Valletta
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Valletta
St.John Co-Cathedral
Dedicated to the Patron Saint of the Order of the Knights of St.John, their church was given Co-Cathedral status with the Mdina Cathedral in 1882. Before it was built, the knights' Conventual church was located at Birgu. Building started in 1573 under Grand Master La Cassiere who paid for the initial cost. The architect was Gerolamo Cassar. It was solemnly blessed by Bishop Ludovik de Torres in 1578. The church was administered by a chapter of 'cappellani maggiori' all of whom were ordained members of the Order of St.John. The church has a central nave with chapels on each of two aisles, each chapel corresponding to a Langue of the Order, namely: Auvergne, Aragon, Castile, Leon & Portugal, Anglo-Bavarian Langue, Provence, France, Italy, Germany and the Chapel of Our Lady of Philermos. The floor consists of 400 ornate marble gravestones over the graves of the knights who died in Malta. In the crypt lie the remains of several grandmasters in ornate graves. In the courtyard on one side of the church lies a mass grave of the knights who died during the Great Seige.
The crypt where many Grandmasters of the Order lie buried
St.John
This Oratory or Chapel is adjacent to and can be reached through St.John's Co-Cathedral. It contains the most famous and priceless painting in the Islands, that of the beheading of St.John, painted by Caravaggio.
The famous Caravaggio painting of the Beheading of St.John Baptist in the oratory of the Co-Cathedral
Chapel
In the Palace that houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As in most other Palaces from the time of the Knights of St John, here we can find a chapel which was recently restored.
Annunciation.
The church for the Hospital of the Incurables, founded in 1642 by Catarina Scoppi, was dedicated to the Annunciation. This church stood near Fort St Elmo right across from the entrance to the Knights' Hall which was their Infirmary or Hospital. The Chapel of bones (Ta' Nibbia) see the section on cemeteries was actually the crypt of this church of the Annunciation. Only a few ruins remain of this church and crypt after they were totally demolished by enemy bombing during WWII.
Left: Ruins of the Annunciation church.
Top: The crypt pre WWII.
Blessed Sacrament
Chapel Within the Sacra Infirmeria itself erected in 1712 by Grandmaster R.Perellos to cater for the sick and convey the Sacrament to them. After being deconsecrated for a long time, in 2006 it was restored and opened up as a facility for Civil Marriages, thus bringing upon the authorities the ire of most Catholic Maltese.
1907
Chapel
In Messina Palace on St Christopher Str. This palace built by Knight Fra Pietro de Rocca, was rented out to Knights and dignitaries. It was afterwards owned by the Noble Maltese family of Messina being purchased by the German-Maltese Circle in 1975.
Chapel
This chapel is situated in the old Jesuit College which later became the University and then the Lyceum. It was used as the headmaster's office for a long while. Now that the premises are occupied by Heritage Malta, there are plans for the chapel's future restoration.
Chapel
In the women's section of the Hospital of the Knights of St John (according to A Ferres)



Chapel
In the 'Comun Erario' which was the institution which received deposits regarding legal cases. According to A Ferres' 1866 account, this chapel was not existing at that time but in 1780 was still there.


Chapel
At Emigrants House - Dar l-emigrant, run through the Emigrants Commission by the Archdiocese of Malta.


