Pascal Buhagiar, The Assumption, Mosta Parish Church
Photo: Joseph A. Vella,
The feast of the Assumption of Our Lady has enjoyed considerable prominence in christian tradition both in the Eastern as well as in the Western church.
Before the beginning of the 5th century the East held a feast in honour of the Blessed Virgin on the 15th August. This feast was exclusively linked with her Dormition and hence, Assumption Pilgrimages to her tomb at Jerusalem , as well as the publication of a work entitled De Transitu Virginis, could have influenced the development of this feast. During the beginning of the 6th century the August feast in Palestine and Syria was definitively identified with the Assumption. Emperor Mauricius (582-602) ordered the celebration of the Assumption or Dormition feast throughout his empire. 
Recent research has proposed the possibility that this feast could have already been held at Jerusalem sometime about the 2nd and 3rd century. 
In the West, its earliest traces are found during the last decades of the 5th century, namely, in the Gelasian Sacramentary. Pope Sergius (687-701) included the Assumption among the principal feasts held in Rome. A night vigil and a morning procession formed part of this feast;  In quite recent times, namely on the 1st November 1951 , Pope Pius XII declared as a Dogma of Catholic Faith this Marian prerogative.
Devotional life in Malta has always given special prominence to this Marian worship. Its early origins however are difficult to trace. Some hold that the old cathedral church itself was originally dedicated to Our Lady,  very probably under this form of veneration.
A detailed analysis of the reports of Pastoral Visits, carried out in Malta till the end of the 18th century, brought out the presence of ninety two churches dedicated to the Assumption, many of which were rebuilt after the beginning of the 17th. century.  While most of them had been built before 1575.  It is impossible to determine when these had originally been built. Research carried out till now has already ascertained the antiquity of some of them. The medieval Santa Maria church of Birkirkara had already reached a parish status in 1402.  The Birmiftuħ church was also included in the 1436 list of ecclesiastical benefices.  A Santa Maria church, known as tal-Primat or ta' Sillatu, built within the parochial boundaries of Birkirkara, was already endowed in 1449. 
Apart from these ninety two churches, another twenty eight Assumption altars were functioning during the same period Once more, eighteen [p.7] of these had been set up before the beginning of the 17th century.  In certain instances more than one altar was erected in the same church. Thus there were five such altars at the Birkirkara old parish church complex,  two at Birmiftuħ,  four at Żebbug,  and two at Żurrieq. 
A brief survey of the topographical distribution of the Assumption churches indicates in a highly evident way the deep penetration of this Marian devotion in Maltese religious tradition. All existing parishes till the beginning of the 17th century, as well as the more important inhabited parts of the Island, had at least one Assumption church or altar. In various instances a number of such churches had even been built within the same parish boundaries. Some parishes have achieved a remarkable distinction in this regard. Thus there were twelve such churches at Siggiewi including Ħax-Xluq and Ħal Kbir,  ten at Birkirkara including Balzan, which till then still formed part of this parish,  another ten at Qormi,  five at Naxxar,  five at Żurrieq,  and Lija,  four at Żebbug  and Żejtun,  three at Attard,  Rabat,  and Vittoriosa. 
Analysing both Assumption churches and altars together, another important factor results. These were by far more predominant in the central and northern part of the island than in its southern counterpart. In fact a 2:1 ratio can easily be established in this regard. 
The popularity of the Assumption feast during the 16th century itself led Mgr. Dusina in 1575 to propose a solution to remedy somehow for the physical impossibility to have masses celebrated on the 15th August in all Assumption churches and altars throughout the Maltese diocese. The required number of priests to meet this demand was insufficient. Hence it was deemed wise to seek papal authorisation to celebrate some of these masses either on the feast's vigil or on the day immediately following its feast. 
Incidentally one of the earliest confraternities founded in Malta is also closely related to this Marian devotion. The pastoral needs of the people of Attard induced Bishop Cubelles to erect such a confraternity on the 1st December 1541 at the Assumption church within the said village. Attard had not till then attained a parish status. The members of this confraternity had to provide certain pastoral facilities needed by the Attard community. 
It is however to be admitted that a considerable number of Assumption churches and altars mentioned above fell into disuse during the first half of the 17th century. More than half of the ninety two Assumption churches continued to function till the end of the 18th century either retaining their [p.8] original dedication  or under another Marian titles.  These together amounted to fifty churches. The other forty two  ceased to be adopted for public worship, some of them even before the end of the 16th century itself.
