilibrium may find itself post-pandemic.

      Although we would agree about the crowds of the past and we, like you, do look longing at photographs of empty squares, nevertheless, to be there in Winter is definitely a magical time. The weather in December is generally cold but very sunny and, of course, there are very few visitors. The churches, as always, are empty so it is easy to escape the madding crowds. As you may imagine, we hope upon hope to be able to visit again soon.

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    2. I have been in both November (just in time to catch the end of the Biennale) and February but never December. I agree these winter months have a magic all of their own and Venice is a completely different place, particularly in February when it was raw and foggy and actually became fun to be cold with chapped lips as could only happen in Venice.

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    3. A good time to see the Biennale in November rather than its May madness at opening time. However, the weather in December is surprisingly good and Christmas, perhaps surprisingly, is quite low key in Venice. Next time....there must always be at least a hope of next time...

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  30. Is the Dowager Duchess of Northumberland the same as Duchess Elizabeth who died a few years ago. I was raised in Northumberland and still speak of it as 'home' - it is a fabulous county, all skies and cost and castles...though the Percy's have a somewhat mixed history... But then, what family doesn't!

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    1. Darling Mark,

      Thank you so much for your comment.

      The "Dowager Duchess" at the time would have been Lady Eleanor Percy [née Grosvenor] who was married to Algernon Percy, the 4th Duke of Northumberland. Lady Eleanor was widowed in in 1847 and so would have been the Dowager Duchess in 1895 when the gift of the organ was given to the church. We are unsure of her connection to Venice and that is part of our ongoing research into this intriguing church.

      How wonderful that you were raised in Northumberland, such a fabulous county. Sadly, we have not visited it more since, on each occasion we are delighted by the amazing countryside and its impressive country houses.

      Delete
  31. Thank goodness for Zoom. Although never an equal substitute to actually being there, for now it also serves as a glimmer of hope that one day soon, you two will be there again.

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    1. Darlings,

      Thank you for your comment.

      We would never have thought that there would be such a seismic shift in our lives online as there has been over the past year. And, yes, thank goodness for this ability to at least be connected in some way!!

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  32. This is so interesting -- what a beautiful church. I love small churches. They seem warmer, less intimidating to me. I just started another Donna Leon "Brunetti" mystery, set in Venice, so this is especially timely to me! Have a lovely week.

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    1. Darling Jeanie,

      Thank you for your kind comment.

      Yes, we too are drawn to those churches which have a real sense of community and people who tend the church with loving care. It all contributes to one feeling 'at home' in the presence of God.

      If you enjoy Donna Leon, then we would suggest your trying the detective novels of Philip Gwynne Jones whose link we have given in the post. His books are set in Venice where he lives and all contain illuminating insights into the art and architecture of Venice whilst also solving murders!!

      Wishing you a lovely week too!

      Delete
  33. I read your reply to Bonnie about Lance's red shoes, how you took pictures with all sorts of red things that day. This is exactly something I would do! But may I suggest that a Tocco Rosso would have made an even better matching drink than an Apérol Spritz? Having said that, now I am longing for a leisurely hour at a sunny table on my town's beautiful market square, a well-chilled Tocco Rosso and a small bowl of crisps in front of me.

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    1. Darling Meike,

      Thank you so much for your comment.

      We did have great fun finding red things to photograph with the shoes and, although we have never tried a Tocco Rosso, we shall upon your recommendation!

      How lovely to think of you enjoying the sunshine in just the same way as we do at Gino's when we are in Venice. There, our drink of choice is Cynar.... a grown-up version of Apérol we are told....and made from artichokes. Delicious!

      Cheers, darling Meike!

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  34. So lovely and so nice to know the history of the church. I am sorry that you can only visit on line and hope for the vaccine for you and open travel so you can once again sit in the light of the stain glass window's.
    Cathy

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    1. Darling Cathy,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The 'English Church in Venice' as St. George's was fondly known has a most intriguing history, in part through the many influential English speaking ex-patriates who frequented the City and lived there in the C19 and C20. Robert Browning, John Ruskin and so many others have contributed in various ways to the life of the church that unravelling its historical layers is fascinating for us.

