Vincent Borg :
Mgr Prof Arturo Bonnici


Portrait by Willie Apap - 1952

B.A., B.L.Can., D.D., H.E.L.
1903 - 1978




1st December, 1994


1. Programme of Commemoration 6
2. Foreword: Chev. Albert Ganado, B.A., LL.D., KM., President of the Malta Historical Society 7
3. Biographical Data 11
4. Exhibition: List of Exhibits 15
5. Bibliography and Analytical Index: Mgr Prof. V. Borg, D.D., H.E.D., Arch.Chr.L. 21
6. St John's Co-Cathedral — History and Consecration: Mgr Prof A. Bonnici 41






1. Commemorative Oration by Mgr Prof. Vincent Borg

2. Inauguration of Documentary Exhibition on Mgr Prof. A. Bonnici by H.E. Dr Ugo Mifsud Bonnici, President of the Republic

3. Refreshments


As President of the Malta Historical Society I have been asked to write a foreword to this booklet. Needless to say, I accepted this offer with pleasure as I feel that one should give honour to whom honour is due.

Almost half a century ago Dun Artur, as we affectionately used to call him, founded the Society. On 14 January 1950 he published an appeal Għall-ġieħ ta' Malta in Leħen is-Sewwa. The greatness of a nation, Dun Artur wrote, is tied up with its history, and especially so when its history is something to be proud of; it is therefore the duty of every Maltese citizen to recall the glorious deeds of our forefathers and to pass them on as an example to future generations. In order to attain this end, he concluded, it was imperative to set up a Society which would exclusively cultivate the history of the Maltese Islands.

In the recent past, a few historical societies had been formed in Malta. In 1866 a Society of Archaeology, History and Natural Sciences of Malta came into being under the presidency of the Officer Administering the Government. It was short-lived.

In 1908 an appeal which bore fruit appeared in Malta Letteraria: it was signed by "Dr. G.F.L." and the last paragraph read as follows: Sorga, dunque, in Malta questa Società di Storia Patria, e strappi la verità alla polvere degli Archivi pubblici e privati, prima che le tarme e l'umidità tolgano alla carta scritta la parola rivelatrice. As a result, the Malta Historical and Scientific Society was founded on 26 June 1909 "with the object of promoting the study of the History and Archaeology of the Maltese Islands, and of other scientific subjects of local interest." Between 1910 and 1940 the Society published ten volumes of its journal Archivum Melitense. On the outbreak of war with Italy, the Society died a natural death.

It would not be amiss to mention for the record the Società Storica Maltese, whose President was Guze Muscat Azzopardi. It was inaugurated at the Aula Magna on 10 March 1917. Mgr P. Gauci read a paper L'uomo e la storia-patria in which he stated that the Society intended to hold lectures, preferably in the Maltese language, and to publish a periodical. Apparently, this Society was not very successful in achieving its aims.

After his appeal in the local papers, Mgr Bonnici convened a meeting at the Royal University of Malta Library. I recall that the first point debated was whether to revive the Malta Historical and Scientific Society or whether to graze [p.8] in pastures new. Those present were practically unanimous in supporting Mgr Bonnici's view that a new Society should be formed and that this Society should limit its field of action to the study of Maltese history, in the light of the methods of modern historiography.

No time was lost in drawing up a Statute and the Society was officially founded on 12 April 1950. The first general meeting was held fourteen days later and, as was to be expected, Mgr Bonnici was elected President, a post he held for the rest of his life.

In 1952 the Society launched its annual journal, the Melita Historica, which has been published regularly ever since. Besides, the Society has to its credit other publications, including various Proceedings of History Week; History Week has recently become a yearly feature.

The Malta Historical Society is approaching its fiftieth birthday and it gives me a great pleasure to be able to write these few words as a preface to the booklet which is commemorating the memory of Mgr Arturo Bonnici - the founder of the Society. He was at once a teacher, an inspiration, a guiding light. And he was all this in perfect bonhomie and deep humility.

Albert Ganado


Family Group in 1910. Arturo is in front


Rev. A. Bonnici, B.A. Graduate - 1924


1903 Son of Vincenzo Bonnici and his wife Elvira nèe Griscti, born at Senglea on the 17th December 1903. Educated at The Lyceum, Valletta and at the University of Malta where he graduated B.A. in 1924 and B.L. Can. and D.D. in 1928.
1928 Ordained priest by Archbishop Dom Maurus Caruana on the 22nd September 1928.
1928-1937 Director of the Catholic Institute at Senglea.
1930-1937 Ecclesiastical Assistant of the Catholic Action Movement at Senglea.
1930-1958 Member of the 'Piccola Missione' as co-operator.
1930-1933 Editor of Leħen is-Sewwa.
1929-1932 'Attuario' at the Archbishop's Curia.
1932-1937 Pro-Secretary at the same Curia.
1932 Canon Theologian of the Senglea Collegiate Chapter.
1934 Promoted to the Dignity of 'Primicerius' of the same Chapter.
1936-1937 Acting-Chancellor at the Archbishop's Curia.
1937 Professor of Church History within the Faculty of Theology of the Royal University of Malta.
1937-1939 Post-Graduate studies at the Faculty of Church History of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.
1939 Obtained the Licentiate in Church History (H.E.L.) from the said University and in October began lecturing at the Faculty of Theology, Malta.
1940-1944 Ecclesiastical Assistant of Catholic Action at Rabat.
1941-1977 Examiner of the Clergy at the Archbishop's Curia.
1941-1942 Acting-Professor of Patrology, Christian Archaeology and Liturgy.
1942-1976 General Secretary at the Archbishop's Curia.
1943 The teaching of Christian Archaeology at the University was incorporated with the Chair of Church History.
1944-1957 President of the Diocesan Commission for the Co-ordination of Catholic Lay Organisations.
1946 President of the Committee in charge of the setting up of the Catholic Institute at Floriana.
1947 Monsignor Canon-Coadjutor of the Cathedral Chapter.


Identity Card issued in 1938 by the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana


1917-1960 Director of the Institute of Catholic Education established in St James Church, Valletta.
1949 President of the Committee of the Provincial Marian Congress; organiser of the historical section of the Marian Exhibition held on that occasion at the Old Seminary, Mdina.
1950 Founder of the Malta Historical Society and was elected each year its President till his demise.
Member of the University Senate representing the Faculty of Theology.
1953 Canon Penitentiary of the Cathedral Chapter. The following year he resigned this office and opted for another Canonry. Thereafter, he was appointed by the same Chapter as its Deputy for the Co-Cathedral of St John, Valletta. He also acted as Secretary of the Committee set up for the crowning of Our Lady of Carafa. Represented the Royal University of Malta, together with V. Rev. Prof Seraphin M. Zarb OP at the celebrations commemorating the 4th Centenary of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.
1954 Member of the Archives Advisory Board.
1960 Organiser of the Historical Section of the Pauline Exhibition held at the Catholic Institute, Floriana.
1961 Conventual Chaplain of the Sovereign Military Order of St John.
1962 Participated in the 6th International Congress of Christian Archae­ology held in September, at Ravenna, Italy.
1965 Terminated his teaching career at the University.
1966-1978 Member of the Dun Mikiel Xerri u Sħabu Monument Committee.
1969 Member of the Government Advisory Board on Education.
1977 Vicar General of the Maltese Diocese.
1978 Died at his residence in Msida on the 21st October. His funeral was held at the Co-Cathedral of St John and was buried in the family vault at the Addolorata Cemetery.


Professor of Church History - On the occasion of Graduation Day 1937

List of Exhibits

Portrait of Willie Apap - 1952.

Registration of Birth and Baptism (Senglea Parish Archives).

Family group in 1910, Arturo is seen squatting in front - Photo.

Silver Medals awarded him at the Lyceum.

Matriculation Certificate dated 1st October 1921.

Award of a Government Bursary as First Student "with honours" in the B.A. 1921-1924 Course at the University - Certificate dated 1st October 1924.

Il Paradiso Dantesco. Notes of lectures delivered by Prof. Vincenzo Laurenza.

A friend of the Muses during the 1920s - Some poems.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree - Diploma issued by the University on the 1st October 1925.

B.A. Graduate - Photo.

Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) - Diploma issued by the University on the 1st October 1928.

Bachelor of Canon Law (B.L. Can) - Diploma issued by the University on the 1st October, 1928.

Editor of Leħen is-Sewwa - Issues of this paper, 1930-1933.

President of the "Istituto di Educazione Cattolica San Luigi Gonzaga" at Senglea - Photo.

Appointment as Canon Theologian of the Collegiate Chapter of Senglea dated 22nd July 1932 (Archbishop's Archives, Malta - AAM).

Appointment as Canon "Primicerius" of the same Collegiate Chapter dated 26th August 1934 (AAM).

Concilium Regionale Melitense AD 1935 ... Decreta, Empire Press, 1936. Signatory of the official decrees of the Regional Council as First Notary.

Member of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Malta as Professor of Church History, on the occasion of the 1937 Graduation - Photo.

Identity Card issued by the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana in 1938.