Christ Redeemer Sacramentini
Opened in 1692 by Fr.Andrea a Maltese Jesuit, the church was part of a conservatory for orphan girls. Nowadays it is administered by Franciscan nuns of the Sacred Heart. Perpetual Adoration is held here on different schedules for Summer and Winter.
Chapel in Palazzino Sapienti
Situated directly opposite to the University of Malta Valletta Campus this small palace now serves as the World Headquarters of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller. It dates from 1629 and was built from stone quarried onsite and has only two floors to avoid interfering with the sundial across the street. It has a small chapel set up in an alcove.
Christ Redeemer (Santu Kristu)
Private chapel from the 19th century owned by Fr Charles Vella a priest on St Ursula street. This priest is a restorer of antiquities and builds up a Neapolitan style crib for the Co-Cathedral Christmastime.
Photo Noel Ciantar
Circumcision of the Lord
This Jesuit church was built on architect Francesco Bonamici's plan. It is the church of the old University of Malta and is incorporated in the University building. It occupies nearly half the building and was built between 1592 and 1600. The entrance is a magnificent Baroque design. When the Jesuits were expelled from the island in 1768, the college was constituted as a University. Work continued throughout the 17th century but the 2 storey early baroque facade of the church still looks incomplete. It contains a disproportionately large number of spiral columns in its three aisle plan. The titular picture is Mattia Preti's 'Liberation of St.Peter'.
18th century engraving of the Church
Turn of the century inside
Holy Crucifix ta' Giezu
Oratory annexed to St.Mary of Jesus church. This Oratory contains a 1630 miraculous Crucifix very popular with the Maltese. Lately it was vandalized by a deranged person but restored again.
Our Lady Onorati Chapel
Built on the side of the Jesuit church, the Oratory of the consecration of the Onorati belongs to the congregation of the same name. It was built by the Knights of St.John in 1600. The existing building which replaced the first, is from 1658 and was built at the expense of the congregation of the Onorati. Under the main altar lie the remains of Sta.Onorata.
Our Lady of Carmel
The original church of 1573 on the plan by Gerolamo Cassar was altered by Giuseppe Bonavia and enlarged in recent history by the building of a new shell around the original. The present church whose dome is so imposing on the Valletta skyline, was started in 1958 after the previous edifice was demolished by enemy action in WWII.

Two Oratories used to exist attached to the old church: One of Our Lady of Carmel and another one dedicated to St.Joseph.
Pre-WWII church
Our Lady of Carmel church

Above: New church being built around ruins.

Right and Far Right: colour photos of church facade, dome and inside.

