A general photo of Vittoriosa Birgu
Birgu is also known as Cittá Vittoriosa. It is an old Fortified city. Because Birgu is located on the Grand Harbour, this area has been developing since the time of the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, the Angevines and the Aragonese.
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At the arrival of the Order of St. John, Birgu was described as a defenceless town with old houses in poor condition. Nevertheless, the Order made Birgu their place of residence, making the town the capital of Malta until the Order moved to Valletta in 1571.
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St Lawrence’s Church
In 1436 an inventory was drawn up by the beneficiaries, in which the church was named "San Lorenzo a Mare" and thus one of the oldest parishes in Malta.
When the Order of St. John came to live in Malta in 1530, people chose Birgu which became the new capital of Malta. The church was used as a monastery church for the Order, until the Order moved to the new capital Valletta in 1571.
During the great siege of Malta in 1565, the front of the church was used as a cemetery.
In 1681 the first stone of the current church was laid by Bishop Molina. The parish church was completed in 1696. The church was designed by architect Lorenzo Gafa and is a wonderful example of Roman Baroque architecture.
The feast of St. Lawrence is on August 10, and that day the church was consecrated by Bishop Davide Cocco Palmieri in 1697. In 1820, Pope Pius VII gave the status of the collegiate church to the St. Lawrence church.
During a German bombing in World War II, the sacristy and the hall were destroyed on January 16, 1941.
On March 22, 1841 the Holy Sacrament and the chapel were destroyed.
The damage from the first bombing was repaired in 1949 and from the second damage in 1951 and 1952.
In 1990, Pope John Paul visited the Maltese Islands and also visited the church.
The church has various works of art, including a painting depicting Christ the Redeemer and the dead Christ painted by Stefano Erardi and a painting depicting the martyrdom of St. Lawrence, painted by Mattia Preti.
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