ST. MARK'S BASILICA
The first patron saint of Venice was St.Teodoro.
In 828 St.Mark the Evangelist substituted him when two
merchants smuggled his mortal remains back from
Alessandria (Egypt). St.Mark's remains were initially
buried in a chapel in the Doge's Palace but later a church was built that was to be his
perpetual resting place. The church later suffered damage
from fire and was modified many times to adapt to
Venice's evolution of power and wealth. This simple
church evolved into St.Mark's Basilica. The modifications
to the Basilica continued on through an entire century,
therefore the results of the construction exhibit a
mixture of different styles.
In order to justify the theft of St.Mark's body, legend states that when the Evangelist went to the lagoon, an angel came and said: "Pax tibi Marce, Evangelista meus" (Translation from Latin : peace to you, Mark my Evangelist), showing in this way that God had determined Venice as the final resting place of the Saint. The Venetians acted to fulfill the divine profecy.
St.Mark's Basilica is also well known for the Pala d'Oro, one of the richest and most precious altar screens in the world. It is covered with more than 3000 precious stones and enamel ikons inlaid in gold.