German Protestant Church
Former Scuola dell’Angelo Custode
Since in the course of time the conflicts with the German ‘heretics’ kept recurring because
of funerals, the German merchants applied for a burial ground of their own. The Magistrate
granted this and since 1719 the Lutherans have been buried on the island of San Cristoforo
della Pace. In the question of godparents, a conflict became evident between the Republic
of Venice and the Holy See in Rome. Although by decree the Senate explicitly allowed
Protestants to be witnesses of baptism this question continuously led to new disputes.
In 1759, the Venetian Patriarch Giovanni Bragadin revealed himself to be pragmatically
open: when a parish-priest refused to baptize the child Sebastian Heinzelmann, son of
a Protestant merchant, he himself took over the baptism. With Napoleon’s invasion in 1797,
the community came out of its illegality, but in 1806 the German People had to leave their
The community had no place for their reunions. In 1813 precisely that child, whom the
Patriarch had baptized,the merchant Sebastian Heinzelmann acquired the empty building
of the former Catholic brotherhood dell’Angelo Custode and gave it to the community later.
Built in the 18th century by Andrea Tirali. It gives you a chance to see a magnificent painting
by Sebastian Ricci, The Virgin in Glory with the Angel Raphael. Today it is one of the smallest
Lutheran communities worldwide. The service is a journey back in time and history, well off
the usual tourist track.