[p.69]

Don Juliano Borg: Parish Priest of Naxxar, Money Lender and Landowner (1570-1610)

Paul Catania[*]

Introduction

The aim of this paper is to study the character of a priest who dominated the parish of Naxxar for a period of forty years. Through his strong personality, his very solid financial situation, and possibly also through his foreign connections, he kept the parish together till his death, when finally the bishop dismembered it and created two other separate parishes.

In one of his testimonies Don Juliano Borg said that he was born in Għargħur and when he was interrogated by Monsignor Duzzina in 1575, he stated that he was 25 years old when he had received the first four orders by 1569; eight months later he was ordained priest. Hence he must have been born in 1544.[1] His parents were Orlando and Joanna[2] who had five other offspring: Jacobo, who lived in Għargħur; Margerita, married to Mariano Borg from Għargħur; Agneza, married to Bendu Zirinzo from Birkirkara;[3] Sapienza, married to Jacobo Schembri from Naxxar, and Marietta, married to Matteo Mifsud, also from Naxxar. These last two lived in Naxxar. Marietta seems to have been his favorite sister. She was the one who looked after him. She had six children, two of whom, Domenico and Bartholomeo, were to end up as his universal heirs.[4]

Don Juliano received his first four holy orders from Bishop Cubelles (1541-66); he then received his last three orders in Sicily where he was ordained in 1570.[5] The Naxxar prebend was conferred to him directly from Rome through an Apostolic Letter dated 24 August 1569 when he was still a deacon.[6] Documentary sources [p.70] relating to his meeting with the Apostolic Delegate Monsignor Duzzina inform us that he was obliged to celebrate holy mass in the parish church every Sunday and on solemn feasts. During the week he was supposed to celebrate mass in the other churches of the parish. The parish of Naxxar then still included Mosta and Għargħur and a good number of other small churches in several other hamlets. He was also obliged to hear confessions and administer the holy sacraments. For the administration of the sacraments, but not for confessions, he had another priest to help him, Don Francesco Barbieri. Whenever he visited other churches situated outside Naxxar he was paid for relevant expenses. While declaring that he used to preach the Sunday sermon, he also admitted that he was not teaching catechism to children because none of them attended these classes. He confirmed that he had an up-to-date catechism manual from which he prepared the Sunday homily.[7] Catechism was an essential feature of resurgent Catholicism, particularly following the Council of Trent (1545-1563).[8]

Furthermore, Don Juliano declared to Monsignor Duzzina that he kept the church registers in good order and that marriage ceremonies for which he was paid 3 carlini were always held in church. The priest also declared that from the people's contributions and from the parish prebend he received enough to live comfortably.[9] Monsignor Duzzina found him well-prepared to lead the parish, since it was stated that Don Juliano was well educated and had answered satisfactorily all the questions put to him. For these reasons the said Apostolic Delegate approved of Don Juliano's management of the parish up to that point.[10] Although Don Juliano may have studied in Sicily>,[11] his education does not appear to have been very refined. His way of registering names and surnames reflects his rural origins,[12] and he appears to have been of a blunt, hard-headed character without any finesse at all. The following years were soon to bring out his real character.

Later Years

Although Don Juliano had confessed to Monsignor Duzzina that he kept the church registers in good shape, his name does not appear in any of the three registers of Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths, before 1585. However, from the handwriting it is [p.71] clear that he was the one keeping the records. Comparison with later entries in the same registers where he put in his signature confirms this. He just did not bother to put in his name in the earlier ones. His was a very rough, disorderly handwriting as if every word was written in a hurry.[13] Between October 1577 and April 1579 Don Pietro Bonello was administering the sacrament of baptism. Don Juliano had asked to be relieved of the parish for a while and left for Rome.[14] Leaving the parish was to be a regular course of events during the next 30 years. Sometime in 1578 he queried the way the parish prebend had been administered and distributed by the Archdeacon and Vicar Capitular Don Pancratius Micallef after the death of the previous parish priest Don Matteo Fava in 1565.[15] His real character was beginning to show itself Money problems were to be the dominant feature of the rest of his life.

