After hectic day in Venice full of life and laughter I return to my hotel and relax a bit.
It is midnight as I hear the bells of the Cathedral of Saint Mark and they seduce me for a
nightly stroll. I cannot resist the temptation so with a Pepsi and camera in my hand I set out
on my nightly journey to see how Venice looks this Sabbath night. Listening to Hans Zimmer’s
“Last Samurai” Soundtrack on my iPod I start my walk into the night.
I reach San Marco’s square. It is 01:11 at night. Just 7 hours before there was maybe 50 000 people
on this square. Now there are three plus me. And 2 dogs that are playing.
I stand in front of majestic church of San Marco or Saint Mark as we Lutherans have come to know him.
One of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ. Earlier I attended, out of morbid curiosity since I do not subscribe
to any religion, to a Catholic Mass in this very same church. The entrance to the church was only through
a Basilika and cost 4 euros. This took me through a souvenir shop that sold everything from Jesus key holders
to Coke. I did not find digital Jesus although I would have loved to have one. I cannot help but to think what
Jesus himself would think about all this nonsense that I see in here. It makes me almost physically sick.
I enter the majestic Cathedral where the mass is taking place. No photos it says. Hmm interesting. The mass is
a ritual that follows a strict routine. It has a clear reasoning for its sake and I am wondering what that reasoning
might be. Thousands of years man has built great monuments to “glorify God”. This is one of them. People sit and
stand up as the priest is reading from his holy book. I don’t pay much attention to what he is saying, largely because
my Italian is limited to words I could not use in the church. Suddenly a dejavu comes to me. I was 14 years old when I
played Toccata and Fugue in D minor, the saddest of all keys, in a church in Klaukkala where I grew up. I played it with
electric guitar and amplifier. I wonder if they would let me play here. I doubt.
I leave in the middle of the mass and wander upstairs encountering several guards that look extremely pissed off. They don’t
have guns though. I manage to take a picture and wonder if I would be burnt at the stake or if I should have a stake if I would
All the fancy cathedrals in Venice. And in Paris. And you name it. What for is the question that comes to my mind when I am strolling
through the streets of Venice in the dark night. There is nobody here, only me, my camera and Leonardo Da Vinci Code.
They say that God is in these churches. I must envy these people who know this. I did not find a trace of life, laughter or joy in any of the
churches I visited today. Not in Saint Mark’s, not in Santa Maria’s. Not in Notre Dame few weeks ago in Paris.
They leave me cold with their fancy architechture and symbols and they force me to ask a question: if there is God, is he really hidden
inside these cold walls? Or could it be that she is in the laughter of a birthday party that was laughing so hard that it made the whole restaurant laugh. Or could it be that he is in those 2 dogs that play at Saint Mark’s square at 2 AM?
Where is God. Did we kill him like Nietsche proposed? Looking at this world in this moment, I am very sad to say that unfortunately it
really seems so.
I head back to the hotel looking at amazing night sky. I pass the 2 lions that guard the San Marco’s cathedral and head towards the hotel.
The receptionist welcomes me with a smile and hands me a leaflet “Shadows of Venice”. Little he knows about my trip and what I am
thinking. But he is kind and smiling. And he has more life in his smile than my whole 2 hour trip. Now that is something to think about.
Love and Peace, Timo