Un Punto Luminoso sul Magistero infallibile de Sommo Pontefice nel Sec. V, in Lucema II, 7 (July 1938), 151-152.

II celibato dei chierici nei primi secoli della Chiesa, in Lucema II, 12 (December 1938), 257-259.

[p.16] Licentiate in Church History (H.E.L.) - Diploma issued by the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, dated 20th July 1939.

Appunti di Storia Ecclesiastica - L'Eresia dal Punto di vista storico, in Lucerna IV, 3 (March 1940), 61-63.

The Preacher - Catalogue of his homilies and sermons.

Storja tal-Knisja, Volume I, Għaqda tal-Qari Tajjeb, 1945.

The Council of Trent - A Turning Point in Church History, in Scientia XII (1946), 148-164.

The Teaching of Theology in the Jesuit College from 1592 to 1769, Government Printing Press, 1947.

The Programme of Studies in the Faculty of Theology enforced by the Magisterial Chirograph of 1771, in Melita Theologica (M.Th.) I, 1 (1948), 35-51 and 2, 42-55.

The Governing Body of the University according to the Constitution of 1771, in The Sundial IV, 10 (1949), 4-6.

Delivery of the 8th September Oration in 1949 - Photo and Text of Speech.

Leħen is-Sewwa, January 14, 18 and April 1, 1950 - Contributions that paved the way for the establishment of the Malta Historical Society.

Draft of Minutes taken during the meeting at the Library of the University, when the Malta Historical Society was founded.

Elected President of the newly founded Malta Historical Society - 26th April 1950. Minute Book of the General Meetings of the Society.

The Melita Historica - Annual publication of the Malta Historical Society issued since 1952.

Reasons for the delay in the appointment of Bishop Francesco Saverio Caruana, in Melita Historica (M.H.), I, 3 (1954),156-163.

L-Ordni ta' Malta, Empire Press, 1955.

The dismemberment of the Maltese See from the Metropolitan See of Palermo, in M.H. n, 3 (1958), 179-181.

British assurances to protect the Roman Catholic Religion in Malta, in M.Th. XI, 1 (1959), 45-50.

Descrizione della "Descrittione di Malta", in G. F. Abela, Department of Information (1961), 15-22.

Protestant Propaganda in Malta (1800-1830), in M.Th. XIII (1961), 60-64.

The Oath Question, in M.H. IV, 1 (1964), 14-26.

From a Suffragan to a Metropolitan See, in M.Th. XVIII, 1 (1966), 18-21.

Mixed Marriages in Malta, in M.Th. XX, 1 (1968), 18-25.

A Debt that was never settled, in M.H. V,2 (1969), 73-79.

Thirty Years to build a Protestant church in Malta, in M.H. VI,2 (1973), 183-191.

The Archiepiscopal Archives, Malta, in M.H. VI, 3 (1974), 307-312.

[p.17] The Laying of the foundation stone of the Co-Cathedral Church of St John, in Scientia XXXVII, 2 (1974), 53-58.

Typescript of part of the History of the Church in Malta, Volume III.

History of the Church in Malta, Volume 1, Empire Press, 1967; Volume II, Empire Press, 1968; Volume III, Veritas Press, 1975.

The Media - Talks on Rediffusion.

A visit to St Paul's Catacombs, Rabat, with students of the Faculty of Theology in 1955 - Photo. Appointment as member of the Cathedral Chapter on the llth September 1947 (AAM).

Appointment as Canon Penitentiary of the same Chapter on the 25th May 1953 (AAM).

Participating in a procession at Valletta as a member of the Cathedral Chapter - Photo.

Decoration as Conventual Chaplain of the Sovereign Military Order of St John - 1961.

Member of the Cathedral Chapter in 1968 - Photo.

Various Publications

Il-Qdusija taż-Żwieġ, Għaqda tal-Qari Tajjeb, 1945.

Marija u Malta, Lux Press, 1949.

The Abolition of Ecclesiastical Immunity in Malta, Muscat Press, 1958.

Church and State, in Malta 1800-1850, Muscat Press, 1958.

Storja tal-Knisja, Volume II, Empire Press, 1963.

Il-Bidu taċ-Ċiviltà Nisranija, Empire Press, 1968.

St John's Co-Cathedral - A Handy Guide, Undated.

St John's Co-Cathedral Museum - A Handy Guide, Veritas Press, Undated.

Il-Kappillan Manchè, Christus Rex, Malta, 1976.

At St John's Co-Cathedral with distinguished visitors: Governor Sir Maurice Dorman - Photo.

Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro - Photo.

Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth and H.R.H. Prince Philip - Photo.

Feature Articles published in Leħen is-Sewwa 1970-1978.

Some unpublished works

Maltese Priest Politicians.

Ilsien il-Knisja, compiled between 1972-1978.

Assisting, together with Judge W. Harding, at the High Mass on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of Fr Joseph Zarb as Parish Priest of Zabbar in 1968 - Photo.

Leading the Maltese Pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1971 - Photo.

Celebrating Mass at the Chapel of the Franciscan Sisters, Msida in 1972 - Photo.

[p.18] Addressing the Annual Congress of the Holy Name Society held at Mqabba on Pentecost Day 1978 as Vicar General - Photo.

50th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood - Well wishers.

Last Contribution read at St John's Co-Cathedral on the 22nd June 1978 during the Fourth Centenary Celebrations commemorating the Consecration of the Conventual Church of the Order at Valletta.

Registration of Death record at Msida (Msida Parish Archives).

Vinc. Borg, Fil-Mewt ta' Mons. Prof. Arturo Bonnici, in Leħen is-Sewwa, October 28, 1978.

Vinc. Borg, In Memoriam - Mgr Prof. Arturo Bonnici, in M.H. VII, 3 (1979), 284-285.

Mgr Prof. Arturo Bonnici, B.A., B.L.Can., D.D., H.E.L. - 1903-1978, Publication issued on the occasion of a Commemoration organised by the Malta Historical Society at the Malta Public Library, Valletta, on 1st December 1994.


Delivering the 8th September Oration - 1949


Guiding Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and H.R.H. Prince Philip during a tour of St John’s - 1967


Member of the Cathedral Chapter - 1968



Mgr Professor Arturo Bonnici


Mgr Professor Vincent Borg


L.I.S.: Leħen is-Sewwa
M.H.: Melita Historica
M.Th.: Melita Theologica
Sc.: Scientia
S.T.M.: Sunday Times of Malta
T.M.: Times of Malta


1. Death of Archbishop Dom Maurus Caruana, in Supplement to Malta Review, 21, December.


2. L-Ingress ta' l-Arċisqof Gonzi, St Joseph Institute Press, 32 pp.


3. Storja tal-Knisja, Volume 1, Għaqda tal-Qari Tajjeb, 192 pp.

4. Il-Qdusija taż-Żwieġ, Għaqda tal-Qari Tajjeb, 13 pp.

5. Kristu Re, St Joseph Institute Press, 10 pp.


6. L-Imqaddes Konċilju ta' Trentu, Għaqda tal-Qari Tajjeb, 47 pp.

7. The Council of Trent - A Turning Point in Church History, in Sc. XII, 143-164.

[p.22] 1947

8. The Teaching of Theology in the Jesuit College from 1592 to 1769, Government Printing Press, 9 pp.

9. The Causes of the French Revolution, in M.Th. I, 1, 35-51 and 2, 42-55.


10. The Programme of Studies in the Faculty of Theology enforced by the Magisterial Chirograph of 1771, in M.Th. I, 3, 38-43.


11. Marija u Malta, Lux Press, 35 pp.

12. Tifkira tat-8 ta' Settembru 1565 u 1943, Government Printing Press, 15pp.

13. The Causes of the French Revolution, St. Joseph Institute Press, 34 pp.

14. The Governing Body of the University according to the Constitution of 1771, in The Sundial IV, 10, 4-6.


15. Għall-Gieħ ta' Malta, in L.I.S., January, 14.

16. Għall-Gieħ ta' Malta - Nidħlu għal xogħol iebes?, in L.I.S., January, 28.

17. Għall-Gieħ ta' Malta - Nitgħallmu minn ħaddiehor, in L.IS., April, 1.

18. L'Origine della Sovranità Temporale dei Papi, in M.Th. Ill, 1,   23-41.


19. Another Step Forward, in M.H. I, 1,1-2.


20. Towards a National Bibliography, in M.H. I, 2, 65-67.


21. Reasons for the delay in the appointment of Bishop Francesco Saverio Caruana, in M.H. I, 3, 156-163.

22. Archive News, in Ibid., 191-192.

23. Together with Jos. Aquilina and Jos. Cassar Pullicino, Report on the Date of Foundation of the Jesuit College, in The Working of the Royal University of Malta 1953-1954, 35-39.


