MALTESE FALCON AT ST. LAWRENCE CHURCH
When the Emperor Charles V granted Malta to the Order of St John in 1530, he imposed no burdens or payments in return. The only condition was that every year the Knights were to present him with a Maltese falcon as a sign of allegiance. The falcon has since ancient times been regarded as a symbol of royalty and features prominently in medieval heraldry. Falconry was the pastime of the nobility. In past years Malta was a famous breeding-ground for falcons. On the occasion of the 475th anniversary of the institution of this annual tribute, a colourful re-enactment was held at Vittoriosa, thanks to the joint collaboration of the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Rev. Chapter of St. Lawrence, and with the participation of the Falconry Guild of the Spanish Royal Family. The event started with a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Lawrence Church, where the falcon, beautifully groomed and wearing a flowing plumed head-dress, looked regally over the congregation from its stand on the pulpit. The symbolic presentation of the falcon by the Grand Master to the Chief Falconer took place afterwards at Vittoriosa Square. The event was inspired and researched by Mr. Lino Bugeja who is a renowned citizen of Vittoriosa and originator of various activities connected with the history of Vittoriosa.
MONS. LAWRENCE MIFSUD’S ANTIPHON
The Cathedral Chapter, in conjunction with St. John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation, organized for the first time at St. John’s a concert of original sacred music by contemporary Maltese composers. One of the composers featured was Vittoriosa-born Mons. Lawrence Mifsud, ex-Archpriest of Vittoriosa and ex-parish priest of Marsaxlokk and Siggiewi. He composed innumerable scores including the popular hymn to St. Lawrence. For this occasion he wrote an antiphon for tenor and orchestra entitled ‘O sacrum convivium’ to the text of St. Thomas Aquinas. Besides, he scripted the text of ‘Sermo Montanus’, an oratorio composed and executed by Mro. Joseph Sammut also during the same occasion. Various members of the Vittoriosa Historical & Cultural Society were present for the concert.
MR GREGORY GAUCI’S GUIDE TO ST. LAWRENCE CHURCH
Mr Gregory Gauci has published a book entitled ‘Artistic Heritage and treasures in St. Lawrence Church, Vittoriosa’. It carries many illustrations and colour photographs and provides useful reference to the works of art found in the church which was the Conventual Church of the Order during their stay at Birgu. Mr. Gauci serves on a voluntary basis as church warden at St. Lawrence. He is an active member of the Society.
SPECIAL GREAT SIEGE COMMEMORATION 2005
It was a brainwave of the Vittoriosa Local Council that found favour from the authorities and was a success! Since this year marks the 300th anniversary of the inauguration of the Great Siege Monument at Vittoriosa Square, the Vittoriosa Local Council petitioned the authorities to hold the official Great Siege Commemoration for this special occasion at Vittoriosa. So it may be affirmed that a long-held dream of the Vittoriosa Historical & Cultural Society has materialized, at least just for once! It should be remembered that it was the Society which 51 years ago started to hold an annual Otto Settembre commemoration at the foot of the Victory Monument at Vittoriosa. The guests who filled the Square were addressed by Mr. Lino Bugeja and Mr. Lawrence Mizzi, both of whom were instrumental in the organisation of this unique event. The keynote speech was delivered by Mons. Fortunato Mizzi. The evening culminated with the laying of laurel wreaths at the Monument and the playing of the National Anthem by the Armed Forces of Malta band. Present for the occasion were high dignitaries including the Prime minister, Members of Parliament and various Ambassadors. Committee Members of the Historical & Cultural Society attended.
A SERIES OF ARTICLES ON THE VITTORIOSA AUBERGES
In the summer 2005 edition of Treasures of Malta, published by Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti, Lorenzo Zahra, the Society’s secretary, brings to an end a series of articles in this prestigious publication about the Order’s first auberges at Birgu, most of which are still in existence in their pristine form, though in several cases in bad need of restoration. In this particular issue the investigation covers the Spanish Langues and their Auberges, namely those of Aragon and those of Castille, Leon et Portugal.
LITERARY EVENING AT AUBERGE D’ANGLETERRE
The Ghaqda Letterarja Maltija (Maltese Literary Society) organized a literary evening at the Auberge d’Angleterre at Vittoriosa on Saturday, 24 September 2005. The theme for the occasion was Transport in Malta. The main highlight of the soiree was an interview with Vittoriosa-born folklore researcher Mr. Guido Lanfranco who gave a detailed account of the development of the means of transport over the ages in Malta. Essays and poems on the subject were read.
ST LAWRENCE BAND BULETTIN: SEPT-OCT 2005
The Sept-Oct 2005 issue of the St Lawrence Band bulletin carries two articles by members of the Vittoriosa Histroical & Cultural Society: Mr George Cilia writes about the procession of St Lawrence in the past, and Mr Lorenzo Zahra writes about the musical patrimony of St. Lawrence feastday.
SALESIAN CEREMONY AT ST. LAWRENCE CHURCH
On Friday, 9 September 2005, Bro. Emanuel Camilleri took the first votes to join the Salesian Brothers during a solemn ceremony at St Lawrence Church, Vittoriosa. He has carried out pastoral work at Vittoriosa and also at Palermo where he assisted Mother Theresa’s Sisters of Charity.