Read, Write, Run, Roam

(Sneaking into) Church on Sunday at Rovinj’s Franciscan Monastery


I never thought that writing about churches would pose moral dilemmas. Yet I often ask myself, is taking (sometimes prohibited) photos in church truly wrong? I don’t take photos during services. I’m technically promoting a place of religion. I’m practically a missionary. Who works online. That has to offset breaking a few rules. Unfortunately, I may have hit a slippery slope when Lingvista and I snuck into Rovinj’s Franciscan Monastery.

Regular readers may remember I went to Rovinj, Croatia with two partners in crime, Lingvista and Zločin. While Zločin was getting fit at the hotel gym, Longvista and I walked to the local Franciscan monastery.

The front doors were locked, but we could hear beautiful music inside. Clearly there were people in there. What was a traveling housewife to do? I thought that the main entrance might only open when there are services, so we walked around the building to find a back door. No dice. I then spotted an open gate, a parking lot, and…suddenly we were in the monastery. Technically I didn’t sneak in. Technically we didn’t know if we were supposed to be there. But technically, we were tip-toeing around, trying to be inconspicuous.

The musicians ignored us as we walked around the chapel. I wish I could tell you more about the history behind the building, but information is almost non-existent online and I couldn’t exactly ask someone for a brochure.

We took photos and walked behind the altar to the sanctuary, where we found frescoes and a large, old hymn book.

A side room off the sanctuary revealed a large and elaborate creche. I was surprised, since creches aren’t usually on display before Christmas.

As we admired it, a man began to talk to us in a combination of Italian and Croatian. He explained that the creche is open year round, but a curtain hides it just before Christmas. He seemed delighted by our interest in the church, but the cleaning woman behind him did not. After yelling at him for speaking too loudly, she told us we had to leave. Busted.

We gave wide-eyed apologies and slunk into the sunshine. I didn’t feel too badly, though. Sneaking into church isn’t exactly a crime. But if I start sneaking into anything else, it might be time for an intervention.

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