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Churches

Chapels:

 

Santa Marija taz-Zejfi
 
This small wayside chapel is situated on the outskirts of Mosta in the area called ‘il-Bisbezija’. This chapel which had its own small cemetery was rebuilt again in the 17th century. This we know as the decree to build it was issued on 5th December 1607. This chapel is well-kept yet nowadays it has lost its rural atmosphere. This is due to the road that passes adjacent to the chapel which is one of the most frequented routes used by all sorts of vehicles today.
 
Bidnija
 
A hamlet situated a little distance from Mosta itself yet making part of the locality. Though in the past this small settlement made part of two other localities, as from 1964 Bidnija came within the precincts of Mosta.
 
Bidnija is a small rural village which is characterised by large tracts of agricultural land which sprawl around the hamlet. Evidence of the remoteness of this small settlement can be deduced from the fact that it remained deprived of even the most basic amenities for a long time. Suffice it to say that the first electrical supply line came to Bidnija in 1965.
 
Till 1920 there was not even a church for the spiritual needs of the inhabitants. Therefore this rural community decided to buy a piece of land and, on the design of master mason Salvu Zahra (1874-1960) from Mosta, they erected a church in a period of about two years.
 
Dedicated to the Holy Family of Nazareth, this church now serves the community in its religious needs. The titular painting is the work of Ganni Vella (1885-1977) while the titular statue of the Holy Family is by the statuary Wistin Camilleri (1885-1979).
 
Tal-Kuncizzjoni
 
This wayside chapel originally built at about 1658 is known popularly as ‘ta’ Derimblat’. This is the name of the area between the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception and Cumbo Tower. The name, or one of its variants (like ‘Andar il-Blat’ or ‘Durumblat’) means a rocky plain, such as this site must have looked like in far off days. It is of note that the stones that were used to build the Mosta Rotunda were cut from this area.
 
Another eventful note about this area concerns the Great Siege of Malta of 1565. It is in the vicinity of this part of Mosta that the Turkish invaders set up their standards before they retreated to their sea craft, defeated and demoralised after three months of fighting against the Knights of the Order of St. John and the Maltese inhabitants.
 
Yet another note-worthy incident took place during the Second World War. As Tal-Kuncizzjoni is situated in the vicinity of Ta’ Qali, which was at the time a military airfield, the authorities deemed it right to pull the chapel down to use its stones in the building of protective constructions for the aircraft in this base. Yet, as the War ended the Government built this chapel once more under the direction of the architect Alfred Zammit. On the 8th of December 1955 its titular feast was celebrated for the first time.
 
The main painting is that which had existed in the previous chapel and is the work of the artist Filippo Dingli (active first half of the 17th century), brother of Tommaso Dingli, architect of the first parish church of Mosta (demolished when the Rotunda was completed).
 
The chapel dedicated to St. Leonard of Limoges, patron saint of slaves and prisoners, is to be found in a small open space called Misrah San Anard. The hermit St. Leonard had lived in France in the 6th century A.D. and died in the year 559. The chapel dedicated to him was already there before the year 1575 but was rebuilt in 1659. This small chapel has a painting on the altar, the work of Filippo Dingli (active first half of the 17th century) showing Our Lady of Graces together with St. Leonard, St. John the Baptist and St. Bernard and the souls of Purgatory. The single belfry was erected in 1907. This chapel is very much in use and is quite well kept.
 
San Pawl tal-Qlejja
 
A small wayside chapel located in the valley by the same name, Qlejgha or Qlejja Valley. It is dedicated to the Shipwreck of St. Paul and the present chapel dates back to 1690 though it stands on the site of an older one. This church is also known as ‘tal-Mingiba’.
 
Wejda
 
This chapel is dedicated to Our lady of the Visitation. Ta’ Wejda was the nickname of Damiano Bonnici who built the present chapel in 1605. In reality this is the third building as, previous to this chapel there was another one, and yet before, according to tradition, as reported in an official document of 1575, there was a rock-cut chapel dedicated to Our Lady but which today cannot be identified and no one knows where it lies. The present chapel which is well kept, experienced the vicissitudes of the Second World War when it was hit on 11th March 1942. This was no wonder as it is sited very close to Ta’ Qali airfield, a military installation during this War. The damage incurred was repaired by 1944 and a bell-cot was also added. Amongst the works in this chapel there is the titular painting – the work of the artist Giuseppe M. Caruana (1900-1964) depicting Our Lady singing the Magnificat. There is also a statue of the Visitation by the statuary Wistin Camilleri (1885-1979).
 
