Many years after the fall of the Republic of Venice, when the order became extinct, the idea of the Knights of St. Mark was revived as a movement in 1920 by the gondolier, Pietro Grossi.
This initiative itself ceased in 1968 and was born again on 25 April 1976, as a free association, with the specific aim of acknowledging good hearted people that work towards the common good.
So, we are talking about the historical reconstruction of the aspects relative to the ancient order of “The Knights of St. Mark” during the Serennissima Republic of Venice period.
It is not a simple charitable Association but a rebirth of the ancient Veneto brotherhood that, in modern times resolve the same intentions.
The aim is that of highlighting and praising by admitting into the association “Knights of St. Mark”, all those who have distinguished themselves in works of good towards the weak in both body and soul; so that everyone knows that human and Christian brotherhood is still alive in many generous people, in particular in those that help save Venice in various sectors, so that this unique city in the world can find the correct solution to its problems.
The constitutional Act of the associazione “Knights of St. Mark”, 21 March 1979 in the office of the notary Dr. Angelo Falcone (rep. 147/5) and registered in Venice (a.p.n. 1090) opens with this precise observation:
“The Association is a non profit one, and has been constituted for charity, social, humanitarian and religious aims.”
It differentiates itself from other charities in that an annual fee is sufficient for them, whereas, in the Association of the “Knights of St. Mark” it is necessary to present your curriculum vitae with your proposal; where all is evaluated by a committee of people, that after having examined the case carries out a secret vote, therefore deciding whether the candidate is eligible or not.
The members are aware of this mission of human solidarity and in order to highlight their approval, they sign the Golden Book, where the frontispiece reads “in asking to be admitted amongst the “Knights of St. Mark” and to become an integral part of the Association with its headquarters in Venice, I commit myself to keep the statute and to continue in works towards helping the weak in body and spirit and to dedicate myself in the various sectors for the safeguard and prosperity of Venice.
The motivations of merit are read publicly, not for vanity but in order that the “Knights” commit themselves totally in the continuation of their worthy works of charity and brotherhood so that they are an example and stimulation for others.
The motto for the “Knight”, today is:
“Esto Civis Fedelis” (Be a faithful citizen)
The Association of the Knights of St. Mark counts around 1300 members today all coming not only from Italy but the world over, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Community of Independent States (ex USSR), France, Germany, England, Norway, the United States of America, Hungary, Zaire, of every race and age: freelance professionals, politicians, journalists, company managers, painters, artists, actors, workers, business owners and artisans. The Association has its headquarters in the San Paquale room, adjacent to the church of San Francesco della Vigna in the Castello zone in Venice. This church is very dear to the Venetians because it was built on the area that, as legend has it, Christ appeared to St. Mark saying: “Pax tibi Marce, Evangelista meus, hic requiscent corpus tuum”. (Peace to you, My evangelist Mark, here your body will repose in peace).