10 November 2021

Praying in Ordinary Time 2021:
165, Scola Levantina, Venice

(Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

I am staying in Venice this week, spending a few days at the Hotel San Cassiano in the Ca’ Favretto in the Santa Croce district just a few minutes’ walk from Rialto, and celebrating some important family birthdays and anniversaries.

Before the day begins, 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.

As part of my reflections and this prayer diary this week, my photographs are from the ghetto in Venice. I am looking at each of the five historic synagogues in the Ghetto in turn this week. My photograph this morning (10 November 2021) are from the Scola Levantina, founded in 1541 by the Levantine Sephardi communities.

The Scola Levantina was founded by the Levantine Sephardi communities in 1541 and is one of five surviving synagogues in the Ghetto. The Levantine Jews who arrived by the mid-16th century brought different customs of worship and dress that contrasted with the more modest Ashkenazi communities. They were followed by Roman Jews in 1575 and Sephardic Jews in 1589.

The Scola Levantina was restored in the 17th century by Andrea Brustolon (1662-1732), from Belluno, the most famous wood sculptor in Venice at the time.

A beautiful bimah stands on a high base, finely worked in flower motifs. Other motifs twist round the two columns, recalling Solomon’s Temple. The Aron haKodesh (Holy Ark) facing it dates from 1782; it is marked by its simplicity and is enclosed by a brass gate dated 1786.

High up, along the entrance hall, the women’s gallery was once screened by lattices. The Dutch chandeliers, brass candlesticks and silver lamps at the Ark help to harmonise the interior of this synagogue.

Luke 17: 11-19 (NRSVA):

11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ 14 When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ 19 Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (10 November 2021) invites us to pray:

We pray for university chaplains and the work they do to support and comfort students. May they in turn be supported to carry out this important work.

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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