Tal-Isperanza
 
An interesting complex consisting of chapel and cave dedicated to Our Lady of Good Hope. It is situated on the side of Wied il-Ghasel and its building traces its origin to a famous legend in Maltese folklore. This story relates of a young Mosta maiden who was one day in the fields of Burmarrad (a rural area outside Mosta) when Muslim corsairs closed in on her and she at once began to run for her life to the safety of her native village. Out of breathe and impaired due to being lame, the poor twenty–year old took refuge in a cave in Wied il-Ghasel. The entrance was hidden by the wild-growing maidenhair fern (tursin il-bir). Another version speaks of a cobweb which concealed this hiding place as a spider spun its web after the girl entered. The legend goes on that the corsairs overlooked the cave as they could not envisage anyone entering the cave without tearing the cobweb, and so they left. The maiden came out, and convinced of divine intervention in her escape, decided to build a chapel on top of this cave. Ta’ l-Isperanza (hope) reflects such an episode.
 
The chapel was built between 1760 and 1761 in the Renaissance style with an octagonal interior. The titular of Our Lady of Good Hope is by Rocco Buhagiar (c.1725-1805) while in the sacristy is found another painting of Our Lady of Good Hope, this time by Giuseppe
 
Calì (1846-1930). Enlargement of the parvis took place in 1898 while the underlying cave was cleaned and renovated in 1913. Ten years later the church and sacristy were paved with marble. The cave, which is as well kept as the chapel itself, contains stone statues of the Archangel Michael, a kneeling maiden praying and the evangelists Luke and John.
 
Sant’Andrija
 
This once wayside chapel today is found in the midst of modern buildings. This chapel goes back in history when Mosta was still a small village. It was on the outskirts amongst the countryside. It has been previously known as San Andrija il-Qares. Documents at the Archbishop’s Curia show that this chapel or a previous one on the same site was visited by the Apostolic Delegate Pietro Duzzina in 1575. The titular painting in this chapel is by Filippo Dingli.
 
This chapel was in a very poor state and was in danger of collapsing, due to engineering works carried out closeby. Extensive restoration works were carried out by the Mosta Local Council. The works, carried out under the supervision of Architect Mr. Norbert Gatt, took two years to complete and were finished in September 2002. Several Government departments were involved, their work being coordinated by The Mosta Local Council. It was reinaugurated on Thursday 19 September 2002 by the Hon. Minister Dr. Francis Zammit Dimech and Mosta Mayor Mr. Joe De Martino, and blessed by the Mosta Archpriest Rev. Fr. Joe Carabott.
 
The date 1657 is engraved on the chapel door and shows the date when the present chapel was built instead of a previous one. In old days the feast of St. Andrew used to be celebrated here on the 30th November every year.
 
Santa Margerita
 
Once an out-of-the-way chapel, now lying in a recently built housing estate yet keeping its original appearance being excluded from the built up area by some fields and the surrounding low wall. The chapel is dedicated to St. Margaret of Antioch. Little is known about this saint though she may have died a martyr at about the year 303 A.D. She is invoked especially by women who are about to give birth. The chapel which is very small, was already erected in 1577, yet it seems that it was rebuilt in 1771. The chapel is also part of a small cemetery which holds the victims of the 1592 plague. The chapel is interesting yet quite bare, though it is well kept and in a picturesque setting.
 
San Pawl l-Eremita
 
A small chapel dedicated to St. Antony of Egypt (251?-356) who passed the greatest part of his life as a hermit. It is said that when he retired to the solitary life in the Egyptian desert, he fought demons under the guise of wild beasts. He is also renown as the founder of early Christian monasticism. St. Antony is considered to be a special protector of animals and this is why this chapel is the site of a ceremony that takes place on the Sunday following the 17th of January (this latter date being the feast day of this saint). One can witness the many animals, both those used for some kind of work and pets, brought by their owners, young and old, to be blessed, a custom going back to 1962 in Mosta.
 
Regarding this small chapel itself, the present building is the second erected on this site in about 1657 financed by two Mosta residents. As a fit neighbour to the chapel there is a large stone statue with a pig, sculptured by artist Tarcisio Montebello.
 
San Anton Abbati
 
A small chapel dedicated to St. Antony of Egypt (251?-356) who passed the greatest part of his life as a hermit. It is said that when he retired to the solitary life in the Egyptian desert, he fought demons under the guise of wild beasts. He is also renown as the founder of early Christian monasticism. St. Antony is considered to be a special protector of animals and this is why this chapel is the site of a ceremony that takes place on the Sunday following the 17th of January (this latter date being the feast day of this saint). One can witness the many animals, both those used for some kind of work and pets, brought by their owners, young and old, to be blessed, a custom going back to 1962 in Mosta.
 
Regarding this small chapel itself, the present building is the second erected on this site in about 1657 financed by two Mosta residents. As a fit neighbour to the chapel there is a large stone statue with a pig, sculptured by artist Tarcisio Montebello.
 
San Silvestru
 
A 17th century chapel built in 1657 by the Knight Sylvester Fiteni. Today it forms part of Independence Avenue with traffic passing on both sides. It is dedicated to the Pope St Sylvester (bishop of Rome from 314 to 335) and the painting in this chapel is the work of Stefano Erardi.