July 17th—Saint Marina’s day.

Not, I think, Saint Marina of Aguas Santas (Marina of Orense), but Margaret of Antioch, whose feast day falls in fact on July 20th in the Roman calendar. She is honoured instead by the Eastern Church, where she is known as Santa Marina, on July 17th, the Venetians, as so often, following the practice of Byzantium. Margaret/Marina’s tribulations included being swallowed by Satan in the guise of a dragon and regurgitated when the cross she wore tickled the beast’s innards. It is she, incidentally, rather than the Leaderene, who is the titular saint of St. Margaret’s, Westminster. Her eleventh century church in Venice was demolished in 1820 to make way for what Zorzi calls ‘brutte case senza carattere’.

What happened to the virgin saint herself, who had been under the high altar since 1231 after her removal from Constantinople, I do not know, but Pietro Lombardo’s beautiful funerary monument to the Doge Nicolò Marcello had fortunately been transferred to SS. Giovanni & Paolo on the church’s closure ten years earlier. During its last decade the nave was for a while a tavern where the waiters could be heard shouting out “A jar to the Madonna, a jar to the Saint!” In more sober times the doge would visit the church in solemn procession on the Saint’s Day (Eastern style) to celebrate the retaking of Padua on July 17th, 1509, by Andrea Gritti, from the anti-Venetian coalition of the League of Cambrai.