[p.71] In the year 1581 Don Juliano found himself in deep trouble. He was accused in front of Inquisitor Monsignor Cefalotto that he had uttered heretical words. He was arrested and proceedings against him began immediately. These, however, took quite a long time, so much so that in January 1583 he wrote to Rome asking for his case to be heard there. In August of the same year the Inquisitor was instructed by Rome to hasten this case. The accusations against Don Juliano concerned a speech he had given regarding heaven and purgatory. He was also accused of having had sexual affairs with different women in Naxxar.[16] Having been presented with these accusations he was given time to defend himself. In August 1584 he insisted that these were all lies. Notwithstanding that he was tortured to force out the truth, he kept denying all accusations. Since there were serious doubts regarding his integrity he lost the trust of most of his parishioners and was even condemned to pay 100 uncie and suspended from the Naxxar parish for two years.[17]

While Don Juliano was in prison, Bishop Gargallo had placed Don Nicola Bonnici from Attard as Curate of the parish of Naxxar with all the rights of the parish and also half of the primitie.[18] When Don Juliano returned to the parish he refused to give Don Nicola his dues because, he said, he had not given him an account of what he had received while administering the parish in his absence. Don Nicola instituted a case against him at the Inquisitor's tribunal. He defended himself by presenting a financial account of the parish which showed that he had ended up [p.72] with some 40 scudi only.[19] This case was referred to Rome and was still pending in 1595, notwithstanding that the Inquisitor had decided in Don Nicola's favour way back in 1587. More trouble ensued when in 1589 Don Juliano was accused of having had, for many years, relations with women of doubtful conduct.[20] He was also denounced for requiring the payment of two untie for each marriage ceremony and of withhold baptism unless he was paid his dues.[21] No wonder there were many missing entries in the baptisms register.

In the meantime, while Don Juliano was serving his suspension from the parish, Don Andrea Bezzina, a young priest from Għargħur, was acting as vice parish priest.[22] He continued to do so during Don Juliano's absence from Malta in 1590. The parish priest had once again gone to Rome to settle some personal affairs. On his return, sometime before July 1592, he dismissed Don Andrea from his duties on the grounds that the parishioners were complaining that he had been accused of some crimes. Don Andrea's father did not take this lightly and he was heard declaring that he wanted to see Don Juliano dead. In the meantime, Don Andrea's father Dimitri, was accused by Don Juliano in front of the Inquisitor of being a Lutheran. As a consequence of all this Don Andrea left the parish of Naxxar.

In October 1591 Don Juliano appeared in front of the Inquisitor's Tribunal once again. This time he was accused of having baptised a baby who had already been baptised by a midwife. The Inquisitor accused him also of not having in his house a single image of Jesus, Mary or of any other saint. He once again ended up in the Inquisitor's prison.[23] While this case was going on another priest had substituted him in running the parish, Don Johanni Mizzi. The latter's stay at Naxxar did not last long either. His name appears in the registers from November 1591 to September 1592. Don Juliano accused him of stealing some money from his private box in the church and, more seriously, he was probably behind the accusation that he had had a relationship with a woman. This was strongly denied by the people of Naxxar who supported Don Johanni wholeheartedly, praising his excellent behaviour.[24]

[p.73] At the end of 1592 a case was opened by the Curia's administration on the behaviour of Don Juliano following his yearly quarrels with Don Giuseppe Bellie, parish priest of Birkirkara, on the occasion of the annual procession to Żejtun in March. A number of priests were called to testify and a wealth of information came out which confirms what has been recounted here already but added more spice to the pudding that Don Juliano was mixed up in. It seems that the question of precedence was not the only point of contention between the two. During Monsignor Duzzina's visit to Malta, Don Giuseppe had ended up in prison and Don Juliano had testified against him; an old grudge indeed. The said Don Giuseppe was described here as a very loquacious person who did not spare any words in his descriptions of Don Juliano.[25]

