Photo Church of Our Lady of Victories
Church of Our Lady of Victories
Our Lady of Victories is the first building and completed in the new city Valletta, commissioned. The first stone of the city, and of this church, was laid on 28th March 1566 by Grand Master De Valette.
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The church was built to commemorate the victory of the Knights of the Order of St John and the Maltese over the Ottoman invaders (Great Siege of Malta) in 1565. the church dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin.
The Grand Master financed the church and was also buried (August 1568) in the crypt of this church before his body was transferred to the Crypt of the Grand Masters in the St John's Co-Cathedral.
It served as a conventual church for the Order of St John until the St John's Co-Cathedral was finished in 1577.
The architect is Girolamo Cassar. The façade is a remodelling of the old one in a baroque shape.
The order of St John chose in 1617 this church as their parish church. The church was then dedicated to St Anthony the Abbot.
In 1699 the apse of the church was enlarged by order of Grandmaster Ramon Perellos y Roccaful.
Maltese artist Alessio Erardi was commissioned in 1716 by Grandmaster Ramon Perellos and Roccaful to paint the vault with elemental scenes portraying the Life of the Virgin.
In 1752, the façade, belfry, sacristy and the parish priests house were enlarged and the façade got a baroque look.
The church had two altars dedicated to St John the Baptist and St Paul. Two additional altars were built between 1755 and 1790.
In 1837, the church became the Garrison Church to the Royal Malta Fencibles (later the Royal Malta Artillery).
During WWII damage was caused by bombing the Luftwaffe in the vicinity of the church and shelling of the Italian fleet at Valletta.
The barrel vault of the church is masterfully painted by Alessio Erardi and at present the church is being restored. The church is still in use by the Order of St John.
The maintenance, management and restoration are in the hands of Din L-Art Helwa, a cultural heritage NGO.
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The church has a number of artistic treasures, namely: paintings with St Anthony of Egypt and St Anthony of Padua (above the altar depict) and works by Ermenegildo Grech, Enrico Arnaux and Francesco Zahra.
The vault with elemental scenes portraying the Life of the Virgin, Painted Maltese artist Alessio Erardi
Initally it was a smal chapel dedicated tot Our Lady of Victory to celebrate the triumph against the Ottoman in the Great Sieg.
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