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Wednesday, 22 February 2023

The Very Revd Lucinda Laird, Chaplain of St George's Venice


There has been a Church of England presence in Venice since 1604, when the Revd William Bedell arrived in the city as part of the embassy of Queen Elizabeth I to the Doge. Over 400 years later, St George's offers a welcome to residents and to the many visitors who come to the city. It continues to be a congregation with people from many parts of the world, with an extraordinary range of gifts and talents.

On Sunday 19 February, I licensed the Very Revd Lucinda Laird as the new chaplain of St George's (with Christ Church Trieste, too.) Mother Lucinda comes to us from the US Episcopal Church where she served in many places, as well as latterly as the Dean of the American Cathedral in Paris. I believe she is the first woman to serve as our priest in Venice. We welcome her most warmly to the Church of England Diocese in Europe.

It was a significant ecumenical occasion as well. Lucinda has already been personally welcomed by the Patriarch of Venice who invited her to preach in St Mark's Basilica in the week of prayer for Christian unity. For the installation mass, the Patriarch sent his ecumenical delegate, Monsignor Angelo Pagan to represent him, and the local parish priest, Fr Valentino Cagnin, was also present (and prayed for Mother Lucinda at his own parish mass that day.) Other Anglican clergy present included the Revd Castro Adieabah, who is studying in Venice, and the Revds Nick Fisher and Martin Poole, who have both assisted in St George's in the past. 

At the Confirmation

On the evening before the installation, I was able to confirm a new member of the congregation, of Turkish background. 

My own ecumenical visits were included in the parish weekend, including to the Patriarch and the Orthodox Metropolitan, both old friends.

I had to hobble around Venice, due to a fracture in my left foot (sustained when I was in the Holy Land the week before). The "space boot" I have to wear is nowhere near as elegant and exotic as the costumes in Venice that weekend, at the height of Carnivale!