Money Matters

Back in 1575, Don Juliano had stated in front of the Apostolic Delegate that his only income was from the parish. The records show that this was more than sufficient for him to live a comfortable life, as he himself had stated. In 1583 the parish prebend yielded over 190 scudi, while the Spiritualia yielded another 45 scudi. Yet Don Juliano made sure nobody ever missed out on paying the primitie. He used to carry a notebook with a list of all heads of families when on the round.[26] If ever someone was not in a position to pay him the cotton, barley or mischiato (maslin) due, Don Juliano would lend him an amount of money equal to its value and then charge him 10% interest.[27] Contracting money out became a regular activity in his life. This activity was indeed not in accordance with the church's teachings. According to the Council of Trent's teachings, 'usurers, by their exorbitant rates of interest, plunder and destroy the poor.[28] It was later on asserted by a number of witnesses that many people from Naxxar and Birkirkara were indebted to him.[29] It is quite surprising that he was never accused officially of usury.

[p.74] Besides money lending at a profit, Don Juliano had begun perhaps an even more rewarding activity, buying property.[30] He was involved in numerous deeds buying and reselling, and renting out fields, houses and other properties.[31] This activity, although mainly based in the north, stretched from one side of the island to the other. He bought land in Qrendi, Żebbuġ, Gżira, Birkirkara, besides Għargħur, Naxxar, Mosta, Burmarrad and Mellieħa. He built for himself an empire on a small island. Don Juliano abused his position as parish priest when families were in dire needs. When a family man died leaving his wife with young children to cater for, he would immediately offer to buy the fields the husband used to work, and the poor wife would oblige, being in need of money.[32]

This commercial activity was still in full swing up to 1604 after which date it seems that he stopped for a while. He had amassed enough money, land and property as to be able to live more than a comfortable life. The following cases will prove this point. In July of 1599 Don Juliano endowed the three daughters of his sister Margerita with 100 uncie each. They were to receive this money in two equal parts over a period of two years. This meant 150 uncie each year; this money was to come from several annual repayments on money lent, rent on fields and houses. In short, he could afford to do without this regular income for a period of two years.[33] When his nephew Mario Mifsud married in 1605 he gave him a house next to his parents' which is described as having many rooms and with four fields attached to it.[34]

As has already been shown, because of his litigious character Don Juliano was involved in many court cases either at the Inquisitor's court or at the Bishop's Curia in Mdina. One such case dealt with the establishment of the new parish of Għargħur in 1598. Don Guliano opposed this vehemently and protested with the Episcopal Congregation in Rome. The bishop and the inquisitor were ordered to hold a full enquiry and report back to Rome. This is probably the most exhaustive and exciting document encountered during this research.[35] There is an endless amount of detail on the three villages of Naxxar, Mosta and Għargħur, but more importantly for this study is the information relating to Don Juliano. He was described as a poor priest when he took over the parish way back in 1570 but a rich man 30 years later: rich among the richest, quite possibly, according to some witnesses, the richest man in Malta.[36] He had amassed such wealth through his profits from money lending [p.75] activities that he had a capital of three to four thousand scudi besides the enormous amount of houses, fields, gardens and vineyards.[37] It was said that 50% of the population of the parish as well as many from Birkirkara were indebted to him.[38]

The last ten years

The last years of his life were marked by continuous litigation concerning the dismemberment of the parish. Notwithstanding the fact that the Congregation of Bishops, in its answer from Rome dated 14 November 1603 had shown its approval to the establishment of the parish of Għargħur, Inquisitor Monsignor Verallo decided to suspend the erection of the new parish till Don Juliano's death. The people of Għargħur did not take this lightly and protested for years to no avail. Similarly, in 1608, the parish of Mosta was erected, however it was officially established after Don Juliano's death since no parish priest could be appointed due to the strong opposition of Don Juliano.[39] The decree was not implemented but not withdrawn either. The reason given by the authorities was to respect his old age. But maybe this was not the whole truth. Why was this stubborn, egoistic, money making priest having it all his own way? A clue may be found in his many visits to Rome, some 8 to 9, each one lasting several months. Arguably, his contacts at the papal curia may have lent him huge weight in local affairs, a possibility that requires further investigation.