Our Lady of Carmel
An oratory adjacent to the above church.
Our Lady of Consolation
This oratory falls under the care of the Augustinian fathers, it lies very close to their convent and Parish church of St.Augustine. Perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is held here.
Our Lady of Damascus Melkite Greek Rite
Giovanni Calamia had planned to build two shrines in the new city of Valletta to venerate the two Greet icons which his family brought with it from Rhodes. The building of one of these churches had already started during his lifetime, but he did not live long to see its completion. He died in Sicily in 1579. The executors of his last will however proceeded with this work and this church was ready in 1580. Seven years afterwards, in 1587, the Damascena Madonna was solemnly transferred from Vittoriosa to the new church at Valletta, where it attracted the devotion of the Maltese people. In 1637 it is clearly stated that the Maltese held this Greek icon in high esteem. During the middle of the 17th century, the parish priest of the Greek community at Valletta, left St.Nicholas church where in 1639 a confraternity of the Souls in Purgatory had been founded with his own permission. He established himself definitively in the church of Our Lady of Damascus, retaining at the same time, various jurisdictional rights over St.Nicholas church. The present 'Damascena' church is in Byzantine style and was inaugurated in 1951 to replace the previous building lost to enemy bombing during WWII.
Our Lady of Liesse
A church was built right by the waterfront of the Grand Harbour in 1620. In 1740 it was completely rebuilt by the French Langue of the Order and was consecrated by Bishop Labini in 1806. It was ruined in 1942 by enemy bombing and restored in 1952. Nowadays it is run by the Order of Franciscan Friars Minor and serves as the seat of the National Centre of the Apostleship of the Sea.
Looking down from Upper Barracca
Our Lady of Mercy
This chapel, built by the Italian Knight Fra Giorgio Nibbia and where he was buried in 1619, exists no more. In 1730 it was demolished and a new one built further away because of the extension of the hospital. During WWII this chapel took a direct hit during enemy action and the dangerous ruins demolished in 1953. The location was right by the Sacra Infermeria, or Hospital of the Knights of St John and close by used to be a crypt called The chapel of Bones (See Cemetery Page).
Our Lady of Pilar
This used to be the church for the Langue of Aragon and was built around 1670. In an earthquake in 1693, the dome collapsed and the whole church was remodeled in 1718. The small convent of the Franciscan sisters adjacent to it was opened in 1893.
Our Lady of Safe Haven & St.Dominic Parish Church.
The Grandmaster gave the Dominican friars the privelage of building a church in Valletta after the Great Siege of 1565. They dedicated it to Our Lady of Porto Salvo (of Safe Haven). It was declared 'the principal parish and matrix of the whole of the new city' by Pope Pius V through his Apostolic Bull Ex Debito Pastoralis on the 2nd July 1571. Although the building of this church was still in progress in 1575, the monks had already started administering the sacraments as they had been given a parish status. Their parish church was ready by 1585 when the boundaries of the two parishes then existing at Valletta were definitively established by Mgr Libertano, Inquisitor and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese. The original church, constructed on the plans of Gerolamo Cassar, had to be pulled down some two hundred years later on account of the 1693 earthquake which damaged it badly. The new church was rebuilt between 1802 and 1815 and consecrated on the 15th May 1815. On the 25th May 1816 it was elevated to the dignity of a Minor Basilica. Dedication 15th Oct 1889.
Holy Family Oratory
Adjacent and affiliated to the parish church of Our Lady and St Dominic.
Our Lady of 'The Infected'
The quarantine complex of Valletta originally had a Chapel of this dedication which after a time went out of use.
Quarantine complex nowadays
Our Lady of Victory
This is the first building that went up in the city. Its dedication commemorates the end of the Great Siege. Construction of the church started around 1566/7. It is a barrel vaulted church with four altars in the bays between the heavy pilasters supporting the vault, and has an apse on the East side. The belfry was added in 1752. The body of Grandmaster Jean de la Valette was entombed in the church until St.John Co-Cathedral was built. The first foundation stone of the city of Valletta itself lies under the main altar of this church. 'Our Lady of Victory' was renovated completely as recently as 2004.
Our Saviour
According to A Ferres, a church of this dedication used to exist in 1780 by the wharf of the Grand Harbour. By 1866 when he was writing his description of our Churches and Chapels, he mentions that it had been demolished to make space for stores and shops.
Presentation of Our Lady.
Commonly known as St.Catherine, this is the Church Of St.Catherine's Monastery administered by Augustinians nuns. A monastery was built here with funds left by the family of Marquis Vasco Oliviero in the late 1500's. A Chapel dedicated to the Assumption of Mary was added in the early 1600's . In 1714 the nuns started to build the present monastery and Church on the plan of Fortunato Carapecchia. The project was finished 60 years later and the church dedicated to the Presentation of Our Lady.
'Secreta' Oratory
In 1866, according to A Ferres, adjacent to the church of the Circumcision, apart from the Onorati oratory, there used to be another oratory of the 'Secreta'.
St.Anne Chapel
Within Fort St.Elmo and predating the fort itself, it was incorporated in the works of the bastions when the Knights built the fort in the 16th century. Some sources state that predating the building of Valletta, the dedication of this church was St Elmo. The same sources place two more chapels on Xiberras hill at this time, one of St Lucy and the other of St Nicholas. The small titular picture in this chapel was taken from the remains of the Caraque St Anne.
St.Anne Church
Built by the Knights of St.John in Fort St.Elmo in 1729.
St.Anthony Abbott
In 1780 according to A Ferres, there existed in Valletta a Parish Church of this dedication but by 1866 it had lost its title.
St.Augustine Parish Church
This is the Provincial Parish church of the Augustinians in Malta and has an adjoining convent. The original church was built between 1571 and 1596 by Gerolamo Cassar. Severely damaged in the 1693 earthquake, it was demolished soon after and a larger one built between 1765 and 1785. Additional modifications were made until 1794. For a while it was dedicated to St.Mark the Evangelist after 1817 when the Augustinian Order chose St.Mark as the Protector of the Province. Bishop Mons.G.M.Camilleri re-dedicated it to St.Augustine in 1906 and Archbishop M.Gonzi made it a parish church in 1968. Its interior has the form of a Greek Cross and is exquisitely decorated. The architect who rebuilt it was Antonio Cachia, the same architect who rebuilt the Auberge de Castille de Leon.
In ruins WWII
St.Barbara
Built in 1573 on Giuseppe Bonnici's plan for the Provence Langue of the Order, it was the church of the bombardiers and many of them are buried in the crypt. It was restored in 1601 and completely rebuilt in 1739. For the occasion of the 1904 Jubilee of the Immacuate Conception, a gilt statue of Our Lady was placed in a niche on top of the main doorway. Today it is the parish church for French and German speaking residents in Malta.
St.Cajetan
This is the private chapel of Casa Rocca Piccola, a mansion now open for tours. Built as a home for one of the Knights of St.John in the 16th century, it went through changes and extensions under diverse owners especially under British rule. Nowadays it belongs to Baron Testaferrata. For more detailed and extensive
information about this Saint please check my other project at: San Gaetano
St.Cajetan chapel at Casa Rocca Piccola
Trompe d-oeil painted dome
St.Catherine of Alexandria
The church was built by the Italian Langue of the knights adjacent to their Auberge so they called it Santa Caterina dĺ─˘Italia. The original church of Gerolamo Cassarĺ─˘s plan built in 1576, was small and when it was agreed to enlarge it in the 17th century, it was decided to add an oval church to the existing chapel and to incorporate the old building as the new church sanctuary. One of its main features is the round painting by Mattia Preti in theČŢ shallow cupola. Very early in 1999, some pieces of stone of considerable size fell from the lantern of the main dome necessitating urgent work on the exterior which began in 2000 and completed within a year. In 2008 the inside restoration work started with the titular picture of Mattia Preti, then the cupola and the rest of the paintings were done.
Mattia Preti titular picture
St Catherine of Italy
St.Dominic
Oratory by the Church of Porto Salvo & St.Dominic.


