Chiesa di San Giorgio dei Greci

sights / Religious

Chiesa di San Giorgio dei Greci information

Location
Venice , Italy
Address
Campiello dei Greci 3412
Getting there
Ferry: Pietà
More information
www.ortodossia.it
Opening hours
9am-12.30pm & 2.30-4.30pm Mon & Wed-Sat, 9am-1pm Sun
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Greek Orthodox refugees who fled to Venice from Turkey with the rise of the Ottoman Empire built a church here in 1536, with the aid of a special dispensation from Venice to collect taxes on incoming Greek ships. Nicknamed ‘St George of the Greeks', the little church has an impressive iconostasis, and clouds of fine incense linger over services. The separate, slender bell tower was completed in 1603, though it began to lean right from the start. These days, it seems poised to dive into the canal on which the church sits.

Permission for the church was granted in the late 15th century in acknowledgement of the growing importance of the Greek community in the city, which at its peak numbered around 4000. Greek scholars contributed greatly to Venice’s dominance in the printing trade, and thereby to its eminence as a seat of Renaissance learning.

While the exterior is classically Venetian, the interior is Orthodox in style: the aisleless nave is surrounded by dark, wooden stalls and there’s a matroneo (women’s gallery). All eyes, however, are drawn to the golden iconostasis with its 46 icons, the majority of which are the work of 16th-century Cretan artist Michael Danaskinàs. Other fabulous works by the Venetian school of icon painters can be found in the Museo delle Icone .