He died on 14 July 1610. A few days before, on the eighth, he had made his last will. Don Juliano declared that he was afraid of death and he was putting his faith in God and His Holy Mother Mary. He ordered to be buried in the parish church of Naxxar. A long list of masses to be celebrated for the repose of his soul follows with a clear indication that he was doing this for the remission of his sins. He instructed his two nephews and universal heirs, Domenico and Bartholomeo, to build a new church dedicated to Saint Catherine in one of his fields immediately after his death. Furthermore, 30 scudi were to be distributed to the poor on the following days: the eight day after his death, one month after his death and on the first anniversary. He also ordered that following the second day after his death, 200 masses were to be celebrated for the remission of his sins. Two days after the death of Don Juliano, Bishop Gargallo officially established the parishes of Għargħur and Mosta.

[p.76] Appendix I

Lands bought and sold by Reverend Juliano Borg as recorded in the acts of Notary Simone Galea, Register No. 278 and Andrea Albano, Register No.12.

Abbreviations: p for purchase; s for sale; G for Għargħur; N for Naxxar

Date

Purchase/Sale

Area -- Name

Seller/Purchaser

Reference

09.x.1589

p - 2 fields

Għargħur - tal chiten

Ganni Grech (G)

R278/2, f.139v

14.iii.1590

p -field

Wied id-Dis -- tal gued iddis

Blasio Tonna/Andrea Bezzina

R278/2, f.442

03.vi.1590

p - vineyard

Wied Qannotta --il lamirie

Andrea/Antonina Cauchi

R278/2, f.583

01.x.1590

p - art

-- il girne ta' buhagiar

Vincentio/Marietta Borg (G)

R278/3, f.99v

01.x.1590

p - 2 fields

Wied il-Ħabid -- tal chite

Angelo Grech (G)

R278/3, f.104

03.x.1590

p - field

Għajn Żtgżeż -- ta linsac

Joanni Zarb

R278/3, f.127v

24.x.1590

p - land

 

Dun Salvo Xerri (Mdina)

R278/3, f.196v

18.vii.1591

p -field

 

Franco/Vincentio Mifsud

R278/3, f.883v

29.vii.1591

p - 3 land

Ta' Tabirie -- ta maltemp

Domenico Paci (Żebbuġ)

R278/3, f.907v

12.viii.1591

p -field

Bieb it-Gżira -- tal cucina

Brandano Pullicino

R278/3, f.953

17.viii.1591

p -field

Il-Mekek -- tal miciheh

Domenico Bezzina

R278/3, f.975

17.viii.1591

p -field

Għargħur -- tal chehed

Francisco Grech (G)

R278/3, f.975

09.ix.1991

p -field

Madliena -- ta salibe

Francesco Mula (G)

R278/4, f.21v

09.ix.1991

p - vineyard

Madliena -- ta cirello

Francesco Sant (G)

R278/4, f.21v

23.ix.1591

p -field

Bir il-Baħar -- ta safie

Salvu/Vincenza Vella (G)

R278/4, f.83

14.x.1591

p -field

Tal-Birwaq -- tal himeri

Laurentio Micallef/others

R278/4, f.177v

18.xi.1591

p -field

Wied Qannotta --

Jacobo Sammut (N)

R278/4, f.252

14.iv.1592

p -field

Naxxar -- ta gorbilein

Andrea Sammut (N)

R278/4, f.705

23.ix.1592

p -field

 

Marcu/Margerita Borg (N)

R278/5, f.85

02.xi.1592

p -field

Santa Margerita

Matteo Galea/Julian Vella

R278/5, f.217v

08.ii.1593

p - field

Il-Magħtab -- i1 hibule

Mario Mifsud

R278/5, f.397

11.x.1593

p - 2 fields

Wied ir-Ramel -- ta san filep

Joseph Sammut

R278/6, f.108v

 

 

Is-Sgħajtar

Joseph Sammut

R278/6, f.108v

20.x.1593

p - 4 fields

Madliena -- ta gnien ixeref gfinas

Pietro Zammit

R278/6, f.140v

29.xi.1593

p - 2 fields

-- tal chiadi // il gidide

Antonio/Marian Gauci

R278/6, f.241

29.vii.1596

p -field

Naxxar -- i1 ginen

Jo Maria Mifsud

R278/8, f.747

29.vii.1596

 

ta b'ċens din l-istess għalqa

Dom./Andrea Bezzina (G)

