The Church of Blessed Mark of Aviano is a small, rounded chapel, located just a single block away from the main square in Aviano. Architecturally, it may not be as impressive as other churches I’ve seen, but it stands out due to the person it’s named after.
Carlo Cristofori, better known by his religious name of Mark, was born right here in Aviano in 1631. He became a Capuchin friar in 1655 and was renowned for his piety and humility. Most notably however, he is remembered for the spiritual guidance and support he offered to the armies of the Holy League during the Battle of Vienna in 1683. This of course was the decisive battle in which the Holy League defeated an invading army of Ottoman Turks, thus marking the end of Muslim expansion into Christian Europe.
He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003, and the church we see today was dedicated in his honor shortly thereafter. What’s most interesting about this church is the large reliquary located on the church’s right-hand side. It contains several fragments of bone, pieces of wood from the crucifix he once carried, his rosary, and a small flail with which he would often scourge himself as act of penance.
in 2012, a Polish historical drama entitled The Day of Siege was released as a depiction of Blessed Mark’s role in battle of Vienna. There is also an urban legend associated with friar suggesting that after the battle, he went on to invent the cappuccino, although no historical evidence has yet been provided to prove it. Just goes to show what a popular guy he really is.