Oct Dec 2015

25th Anniversary of Vittoriosa History Museum

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the inauguration in 1990, at the time when Can. Paul Raggio was Archpriest, of the Vittoriosa History Museum situated within the Oratory of St. Joseph, Vittoriosa. The idea for the setting up of the Museum came from the Vittoriosa Historical & Cultural Society through whose pleadings funds were obtained for the purpose from the German Ambassador, the late Dr. Godfried Pagenstert, who enamoured with the history of Vittoriosa. The Collegiate Chapter of St Lawrence Church gave its consent. In the year the Museum was opened, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, the late Dr. Von Weizecher, who was on a state visit to Malta, as recorded in ‘It happened 25 years ago’ corner on the Times of Malta, made it a point to visit the Museum. Pictures of both these German statesmen are proudly displayed in the Museum. The Museum opens on a daily basis through the support of volunteers from the Vittoriosa Historical & Cultural Society.

Birgu by Candlelight

Vittoriosa saw large crowds for the popular Birgu by Candlelight festival during the second weekend of October, coordinated by the Vittoriosa Local Council and enthusiastically supported by the inhabitants who contributed to the thrilling experience. Saturday morning was devoted to educational events mainly for schoolchildren who flocked in large numbers accompanied by their teachers to watch various re-enactments and visit the Museums. In the evening the lights were switched off and the historical buildings and palaces shimmered in the flickering candle light. Music was played from a stand in Vittoriosa Square and other focal points. At St Lawrence Church visitors attended an organ recital by a talented Russian organist. On Sunday attention turned to Fort St Angelo which was open to the public for the day by Heritage Malta in anticipation for its definitive inauguration in November after the completion of the restoration.

Our Lady of the Rosary

The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was held as usual in October at the Annunciation Church, Vittoriosa. The devout wood-carved statue of the Blessed Virgin, a masterpiece of sculptor Vincenzo Bonnici, and the statue of St. Dominic were carried along the streets of the city. This was the first time the newly-installed Archpriest Can. Joseph Mizzi took part. On the last Sunday of October another pilgrimage with the statue of Our Lady was again held, this time with the participation not only of the Vittoriosa Confraternity of the Rosary but of other similar Confraternities from elsewhere. The procession stopped for the invocation of prayers at St Lawrence Church before proceeding to the Annunciation Church. The Vittoriosa Confraternity of the Rosary is the oldest in Malta, having been founded in 1547. It actually took over from a much older Confraternity of Our Lady of the Candlemas (tal-Kandlora). A list of the Confraternities of the Rosary in Malta, compiled by Lorenzo Zahra, was published in the feast programme booklet of Our Lady of the Rosary celebrated at Gudja. In the same booklet, the author also gives some interesting episodes relating to the Gudja Confraternity of the Rosary.

St Lawrence Band magazine September-October 2015

The editorial gives a resume and commentary of this year’s feast of St Lawrence at Vittoriosa which was marked by an exceptional downpour that disrupted the traditional procession with the statue of St Lawrence on 10th August. However, the other feast celebrations were all held as planned, including the Annual Band Concert at Vittoriosa Square and the inauguration of the façade of the St Lawrence Band Club, fittingly named Palazzo Huesca, following its resoration. Anton Attard delivered the speech for the occasion. Anton Attard’s historical rubric in the band magazine this time harps back to the regatta held on St Lawrence Day in 1821 and recalls various famous rowers from Vittoriosa. The Paul Micallef regular interview in the magazine with Vittoriosa personalities is with Emanuel Pisani, who succeeds his father, the well-known Giovanni Pisani, (id-devenier), as a carpenter. Indeed, all the exhibition unit at the Vittoriosa Church Museum were manufactured by father and son.