      Yes, we have to say that visiting Venice is a dear wish but still a long way off, we feel.

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  35. Just lovely. We are Episcopalians (Anglican communion) and have found that taking an hour or so on a Sunday morning to find and attend an Anglican service when we are traveling is a welcome and rewarding excursion. Often, we find beautiful surroundings to look upon and always a break in our sometimes headlong rush to SEE EVERYTHING. Our itinerary doesn’t always permit a formal service, but quiet individual meditation can serve a similar purpose of reflection and meditation. We’ve worshipped at St. Paul’s in London, various parish churches in SW England, St. George in Bermuda, St. Mary’s and St. Louis in New Orleans and many more.

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    1. Darling Kim,

      Thank you so much for your comment.

      How wonderful it is that you have been able to seek out Anglican services on your travels and we would totally agree that the experience does give one a real insight into a community as well as providing an opportunity for peaceful reflection.

      Perhaps one day you too will be able to soak up the atmosphere in St. George's Church as well as receiving the warm welcome always offered to visitors who find it.

      We find that the best way to see Venice is through its many churches. Not only are they filled with the most wonderful art and architecture but they are most often free from visitors and offer a tranquil haven away from the madding crowds.

      Delete
  36. Hello Jane & Lance, what a wonderful church just from the images and the words you have posted. I can only imagine how it must have felt to be in St George's Church and to hear that organ too! I have also enjoyed Venice vicariously through the novels of Donna Leon and Inspector Brunetti. Alas, I could not find any works by Philip Gwynne Jones available in our local library either hardcover or e-book versions. One day, it would be wonderful to experience Venice in person which may not be for some time. Hopefully, you will be able to return to in person services as well.

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    1. Darling Beatrice,

      Thank you so much for your comment.

      We are delighted that you have enjoyed visiting St. George's Church with us in this post. We do miss it very much indeed, but our Zoom services are certainly better than nothing and there is a real sense of community in that hour on a Sunday morning. It is reassuring and comforting to stay connected.

      We are sorry that you have not been able to track down Philip's novels. Perhaps if you go via the website through the link in the post you might be able to track down the Kindle versions. As you enjoy Donna Leon, we are certain that you would also find his novels intriguing and offering more insights into this magical city.

      Delete
  37. The front door and the panels either side of it are so elegant. Those are the details that can make a building. Arilx

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    1. Darling Aril,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Just in case you wanted to know more about the bronze doors and side panels:

      The doors were cast from two cannons provided by the War Council in London, one dating from the Crimean War and a larger gun dated 1795. They were sent from England and melted down for casting in the Arsenale, in collaboration with the Italian Navy.

      Advised by the architect Luigi Marangoni the memorial committee chose a design of Byzantine inspiration by the sculptor and designer, Napoleone Martinuzzi (1895-1977).

      The project was completed in 1926, funded after an appeal chaired by Sir Ronald Graham, the British Ambassador in Rome, with support from the Army and Navy and ecclesiastical and diplomatic representatives as well as British residents in Venice.

      The left door bears the inscription ‘Ad Rerum Memoriam’ MCMXIV and the right: ‘Ad Nominum Honorum’ MCMXVIII. On either side of the doors two bronze panels are inscribed with the names of the cemeteries on the Asiago plateau where British soldiers died mostly in the closing months of war in the summer and autumn of 1918. To the left are Boscon, Barenthal, Magnaboschi, Cavalletto, Granezza and to the right are Graduscam, Giavera, Tezze, Montecchio, Precalcino, Dueville.

      We agree, the beauty is in the detail, so carefully considered.

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  38. How wonderful that through the magic of the ether/t'internet you are able to enjoy such a time, with memories of a beautiful setting in a beautiful place, and a memory and feeling that brings you pleasure. Visiting Venice some years ago, in November, I felt quite overwhelmed at some of the beauty. We stayed in Cannaregio and didn't find ourselves to be too surrounded by others (tourists just as we were I suppose) so it was a truly lovely visit. If I am ever lucky enough to visit again I shall seek out this Church.