24. L-Ordni ta' Malta Empire Press, IV & 48 pp.

25. II Culto Mariano a Malta, in Sc. XXI, 26-38.

[p.23] 1957

26. Abolition of personal and local Immunity, in Rostrum III, 8,  321-333.

27. The Church and Freedom of the Press in Malta, in M.H. II, 2,   105-121.

28. Article on Malta, in Supplement II, Catholic Encyclopaedia, New York, 483a, col. 9.


29. The Abolition of Ecclesiastical Immunity in Malta, Muscat Press, 13 pp.

30. Church and State in Malta 1800-1850, Royal University of Malta, 30 pp.

31. The dismemberment of the Maltese See from the Metropolitan See of Palermo, in M.H. II, 3, 179-181.


32. British assurances to protect the Roman Catholic Religion in Malta, in M.Th. XI, 1, 43-50.

33. Why John XXIII and not John XXIV, in T.M., February, 15.

34. Mużew fl-Isptar ta' l-Ordni f'Malta. Suġġeriment biex niġbdu t-turisti f'pajjiżna, in L.I.S., March, 11.


35. Together with Jos. Lupi, Christian Life in Malta, in Souvenir Programme, St Paul's Centenary Celebrations.


36. Descrizione della "Descrittione di Malta", in G.F. Abela, Essays in his honour by Members of the "Malta Historical Society" on the Third Centenary of his death (1655-1955), Department of Information, 15-22.

37. Protestant Propaganda in Malta (1800-1830), in M.Th. XIII,  60-64.


38. Knisja u Stat,  Empire Press, vi & 44 pp.

39. It-Televiżjoni Maltija (1) - X'Ser ikun fiha, in U.S., April, 21.

40. What are Ecumenical Councils, in S.T.M., April, 29.

41. It-Televiżjoni Maltija (2) - Id-Dokumentarji, in L.I.S., May, 1.

42. It-Televiżjoni Maltija (3) - Dokumentarji ta' Interess Lokali, in L.I.S., May, 12.

43. Ecumenical Councils of the Early and the Middle Ages, in S.T.M., May, 13.

44. The Councils of Trent and of the Vatican, in S.T.M., May, 20.

45. The Second Vatican Council, in S.T.M., May, 27.

[p.24] 1963

46. Storja tal-Ktnisja, Volume II, Empire Press, 200 pp.


47. The Oath Question, in M.H. IV, 1, 14-26.

48. Book Review of Andrew P. Vella, The Tribunal of the Inquisition, Royal University of Malta, 72 pp., in M.H. IV, 1, 74-75.


Book Reviews:

49. Vincent Borg, The Seminary of Malta and the Ecclesiastical Benefices of the Maltese Islands, St Joseph Home, xiv & 57 pp., in M.H. IV, 2, 140-141.

50. Andrew P. Vella, Storja tal-Knisja tal-Lunzjata tal-Birgu, 60 pp., in Ibid., 142-143.

51. Andrew P. Vella, Malta and the Czars (1697-1802), Royal University of Malta, 79 pp., in Ibid., 143.


52. From a Suffragan to a Metropolitan See, in M.Th., XVIII, 1,   18-21.

53. Places of Worship in Valletta, in T.M., March, 28.

54. Book Review of P.P. Saydon, List of Publications by Members of the Teaching Staff of the University, University Press, 129 pp., in M.H. IV, 3, 224.


55. History of the Church in Malta, Volume I, Periods I and II, Empire Press, vi & 143 pp.

55a. Malta, in the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Washington D.C., Vol. IX, col. 118-120.

55b. Archdiocese of Malta, in Ibid., 1202-1212.


56. History of the Church in Malta, Volume II, Period III, Empire Press, vi & 143 pp.

57. Il-Bidu taċ-Ċiviltà Nisranija, Empire Press, 42 pp.

58. Mixed Marriages in Malta, in M.Th. XX, 1,   18-25.


59. A Debt that was never settled, in M.H. V, 2,    73-79.

60. Is-Sede Veskovili ta' Malta u Għawdex, L-Ewwel Taqsima, in Il-Ħuġġieġa, February Issue.

[p.25] 61. Is-Sede Veskovili ta' Malta u Għawdex, It-Tieni Taqsima, Ibid., March Issue.

62. Is-Sede Veskovili ta' Malta u Għawdex, It-Tielet Taqsima, Ibid., April Issue.

62a. L-Irtiri tal-Kleru, in Pastor, April, 19-20.

N.B.:     Wherever it is not stated otherwise, the following papers were published in the respective issues of Leħen is-Sewwa.


63. Il-Monti, January, 13.

64. L-Isptar ta' 1-Ordni, January, 17.

65. Il-Knisja ta' San Ġwann Konkatedrali, January, 31.

66. Ir-Randan ta' 50 sena ilu, February, 14.

67. L-Università (Il-Kunsill Popolari), February, 28.

68. Malta u 1-Ewwel Konċilju Vatikan, March, 14.

69. Palm, Ħarrub u Figolli, March, 23.

70. Il-Papa sejjer Sardinja. Qatt ġie xi wieħed Malta? Għad ikollna xi wieħed fostna?, April, 11.

71. Dar li tiddeffes fl-Istorja, April, 23.

72. Processjonijiet, Bandli u Kitarri, May, 2.

73. "Non Code Immunità Ecclesiastica", May, 16.

74. Il-Proċessjoni ta' Corpus, May 30.

75. Sant'Antnin sibli għarus, June, 13.

76. Ħġejjeġ, Fjakkli u Tiġrijiet, June, 27.

77. Il-Bankarelli u Jien, July, 18.

78. X'niftakar mill-Ewwel Gwerra Dinjija (1), August, 1.

79. X'niftakar mill-Ewwel Gwerra Dinjija (2), August, 15.

80. L-Id ta' San Ġwann fejn tinsab il-lum, August, 29.

81. Il-Qanpiena ta' Sant'Anġlu ddoqq tfakkarni fi storja glorjuża, September, 12.

82. San Mikiel u Malta, September, 26.

83. Ir-Rebħa ta' Lepanto - Rebħa tar-Rużarju, October, 10.

84. Laneċ u Triqat, October, 24.

85. Mil-Lewża għall-Pepprina, November, 7.

86. Inħobb il-Knisja tal-Ġiżwiti, November, 21.

87. Imnissla mingħajr tebgħa, December, 5.

88. Ninu Ninu tal-Milied, December, 25.


89. Dik kienet Triqti, January, 7.

90. Sawlu Sawlu, January, 23.


With Students of the Faculty of Theology at St Paul’s Catacombs – 1955

91.   Xema, Ħobż u Knejjes, February, 6.

92.   Il-Karnival kif niftakru jiena, February, 20.

93.   Ġie li bdilna t-triq, March, 6.

94.   Żewġ Patrijarki, Match, 20.

95.   Drawwiet oħra tal- Ġ imgħa 1-Kbira, April 3.

96.   Il-Qaddis tal-Mezzutemp, April, 24.

97.   Mejju xahar tal-Fjuri u tal-Madonna, May, 8.

98.   Wara l-Knisja tiġi l-Qorti, May 22.

99.   Il-Biblijoteka, June, 5.

100.  Sant'Jiermu u madwaru, June, 19.

101.  L-għażla tas-Sultan ta' Malta, July, 3.

102.  Le Quatorze Juilliet - Ir-Rivoluzzjoni Franciża u Malta, July 17.

103.  Sant'Injazju u d-Djar tal-Irtiri, July, 31.

104.  Għada Santa Marija, August, 14.

105.  Is-Seminarju fl-Imdina u fil-Furjana, August, 28.

106.  Tifkiriet Settembrini, September, 11.

107.  Il-mużajk tal-Magħmudija, September, 25.

108.  Ġ wanni Bernardone u Wliedu f'Malta, October, 9.

109.  Nibqgħu minn ta' Quddiem, October, 23.

110.  Strada Rjali - It-Tokk ta' Malta, (1), November, 6.

111.  Strada Rjali - It-Tokk ta' Malta, (2), November, 20.

112.  Ħaqq jew ħniena? Mewt jew ħajja?, November, 27.

113.  Strada Rjali - It-Tokk ta' Malta (3), December, 6.

114.  Il-Liċeo ta' Tfuliti - Skola, Klassijiet u Surmastrijiet, December, 18.


115.  Il-Liċeo ta' Tfuliti - Il-Logħob, l-Ikel u r-Revolver, January, 2.

116.  L-Ikbar Villa, January, 22.

117.  Il-Vitorja u Santa Katerina, February, 12.

118.  Mewt, Funerali u Vistu, February, 29.

119.  Niftakru Patrijott Kbir (George Mitrovich), March, 11.

120.  Il-Lunzjata f'Malta, March, 25.

121.  Ir-Riformatorju, April, 8.

122.  Il-muniti l-ġodda u l-Istorja ta' Malta, April, 22.

123.   Palazzo Parisio u l-Posta, May, 6.

124.  Tqarbin, Sawm u Parties, May, 20.

125.  Il-Kulleġġ ta' Flores, June, 3.

126.  Taqliba tal-għaġeb f’ġimgħa, June, 17.

127.  Quddies u Messalini, July, 1.

128.  Is-Soċjetà ta' S. Vinċens għalqet 122 sena, July, 15.

129.  Il-Fran tal-Ordni, July, 29.

[p.28] 130. Sorijiet Klarissi u Franġiskani, August, 12.