Soprano Miriam Gauci at SMOM Orchestra Concert

The 5th Annual Orchestra Charity Concert organised by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in support of the philanthropic services of the Malta Association of SMOM was held at St John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta, with the participation of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and the Goldberg Ensemble Choir under the direction of Michael Laus. This year’s special guest singer was Vittoriosa-born international soprano Miriam Gauci.

Music classes at Vittoriosa band clubs

Both Vittoriosa band clubs, the Banda San Lawrenz and the Prince of Wales Band, embarked on a campaign to encourage young people to learn music and become young bandsmen (allievi). Both clubs have re-organised their music teaching programmes which are offered free of charge and which are partly supported with EU cultural funds.

Great Siege Exhibition at Valletta

The 450th Great Siege Anniversary Celebrations continued till the end of the year as the specular exhibition mounted by Heritage Malta at the Grand Masters Palace in Valletta remained open to the public. Among the exhibits visitors can see original correspondence of spies, the detailed diary of the siege by Francesco Balbi di Correggio, and documents evidencing the role of the Maltese in the siege. Of relevance to Vittoriosa is a unique contemporary document written by a local advocate that vividly chronicles the happenings in the streets of Birgu on the day victory was proclaimed on 7 September 1565. This document was unearthed at the Government Notarial Archives. The Great Siege exhibition also includes a display of weapons and equipment used during the siege. This subject is tackled in detail in an article by Robert Cassar entitled The Weapons and Cuirasses of the Order of St John during the Great Siege, appearing in the latest Senglea History Society publication. The main highlights of the Valletta exhibition are undoubtedly the magnificent D’Aleccio frescos depicting authentic battle scenes from the siege.

Painting of Don Carlo Cologna

Don Carlo Cologna was parish priest of Vittoriosa in 1701-1733. A painting on canvas donated to the Wignacourt Museum, Rabat, of a prelate holding in his hands a plan of a building is assumed to depict Don Carlo Cologna and the plan that of the Oratory of the Holy Crucifix at Vittoriosa. It was during his tenure that the Confraternity of the Holy Crucifix was established and its Oratory constructed on the site of an ancient medieval cemetery adjoining St Lawrence Church close by.

Remarkable Women in the history of Malta

The above article in Times of Malta carries an interview with historian Susanna Hoe about her book on the role of women in Malta throughout the centuries. She does not fail to highlight the part played by women during the Great Siege of 1565, their support to the defenders and other experiences. An intriguing episode that occurred during the siege is that of Sister Caterina Casha, a Benedictine nun who was transferred, together with her colleagues, to the house of Don Giuseppe Bellie at Birgu for safety after their convent at Mdina was closed. Curiously, it was subsequently discovered that she was pregnant and gave birth to a stillborn!

New book about Archbishop Michael Gonzi

Michael Gonzi: 50 years at the helm is written by Charles Buttigieg, former PRO at the Archbishop’s Curia, published by Klabb Kotba Maltin, makes various revelations on the long bishopric of Mons. Gonzi. The book, reviewed in Sunday Times of Malta, recalls the first encounters of the aging Archbishop with his successor elect, Mons. Giuseppe Mercieca, the difficult years at the time of the rift between the Church and the Labour Party and the eventual peace pact. Archbishop Gonzi was born at Vittoriosa; the house where he was born and lived in his boyhood is marked by a marble tablet in the street named after him.

Napoleon Tagliaferro, esteemed educator and dedicated patriot

This is the title of a biography in Sunday Times of Malta by Chris Grech of this great gentleman, born in Desain Street, Vittoriosa in 1843 who died 100 years ago. He was an eminent and much respected intellectual who had a brilliant career in the education sector, becoming Rector of the Royal University of Malta. His funeral speech, a masterpiece of oratory, was delivered by the erudite Carmelitan Fr. Anastasi Cuschieri.