R278/8, f.752

31.vii.1596

p - house

Ħal Dejf - house with two mandretti

Jacobo/Marietta Schembri

R278/8, f.769v

21.viii.1596

p -field

San Ġorġ-- it chahed

Domenico Mifsud

R278/8, f.804v

04.ix.1596

p -field

Tal-Gwejdi -- zahrura

Lazzaro Cauchi

R278/9, f.23

04.ix.1596

s - land

 

a person from Lia

R278/9, f. 29

11.ix.1596

p -field

Il-Magħtab -- to sireidec

Joanni Mifsud /mother(G)

R278/9, f.101

16.ix.1596

p -field

L-Għaqba -- ta iacuba

Simoin Muscat

R278/9, f.109v

02.x.1596

p -field

Budaq --il ginen ta tab/I itargie

Demetrio Portelli

R278/9, f.170

02.x.1596

p -field

L-lklin -- ta Iichilil

Joanni Buhagiar

R278/9, f.173

[p.77]

04.xi.1596

s - 2 fields

Naxxar -- ta gorbilein, ta sebha

Andreas Sammut

R278/9, f. 266

07.vii.1597

field on empheteusis

Ħal Dejf -- ta lachinech

Vincentio Portelli

R278/9, f. 701

21.vii.1597

p - water cistern

Ħal Dejf -- tal gadire

Vincentio Zarb

R278/9, f. 749

11.viii.1597

p - garden

Mellieħa -- ta angarao

Hieronimo Xuereb (Rabat)

R278/9, f. 820

10.ix.1597

p –field

Tal-Gwejdi --zahrura

Lazzaro Cauchi

R278/10, f.32

15.ix.1597

p – house/field

Naxxar

Julio Bezzina

R278/10, f.75

22.ix.1597

p –field

Qrendi -- ta paglia

Angelo Vella (Siggiewi)

R278/10, f.104v

15.x.1597

p - 2 fields

 

Andreas Sammut

R278/10, f.195v

17.xi.1597

p –field

Wardija -- it chireb

Mariano Xerri (M)

R278/10, f. 248

08.xii.1597

p - 2 fields

Ix-Xwieki -- tal hadded

Agata Zarb

R278/10, f. 308v

01.iv.1598

p –field

Madliena -- irricaje ta Zelca

Sebastian Sant (G)

R278/10, f.518

 

p – house/field

Għargħur --

Jacobo Bezzina (G)

R278/10, f.518

16.iv.1598

p – house/field

Għargħur --

Matteo Bezzina (G)

R278/10, f.620v

23.xi.1598

p –field

 

Andrea Sammut (N)

R278/11, f.276

22.iii.1599

p -territory

Żebbuġ

Domenico Pace (Żebbuġ)

R278/11, f.632

 

s - same territory

 

 

R278/11, f.632

02.vi.1599

p -territory

 

Pascal Mifsud (N)

R12/14, f.510v

13.vii.1599

p –field

Birguma -- ta tocba

Julio Borg (N)

R12/14, f.568v

19.vii.1599

p –field

-- il ginen ta garxj

Pietro Zammit (Balzan)

R278/11, f.910v

29.ix.1600

p - 2 fields

Naxxar -- ta gued homor

Bertu/Adriana Fenech

R278/13, f.83

07.v.1601

p – art

Għajn Riħana -- tal cambastu

Pancratio Gauci

R278/13, f.482v

30.viii.1601

took back fields

tal minecha , tal chiten

 

R278/13, f.725

24.ix.1601

p –field

Ħal Pisse -- ta hal pisse

Joanni/Mattia Schembri

R278/14, 1.101v

29.x.1601

p –field

Għargħur -- ta zolleca

Nicola/Domenica Bezzzina

R278/14, f.252

01.i.1602

p –field

Għajn Riħana -- il cambastu

Pancratio/Julia Gauci

R278/14, f.384

09.i.1602

p - vineyard

Ix-Xwieki -- ta leluxia

 

