08 November 2021

Praying in Ordinary Time 2021:
163, the Scuola Grande Tedesca, Venice

The Scuola Grande Tedesca or German Grand Synagogue, founded in 1528 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

After a busy weekend, I am in Dublin Airport this morning, waiting to board an early-morning Ryanair flight to Treviso, with plans to spend five days in Venice this week, celebrating some important family birthdays and anniversaries.

Before my flight takes off, I have taken a little time this morning for prayer, reflection and reading. Each morning in the time in the Church Calendar known as Ordinary Time, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, photographs of a church or place of worship;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

Photographs of churches in Venice provided the theme for this prayer diary in the week 20-27 June 2021. So, instead, as part of my reflections and this prayer diary this week, my photographs are from the ghetto in Venice.

I hope to look at each of the five historic synagogues in the Ghetto in turn this week. My photographs this morning (8 November 2021) are from the Scuola Grande Tedesca or German Grand Synagogue, the oldest surviving synagogue in Venice.

The Aron haKodesh or Holy Ark in the Scuola Grande Tedesca in Venice (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Scuola Grande Tedesca or German Grand Synagogue in Venice was founded in 1528 by the Askhenazi Community.

The unknown architect had to overcome considerable difficulties to give the appearance of regularity to the asymmetric area of the main hall. He achieved this by building an elliptical women’s gallery and repeating the same motif in the banisters of the lantern-like opening in the centre of the ceiling, giving a feeling of unexpected depth.

This Synagogue was restored often over the centuries. The area with the Ark juts out on the outside over the Rio di Ghetto Novo, with a niche that is also to be seen in the Schola Canton, the Schola Italiana and the Schola Levantina.

The Bimah in the Scuola Grande Tedesca in Venice (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Luke 17: 1-6 (NRSVA):

1 Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! 2It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. 4 And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, “I repent”, you must forgive.’

5 The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ 6 The Lord replied, ‘If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea”, and it would obey you.’

The ceiling in the Scuola Grande Tedesca in Venice (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (8 November 2021, Saints and Martyrs of England and Wales) invites us to pray:

We give thanks for the saints and martyrs who did so much to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout England and Wales.

Synagogues surround the main square in the Ghetto in Venice (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Yesterday’s reflection

>Continued tomorrow

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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