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Culture news, 10.06.2005 15:38

Italians Can Now Praise God Par Italiano

Italians Can Now Praise God Par Italiano Italians will be able to celebrate Catholic masses in the language of Dante every Sunday this summer in St. Catherine's Church at 32/34 Nevsky Prospekt.

Italians love to visit the city whose appearance is heavily influenced by classical forms and the work of architects of Italian origin including Rastrelli, Quarenghi and Rossi.

However, until this summer they could not attend mass in their own language.

The masses, which started last Sunday and continue until September, are being held on the initiative of the Italian Consulate as a result of numerous requests from Italian tourists.

"It was indeed our reaction to the requests of many Italian tourists who visit St. Petersburg," consulate spokesman Francesco Bigazzi said.

Some 200,000 to 300,000 Italians visit the city every summer, Bigazzi said.

"Italians have a very longstanding, even ancient, love for this city," Bigazzi said. "I know for sure that many Italians consider St. Petersburg more beautiful than Moscow."

Italians, who are proud of their own country's ancient architecture and the great voices at La Scala, are particularly excited about the State Hermitage Museum and Mariinsky Theater, he said.

Services in Italian will also be good news for the about 110 Italians, who live permanently in the city, working as businessmen, culture experts and teachers, Bigazzi said.

Father Reati Fiorenzo, who will conduct the Italian masses every Sunday at 8 p.m., said he was glad the consulate came up with the initiative.

Father Fiorenzo, a Franciscan priest who also works as a philosophy professor in St. Petersburg, said the summer months were chosen for such masses because it's when most Italian tourists come.

St. Catherine's Church also holds masses in Polish, English, French and Russian, he said.

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