for a moment two important points, her relations to the Church, and the nature of the Venetian constitution which played so striking a part in the creation and preservation of her glory.
The political independence of the early Venetian State is reflected in her relations towards the Roman Church. The fact that, through the first centuries of her career, she was in closer touch with the Eastern Empire than with the Italian mainland, conduced to that independent attitude towards the Curia which characterises the whole of Venetian history.
Some flavour of an ecclesiastical quality seems to have attached to the office of Doge; we find that on certain great occasions he bestowed his benediction, and the earlier Doges claimed the right to nominate and to invest Bishops. This right was, however, challenged at Rome.
The head of the Church in Venice was the Patriarch of Grado. That See had been called into existence by the same causes which created the city of Venice itself. When Aquileia was destroyed by Attila, the Patriarch of that city and his flock found an asylum in the Lagoons of Grado. After the return to Aquileia a Bishop was left behind in the Lagoon City, and his flock was continually increased-partly by the schism of the Three Chapters which divided the mainland Church, partly by refugees from the repeated barbarian incursions. The Bishop of Grado obtained from Pope Pelagius II a decree which erected his See into the Metropolitan Church of the Lagoons and of Istria, though Aquileia disputed the validity of the act. During the Lombard invasion and under the Lombard protection the mainland Bishoprics became Arian, the Lagoon See remained orthodox. The Metropolitan of Grado then claimed that his See was the real Patriarchal See of the Lagoons in opposition to Arian and heretical Aquileia. A long series of struggles between the two Patriarchates ensued. The Republic of Venice supported the Lagoon Bishopric. Finally the Lateran Council in 732 decreed the separation of the two jurisdictions, assigning to Aquileia all the mainland and to Grado the Lagoons and Istria, and recognised the Patriarchal quality of that See. In 1445 the seat of the Patriarch as well as his title was changed from Grado to Venice and the Beato Lorenzo Giustinian was the first Patriarch of Venice, an office henceforth always filled by a Venetian noble.
The Cathedral Church of Venice was San Pietro di Castello, not St Mark's. That magnificent basilica was technically the Doge's private chapel, and was served by the Doge's chaplain, called the Primiciero, and a chapter of canons; an arrangement not without significance, for the shrine of the patron Saint of Venice, the most splendid monument in the city, the home of its religion, was thereby declared