Venice Day 9 – Of St. Athanasius and risotto

This morning we had our Mass at Santo Stefano, quite beautiful though dark on this dark, gray, rainy day.

Some Tintoretto… you know… same ol’…


Okay, forget about the Tintoretto.   It poured incessantly for the whole morning and way into the afternoon.  Thus, we parked at a great restaurant near La Fenice and settled into to enjoy various courses and wait out rain and the lightening and the splitting thunder.

This risotto of herbs and mazzancolle has raised the bar a notch for me.


The view.  This is one of the moments when the tourists couldn’t stand it.  They all headed for cover.   There are few things I detest more than walking around in the rain.  No, seriously.  Few.


The rain let up, however, and we dashed over to San Zaccaria.  The body of the father of St. John the Baptist is here (lower) and the body of St. Athanasius, bishop and doctor, is above.   Today is his feast day in both the new and the traditional calendar.  I had to visit.


I said a prayer for readers of this blog while at the body of this courageous defender of the orthodox Catholic Faith.   We must be inspired by him.


BTW… I will again say Mass for my benefactors when I return to Rome.

In San Zaccaria you find a main altar with these spiffy walls about it.  I would very much like to build a church with one of these!


Another view of the tombs of the saints.


Across the way is a lovely Bellini.   Not the drink.


I spotted this in a window of a pastry shop.  Everything from mushrooms to mussels, sea bass to squid… all marzipan!


And nearby a €16K watch.  I’ll take three, please.

Seriously… what does one do with a watch like this other than gaze at it in a dark cave while dodging orcs?


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. StWinefride says:

    San Zaccaria looks amazing! Thank you for praying for us at the tomb of the great and holy Saint Athanasius. Yes he was a great defender of the Faith during the Arian crisis but above all he was holy and that’s something we definitely need prayers for: to become holy!

  2. Sonshine135 says:

    Father Z,
    When you post these little tidbits on the churches, I like to go online and find out more about them. I am having a hard time finding out much on the placement of the bodies of these two Saints. I find it remarkable that the actual mortal remains of Zechariah are located here. I’d love to hear anything else you know about how that took place, or if any of the readers here have a link. Peace and continued safe travels.

  3. StJude says:

    Oh my goodness… that is THE St John the Baptist? ! wow…. just.. wow.

  4. StJude says:

    ok..sorry.. re read it.. its the father of St John the Baptist.

  5. Uxixu says:

    Sancte Athanasius, Ora pro nobis.

  6. Father G says:

    The relics of Saint Zachary are said to have been given to Venice by the Byzantine Emperor Leo V the Armenian around the year 819 AD.
    The relics of Saint Athanasius are said to have been brought to Venice either after the Fourth Crusade or after the Fall of Constantinople.

  7. av8er says:

    1) SO cool you could be there.
    2) That risotto….. looks so delicious!
    3) Thanks for your prayers. Please pray for my wife. God knows why.

  8. acardnal says:

    More on St Anthanasius, also know as the “Black Dwarf”. Find out why below.

  9. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    For those who enjoy being read aloud to, I note (but have not yet tried myself) that has both St. Athanasius’s Life of St. Anthony and his Contra Gentes (described as the first volume of a two-volume work of which the second volume is his On the Incarnation of the Word) in English translation as well as a modern life by Mother Frances of the Society of thr Sacred Heart (1869-1936).

  10. Allen says:

    Fr. Z:
    So I lost my camera in the streets of Venice about 7 years ago. If you happen to find it just lying around, retrieve it for me per favore?



  11. StWinefride says:

    acardnal: thanks for the link! Though in the photo St Athanasius doesn’t look very small or dark! Here’s something I found online.

  12. Quanah says:

    This is a day late, but for a truly great saint and defender of the faith better late than never.

    “Therefore, if even before the world came to be, the Son possessed glory, and was both ‘Lord of Glory’ and ‘Most High,’ and descended from heaven, and is always to be worshiped, then he was not promoted on account of having descended but rather he himself promoted those things which were in need of advancement. And if he descended to accomplish the grace of their advancement, then he did not come to be called ‘Son’ and ‘God’ as a reward, but rather he himself made us sons for the Father and divinized human beings when he himself became a human being.” – Orations Against the Arians 1:38-39

  13. JonPatrick says:

    At our First Saturday Mass this morning Father spoke about St. Athanasius – a day late I know but he thought it was important and it ties in with our votive Mass of the BVM, because if Jesus was not divine then we are not saved through his Sacrifice, the Eucharist is meaningless, and Mary is not the Mother of God. At one point int e4th Century Athanasius was almost single handedly fighting against this heresy that had almost taken over the Church.

    I sometimes think we are going through a kind of Arianism today – Modernism has infected the Church and sees Jesus as a great teacher, discounts the Sacrifice and does not really believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ. (If we did really believe this, would we allow communion in the hand?).

    We need another Athanasius to bring us back to orthodoxy.

  14. Vecchio di Londra says:

    Just homing in on the essentials here, Father: can you recall which herbs were in the risotto?
    (Parsley?) That stock looks fairly dark – I can imagine it with the prawns in a fish stock, or maybe a veg stock…It looks so delicious, I’d love to re-create it.

  15. Gaetano says:

    Dear Father,

    Thank you for your prayers at the tomb of St. Athanasius. I was going to ask you to pray for me there, and am thankful beyond words that you did. Our Lord knows the reason why.

  16. Dennis D says:

    I see that the risotto is prepared al onda–very runny. Do you prefer it to the Milanese preparations?

    Thank you for your work.

    Dennis D

  17. Sonshine135 says:

    Father G,

    Thank you!

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