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Venice: Church of Saint Roch (Chiesa di San Rocco)

 

About Saint Roch:

Not much is known for sure about the younger days of Saint Roch….he was probably born at Montpellier, France, and was the son of the governor there who died when Roch was 20. He went on pilgrimage to Rome and devoted himself to caring for the victims of a plague that was ravaging Italy. He became a victim himself at Piacenza, but recovered, and was said to have performed many miracles of healing.  He is known as Rocco in Italy and elsewher, but also known as Roque in Spain and Roch elsewhere.

Nostalgia sculpture on the Puerto V...
Nostalgia sculpture on the Puerto Vallarta Malecon by Ramiz Barquet 1984

There are two versions of the story:

  1. He then returned to Montpellier, but due to a tragic mistake his uncle (now the governor), did not recognize him and thought he was a spy disguised as a pilgrim.  He was imprisoned for five years as a spy in pilgrim’s disguise when his uncle, who was governor, ordered him imprisoned.  Roch died in prison and was only then identified as the former governor’s son by a birthmark in the form of a cross on his chest.
  2. Another source says that he was arrested as a spy at Angers, Lombardi, and died in prison there.

 

Get this Saint Roch prayer card
Get this Saint Roch prayer card

 

When miracles were reported at his intercession after his death, a popular cult developed and he is patron saint against pestilence and plague. He is also the patron of invalids.

 

His feast day is August 16th.

About the Church of Saint Roch (Chiesa di San Rocco) in Venice:

The church was originally built between 1489-1508 and then almost entirely reconstructed in 1725. It is one of the Plague churches of Venice.

There are paintings by the Renaissance master, Tintoretto, here in the church….and there are more of his works next door in Scuola.

Tomb of St. Rocco in church in Venice
High Altar with the tomb of Saint Roch in the Church of Saint Roch / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Of course, the main point of interest for many is the tomb of Saint Roch above the high altar, which was moved here in 1485.

On either side of the main altar are four large paintings by Tintoretto depicting St Roch’s life

Finding the Church of Saint Roch (Chiesa di San Rocco) in Venice:

The church is located next to the Grand School of San Rocco, an art muesum dedicated to the famous artist Tintoretto.

Addresss:  Campo San Rocco 3053

Tel:  (+39) 041-523-48 64

Click here for the official website of The Great School of San Rocco.

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