131. Manoel Vilhena, August, 26.

132. Minn Lepanto għal Ħaż-Żabbar, September, 9.

133. Ħabaq, Parilji u Kitarri, September, 9.

134. Il-Bieb tal-Bombi, October, 7.

135. Minn Rodi ġew il-Birgu, October, 21.

136. Meta lbist is-suttana jien, November, 4.

137. It-tliet teżori, November, 18.

138. Bankiera u Benefatturi, December, 2.

139. Il-Fanal tal-Vjatku, December, 16.

140. Nagħlaq is-Sena, inrodd is-Salib, December, 30.


141. Thirty Years to build a Protestant church in Malta, in M.H. VI, 2,183-191.

142. Minn San Benedittu għal San Kaloġeru, January, 13.

143. L-Ordnijiet Reliġjużi neħtieġuhom, January, 27.

144. X'naf u x'ser ngħidu fuqu (Mgr Salv. Bartoli Galea), February, 10.

145. Illum misshom is-suldati, February, 24.

146. Ma hawnx tnejn fil-mija, March, 10.

147. Il-Pesta tal-1813 u l-Madonna tan-Nofs, March, 24.

148. Deheb, Karti, Fidda u Bronż, April, 7.

149. Issa jmiss Lili!, April, 21.

150. Il-5 ta' Mejju, May, 5.

151. Id-dawra tal-Isptar (Militari ta' Ħaż-Żabbar), May, 19.

152. Il-Ġublew tas-Seklu, June, 2.

153. L-Università ta' 50 sena ilu (1), June, 16.

154. L-Università ta' 50 sena ilu (2), June, 30.

155. L-Università ta' 50 sena ilu (3), July, 14.

156. L-Università ta' 50 sena ilu (4), July, 28.

157. Tifkira tal-24 Kungress Ewkaristiku Internazzjonali - 1913, (1), July, 23.

158. Tifkira tal-24 Kungress Ewkaristiku Internazzjonali - 1913, (2), August, 4.

159. Tifkira tal-24 Kungress Ewkaristiku Internazzjonali -1913, (3), August, 18.

160. Tifkira tal-24 Kungress Ewkaristiku Internazzjonali - 1913, (4), September, 1.

161. Tifkira tal-24 Kungress Ewkaristiku Internazzjonali - 1913, (5), September, 15.

162. Tifkira tal-24 Kungress Ewkaristiku Internazzjonali - 1913, (6), September, 29.

163. Tifkira tal-24 Kungress Ewkaristiku Internazzjonali - 1913, (7), October, 13.

[p.29] 164. Tifkira tal-24 Kungress Ewkaristiku Internazzjonali - 1913, (8), October, 27.

165. Aragon u l-Pilar, November, 10.

166. Il-Berġa ta' Kastilja, November, 24.

167. Il-Knejjes tal-Kunċizzjoni, December, 8.

168. Il-Knisja ta' San Ġwann, December, 22.

169. L-Arċidjoċesi Maltija, December, 29.


170. The Archiepiscopal Archives, Malta, in M.H. VI, 3, 307-312.

171. The Laying of the foundation stone of the Co-Cathedral Church of St John, in Sc. XXXVII, 2, 53-58.

172. Nagħmlulhom Monument (Dun Mikiel Xerri u Sħabu), January, 12.

173. Id-Dwana, l-Arkitett tagħha u Jien, January, 26.

174. Il-Gifen ta' Pawlu u d-Dgħajsa ta' Pietru, February, 9.

175. L-ewwel knisja Anglikana f'Malta - Ħadet tletin sena biex tinbena, February, 23.

176. Meta kien iqum Grigal, March, 9.

177. Id-Damaxxena - Knisja u Xbiha, March, 23.

178. L-Akwedott ta' Wignacourt, April, 6.

179. Il-Kristoforu Kolombu tal-Katakombi (Antonio Bosio), April 20.

180. Il-bidu tat-Tren f'Malta, May, 4.

181. Is-Sorijiet f'Malta, July, 13.

182. Il-Kungress Provinċjali Marjan, L-Ewwel Taqsima, July, 27.

183. Il-Belt Rebbieħa, August, 10.

184. Il-Kungress Provinċjali Marjan, It-Tieni Taqsima, August, 24.

185. Kif kont nafu minn ħdejħ (Bishop Emm. Galea), September, 7.

186. Ġieħ lil min ħaqqu (Bishop Gaetano Pace Forno), September, 21.

187. Li ma ġewx il-Franċiżi, October, 5.

188. It-Tronnijiet f'San Gwann, October, 19.

189. Mur ġib il-Kavallieri (Auberge d'Italie), November, 2.

190. Konna kuntenti, November, 16.

191. Is-Sede (Senglea), November, 30.

192. Il-Palazz ta' l-Isqof (Valletta), December, 14.

193. Marċi, Vjolini u Festi, December, 28.


194. History of the Church in Malta, Volume III, Period IV, Veritas Press, 300pp.

195. Mons. Alfredo Mifsud - Kunsulier u Storjografu, January, 11

196. Monument ħaj (Herbert Ganado, Rajt Malta Tinbidel), January, 25.

[p.30] 197. San Pawl u l-"Unions", February, 3.

198. Il-Kwareżimal f San Ġwann, February, 22.

199. Rajt Baħri, March, 8.

200. Fl-ixkora tal-Posta (Bishop Carmelo Scicluna), March, 22.

201. Nixtieq kont pittur, April, 5.

202. It-Torrijiet tagħna, April, 19.

203. Is-Sur Fonz (M. Galea), May, 3.

204. Il-Knisja ta' San Ġakbu fil-Belt, May, 17.

205. Il-Konċilju Vatikan II u l-Madonna, May, 31

206. L-Arazzi ta' San Ġwann, June, 14.

207. Il-Knisja Katedrali ta' Malta, June, 27.

208. Tnisslet u Nisslet (Ħamrun), July, 12.

209. Ċentinarji Oħra (Attard & Luqa), July, 27.

210. L-Assunta, il-Mostin u l-Mosta, August, 9.

211. Straubenzee u Malta, August, 23.

212. Il-Kripta tal-Gran Mastri, September, 6.

213. Il-Forti Ricasoli u l-Palazz Bichi, September, 20.

214. Prelat Malti magħruf sewwa Ruma - Mons. Leonardo Abela, October, 4.

215. L-Oratorju ta' San Ġwann "Tabilħaqq Mużew fiċ-ċokon", October, 18.

216. L-Erwieħ ta' Wied Għammieq, November, 1.

217. L-Ospizju tal-Furjana, November, 15.

218. L-Aħwa Cotoner, November, 29.

219. Tiġu miegħi passiġġata?, December, 13.

220. Inkomplu l-passiġġata, December, 27.


221. Il-Kappillan Manche, Christus Rex Malta, 21 pp.

222. Il-Gran Mastru De Rohan, January, 10.

223. Reliġjuż, Poeta, Filosofu u Patrijott (Prof. A. Cuschieri OC), January, 24.

224. L-Irvell tal-Qassisin, February, 7.

225. Il-Manomorta, February, 21.

226. Iva l-Knisja u n-Nies xejn? (The Church and Education in Malta), March, 6.

227. X'tibdil f mitt sena, March, 13.

228. Il-Prinċep Eredi (Dwardu) f Malta, April, 3.

229. Ġib il-pinna u l-klamar, April, 17.

230. Il-Karnival fl-1876, May, 1.

231. Alla biss jaf x'qed jagħmlu (l-Istituti ta' l-Edukazzjoni), May, 15.

232. L-R.S.P.C.A. tagħlaq mitt sena, May, 29.

233. Rajt il-Kurja tinbidel (1), June, 12.

234. Rajt il-Kurja tinbidel (2), It-tlett uffiċċji ewlenin ta' dari, June, 26.

[p.31] 235. Rajt il-Kurja tinbidel (3), Uffiċċji u uffiċjali, July, 10.

236. Rajt il-Kurja tinbidel (4), Il-Kurja t'isfel, July, 24.

237. Rajt il-Kurja tinbidel (5), L-akbar tibdil, August, 7.

238. Ilium neħodkom passiġġata (Paceville), August, 21.

239. Settembru xahar ta' tifkiriet Marjani, September, 4.

240. Il-Knisja u l-għawg ta' madwarna, September, 18.

241. Il-Knisja, il-Morda u x-Xjuħ, October, 2.

242. Il-Palazzi Medjevali (Mdina), October, 16.

243. L-ewwel skola - L-ewwel għalliem (Dr Giuseppe Zammit), October, 30.

244. Tilfu Rodi u ġew Malta, November, 13.

245. X'rajt minn ħdejn il-Kjosk, November, 27.

246. Swar, Lukandi u x'naf jien, December, 11.

247. Dokument importanti (E. Poussielgue), December, 25.


248. Il-Magħmudija ta' Kristu f San Ġwann, January, 8.

249. Jissokta d-dokument importanti, January, 22.

250. Sant'Agata Patruna ta' Malta, February, 5.

251. Il-Pallju ta' l-Arċisqof, February, 19.

252. Qatt mort taraħ (il-Mużew ta' San Ġwann), March, 5.

253. 440 sena ilu (miet l-Isqof Royas), March, 19.

