Welcome to St Mark’s Church, Florence, Italy

St Mark’s ‘English’ Church is an Anglican church in Florence, Italy which serves all English-speakers who find themselves in Tuscany or Emilia Romagna and is a chaplaincy of the Church of England in the Diocese in Europe. We offer a unique venue for worship; weddings; opera; concerts; music and a wide range of artistic, literary and academic events for visitors and locals alike.

St Mark’s receives no financial support from the Church of England, or from local or national Governments.

We rely entirely on the generosity of those who use our premises or benefit from our ministry. Such donations are vital to our continued outreach and ministry here in Florence and beyond. Thank you.

St Mark’s Florence

St Mark’s Church in Florence is one of three worship centres that form a chaplaincy of the Church of England in the Diocese in Europe, known as St Mark’s Florence with St Peter’s Siena.

We have been serving the people of Tuscany, and the many visitors to the area on our current Florence site, for over 132 years. With the Sunday Sung High Mass at the centre of its active liturgical life, St Mark’s also has an extensive music and cultural scene, with its own concert and Mass choirs, St Mark’s Opera, as well as many concerts performed by visiting choirs and musicians. To this is added a wide variety of other cultural events that bring people together in artistic, literary or academic endeavour.

Thank you for visiting our site and we look forward to welcoming you to our chaplaincy.

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David, an organ expert, has just arrived and is getting started on the mammoth task of repairing our organ.
Here he is making parts for it.
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Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity - sermon by Fr William. The readings are Isaiah 25: 1-9; Psalm 23; Philippians 4: 1-9 and Gospel, Matthew 22: 1-14. Please feel free to comment on this post or to share it - we love to receive your feedback. Thank you.

Our readings today leave us with a very clear message: that the peace of God which ‘surpasses all understanding’ is not easily won and which can also, perversely, provoke conflict.

The prophet Isaiah today is addressing God in one voice, as if he were the whole people of Israel – a people suffering in the Babylonian exile. And yet, despite this national humiliation, the prophet hails God as the fundamental ruler of the universe and who carries history in the palm of his hand. Isaiah looks forward to a time of great rejoicing when this God will bring liberation and the restoration of effective, powerful and intimate covenant relationship. This God can indeed be exalted, for the time is soon upon us when subjugation, threat and the use of violence will be no more. His authority will be such that he can command peace to the nations. Perseverance in the present is something which promises rich food and wine – the epitome of table fellowship with the closest and dearest of friends and family.

This theme is continued by the Psalmist, who recognizes that walking in the light of faith will, without doubt, lead to a place of great comfort and security.

St Paul, likewise, is speaking to a community of faith and in his final exhortations to the church in Philippi, he urges steadfastness and unity in the face of oppression. His very practical advice under these circumstances, is to encourage us to think on all the positive things which God is doing among us already: whatever is true, honourable, just; whatever is pure, pleasing, commendable or excellent. Whoever it was that thought they invented ‘positive thinking’, think again!

But in human terms, this is a strange interpretation of power. Why does God allow the destruction and persecution of goodness instead of imposing divine rule and lasting peace? Indeed, why do we still have any violence or suffering at all?

Well, this paradox is at the heart of our Gospel reading today, in which honesty and determined action brings with it the risk of confrontation with established authority or social norms.

The problem, it seems, is ‘choice’.

Today, we exalt choice and its myriad temptations and opportunities, to the extent that most large shopping malls, with their domes, their special lighting effects and their themed architecture, look more like temples or cathedrals to the god of consumer spending.

But in emotional and personal terms, the opposite also holds true when exposed to the reality of love and personhood – for love cannot be truly reciprocated unless it is freely chosen.

But when we truly love, do we really have a choice? Well, yes, of course we do, but think of a world in which there is no suffering and no evil to contend with. How would we know what is good, true, honourable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable or excellent? (Phil 4: 8). We would, in fact, be machines and such a world would actually have zero choice.

In reality, if someone we love does something dreadful, which compromises the relationship or threatens to destroy all that is good or pure, our choice is very sharply focused: either, we stop loving – if that is even possible – or we suffer. Suffering is a necessary possibility if we are to be allowed freedom to choose and the ability to love.

The parable of the wedding banquet, the ‘epitome of table fellowship with the closest and dearest friends and family’, illustrates that perseverance in love inevitably leads to suffering or to conflict, as its ‘givenness’ confronts arrogant thinking or selfish motivation. The scribes and Pharisees, to whom this appeal and constancy of God’s love is addressed, would have been left in no doubt.

But could that divine overture persevere? Well, it is at the cross and at the memorial of that passion on an altar such as ours today, that we see the true extent of the transformative power of God’s sacrificial love for us.

In light of such divine foolishness, we can indeed rejoice, (Philippians 4: 4; 1 Cor 1:25).
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St Mark’s does not receive funding from the Church of England, the Diocese or the Italian Government. We rely solely on the kind giving of our members and donations from those who use our premises.

A suggested weekly offering of €10 is needed to maintain our provision. You may give online by visiting our donate page, in our weekly collection on Sunday, or via paypal.

Thank you for your support.

St Mark’s Blog

Events Calendar

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Wed 18

No Low Mass (Common Worship)

October 18 @ 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Thu 19

Evening Prayer with Common Worship

October 19 @ 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Fri 20

Chaplain Consultation time

October 20 @ 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm

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For services and what's on, please download our weekly pew sheet

Ask Fr. William

William Lister

Ask Fr. William any questions you might have about faith, theology, or the church.

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