The Streets of Venice

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
get caught.

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

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12 responses to “The Streets of Venice

  1. Always interesting reading your thoughts about this. But about: “God inside the churches” it’s not like that. The Catholic says that only in the moment of the Transubstantation, when they make the Eucharist. They generally say that God is everywhere, that the best way to find him is on the others. That you can see them in the eyes of the people (obviusly it’s just a metaphor)
    My family raised me as a Catholic, but I don’t have faith. Not after studying a lot of philosophers… They made checkmate to my faith. But like what a lot of religions are teaching, I think that they help to make us better persons.

  2. good question and long answers Timo. i’m particularly a Catholic and I won’t try to answer that here, but I just wanted to say that whatever is the answer your attitude seems good and open to find it, so you will =) however, I think the best would have been to ask directly the person you’re judging in some way: the priest. they’re wise people 🙂

  3. GOD IS INSIDE OF EVERYONE OF US, IN EVERY DAWN, IN EVERY NIGHT, EVERY DUSK, EVERY CHILD THAT BORN AND BRINGS A NEW DROP OF HOPE TO THIS WORLD, IN EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT LOVE TO EACH OTHERS, IN EVERY BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPE YOU HAVE CAUGHT IN YOUR CAMERA, GOD IS EVERYWHERE, GOD IS NOT DEAD, GOD IS INSIDE OF YOU, YOU WHO HAS A GIFT, INSIDE OF YOU, WHO GIVE US A REASON TO CARRY ON AND CHANGE THIS WORLD WITH YOUR MUSIC

    NO MATTER WHAT RELIGION ARE YOU OR IF YOU ARE NOT IN ANY RELIGION

  4. Nice to see you are up to some deep thinking and philosophizing Timo, you strongly deserve it after all you’ve lived through .

    On these catholic matters, though, I have little say, I was named after an angel, religious family. However, I can’t stand religions, people gathering in one place just doing the same rituals every week, gazing around the place with minimal presence just to be able to say “I go to church every week” – “Got a ticket to heaven”.

    Keep it up, loving these entries, really make me think.

  5. Well, being brazilian and italian descendant I could not help but be raised a Catholician. What I liked most about the masses were the joyful singing and the nice musics but I could only find God, or the feeling of God in smaller churches with little or no painting/fancy architecture, etc, etc.
    The most beautiful imponent masterpieces always made me feel amazed at the artwork but if the idea was to show this Great God as someone bigger and better than us, then unfortunatelly they were wrong.
    I stopped attending masses a long time ago but I kept God in my heart and his words of loving my brothers and sisters as if they were myself and I have been living very well.
    We have not killed God. Every time someone hugs you or smiles at you or reach out a hand to help or do anything to help just to see someone else’s happiness that is God’s trace.
    No religion will always be fully right because it was made by men to men. But if you are sensitive enough you might find the signs that take you to God inside the only religion that matters: Love.

  6. I couldn’t resist reading this while listening to Venus in the Morning.
    First of all, awesome photos, they really capture the essence of a night in Venice. The calm of that “nobody else around” feeling is something unique.
    I’ve never been to Europe, but somehow i have the feeling that every city has that magic that goes at night, wandering through their streets… I would love to take a walk through those desert streets, filled with nothing but oneself.
    On the topic of God, I think God is in the hearts of those who seek him. Being raised as a Catholic, I developed my own sense of who is God, and how to find Him. He’s not in a book. He’s not in the walls of a church (although i can’t deny i love the looks of some churches) He’s not in a mass, nor in the words of a priest preaching. He is whithin us, and the best way to talk to Him, feel Him and everyhing is being calm with yourself, having those moments of peace which can bring the world to a halt. I think i’m getting a little emotional over here, but I hope you know what I’m talking about.
    Anyway, I’d love to keep reading from you, Timo. Keep these coming!
    A big hug from Chile.

  7. I had never seen Venice after dark and so empty of human presence. These pictures might make a nice cover for a Heavy Metal album! 🙂

    On the subject of spirituality, I believe that it is an important element of human development, but I don’t see it as a dogma so much as a path on which we walk. And just like exercice develops our muscles, it is the questions that we ask of ourselves and others, as well as the experiences that we live that make our soul grow.

    Religion, however, might be to spirituality what pornography is to love. There may be some surface resemblance, but they are not the same. And my belief is that the real danger is not religion in itself, but the belief that religion (or pornography) and spirituality (or love) are the same thing. The day we start to believe that is the day we lose sight of what really mattered in the first place. And maybe that’s why it’s so important to see the love around us: people smilling, people in love, children playing, etc. If we can’t see God in that, where can we see it?

    Anyway, just my opinion 😉
    Peace
    Simon

  8. You have an interesting way of writing. It is very honest and thought provoking, while being inquiring without pretending to know the answers. The questions you pose are enjoyable, as they are really questions to your self, that many of us can relate to, because each of us too, I am sure, have posed or may have posed similary questions to our selves. I enjoy reading your posts very much.

  9. Finding myself – not a religious but a spiritual person. World is Church where life should be “preached” through the acts of Love… God`s – WE ARE…. ❤
    Miia

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