254. Il-Konġura ta' l-Ilsiera, April, 2.

255. Torok, Pesta jew Ġurati, April, 16.

256. Nispiċċaw bil-qubbajt u l-qassatat, April, 30.

257. Ħuwa u Jien (Achille Ferris), May, 14.

258. Malta u Kostantinopoli, May, 28.

259. Għandek wiċċ Laskri, June, 11.

260. Iżjed fuq il-Katidral, June, 25.

261. Minn La Cassiere għal La Sengle, July, 9.

262. Sa ndur mar-rjieħ, July, 23.

263. Pesta u Qaddisin, August, 7.

264. Minn tlieta saru tlettax (il-parroċċa), August, 20.

265. "Leħen is-Sewwa" jidħol fil-50 sena, September, 3.

266. Sa nagħmel bħan-naħla, September, 17.

267. Il-Patrijiet Franġiskani f'Malta, October, 1.

268. Fabio Chigi, October, 15.

269. L-Arti Sagra f'Malta, 1530-1800, October, 29.

270. Prodotti Maltin fl-1800, November, 12.

271. L-ewwel Isqof Għawdxi f'Malta, Mons. G. Pace Forno, November, 26.

272. Kif inbniet il-Belt Valletta fi żmien il-Kavallieri, December, 10.

273. Il-Fidwa ta' Malta 550 sena ilu, December, 24.


Addressing the Xirka ta’ l’Isem Imqaddes t’Alla Congress, Mqabba, as Vicar General - 1978

[p.33] 1978

274. L-Assedju ta' l-1551, January, 7.

275. Kif inbidlet il-Belt Valletta, January, 21.

276. Tibdil ieħor fil-Belt, February, 4.

277. Ix-Xirka, February, 18.

278. Inkomplu bit-tibdil fil-Belt, March, 4.

279. Ġonna u monumenti, March, 18.

280. Il-Franċiżi waqt l-Imblokk, April, 1.

281. L-Ordni u l-Lingwa Ingliza f'Malta, April, 21.

282. Ibżgħu għall-ilma, May, 12.

283. St John's Co-Cathedral - History and Consecration, paper read on the 20th June 1978 during the IV Centenary Celebrations of the Co-Cathedral's Consecration, printed posthumously in this Commemorative Booklet, 41-48.

Undated Publications

284. St John's Co-Cathedral once Conventual Church of the Order of St John - A Handy Guide, Empire Press. Three Editions, the first one printed in folder form, the other two as booklets consisting of 24 pp.

285. St John's Co-Cathedral Museum - A Handy Guide, Veritas Press, 16 pp.

286. The Historical Personality of St Paul, in……

Unpublished Writings

287. Speeches delivered at the Annual General Meeting of the Malta Historical Society, confer M.H. III, 4 (1963), 66-67 and M.H. V,4 (1971), 346-347.

288. What is History? A paper read to the members of the Malta Historical Society on the 21st February 1951, confer M.H. I, 1 (1952), 61.

289. Catacombs in Malta. Paper read as the previous one on the 2nd March 1961, confer M.H. III, 2 (1961), 22.

290. Maltese Priest-Politicians. Another similar paper, confer M.H. V, 4 (1971), 344.

291. The Council of Trent, 125 typewritten pages.

292. The Papal Sovereignty in the Middle Ages. 123 typewritten pages.

293. The Social Works of the Hospitallers. 94 typewritten pages.

294. Statutes and Customs of the Order of St John. 196 typewritten pages.

295. Church History for University Students. 400 typewritten pages.

296. Christian Archaeology - Maltese Christian tombs. 213 typewritten pages.

297. Ilsien il-Knisja. A dictionary of ecclesiastical, theological, historical, liturgical and canonical terms.

N.B.: Nos. 221 to 283 are included in P.P. Saydon, List of Publications by Members of the Teaching Staff of the University, confer No. 54 above.


Assisting together with Judge W. Harding, at Fr Joseph Zarb’s Parish Priest of Żabbar, 25th Anniversary as Parish Priest - 1968


Abela, Gio. Francesco, 36

Abela, Bishop Leonardo, 214

Aqueduct, 178

Anglican church, 141, 175

Annunciation church, 51

Annunciation feast, 120

Aquilina, Joseph, 23

Aragon, Auberge d', 165

Archdiocese of Malta, 55a, 169

Archaeology, Christian, 296;
confer Catacombs, Tombs

Archiepiscopal Archives, 170

Archives, 22,170

Ascension Day, 72

Assumption of Our Lady, 210;
confer Santa Marija, Mosta

Art, Sacred, 269

Artist, 201

Attard, 209


Bakeries of the Order, 129

Band Marches, 193

Bankers, 138

Baptism, 107

Baptism of Christ, statue at St John's, 248

Bartoli Galea, Mgr Salv, 144

Basil, 133

Bastions, 245, 246

Bell of St Angelo's Castle, 81

Benefactors, 138

Bernardone, Giovanni, 108

Benefices, ecclesiastical, 49

Bibliography, 20

Bichi, palace, 213

Bishop's palace, Valletta, 192

Blocade, French, 280

Boats, 176

Bonfires, 76

Bonnici, Giuseppe, 173

Borg, Can. Vincent, 49

Bosio, Antonio, 179

Bread, 91

Britain, 32

Bridegroom, 75

Bronze, money, 148

Building, 141, 175, 266, 272, 275, 278


Candles, 91

Carnival, 92, 230

Cononical items, 297

Carob, 69

Caruana, Bishop Francis Xavier 21

Caruana, Archbishop Dom Mauris, 1

Cassar Pullicino, Joseph, 23

Cassock, 136

Castellania, 98

Castille, Auberge de, 166

Catacombs, Christian, 146, 179, 289

Cathedral Church, 187, 207, 260

Catholic Encyclopedia, 28

Cemetery, Addolorata, 116

Centenaries, 209

Changes, 227

Cheese pies, 256

Chigi, Bishop Fabio, 268

Children's playtime, 190

Christ the King, 5

Christmas, 88

Church, 38, 73, 240, 241

Church, 91:

- Annunciation Church, Vittoriosa, 50

- Damascena, 177

-I mmaculate Conception, 167

- Jesuits, 86

- St Catherine, 117

- St James, 204

- St John, confer Conventual Church

- Ta' Ġiesu, 98

- Victory, Our Lady of, 117

Church History, 3, 27, 30, 38, 45, 57, 295

Local, 55, 56, 194

Civilisation, Christian, 57



Clares, Poor, 130

Classes, school, 114

Coaches, 133

Communion, Holy, 124

Confraternities, 197

Congress, International Eucharistic, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 163, 164

- Marian, Provincial, 182, 184

Conventual Church of St John, 65, 168, 171, 188, 198,206,215, 248, 252,283,284,285

Consecration, 283; confer Thrones

Corpus procession, 74

Cotoner Brothers, 218

Councils, Ecumenical, 40, 43

- Trent, 6, 7, 44, 291

- Vatican I, 44, 68

- Vatican II, 45, 205

Crown Prince Edward, 228

Crypt of the Grand Masters, 212

Cult, Marian, 25

Curia, Archbishop's, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237

Cuschieri, Prof. Anastasio OC, 223

Customs House, 173

Customs of the Order of St John, 281

Czars, 51


Damascena, Madonna, 177

Death, 118

Debt, 59

Dictionary, 297

Document, an important, 247, 249

Documentaries, 41, 42


Easter traditions, 69, 256

Ecclesiastical benefices, 49 terms 296

Educational, 226, 231; confer Classes, Flores College, Institutes, Library, Lyceum, Medical School, Reformatory, Schools, Seminary, Students, Teachers, Teaching Staff, Theology, University

Elderly generation, 241

Emigration, 137

English Langue, 281

Episcopal Sees of Malta and Gozo, 60, 61, 62

Eucharist, confer Congresses, Communion, Mass


Faculty of Theology, 10

Faith, 137

Fasting, 124

Feasts, 193

Female Religious, 130, 181

Fencibles, Royal Malta, 145

Ferris, Achille. 257

Figolla, 69

Flores College, 125

Floriana, 105, 217, 245, 246

Flowers, 97

Foundation-Day of the University, 23

Foundation-Stone of St John's Church, 171

Folk traditions, confer Annunciation feast, Ascension Day, Carnival, Cult, Death, Easter traditions, Feasts, Funerals, Holy Week traditions, Imnarja, Marriage, Monti, Mourning, Processions, Races, Recreation, St Gregory, St Martin, Santa Marija, Viaticum