R278/14, f.657v

02.xii.1602

s – house

F'Ħal Dghif -

Marietta/ Joanni Ciappara

R278/15,f..318v

16.xii.1602

p –field

Wied Inċita -

 

R278/15, f.378

14.i.1603

s - donkey

 

Domenico Borg

R278/15, f.445v

 

 

 

 

 

03.ii.1603

p -field

Wied il-Għasel -- icens

Sylvster/Catherina Grech

R278/15, f.553

17.ix.1603

p –field

Il-Madliena

Joanni /Agata Zarb

R278/16 f.170v

06.10.1603

p - garden

Ħal Dgħif

Vincentio Gauci

R278/16 f.306

12.xi.1603

p –field

-- in contrata tabir it bahar

Domenico Farrugia (G)

R278/16 f.530

12.xi.1603

p –field

Għallis -- it mincheb

Sebastian Portelli

R278/16 f.533v

01.xii.1603

p –field

-- in contrata to milit

Bendo Borg (B'Kara)

R278/16 f.667

12.i.1604

p - vineyard

-- bjar samut

Zaccaria Camilleri (G)

R278/16 f.783

19.i.1604

p –field

-- in contrata tal harhar

Joanni Vassallo (B'Kara)

R278/16 f.854

19.i.1604

p –field

-- vocata ricasa izebbug

Jac. Bezzina/Bastian Sant

R278/16 f.857

30.iv.1604

p –field

-- in casalis Bchara

Joannes Agius (N)

R278/16 f.1311v

[p.78]

14.vi.1604

p–field

Il-Magħtab-

Domenico/Marietta Borg

R278/16 f.1502

11.x.1604

p – house/field(2)

-- in casali Naxaro

Paskal Sammut

R278/17, f.238

29.ix.1605

s -territory

Għajn Riħana -- tal cambastu

Pancratio Gauci

R278/18, f.482v

10.x.1605

p –field

Il-Mineka -- tabeb Sto Joann/

Paolo Schembri (G)

R278/18, f.228

18.i.1606

p – house/field

Ħ'Attard --

Tumas Grima (Attard)

R278/18, f.513

Appendix II

Loans/debts involving Reverend Juliano Borg as recorded in the acts of Notary Simone Galea, Register No 278.

Date

Loan/Debt

 

Person

Reference

01.x.1590

debt

Payment

Angelo Grech

R278/3, f.103

19.x.1591

loan

12 uncie

Damian Borg (G)

R278/4 f.164

26.iii.1592

loan

2 uncie tarí 10

Jo Simone Borg

R278/4 f.633

01.iv.1592

loan

2 uncie tarí 10

Joannes Zarb

R278/4 f.637

08.iv.1592

loan

2 uncie tarí 10

Salv/Dom Camilleri

R278/4 f.637

20.iv.1592

loan

1 uncia

Gorg Sant (G)

R278/4 f.736

29.xi.1593

loan

13 uncie tarí 10

Simone Vella (Bal)

R278/6, f.247v

19.iii.1596

loan

1 uncia tarí 10

Gorg Sant (G)

R278/8,1.489v

20.vii.1596

loan

10 uncie

Jacobo Schembri

R278/8, f.734

07.x.1596

loan

 

Andrea Zammit

R278/9, f.196

19.x.1596

loan

1 uncia

Gorg Spiteri

R278/9, f.230v

04.xi.1596

loan

15 uncie

Andrea Sammut

R278/9, f.266

08.iv.1598

loan

2 uncie

Thomas Zarb

R278/10, f.583v

16.v.1598

loan

28 tarí grani 10

Pietro Fenech

R278/10, f.667v

08.ii.1599

debt

3 uncie

Laurent Micallef

R278/11, f.519v

12.v.1599

debt

5 uncie

Hieronimo Xuereb

R278/11, f.790v

21.vi.1599

 

Payment

 

R278/11, f.842

20.ix.1599

debt

Payment

Marcu/Bart. Bonello

R278/12, f.109v

17.iv.1600

loan

19 scudi repayment

Blasio Sant (N)