St. Philip Neri: 500 years from his birth

St. Philip Neri’s life is recounted by Fabian Mangion in an article in Sunday Times of Malta. He had an amiable character and dedicated his life to evangelisation and became a priest, then set out for Rome where he founded the Order of the Oratorians. The article narrates how barely 50 years after his death, an Oratory of St. Philip was established at Vittoriosa in 1648 which survived till 1926. The Church of St. Philip at Vittoriosa, a gem in baroque architecture, is now in a pitiful state, serving as a warehouse. On the other hand, the Church and Oratory in Senglea are still well kept and fully functional in the custody of the Salesians.

Hymn to St. Leonard by Mro. Lorenzo Galea (1893-1970)

The programme booklet for the feast of St Leonard the Abbot, celebrated at Kirkop, carries an article by bandsman Joseph Carbone about a hymn in honour of St Leonard whose music is written by Mro. Lorenzo Galea of Vittoriosa, to lyrics by Alfons Maria Spiteri. The author explains how he was casually speaking some three years ago to Giovanni Pisani, ex-archivist of St Lawrence Band, Vittoriosa, who informed him about this hymn stored in the Vittoriosa band archives. It is likely that the hymn was composed some years back when the Vittoriosa band, then called Duke of Edinburgh Band, was every year invited for the feast at Kirkop. The St Leonard Band Committee of Kirkop asked its Vittoriosa counterpart for a copy. In 1947, the original version of the hymn was arranged so it could be played by a small orchestra. The arrangement was made by Mro. Pacifico Scicluna, a former bandmaster of the Duke of Edinburgh Band. Mro. Lorenzo Galea studied music under Can. Raffael Mazzelli of Vittoriosa and became Maestro di Cappella of various parishes. He is also composer of the popular hymn to St. Lawrence.

Captain Can. Manuel Borg

This saintly and hard-working priest, known as Dun Manuel, was for many years chaplain of the British Services in Malta, for which, as fitting recognition, he was instituted with the rank of Captain. He also served as director of the All Souls Church at Valletta where he gained a reputation as an exemplary confessor. His pastoral work was recalled by Dr. Joe Micallef Stafrace in his weekly memoirs in Lehen is-Sewwa. In the article, he quotes from an email he had received from Dr. Raymond Agius, a relative of Dun Manuel, and also reproduces an extract from the obituary in Sunday Times of Malta in 1964 on the occasion of Dun Manuel’s demise.

Book by Lawrence Mizzi

Artisti mill-Qrib is the title of a new book, published by Horizon, by Lawrence Mizzi of Vittoriosa. It comprises interviews the author made between 1988-1997 with various well-known Maltese artists including Josef Kalleya, Vincent Apap, Esprit Barthet, Gabriel Caruana. The book was launched during this year’s Book Festival.

The Fort St Angelo Experience

Fort St Angelo was inaugurated following extensive expert restoration works by Heritage Malta. Historian and journalist Lino Bugeja writes in Times of Malta under the above title on the unique importance of the fortress, affirming that it represents the embodiment of Malta’s chequered history. He contends that now that the fort has been re-opened, it should not just serve as a museum piece but a living memento of Malta’s maritime, social, artistic, architectural and ecclesiastical heritage.

Rev. Michael Angelo Camilleri (1814-1903) – Protestant Minister

The controversial and colourful life of Rev. Michael Angelo Camilleri, a 19th century Protestant Minister born at Vittoriosa, is narrated in details by David Dandria in a feature in Sunday Times of Malta. After being ordained Roman Catholic priest he shortly afterwards left the priesthood and joined the Church of England in Gibraltar where he nonetheless continued with his pastoral mission, eventually becoming a pastor. Maltese public opinion was shocked but he found the backing of the colonial authorities. He translated English prayer books into Maltese. He eventually moved to South Africa and finally to England where he became vicar in an Oxfordshire hamlet where he died.

