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Great School of St. John the Evangelist

In the ancient Republic of Venice, the term “school” was used to refer to a brotherhood or association of lay citizens who, inspired by the principles of Christian charity, dedicated themselves to the mutual material and spiritual assistance and religious practices linked to the devotion of their patron. Of these, among those still existing, the School of St. John the Evangelist is the oldest one (1261). After the fall of the Republic of Venice (1797), the schools were suppressed by Napoleonic edict (1807), but during the 19th century some schools, including the School of St. John, were reconstituted. The Great School of St. John the Evangelist, one of the richest and most prestigious schools in Venice, brought together around it devotion to its patron saint John the Evangelist. Initially its seat was in Sant' Aponal but was soon moved to San Stin. In 1369 the School received a fragment of the True Cross from Philippe de Mézières, chancellor of the kingdoms of Cyprus and Jerusalem, which became a symbol of the School and the object of an extraordinary veneration.


From 1430 onwards the school started hiring an organist on a permanent basis: in 1607, Francesco Usper, worried about always having to bring his organ from home; in 1609, Giovan Battista Riccio. From 1536, the players of viola da gamba soprano and lira da gamba were also paid.
Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista
San Polo, 2454 
30125 Venezia VE

Tel. + 39 041 718234
Fax + 39 041 5244022


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