The first patron saint of Venice was St.Teodoro. In 828 St. Mark the Evangelist substituted him when two merchants smuggled his mortal remains back from Alessandria (Egypt). St.Mark's remains were initially buried in a chapel in the Doge's Palace but later a church was built that was to be his perpetual resting place. The church later suffered damage from fire and was modified many times to adapt to Venice's evolution of power and wealth. This simple church evolved into St.Mark's Basilica. The modifications to the Basilica continued on through an entire century, therefore the results of the construction exhibit a mixture of different styles.
In order to justify the theft of St.Mark's body, legend states that when the Evangelist went to the lagoon, an angel came and said: "Pax tibi Marce, Evangelista meus" (Translation from Latin : peace to you, Mark my Evangelist), showing in this way that God had determined Venice as the final resting place of the Saint. The Venetians acted to fulfill the divine prophecy.
St.Mark's Basilica is also well known for the Pala d'Oro, one of the richest and most precious altar screens in the world. It is covered with more than 3000 precious stones and enamel ikons inlaid in gold.