Palazzino Sapiente

This 16th century baroque building in St. Paul Street, Valletta, opposite the old university, houses the Russian Grand Priory of Malta of the Order of St John. The Russian arm of the Order of St John traces its origin to 1798 when the Order was expelled from the Islands and the last Grand Master, Hompesh, sought the protection of the Russian Emperor Tsar Paul II, who eventually became Grand Master elect. The Russian Grand Priory of Malta has occupied this building since 1970. Originally, the building was the residence of the English Grand Prior Sir Richard Shelley, the Great Siege hero who had moved to Valletta from Vittoriosa. However, he did not enjoy the Palazzino for long because he came into trouble with Grand Master Pietro del Monte and with the Inquisitor, as a result of which he was evicted and the building became the residence of the University rector.

Fr. Angeliku Vella O.P. passed away

Patri Angeliku from Vittoriosa, as he was known, has been for 35 years leading the Xirka ta’ l-Isem Imqaddes t’Alla, a religious association to promote devotion to the Holy Name of God. The Vittoriosa Historical & Cultural Society congratulated him and thanked him for his zealous pastoral service to the community. It was soon after this anniversary that he passed away. Fr. Angeliku Vella was the brother of the late historian Prof. Andrew Vella O.P., also from Vittoriosa, who was a member of the Society’s first Committee in 1954.

Russian interest in the Mediterranean

Denis Darmanin, in a brilliant feature in Sunday Times of Malta gives a detailed narrative of the involvement of Russia in Mediterranean affairs starting from Peter the Great expansionist strategy followed by the Russo-Turkish war of Catherine the Great and the Russian interest in Malta during the French occupation in 1798-1800. In the Crimean War, Britain and France allied with Turkey to confront Russia. Britain sealed a defence pact with Turkey and was permitted to occupy Cyprus. A massive expeditionary force of Indian troops was assembled in 1878 bound for Malta on its way to Cyprus. The article describes the vicissitudes of the Indian contingent while in Malta and the imprint they left on the Maltese. Denis Darmanin’s article was followed by another researched study on the same subject by Chris Grech, based on the papers of Governor Arthur Borton, who was governor of Malta at the time of the arrival of the Indian Army.

Gallipoli: the beginning of the end

This year marked the centenary of the disastrous invasion by the Allies at Gallipoli during World War I. Charles Debono describes in Times of Malta the participation of about 7,000 Maltese soldiers serving in the British Army. The valour of the Maltese troops was praised by Lord Kitchener. Some medals awarded to them are on display at the Vittoriosa History Museum at St Joseph Oratory. During World War I many of the injured victims of the Turkish campaign were brought to Malta where various public buildings were turned into makeshift hospitals. At Vittoriosa, the Royal Naval Hospital at St Edwards was crowded with patients; the old Armoury was turned into a temporary hospitals.

Delving into truths and myths of the Great Siege”

Various significant yet so far ignored facets of the Great Siege of 1565 were brought into relief during a conference held by Heritage Malta at Fort St Angelo and reported in the Times of Malta, the first of its kind to be organised there after the Fort’s refurbishment. The conference was addressed by Liam Gauci, Curator of the National Maritime Museum, and by guest cultural scholar Peter Jenkins. The Great Siege left a deep impact on Maltese mentality, as evidenced by the saying still used to this day haqq it-Torok, and the tradition of exhibiting a wooden effigy of a Turkish slave in the entrance hall or living room.

A Great Siege marathon

Lino Bugeja, in a letter to the editor, Times of Malta, recommended the holding of a race from Mdina to Vittoriosa to replicate hero Toni Bajjada’s intrepid runs conveying sensitive messages from Mdina to Grand Master De La Vallette, besieged inside Birgu.

Malta History Week at Inquisitors Palace

The Malta Historical Society held this year’s edition of Malta History Week at the Inquisitors’ Palace, Vittoriosa. A series of 4 talks were delivered with topics relating to the Great Siege of 1565 and the foundation of Valletta.