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    1. Darling Libby,

      Thank you for your kind comment.

      Yes, Cannaregio is a favourite part of the city since, as you say, it is generally far less crowded than other parts and is full of interest. A café/bookshop 'Sullaluna'which is in that district is also a regular haunt....a great stop for their own Prosecco!!

      If you do return to Venice, as we sincerely hope that you will, then a visit to the church is well worth it. It is generally closed except for Sunday services although concerts are held there occasionally. It is in a pretty part of Dorsoduro which is a wonderful area for a stroll.

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  39. My dearest Jane and Lance,

    I hope you are having a calm and safe week. It is a wonderful picture of you Lance waiting outside on the bench looking very dapper as usual. What a beautiful church St. George's is - both interior as well as exterior. The Venetian Renaissance artist, Giovanni Buonconsiglio is not very well known (not even mentioned in Vasari's Lives, I don't think). But it is interesting to learn that he was a pupil of Antonello da Messina.

    I am glad to hear that you are able to attend the service via Zoom and it can give a great deal of solace when you cannot be there in person. I think that many people have a thirst for a spiritual refuge in times of uncertainty. Let's hope that we will find our spiritual renewal and reunion in this year's Easter.

    With warmest wishes, ASD

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    1. Darling ASD,

      Thank you for your kind comment.

      How interesting that you have found out a little more about the artist. The painting is, in our view, not of the highest quality but is intriguing in that the copy contained several amendments from the original so that it was more suited to its situation.:):) Perhaps this could be called 'artistic licence'!

      We do find the Zoom service reassuring and comforting. It offers a period of quiet reflection in a community of which we are very familiar so it feels good to be connected in these strange times.

      Easter is always a joyful time of year for us and, no matter the lockdown, we definitely look to it as a time of hope and new life. As we go forward, we do so wish for a time of reunion with all those familiar people and places that we hold so dear and, of course, for new adventures which await....

      Sending love. J and L xx

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  40. Hello,
    Off topic, but I am hoping that you might be able to offer some guidance. A person that I follow on Instagram posted that her parents are in the throes of Covid19 and reside in Budapest, her plea was that someone might be able to tell her how to find a visiting nurse to offer care for her parents. Should you be able to offer such or point me in the right direction to find same, please reply.
    Hopefully,
    Gail

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    1. Dear Gail,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Sadly, the COVID situation in Budapest is, at the moment, very worrying with record numbers of new cases each day and very high death rates. The Health Service is simply overwhelmed by it all and contacting even one's GP here is problematic.

      So, we are unable to offer any assistance or advice regarding your question at the present time. Indeed, we have been self isolating for over a year now in our apartment and, in spite of registering, there is no sign of a vaccination in sight.

      We are so sorry not to be able to help you further and hope that a solution may be found in the near future for your Instagram person.

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  41. Hello,

    This is Gail. For some reason I cannot 'reply' and did not receive the requested notification in my email that you had responded. Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. Please reply again should any information or thoughts come your way. Please have fortitude and stay safe, hopefully vaccinations are the way.

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    1. Dear Gail,

      Thank you for returning.

      We are sorry that we could not offer more assistance. The situation here with regard to medical provision is chaotic to say the least at present. Only yesterday, a public request was made for volunteers to assist with medical personnel as the hospitals are struggling to cope.

      Yes, we wait patiently....one year and counting...

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  42. Dear Jane and Lance, what a pleasure to be reminded of the beautiful secret corners of Venice. I have decided to start writing my blog again, I was inspired by your example! Jane x

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    1. Darling Jane,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment.

      We are so delighted that you too have returned to the Blogosphere. We shall enjoy reading your posts once more.

      We have had a long Easter break but shall return again soon.

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  43. Zooming with Venice. Something I had never thought of. And would we ever have believed it if we had known, years ago? I both hate and appreciate Zoom, and I'm glad the church now seems to be reaching a larger congregation thanks to its availability.

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