Friday, November 04, 2011

St Mark

The speaker at yesterday's annual Friends of Winchester Cathedral lecture was John Julius Norwich and he entertained us for an hour, talking about the history of Venice. He reminded us of the story of how St Mark's body came to that city.
Venice had no Roman history, having been settled in the 400-600s by Italians fleeing barbarian assaults. It became wealthy through trade and was considered "nouveau riche" by other cities in Italy. It therefore decided to get some history of its own in the form of a relic and an important relic was what it really wanted ie one of the four apostles.
It set its sights on the body of St Mark which was housed in a tomb in Alexandria and in 828 sent two merchants to steal it, on the justification that Alexandria was at that time a Muslim city so St Mark was not receiving his due reverence. The merchants bribed the Arab officials, snatched the body and got it through the Alexandrian customs by covering it with pork. On the voyage back to Venice, the ship was struggling in a storm and St Mark leapt out of his relics and steered it back to safety.


Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Oh, I would love to hear him speak.

11:20 pm  

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