Ordination of deacons

Seven young men were ordained deacons at St. Sebastian Parish Church, Qormi by H.G. Archbishop Charles Scicluna. On the programme for the occasion they chose to reproduce Mattia Preti’s painting at St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta, of St Lawrence’s meeting with Pope Sixtus I when the latter was on his way to be martyred. St Lawrence was Archdeacon at the Roman Curia until his martyrdom in AD 258.

The Holy Grail

One of the TV programmes in the serial La Strada dei Miracoli screened on Rete 4 was about the history, tradition and legends surrounding the Holy Grail. The programme made reference to the Last Supper Chalice venerated at the Valencia Cathedral. This was supposedly taken by St. Peter to Rome in the 1st century and then it was sent to Huesca in Spain in the 3rd century by St. Lawrence. Emperor Valerian had ordered St Lawrence to relinquish the church treasures to the state, but St. Lawrence distributed these to the poor, with the exception of the Last Supper Chalice which he despatched to his home town for safe keeping from where it was taken to Valencia. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI used this Chalice during mass when on a visit to Valencia. The TV programme also had a feature on the emerald Sacred Dish, known as Sacro Catino, preserved in the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, Genova, brought there by the Crusades. It is purported to have been used during the Last Supper.

Seats of honour at St Lawrence Church, Vittoriosa

The recent edition of L-Imnara, the Malta Folklore Society publication, contains an article by Lorenzo Zahra, entitled Sedji tal-Unur u bacilli fil-Knisja ta’ San Lawrenz tal-Birgu. When St Lawrence Church was taken over by the Order of St John to serve as their Conventual Church, it was under the responsibility of the Grand Prior who had the rank of a bishop. So, liturgical ceremonies at St Lawrence Church were celebrated with great pomp. The church was also used by the Bishop of Malta who had his palace and court at Vittoriosa. For more than 200 years St Lawrence Church was the seat of the Inquisitors, the representative of the Sant’Ufficio. They had their throne placed on the main altar. The Vittoriosa Local Governor and the Councillors also had privileged seats restricted for them on the presbyter. The article describes the devout procession held by the Confraternity of Charity at Vittoriosa during the 18th century. During the procession numerous decorative stands called bacilli or trionfi were carried by members of the Confraternity. These consisted of trays containing loafs of bread which were handed out to on-lookers along the way. One of the bacilli still survives and can be seen at the Vittoriosa Museum at St Joseph Oratory.

Vittoriosa and the yachting world

Vittoriosa is given prominence in issue no. 2 of the yachting magazine published by MBR Publications. It is featured in a number of articles sponsored by Heritage Malta. The leading article, which memorizes the 450th Great Siege Anniversary, recounts the day-to-day events of the desperate land and sea Ottoman offensive on Post of Castille at Birgu. A second article showcases the National Maritime Museum at Vittoriosa. The Great Siege of Malta is again given prominence in a write-up, accompanied by maps, of various epic battles fought over the centuries in the Mediterranean. The editorial story of the magazine is about the popular classic Trophee Baille de Suffren Race of vintage yachts from Saint Tropez, France, to Vittoriosa Marina. The Vittoriosa Local Council had signed a twinning agreement with Saint Tropez some years back, and also promoted this race.

L-ghid tal-Erwieh at the Inquisitors Palace

L-ghid tal-Erwieh is a traditional meal that used to be held on All Souls Day in remembrance of the souls in purgatory. The meal comprised several original foods and dishes, the main item on the menu was the hanzir tal-erwieh (roast pork) accompanied by ftiti tal-ghaza (toasted garlic bread) and kawlata (vegetable pork soup). The meal, a form of Maltese Halloween, was replicated by Heritage Malta at the Inquisitors Palace. There was also a re-enactment of funeral rituals. Guests were also offered to sleep overnight at the Inquisitors’ Palace!