R278/12, f.548

27.viii.1600

loan

repayment

Hieronimo Xuereb

R278/12, f.813v

02.i.1602

loan

uncie 16 repayment

Lazaro Cauchi

R278/14 f.394

31.vii.1602

ground rent

1 uncia tarí 6

repayment

R278/14 f.894

01.x.1603

loan

100 scudi

Cathedral Treasurer

R278/16 f. 256v

01.x.1603

loan

100 scudi

Vincentio Gauci

R278/16 f.257v

06.x.1603

loan

100 scudi repayment

Vincentio Gauci

R278/16 f.306

12.ix.1605

loan

4 uncie repayment

Marian Mifsud (B)

R278/18, f.104

26.ix.1605

loan

1 uncia tarí 22

Julio Sammut

R278/18, f.174

23.ix.1609

loan

12 uncie repayment

Dom. Xeberras (G)

R278/19, f. 85


[*]PAUL CATANIA is a London University graduate with a specialization in social and economic history. For the last 30 years he has been researching the history of his home town, Naxxar. He has written four books and well over a hundred studies on the social life of the villagers. He is the archivist at the parish archives and is presently researching social life in the late sixteenth century in the three villages of the north.

[1] G. Aquilina and S. Fiorini, Documenary Sources of Maltese History, Part IV, No 1, Visita Apostolica , Malta 2001, 216.

[2] Not. Arch. Valletta, Notary Brandano Caxaro, R175, Vol 57, fol 120.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Family details from the registers at the Naxxar Parish Archives (NPA).

[5] Aquilina and Florin( 2001, 216; also V. Borg, Melita Sacra II. The Maltese diocese during the sixteenth century, Malta 2009, 196.

[6] Aquilina and Fiorini 2001, 281, 'auctoritate Apostolica de mense Septembris 1569'; also Borg, 196.

[7] Aquilina and Fiorini 2001, 216.

[8] F. Ciappara, Society and the Inquisition in. early modern Malta, Malta 2001, 86-7.

[9] Most of this information is to be found in the report of the Apostolic visit of Mons Duzzina; see Aquilina and Fiorini. One can also refer to A. Bonnici, 'Dun Ġiljan: Kappillan tan-Naxxar', Program Festa Marija Bambina Naxxar, 1998, 69-73.

[10] Aquilina and Fiorini 2001, 281.

[11] The fact that he received the Minor Orders in Sicily> and the Major Orders also suggests clearly that he had studied abroad. See Borg, 196-7.

[12] This is evident in the Baptism, Marriage and Death registers in the Naxxar Parish Archives.

[13] When the handwriting changes to a more relaxed style it very much appears to be somebody else writing in his name. This is definitely the case when Don Andrea Bezzina was vice-curate.

[14] (A)rchivum (A)rchiepiscopale (M)elitensis, Fondo Benefici, 1577-1605, 512, quoted in Borg 2009, 11, 197.

[15] Borg 2009, 197. This he had already queried in front of Monsignor Duzzina.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Borg 2009, 197-8 where there is a full description of this case. This seminal work includes biographies of all the priests mentioned in this paper.

[18] These were paid to the parish priest every year. According to the witnesses in the case between Don Guliano and the people of Għargħur in 1599, the primitie were the dues to the Parish priest which every family paid. For normal families these were una pesa di cottone which then was worth 2 scudi and 6 tarí. while the massari, farmers ownirg farm animals paid not only the pesa di cotton but also wheat and barley.

[19] AAM, Scritture del' 500, Box 10, No 13, unpaglnated, quoted in Borg, 190.

[20] He had already been accused of this in 1581 as noted in text.

[21] These details came out also in testimonies in a case instituted in 1592 in the Bishop's curia regarding the behaviour of Don Juliano and Don Goseppe Bellie, parish priest of Birkirkara, in the annual procession at Żejtun. Don Johannes Bezzina testified that he knew that he demanded money before baptising children. He also said that he had a case at the bishop's court regarding this withholding of baptism. See (C)uria (E)piscopalis (M)elitensis, Acta Originalia 1592, Manuscript 72A, fol. 17.