St.Francis of Assisi
The first convent was built in 1598 and the first church in 1607. The present church, larger than the first, was first built in 1681 then again enlarged in 1920. It is administered by the Franciscan friars Minor.
St.Francis of Assisi
An oratory adjacent to the above church.
St.James
Originally built in 1612 to the plans of Romano Carapecchia to serve the Knights of the Langue of Castile and Leon. It was rebuilt on Giovanni Barbara's plan in 1710. Its Titular picture was painted by F. Paladini in 1605. Its elliptical plan and rich detail on its narrow facade are truly Roman Baroque. Nowadays it serves the Italian speaking community. In 2008 it was also the venue for the Ethiopian Coptic immigrant community holding a long Baptismal celebration.
St.John Baptist
The 19th century chapel of the Grandmasters' Palace, formerly a personal chapel of the Grand Master, was used as an Anglican chapel by the British and later turned into an office for the use of the Governor's secretary. It has a unique Filippo Paladini fresco which was badly damaged during the WWII showing the life of St.John Baptist and also a beautiful wooden ceiling. This and the fresco were restored in 2006.
St.John Baptist palace chapel

Left: Wooden ceiling restored

Right: Detail before & after restoration

St John Baptist
Chapel in the Knights' arsenal existent in 1780 but not in 1866 according to A Ferres.