St Lawrence Band magazine November-December 2015

The editorial of this issue probes into the financial figures of the Band’s participation in this year’s feast of St. Lawrence and in other religious services at Vittoriosa. There is also mention of two appointments within the Band Club Committee: that of a new Assistant Bandmaster, Mro. Francois Borg, and of a new Secretary, Mr Simon Farrugia, who has been on the Committee for over 25 years in the role of Band Coordinator. In a separate article, the latter announced the launch of a major initiative of the Band to encourage young people to learn music and how to play a musical instrument. In his usual history rubric in the magazine, Anton Attard, in the aftermath of the freak storm on this year’s St. Lawrence feast-day, recalls the occurrence of two violent storms that severely hit Vittoriosa: one in September 1556 and the other in July 1853. Paul Micallef’s magazine interview this time round is with Mr Alfred Gellel, well-known at Vittoriosa for his unfailing helping hand at the Church of St. Lawrence.

Statue of St. Catherine

The Collegiate Church of St. Lawrence possesses a beautiful statue of St. Catherine of Alexandria, the work of Giuseppe Vella dated 1850. It belonged to the Confraternity of St. Catherine, patron saint of the rope-makers. For this year’s feast of St. Catherine on 25 November, the statute was to be seen. This is because it was taken to Zejtun Parish Church dedicated to St. Catherine for display in an exhibition of iconography and sacred artistic images of St. Catherine organised by the Zejtun community.

CHOGM session at Fort St. Angelo

This year was Malta’s turn to host the bi-annual Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting. The preparations for the conference included the completion of the large-scale restoration of Fort St. Angelo. The historic fortress served as one of the venues for the CHOGM deliberations. High-ranking dignitaries and government officials from Commonwealth countries came to Fort St Angelo, led by Malta Prime Minister Dr. Joseph Muscat. A delegation paid a cultural visit to St. Lawrence Church.

Fort St. Angelo in the limelight

Fort St. Angelo reaffirms its historical, political and cultural significance”. This is the title of an article in the Sunday Times of Malta by Lino Bugeja on the occasion of the CHOGM. He emphasises the central role of the Castrum Maris, as the Fort was known for centuries. Its historic origin goes back to the early temple precincts of the Phoenicians and the Romans, and then to the first defence structure during Byzantine rule. The same author features in another article in Il-Mument with the title “Riflessjoni fuq laqghat irjali”, dwelling on the the special links of Vittoriosa with the Royal Navy. He calls the nostalgic departure of the last British frigate from Vittoriosa, HMS London on 31 March 1979, bringing to a close the British naval presence in Malta.

Britain’s sporting legacy in Malta and elsewhere”

Lino Bugeja, inspired by the presence in Malta of the British Royal Family and the many representatives from the Commonwealth attending the CHOGM, wrote under the above title in the Sunday Times of Malta about the various sporting initiatives introduced in Malta during the British colonial days. He mentions in particular the contribution of the British Services, notably the Royal Navy with its H.Q. at HMS Fort St. Angelo, in developing a sports culture in Malta.

Capuchins in Malta

Dawl Frangiskan, the monthly magazine issued by the Capuchin Order, commemorates the 175th anniversary of the raising of the Order in Malta in 1840 to Provincial status. The first Capuchin to set foot in Malta was Fra Roberto d’Eboli who preached to the congregation at St. Lawrence Conventual Church during the Great Siege of 1565. This year is also the 275th anniversary of the foundation of the Capuchin Order in Malta in 1740 as an autonomous Custody, separate from Sicily, comprising the convents at Floriana, at Vittoriosa (Kalkara was still inexistent at the time) and at Gozo.

Orlando Magro, a Great Siege hero

The chronicles of Orlando Magro, one of the several Maltese heroes who distinguished themselves for their patriotism during the Great Siege, is narrated in this year’s L-Imnara in an article by William Zammit. Orlando Magro took upon himself a difficult task: that of carrying vital messages from Grand Master Jean de la Vallette to the Viceroy in Sicily. In doing so, he had first to circumnavigate at dead of night the Turkish Armada which was prying around Maltese waters, and then to row all the way to Sicily. Orlando Magro describes the commotion at Birgu upon the start of the siege, and the Grand Master’s satisfaction at the discovery of a spring of natural water at besieged Birgu.