[22] (A)rchivium (I)nquisitionis (M)elitensis, Civile 3, 1583-87, on 11 September 158R278/4 after the suspension from the parish of Don Juliano, Don Andrea was 'nominoto per la cuas animae ditte parrochiale'.

[23] More details cn this case are to be found in Borg 2009, 198-9.

[24] (C)uria (E)piscopalis (M)elitensis, Acta Originalia 1592 Ms 72A. From fol. 149-168. Some persons had testified of having seen a certain Germana, wife of Georgio Cassar at Don Johanni's house, others affirming that it was public knowledge that he had a concubine. However, others, among them some well-known personalities from the village, testified that they knew Don Johanni as a good priest, of honourable fame and leading an exemplary life, 'ho conosciuto Don Jo Mizzi per homo et sacerdote da bene di bona fama ... senza nessuno scandalo'.

[25] CEM AO 1592, Ms 72A gives a full account of this case from fol.1 to 36. Various individuals and a number of priests testified and gave their opinions on Don Juliano and Don Goseppe and added some information on other priests who had served in Naxxar. A certain Francesco Schembri from Naxxar who was testifying in favour of Don Juliano said that he had once heard Don Goseppe calling Don Juliano a donkey 'asino', and on another occasion he had referred to hin as 'quello porco cappellano, pig of a parish priest, fol.23.

[26] AIM, Civile Vol II. 1600-01, fol. 282, Don Nicola Bonnici testified that when he took over the parish in the absence of Don Juliano he had found a handwritten notebook wherein Don Juliano kept a list of all heads of families of the parish for the primitie. He was not the only one to assert this. Salvo Grech of Għargħur testified that Don Juliano went round from house to house with a booklet in hand when collecting the primitie, fol. 267.

[27] (N)otarial (A)rchives (V)alletta, Notary Simone Galea, R278/4 fol. 633v and fol. 637, wherein two different persons borrowed 2 uncie and 10 tareni which was the price of the cotton due to Don Juliano as primitie. A week later two other persons signed similar deeds.

[28] Retrieved from: www.catholicapologetics.info/thechurch/cathechism/TenCommandaments:seventh [07 December 2002]

[29] AIM Civile Vol II, 1600-01, fol 262, testimony of Joseph Bezzina from Għargħur and on fol 291 that of Don Joanni Mizzi.

[30] It appears from the notarial deeds that he had already begun this activity in 1589.

[31] Going through 20 volumes of deeds of Notary Simone Galea with whom Don Juliano worked regularly from 1590 onwards, I found over 80 deeds dealing with the buying of property, mainly fields, and approximately another thirty which involved the lending of money. See Appendices I and II.

[32] NAV, Not. Simone Galea, R278/9, 1596-97, fol 101; and also R278/10, 1597-98, fol 308v.

[33] NAV, Not. Simone Galea, R 278/11, 1598-99, fol. 876.

[34] NAV, Not. Simone Galea, R 278/18, 1605, fol. 83v, 'domo consistentem in pluribus stantii cum cortile, with four fields adjacent to it. This house was next to his father's house and Don Juliano's in the area known as Ħal Dgħejf in Naxxar.

[35] This has been quoted here already, see note 20. It is found in fols 223-356.

[36] Practically all the witnesses brought forward by Don Matteo Sciriha and the Għargħur procurators in this case said more or less the same words: fol. 251v: 'il ditto Don Julianos e fatto ricco anzi richissimo': 'he had become rich rather very rich'; fol. 259v: Francesco Grech 'Io intendo che Don Juliano Borg sia il piů homo ricco de Malta': 'I believe that Don Juliano is the richest man in Malta'; fol. 269: Domenico Magro 'lo intendo che fama publica nella parrochia come detto don Juliano sia homo ricco': 'it is a known fact in the parish that Don Juliano is a wealthy man.'

[37] Ibid. fol. 252.

[38] Ibid. fol. 291, testimony of Don Joanni Mizzi.

[39] Naxxar Parish Archives, copy of the decree in 'Memorla Apologetica', fol 36, Box No 100.