Fortifications, 202, 245, 246; confer Buildings

Franciscan Friars, 108, 267

Sisters 130

Freedom of the Press, 27

French, in Malta, 126, 150, 187, 280

Revolution 9, 13, 102

Funerals, 118


Galea, Alfonz M., 203

Galea, Bishop Emmanuel, 185

Ganado, Dr. Herbert, 196

Gardens, 279

Ta' Ġiesu Church, 98

Gold money, 148

Gonzi, Archbishop Michael, 2

Gozo, 60, 61, 62, 106, 271

Grand Masters, 212

- Election, 101

Gregale wind, 176


Hamrun, 208

Hand of St John, 80

Historical, sites, 71

- Society, 15, 16, 17, 19, 36; confer Malta Historical Society

- terms, 297

Historiographer, 195

History, 288 and passim

Holy Name Society (Ix-Xirka), 277

Holy Week traditions, 69, 95, 149, 256

Hospital at Zabbar, 151

Hospital of the Order, 34, 64



Hospitallers, 293

Hotels, 246


Immaculate Conception, 87, 167

Immunity, Ecclesiastical, 29, 73

Imnarja, 76

Inquisition, 48

Institutes of Education, 231

Italie, Auberge d', 189


Jesuits, church, 86

- College, 8, 23

John XXIII, Pope, 33

John XXIV, 33

Jubilee Year, 152

Jurats, 255


Kingsway, 110, 111, 113

Kiosk, 245

Knights of Malta, 272; confer Order of St John


La Cassiere, Grand Master Jean Levesque de, 261

Lantern, viaticum, 139

Lacaris de Castellar, Grand Master Jean Paul, 259

"Leħen is-Sewwa". 265 and passim

Lent, 66, 198, 227

Lepanto, 83, 132

Library, Malta Public, 99

Liturgical terms, 297

Liturgy, 127 and passim

Lupi, Mgr Joseph, 35

Luqa, 209

Lyceum, 114, 115

Lawcourts, 98


Malta, 11, 25, 28, 33, 51, 55, 55a, 55b, 56, 58, 60, 61, 62, 70, 82, 102, 110, 120, 122, 161, 169, 258

Malta Historical Society, 287, 288; confer Historical Society

Maltese, History, 122;

- Islands, 49

- Products, 270

- See, 31, 60, 61, 62

Manche Fr. Carlo, Parish Priest, 221

Manoel de Vilhena, Grand Master Anton, 131

Marian Memories, 239; confer Congresses, Cult, September

Marriages, 4, 58, 133

Mary, Blessed Virgin, 11, 25, 85, 97, 104, 177, 182, 184; confer Cult, Immaculate Conception, Marian, May, Santa Marija, September

Mass, 127

May, month of, 97

Mdina, 105, 242

Medical School, 243

Medieval palaces, 242

Mellieha, 106

Metropolitan See, 52

Middle Ages, 292

Mifsud, Mgr Alfredo, 195

Missals, small, 127

Missions, 109

Mitrovich, George, 119

Mixed Marriages, 58

Money, 122, 137, 148

Monti at Valletta, 93

Monuments, 172, 279

Mortmain Law, 225

Mosta, 210

Mourning, 118

Museum of St John, 252, 285


Napoleon, 150, 247, 249

Navy, 199

Nougat, 256

Nuts, 85


Oath Question, 47

Oratory of St John, 215

Order of St John, 24, 64, 280, 294; confer Bakery, Conventual Church, Customs, Hospital, Hospitallers, Knights, Museum of St John, Oratory of St John, Rhodes, Statutes of the Order, Valletta, Vittoriosa, Victory church, various Grand Masters


Palaces; confer Bichi, Bishop, Medieval and Parisio

Palermo, Metropolitan of, 31

Pallium, Archbishop's, 251

Palm, 69

Papal sovereignty, 18, 292

Paper money, 148



Parishes, 264

Parisio palace, 123

Parties, 124

Pastoral care, 240

Patriarchs, 94

Patriot, 119, 223

Philosopher, 223

Pilar church, 165

Plague. 147. 255, 263

Playtime, 190

Poet, 223

Poor Clares, 130

Pope, 33, 70

Poppy, 85

Post Office, General, 123

Poussielgue E.,247, 249

Preachers for Lent, 198

Press; confer Freedom

Priests Politicians, 290

Priests' Revolt, 224

Processions, 72, 74

Products; confer Maltese

Protestant propaganda, 37


Races, 76

Recreation, 115

Redemption of Malta, 273

Reformatory School, 121

Reforms at the Curia; confer Curia

Religious Orders, 143

Remembrance Day, 85

Retreats for the Clergy, 62a

Retreats, Houses for, 103

Revolt; confer Priests'

Revolver, 115

Rhodes, 135, 144

Ricasoli, Fort, 213

de Rohan Polduc, Grand Master Emmanuel, 222

Roman Catholic Religion in Malta, 32

Rome, 179

Rosary, 83

Routes, 93

Royas, Bishop Martino, 253

R.S.P.C.A., 232


Sacred Art, 269

Sailors, 199

Saints, 263

- St Agatha, 250

- St Anthony, 75

- St Angelo's Bell, 81

- St Benedict, 94, 142

- St Blaise, 91

- St Calogerus, 142

- St Elmo, 100

- St Francis, 108

- St Gregory, 255, 256

- St Ignatius of Loyola, 103

- St Joseph, 94

- St Martin, 85

- St Michael, 82

- St Paul, 35, 90, 174, 197, 286

- St Peter, 174

- St Publius, 96

- St Vincent de Paule, Society of, 128

Santa Marija, 104, 210 confer: Church

Sardinia, 70

Saydon, Mgr Prof. P.P. 54

Schools, 114; confer Education

Scicluna, Bishop Carmelo, 200

Scicluna, Marquis John, 138

Sede (at Senglea), 191

Seminary, 49, 105

La Sengle, Grand Master, Claude de, 261

Senglea, 106, 191

September, month of, 106, 133, 239

Sick persons, 241

Siege, 1551, 274

Silver money, 148

Sisters, Religious, 181;
confer Franciscans, Poor Clares

Slaves, Uprising of the, 254

Sliema, 219, 220

Social work, 293

Soldiers, 145

Sovereignty, Papal, 18, 292

Souls of the Departed, 216

Spinola, 220

State, 30, 38

Statue, 147

Statutes of the Order of St John, 292

Straubenzee, Sir Charles T. Van, 211

Streets, 84, 89, 93, 100, 110, 111, 113, 262

Students, University, 295

Suffragan See, 52


Tapestries, 206



Thanksgiving, 140

Teachers, 54, 114

Teaching Staff, University, 54

Television, 39, 41, 42

Theological terms, 297

Theology, 8, 10

Thrones at St John, 188

It-Tokk, 110, 111, 113

Tombs, Christian, 296

Torches, 76

Tourism, 34

Towers, 202

Train, 180

Tram, 176

Travel, 176

Treasures, 137

Trent, Council of, 6, 7, 44, 291


Unions, 197

Università, 67

University, 10, 14, 23, 54, 153, 154, 155, 156,


Uprising; confer Slaves

Valletta, 53, 89, 93, -204, 245, 246, 262, 272, 276, 288; confer Church, Kingsway, and passim

Vatican Council I, 44 , 68; II, 45, 205

Vella, Andrew P., 48, 50, 51

Vendors, 201

Viaticum lantern, 139

Victory, Church of Our Lady of, 117

Villa, 116

Violins, 193

Vittoriosa, 50, 135, 183


Walks in Malta, 219, 220, 238, 262

War, First Great World, 78, 79

Water shortage, 282

Wied Għammieq, 216

Wignacourt, Grand Master Alof de, 178

Worship, Places of, 53


Xagħra, Gozo, 106

Xerri, Don Michele, "112


Żabbar, 106, 132, 151

Zammit, Dr Joseph, 243



With a group of friends at the Mellieħa Sanctuary - 1938


St. John’s Co-Cathedral - Valletta

Lithography - Schranz Brothers (c. 1840)



Mgr Prof. Arturo Bonnici

Paper read at St John's Co-Cathedral on the 20th June 1978 by Mgr Prof. Arthur Bonnici on the occasion of the celebration of the 4th Centenary of the Consecration of that Church.

When, in 1530, the Knights Hospitaller were vested by Emperor Charles V with the perpetual sovereignty of the Islands of Malta and Gozo, they fixed their abode at Borgo, the old maritime Capital of the Island, and used the Church of St Lawrence as their Conventual Church.[1]

Twenty-nine years later they definitely decided to stay for good in the Island. Several Knights and other prominent people, among whom Mgr Domenico Cubelles, Bishop of Malta, subscribed sums of money for the building of a Conventual Church in the city.[2]

After the Great Siege of 1565, however, Grand Master Jean de la Valette advanced the proposal of building a New City, wherein all the Auberges and the Conventual Church would be built. The City was to be named after him "Valletta". He laid the foundation stone on March 28, 1566.[3]

In November 1569, the Chapter of the Sixteen, presided over by Grand Master Pietro del Monte, La Valette's successor, decreed the building of the Grand Prior's residence and some rooms for the Chaplains of the Order, together with a closed space for the graveyard.[4]

"Amidst the din of Turkish weapons and of civil clashes within the Order", the historian Bartolomeo Dal Pozzo wrote "inflamed by his religious zeal and [p.42] piety, the Grand Master Jean l'Evesque de la Cassière started the building of that Church at his expense".[5]

It was at first decided to build it next to the Holy Infirmary, near Fort St Elmo. But, on second thought, that site was deemed unfitting, because it was out of the way (at the end of the City) and the Church bells would have disturbed the patients in the Hospital. Hence, another site was chosen - more elevated and almost in the middle of the City. The site had been formerly granted by the Order to the priests Angelino and Manoli Mataxi of Rhodes, Papasses of the Greek Community, to build their church thereon. The deed was stipulated by Notary Placido Abel on June 23, 1572.[6]

The Grand Master commissioned the Order's architect, the Maltese Gerolamo Cassar, to draw the plans of the Conventual Church. Cassar had already drawn the plans of the fortifications, of the Magisterial Palace, and the Auberges as well as the plans of several churches in the New City. The building started on November 1, 1573, and was completed on June 23, 1577.[7] Four years of hard and continuous labour.

