Church of St Francis, Victoria

The Church of St Francis is a Roman Catholic church building in Victoria, Gozo, Malta, situated in St Francis Square. Adjacent to the church is the convent of the Conventual Franciscans.[1]

Conventual Church of St Francis of Assisi
Knisja ta' San Franġisk
Conventual Church of St Francis of Assisi is located in Malta
Conventual Church of St Francis of Assisi
Conventual Church of St Francis of Assisi
Location within Malta
36°02′32.5″N 14°14′28.0″E / 36.042361°N 14.241111°E / 36.042361; 14.241111
LocationVictoria, Gozo
DenominationRoman Catholic
StatusConventual Church
Founder(s)Jacob de Leo Provincial
DedicationSt Francis of Assisi
Functional statusActive
Architectural typeChurch
Number of domes1
Number of spires1
Bells4 (1956)
ParishSt George's Parish Victoria
Bishop(s)Mario Grech
RectorJoseph Xerri

History edit

The original convent and church of St Francis date back to 1492. The original church was dedicated to St Mark. The name was changed in 1535 to that of St Francis. The present church and convent were mostly built in the 17th century. The church was completed in 1663. Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena visited the convent and church in 1742. He stayed there from 5 June till 9 June to take possession of the island. This event was commemorated by an inscription on the wall of the rooms he occupied during this visit.[2]

In December 1890 the church was closed to the public by order of the government as it was seen to be unfit for use. The ceiling of the church was in a very dangerous state. The ceiling and façade were rebuilt and the church reopened on 16 April 1893. The church was consecrated by Giovanni Maria Camilleri, bishop of Gozo, in 1906.[citation needed]

The church building is listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.[3]

Works of Art edit

The titular painting of the church depicts St Francis of Assisi receiving the stigmata. It was painted by Jean-Baptiste van Loo. The church also has a statue of St Isidore the Laborer which dates back to 1680. Originally this statue was gilded in gold but then it was painted over so as not to attract the attention of the French invaders.[4]

Feast of the Immaculate Conception edit

A feast for the Immaculate Conception of Mary is celebrated every year on 8 December. The feat dates back to 1663 when a Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception was founded in the church to help in the organization of the mentioned feast. In 1698 a wooden statue of Our Lady representing the Immaculate Conception was used in a procession.[citation needed]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Calleja, Thomas. "Knejjes dedikati lil San Frangisk f'Malta", Malta, 2004. Retrieved on 10 October 2014.
  2. ^ Bezzina, Joseph. "Main Attractions" Archived 2014-10-19 at the Wayback Machine, Victoria Local Council, Malta, 2011. Retrieved on 10 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Church of St Francis" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 27 August 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  4. ^ "St Francis Church". Retrieved on 10 October 2014.