The Sicilian Regiment in Malta

Denis Darmanin, expert in Maltese military history and member of the Vittoriosa Historical & Cultural Society committee, is featured in an elaborate article in the Sunday Times of Malta on the “Malta-based Sicilian Regiment that serviced HRH”. It was shortly after the arrival in Malta of the British in 1799 to fight the French occupants that the British army enlisted a group of Maltese by way of the Maltese Light Infantry. This was followed in 1806 by the engagement of an emigee Sicilian troop. They were stationed at L-Ospizio, Floriana. The regiment was disbanded in 1816.

Prize Day at St.Edwards College,Vittoriosa

This year’s Prize Day at St Edwards College was marked with the visit of a special guest to preside over the prize giving ceremony: Malta-born Lord Igor Judge. He is former Lord Chief Justice and Head of the Judiciary of England and Wales. He attended St Edwards College as a boarder between 1947-1954.

Chocolcate with Vittoriosa view

Nestle Malta launched this year’s edition of Perugina Chocolate Malta Scenery. The collection consists of pictures of various Maltese localities, among which one of Vittoriosa.

Neapolitan prespio at Mdina Cathedral

In the issue before Christmas of the Sunday Times of Malta Lino Bugeja, in his capacity as PRO of the Mdina Cathedral Museum, writes about the artistic Neapolitan crib exhibited during the festive period at the Mdina Cathedral, curated by the ingenious art expert and restorer Fr. Edgar Vella.

Notable naval victories of the Knights of Malta”

David Dandria is the author of a two-part article under the above title in the Sunday Times of Malta in which he recounts the story behind famous naval victories by the Order’s vessels as depicted in paintings displayed at Palazzo Falson, Mdina. He describes the structure of the Order’s Fleet with its base at the Marina Grande in the Galley Creek, Vittoriosa, incorporating the traditional galleys, oared and rowed by slaves and rigged with the triangular lateen sail. At the turn of the 18th century heavier warships were introduced with the introduction of the square-rigged ‘third-rates’, also known as vascelli.

St. Lawrence at Grenoble

The centre-page of Il-Mument features a travelogue on various European cities. One of the latest was about Grenoble on the river Isere in the Alps in East France. One of the city’s important historical sites is undoubtedly the Church of St Lawrence in the Quartier St Laurent which contains unique archaeological remains dating to the 5th century.

Resume’ of festas in 2015

Mario Fenech in Il-Mument compiles a report on all feasts celebrated in Maltese and Gozitan towns and villages throughout the year. For the month of August he does not fail to describe the feasts at San Lawrenz in Gozo with the completion and inauguration of the church ceiling vault paintings, and that at Vittoriosa which was marked with the exceptional midsummer rainfall on the feast day, with the procession having to be postponed to the following Sunday.

Cardinal Prospero Grech at St. John’s Co-Cathedral

Vittoriosa-born Cardinal Prospero Grech celebrated Holy Mass on Christmas Day at St.John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta.

Closure of last Vittoriosa bakery

October 2015 brought to an end an old tradition at Vittoriosa. The last remaining bread-making bakery closed down. In the post-war period three ovens re-opened, one in North Street just opposite the Norman House, one in North West Street near the street statue of Our Lady of the Rosary, and one in St Anthony Street facing St Lawrence Street. The first two stopped operating some years back: with the former being turned into a restaurant, Il-Forn, and the latter is now part of a private residence. The oven in St Anthony Street belonged to the Cassar family has now also closed down. It replaced an earlier bakery, destroyed during the war, dating back to 1788 as evidenced by the marble plaque of the present building.