In his earnestness to see the Church consecrated, La Cassiere would not wait for the appointment of Fra Tommaso Gargallo, who had already been presented to the Holy See for the Bishopric of Malta on September 27, 1577. He, therefore, obtained an Apostolic Brief whereby Mgr. Ludovico de Torres, Archbishop of Monreale, was delegated to perform the rite of the consecration.[8]

For this purpose he sent two galleys to carry the Archbishop and his retinue from Syracuse. That Prelate arrived in Malta on February 5, 1578 and lodged in the Magisterial Palace.[9]

The Church was solemnly consecrated on Thursday, the 20th day of the same month, with the title of "The Major Conventual and Parochial Church of the Jerosolymitan Order dedicated to St John the Baptist". It was immediately subject to the Holy See and enjoyed episcopal privileges.[10]

On this occasion of the IV Centenary Remembrance of that Solemn Rite, one would expect from me a description of that glorious event. I looked into the Histories and in the Archives of the Order, but, believe me, I found none, and, note well, in the XVI century there were no dailies or weeklies. I found only two Apostolic Briefs: the one already mentioned and another granting a Plenary Indulgence to the faithful who visited the Church on the day of the Consecration [p.43] and on its anniversary for 20 years,[11] and a very short note in Dal Pozzo's "Istoria della Religione Gerosolmitana". Hence, I dared reconstruct a bird's eye view of the new Church and the Congregation during the Consecration Mass on that memorable day.

The new Church, wholly isolated on its four sides, showed a massive and austere facade, whose central part consisted of a door flanked by a pair of columns, carrying a stone balustrated balcony surmounted by a simple frontispiece ending in an eight-pointed bronze cross. This central motif was flanked by two three-storeyed towers, on which the Order's flag was hoisted. One reached the main door by a flight of steps starting from Strada San Giorgio - now Republic Street - guarded by a stone balustrated parapet.[12]

The interior of the Church did not display a very different look from the facade. It showed a solid and austere structure consisting of a wide nave and two narrow aisles communicating with 12 semi-circular arches with unconventional capitals forming a continuous running architrave. An immense barrel-shaped vault with a slightly pointed arch directly springs from the architrave, and is divided into six bays by arched ribs punctuated with 12 oval windows.[13]

But for the 12 pilasters, which were adorned with the marble consecration crosses, in front of which a candle was lit, all the walls of the church were bare and unadorned, displaying only the beauty of the cream-coloured Malta stone. The pavement was very likely covered with limestone slabs.

The chapels in the church were still plain and unadorned. Sir Hannibal Scicluna mentions only an altar erected in the chapel of Provence over which a small picture of St Michael hung, another picture of the scourging of Christ adorning the Chapel of Germany, a third picture of St Sebastian in the chapel of Castille, later removed to that of Auvergne, where originally the first organ was installed.[14]

We are sure that the much venerated Icon of Our Lady of Philermos, carried by the Knights from Rhodes, adorned the chapel at present known as the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

On that solemn day of the consecration, the Conventual Church was packed with the faithful. In the front rows at the foot of the Sanctuary sat the Bailiffs Grand Cross, wearing their black robes with the eight-pointed cross on their breast and the "manto di punta" hanging from their left shoulder.[15] Behind them [p.44] sat the Members of the Council. Behind these, in the nave and in the two chapels on the sides of the Sanctuary, were some 300 odd Knights, the cream of European Nobility of the time, hailing from France, Spain and Portugal, Germany and Austria, Italy and England, in their black robes with the eight-pointed cross. In the next rows were the Donats with a three-arm six-pointed cross on their black habit; and, lastly, the Serjeants-at-arms in their colourful uniforms. The Jurats headed by the Captain of the Rod and the Maltese Nobility did not miss that occasion, and several people from the Old Capital and from the Harbour Area, as well as from the villages, in their local costumes, made it a point to find a vantage place in the new Church.[16]

Undoubtedly, the most striking pageantry was displayed within the Sanctuary. The flat choir-facade was dominated by the big altarpiece of the Baptism of Christ, painted by Mateo Perez d'Alecio (now in the sacristy). On both sides of the choir the twenty Conventual Chaplains together with the Chaplains of Obedience, donning a rochet over the habit, sat on wooden benches with priedieus in front of them. On stools in the middle sat the "cantores" in rochet and copes and the conventual clerics.[17]

On that memorable day, the high-altar - very likely built up in marble - was adorned with silver candle-sticks and other silver-plate brought by the Knights from Rhodes, among which the most conspicuous object was the gold monstrance adorned with precious stones containing the venerated relic of the Order's Patron Saint - the fore-arm of St John the Baptist.[18]

On the Gospel side of the Sanctuary, on an elevated red-velvet throne, beneath a red-velvet canopy, with his coat-of-arms embroidered at the back, sat Grand Master Jean de la Cassiere, Founder of the Church, donning a black velvet habit with an embroidered white eight-pointed cross, ending in a wide frilled collar and fastened on the hips with a wide black silk girdle. From his left shoulder hang the "manto di Punta" adorned with the emblems of Our Lord's Passion. Over the habit he wore a black velvet cloak with very wide sleeves ending in a long train. He was in his 75th year of age and described as "a man most devout, pious and generous, who paved his way to princedom by his feats against the enemies of the Faith. As Ruler, he was prudent, just and honest".[19]

On the Grand Master's right stood a Knight in armour holding the flag of the Religion, on the left a page with the magisterial sword.[20]

On the Epistle-side of the Sanctuary, almost beneath a wooden pulpit jutting [p.45] out of the wide pilaster, the officiating Archbishop De Torres, in pontifical robes and insignia, sat on a "cathedra", assisted by two Ministers in rochet and dalmatic. Between the Altar and the Archbishop's "cathedra" sat the Deacon and the Subdeacon in alb and dalmatic. On the other side of the Celebrant sat the Prior or the Vice-Prior in rochet, "manto di punta"[21] and cope and the master of Ceremonies in rochet holding a silver rod in his right hand.[22] The twelve-piece set of the sacred vestments worn by the chief participants on that occasion was the one wrought in gold brocade, with Grand Master Claude de la Sengle's coat-of-arms embroidered at the back of each vestment, costing 6,000 scudi in gold paid by the Council of the Order from that Grand Master's estate after his death (1557).

In a semi-circle behind the episcopal chair were four clerics wearing a cope and holding the mitre, crozier, candle and book for the function. Other clerics sat on the steps around that chair.

Describing the interior of the Conventual Church, Sir Hannibal Scicluna fairly remarks that "the solid structure and dim interior of St John's was never an ideal setting for the more conventual kind of decoration". It was Mattia Preti the Calabrese painter, who ordered numerous changes, before he started his paintings; and he succeeded in "combining architecture of a military .austerity with the splendour of ornamentation of delicate sculpture: that gilded and coloured 'intaglio' which was alone judged fit to honour God and the Order's Patron".[23]

As a matter of fact the greater part of these modifications and embellishments were carried out in the 17th century, mostly at the expense of Raphael and Nicholas Cotoner. The threshold of the main entrance was lowered, the door enlarged, the balcony window widened to give more light, pilasters and chapels were carved in diverse designs, most probably suggested by Preti, the counter pilasters were covered with old green marble. The vault was painted by the able brush of "the Calabrese Knight". The floor was artistically paved with multicoloured marble memorial slabs. A new organ was installed in two gilt wooden lofts in the choir which was also embellished with sculptured wooden stalls and the beautiful marble group representing the Baptism of Christ, work of the Italian sculptor Giuseppe Mazzuoli, a pupil of the renowned Maltese Melchiorre Gafa, together with the marble and bronze works in the pilasters flanking the group.

[p.46] The Chapels were embellished with marble altars, artistic paintings and marble and bronze monuments.[24]

At the General Council held in November 1578, it was decided that residences for the Conventual Chaplains were to be built at the sides of the new Church, at the expense of the Order's Treasury. The Prior and the Vice-Prior were to keep their auberge or residence for a seminary and college.[25] For this purpose a wing was built on the right of the Church to which an Oratory was also added for the Knights' devotional meetings. On the left another wing was added and later enlarged to serve as a Sacristy and a place for the preservation of Holy Relics.[26]

The same General Council enacted that Grand Masters could not grant Commanderies unless within five years from their election they made a donation to the Conventual Church.[27] This could be a full set of sacred vestments or Church furnishings fit for a Pontifical Mass.[28] This further enriched the Church.