St John Baptist and Holy Cross
Two Chapels in the slaves' prison existent in 1780 but not in 1866 according to A Ferres.
St.Joseph
This Oratory was built by Bishop Baldassar Cagliares in a new palace for his own use. He directed that during Mass in the oratory the celebrant was to offer prayers for the repose of his (the Bishop's) soul.
St.Lucy
The church was probably built in 1570 but rebuilt later by the wine merchants of Valletta. The relics of St.Lucian brought over from the Roman catacombs are venerated in the church.
Church of St.Lucy
St.Mary of Jesus Ta' Giezu
Built in the early 1570's by the Friars Minor on the plan of Gerolamo Cassar, the church had its facade changed in 1680 by Mederico Blondel. It contains a painting of Our Lady of Sorrows by Stefano Erardi. It is still run by the Franciscan Friars Minor.
St.Mary Magdalen
This church was built in the early 1590's as the church of the Magdalene nuns adjacent to their monastery later becoming the Civil Hospital chapel. Now a government primary school and exam centre has taken the place of the Monastery / Hospital. Lately it was in a sorry state being used to accomodate the building of carnival floats. It was duly cleaned up and is scheduled for restoration. It also has a crypt.
Picture on a medical diploma dated 22 Aug 1833.
The church of St.Mary Magdalen
St.Nicholas Tal-Erwieh
This church was built in 1569 by the Greek Catholics as their Byzantine Rite parish church. In 1639 the Parish Priest, Papas Giovanni Metaxi, without prejudice to the parochial rights, conceded its use to the Sodality of the Holy Souls which re-built the church. In fact the church is commonly known by this name nowadays. The church suffered considerable bombing damage during WWII and was repaired by 1951. Nowadays it is also used by the Serbian Orthodox congregation.
St.Paul Shipwrecked Parish Collegiate
First built in 1577 by Gerolamo Cassar with funds provided by the Cathedral church. During the building of the church the parish priest administered the sacraments from the Carmelite church. The church was rebuilt between 1639 and 1679 and in 1733 it was raised to collegiate status. The internal chapel of the Blessed Sacrament was designed by Lorenzo Gafa in 1680. The carved wood, painted and guilded figure of St.Paul is the work of Lorenzo's brother, Melchiorre Gafa. Annexed to this collegiate is an Oratory dedicated to St.Michael.
1890s
St Michael Oratory Below
Titular picture High Altar decorated for feast
St.Roque
The church was first built after the plague of 1592, but was later rebuilt in 1675/6.
St.Ursola Church
The Sisters of the Order of St.John Cloister formed during the time of Grandmaster Verdala have the church of St.Ursola attached to their convent. The church is administered by Franciscan Friars Minor and is open to the public. In the monastery the nuns also have a Chapel built in 1582 where they pray their office in front of a tabernacle. It suffered heavy damage by enemy bombing in WWII but was rebuilt afterwards.
Painting from the 1700's WWII
Church of St.Ursola
The nuns' chapel within the cloister
St.George Garrison Church
In 2001 the new premises of the Malta Stock Exchange were officially opened. The building itself had been built between 1854 and 1856 by the British Royal Engineers and designed as a chapel and school for soldiers and their families. The Methodists had withdrawn their Minister from Malta in 1844, and after an interval of twenty-four years, appointed Rev.William Shaw Caldecott to the post. He and his successors officiated at 22 marriages held in the 'Barracca Chapel' (as the building is commonly known) from 1868 until the newly built Methodist Church in Floriana was opened in 1883. The building was dedicated to St.George by the A.C.G. of the west Mediterranean Rev.G.Egerton Chadwick in March 1936 and it became a Garrison church. Nowadays, most of the paintings by Giuseppe Cali' which were in the chapel are now in the Presidential Summer Palace of San Anton.
St.George Garrison Church Barracca Chapel
St.Andrew Scots
A Union of Church of Scotland and Methodist Congregations (Presbyterian, Methodists and other Free Churches) founded the church in 1824 when Rev.John Keeling bought the site on the corner of Old Bakery Street and Melita Street from the Government to build a place of worship for Methodists. St.Andrew Church was ready in 1857. It was the first non Roman Catholic Church in Malta. The same building was purchased by the Free Church of Scotland and used for Presbyterian services from then on.
St.George
Greek Orthodox church at 83 Merchants' Street. Existing registrations of baptisms, marriages and deaths in this church from between 1815 and 1920, are kept at the Mdina Cathedral museum archives.
St.George Greek Orthodox church
St.Paul Anglican Cathedral
The cathedral was commissioned in 1838 by Queen Adelaide during a visit to Malta when she found out that there was no place for Anglican worship on the island. It was built between 1839 and 1844 on the site of the old Auberge of the langue of Germany, which historical building was sadly dismantled. The cathedral we see today is the original, with its prominent 200-foot steeple and its external features in the classical style.
The first Protestant Chapel in Valletta
This chapel was installed in 1840s on the ground floor of the Grandmasters Palace behind the door in the picture.