Besides, on November 28, 1577, with the Chapter's consent, La Cassiere endowed the Church with his personal possessions, so that it could be officiated and served at all times, and willed that, in case of the Order's departure from Malta, the church was to be taken over and officiated by the Diocesan Clergy.[29]

For 220 years Grand Masters, Priors and Knights vied with each other to embellish that Church and its chapels with sculptures by famous artists such as Mazzuoli, Soldani Benzi, Foggini, Gagini and Pradier, and with paintings by the renowned brushes of Preti, Caravaggio, D'Aleccio, Favray.

The Conventual Church of St John was also fully endowed with gold and silver-plate and superabundantly supplied with sacred vessels and vestments, church furniture and utensils,[30] and endowed with considerable lands and legacies when, on the 12th of June 1798, the Knights reluctantly ceded the Islands to General Napoleon Bonaparte, the terror of Europe.

The next day, the General decreed that he was putting that Church at Bishop [p.47] Vincenzo Labini's disposal to serve as a Co-Cathedral.[31] On the 16th day, he ordered 15 out of the 20 Capitular Canons to officiate at that Church.[32]

While uncanonically he elevated that Church to a Co-Cathedral, as the word "concalpedaire" seems to imply, he did not feel any scruple to pillage all its gold, silverplate and precious stones, leaving only what was strictly necessary for the daily religious services; and he illegally appropriated all the revenues accruing from its legacies and lands.[33]

At the request of Bishop Labini, on August 30, Mgr. Michele di Pietro, the Apostolic Delegate in Rome during Pope Pius VI's imprisonment by the French, ratified Napoleon's uncanonical act and temporarily raised that Church to the dignity of a "Co-Cathedral of St John and St Paul", where a section of the Cathedral Chapter was to officiate. He also appointed Mgr Labini, in his capacity of Bishop of Malta, to act for one year as Delegate Apostolic for all the churches of the Jerosolymitan Order in Malta and to exercise ecclesiastical jurisdiction over each of them.[34]

When the French capitulated on the 5th September, 1800, Bishop Labini thought the time was not far when the Diocese would get back St John's possessions. But, to his great surprise, the Civil Administrators, on the instructions of Sir Alexander Ball, the British Commissioner, kept all those endowments, on the ground that the British Crown had reserved all rights formerly enjoyed by the Grand Master as Sovereign of the Island.[35]

Bishop Labini retorted that St John's Church belonged to the Grand Master as Head of a Religious Order, not as a Sovereign. And added that when the Church was elevated to a Co-Cathedral in 1798, the Holy See had appointed the Bishop Delegate Apostolic to administer the churches of the Order.[36] Besides the Founder of the Church had willed in 1578 that, in case of the Order's departure from Malta, the Church was to be officiated by the Maltese Clergy. But these arguments were of no avail.[37]

In 1812, Bishop Ferdinando Mattei again raised the issue before the Royal Commissioners. The latter, however, laid down: "as the endowments and revenues of St John's were considerable, the British Crown would not waive its right [p.48] over them."[38] This seems not a very convincing argument! The next year Governor Thomas Maitland, on the instructions of the British Government, categorically denied the Bishop's claim over them.[39]

This British Crown's claim was reasserted on the occasion when, in com­pliance with Bishop Mattei's wish, on January 27, 1816, Pope Pius VII decreed the elevation of that Church to the dignity of a Co-Cathedral with the honours and prerogatives due to a Cathedral, "ad beneplacitum S. Sedis".[40] The definitive elevation was sanctioned by Pope Pius XI on September 30, 1925.[41]

The British Government and, later on, the Maltese Government, continued to administer those "considerable" possessions and to appropriate the income they yield. Both Governments, however, have provided for the upkeep of St John's, though not for religious services thereat. It would seem that the Church has never formally withdrawn her claim to the ownership of the former possessions of St John's, but a "modus vivendi" has always been observed between the two Powers.

Such is the story of St John's, once the Major Conventual Church of the Jerosolymitan Order, and now Co-Cathedral of the Maltese Archdiocese.

I have described it to you as I imagine it was on the day of its Consecration with its bare walls and unadorned Chapels, but embellished by the presence of the Sovereign Military Order of Jerusalem, whose members, in spite of faults and defects, were generous and ready to fight and die for the Faith of Christ

Then together we have looked at the Church at the zenith of its glory, embellished with artistic paintings and sculptures, supplied with splendid vestments and liturgical furnishings, and enriched - more than it is today - with gold, silver-plate and precious stones.

But we admire and love our St John's mostly because it is the Church where Grand Masters were elected and knights received their accolade, where Maltese gathered in moments of distress to seek the mercy of God and the intercession of Our Lady. It is in this Church that Bishops and priests are ordained and people from all walks of life meet to thank God for Malta's past victories and bright days. This centuries-old church is the preferred venue of pilgrimages and religious congresses.

As an old building, St John's is a lifeless historical monument which reminds us of the past. As a temple of God - as we wish it to remain - it is a living monument that fills us with inspiration for the future.

[1]Bosio, G., Istoria della Sacra Religions et Illustre Militia di S. Giovanni Gerosolimitano, Rome 1594-1602, Part III, 89.

[2] Archives of the Order of Malta (AOM), Sacra Capitula Generalia, 288, ff. 6, 33.

[3]Bosio, G., op. cit., Part III, 45.

[4] AOM, Capitulum Generals 1569, 289, f. xli.

[5]Dal Pozzo, Bartolomeo, Historia delta S. Religione Militare di S. Giovanni Battista, delta di Malta, Venice 1703-1715, Vol. I, 72.

[6]Ibid., Vol. I, 72-73.

[7] From the inscription on the right side over the main door.

[8] AOM 95, >f. 54; 1959, f. 189.

[9]Dal Pozzo, Bart., op. cit. Vol. I, 148.

[10] AOM 1959, f. 189.

[11] Idem.

[12] From an old litograph of St John's.

[13] Scicluna, Hannibal, The Church of St John in Valletta, Rome 1955, 41-44.

[14] Ibid., 71, 79, 105, 111.

[15] The "manto di punta" was a black ecclesiastical mantle with a large white eight-pointed cross and a "stolone". or big stole (with the embroidered symbols of Our Lord's Passion) hanging from the left shoulder. It was worn by the Grand Masters and by the Elders of the Order.

[16] I do not know which places were reserved for the Jurats and the Nobles.

[17]AOM 1953, Caeremoniale passim.

[18]Ferris, Achille, Storia Ecclesiastica di Malta, Malta 1877, 349.

[19] From the inscription on his tomb in the Grand Masters' Crypt.

[20] From an old painting of St John's.

[21] Very likely, the Grand Prior, being a Prelate with episcopal insigna and privileges, did not assist the Consecrating Archbishop, but sat on his Prioral Chair on the Gospel-side of the Choir.

[22]AOM 1953, Caeremoniale, passim.

[23]Scicluna, Han., op. cit., 175.

[24]Ibid., passim.

[25]Dal Pozzo, Bart., op. cit., Vol. I, 157.

[26] Scicluna, Han., op. cit., 133 ss and 205 ss.

[27]AOM, Statuta: De Ecclesia, Tit. III.

[28] This donation was styled "gioia" or "bijou". The best two "gioias" are the Belgian Tapestries, offerred by Grand Master Perellos, and the High Altar, offered by Grand Master Carafa.

[29] On the 28th November 1577, Grand Master La Cassiere bequethed for that purpose some fields bought from Gio. Paolo Haius, the "spolium" which he inherited from Lucas Xara, Dean of the Cathedral Church, and half of the goods confiscated from the heretic Matteo Falson, assigned to him by a Papal Brief (AOM 1130, 249r). On the 20th December 1578, he was authorised by the General Council to provide for the endowment of the Church from the Treasury's Funds (Malta Notarial Archives, R 91/637, ff 246 ss; 251 ss).

[30] Scicluna, Han., op. cit., passim; Ferris, Ach., op. cit., 346,371.

[31]Archiepiscopal Archives, Malta (AAM), Correspond. XXI (1796-1801), f. 639.

[32] Hardman, W., A History of Malta. 1798-1815, London 1909, 34.

[33] Ibid., 75. The gold, silver-plate and precious stones pillaged were estimated at 420,433 scud: (= Lm35,035), indeed a most considerable sum one hundred and eighty years ago!

[34] AAM, op. cit., 396v. The Indult was prorogued for another year on the 21st August 1800 (ibid., 100r).

[35] 1812 Royal Commission Report, 126r.

[36] AAM, Correspond. XXIX (1811-1814), 20r.

[37] Confer Note 23.

[38] 1812 Royal Commission Report, ff. 125-127; Appendix F.

[39] Colonial Office, Malta 159/4, ff. 231-235.

[40] Malta National Library, Despatches 1803-1816, ff. 185-186; AAM, Correspond. XXXI (1816-1817), 193r; XXXV (1822), 398r.

[41] Archives of the Cathedral, Malta, Papal Bull "In Insulam", 30th September 1925.