Among the thirty two Assumption churches that managed to survive, retaining their original title, nine eventually acquired a very prominent place in the pastoral life of the diocese as they acquired a parish status,  the earliest among these was Attard. This factor undoubtedly helped to increase still further the propagation of the people's devotion towards the feast of the Assumption. (Moreover some of these parishes were deeply involved in the impetus given to church building from the end of the 16th century till the quite recent past. Some of the first examples of Maltese Renaissance architecture, exemplified in Dingli's Attard parish church and the old Santa Maria parish church of Birkirkara , belong to earliest stages of this architectural movement while Mosta's Rotunda and Mġarr's parish church are typical patterns of more recent developments within the same field.
One particular devotion which enhanced the Assumption feast was the introduction of the 'Quindicina' consisting of religious services held on the fifteen days preceding this feast. It is difficult to know precisely when this devotional practice was introduced for the first time in ( Malta . It is how-ever definitely certain that it was already in use during the second half of the 17th century. Bequests, providing for the holding of such services during the 'Quindicina' were presented to the Assumption church at Bubaqra, Żurrieq, in 1683  and at ta' Doni church, Rabat , in 1694. 
At Qrendi, a statue of Our Lady used to be brought out for public veneration on the feast of the Assumption. This custom is already recorded during the last two decades of the 17th century  and incidentally it is the first occasion when a statue of Our Lady is directly linked with the Assumption feast in Malta .
These documented developments attest the great preponderance which the Assumption devotion enjoyed 'before the beginning of the 17th century. Though a considerable number of churches and altars had ceased to function during the following two centuries, nevertheless, this factor did not influence in any way the continuation and even further propagation of this devotion among the Maltese people. The feast of "Santa Marija" remains till our own days the most popular feast in the island involving a group of distinct parishes in its celebration.
[p.9] MARIAN DEVOTIONS IN MALTA
ASSUMPTION OF OUR LADY
A. CHURCHES AND 'CHAPELS
In 1541 Bishop Domenico Cubelles founded a confraternity to care after the pastoral needs of Attard.  The church in which this confraternity had been duly functioning was elevated to a parish church status by Mgr Dusina in 1575.  It was rebuilt during the first decades of the seventeenth century and was consecrated by Bishop Alpheran de Bussan on the 7th May 1730 . 
Għadir il-Bordi hamlet till 1609 stood within the parochial boundaries of Attard.  However in 1575 its main church, dedicated to the Assumption was included with Lija's churches.  From 1609 onwards Għadir il-Bordi formed part of Lija's parish. 
In 1575 another Assumption church is also mentioned. Biagio Attard was in charge of its maintenance,  It is however no longer mentioned afterwards. There is the possibility that about 1588 it was rededicated to the Annunciation. 
This church, already functioning in Dusina's days,  by 1659  the Vicar General closed it.  Various protests were aired on that occasion,  whereupon it was re-opened to public worship.  This church was rebuilt in 1846 through the initiative of Fr Saviour Sammut. 
Another Assumption church is also mentioned in Dusina's records. Its altar piece figured however the Annunciation., 
A medieval church, already in full use as parish church in [p.10] 1402,  was rebuilt 'between 1615 and 1655, While the building of this church was in progress, Don Filippo Borg UJD endowed it with a Collegiate Chapter founded by Papal Letters in 1630. These were duly implemented in Malta five years afterwards. This church, though somewhat distant from the main inhabited area of Birkirkara, continued to function as parish church till the 1730s when it was substituted by the new St Helena baroque church.  In 1969 restoration work on the old parish church of the Assumption began. This church is deemed to be the finest example of Maltese Renaissance church architecture.
After visiting St Paul 's church, the Apostolic Visitor, Mgr Dusina, proceeded to visit two adjacent churches, one of which was dedicated to the Assumption. Since it was almost in total ruins, he decreed there and then its formal profanation. 
Tal-Ħerba Originally this old church was dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady. At that time its dimensions were somewhat small. In 1575 it was already conspicuous for its popular devotion.  Its roof consisted of three series of slabs of stones sustained on two arches.  In 1618, the description of its altar piece states that it represented Our Lady of Graces.  Though it had no endowments whatsoever many masses were celebrated throughout the year. Sometime before 1644, while retaining unmolested this small Marian shrine, another church, dedicated to the Nativity of our Lady, was built in front of its main entrance.  The old church known as ' Santa Maria tal-Ħerba' however had lost much of its importance and during the Pastoral Visit of 1673 was closed to public worship.  A few years later, it was used as a sacristy for the newly built church.  Almost one hundred years afterwards, through the initiative of Fr Michael Gatt, the procurator [p.11] of Tal-Ħerba church, this `sacristy' was demolished and a new one built on its site decorated with some of the finest rococo stone sculpture existing in Malta .  Later, in 1849, it was declared a public oratory. 
This church mentioned by Mgr Dusina in 1575,  stood somewhere between the old parish church and St Paul's church, about 172 yards from the former.  On the feast of the Assumption, as well as on Corpus Christi , a procession from the parish church used to visit this church, until 1659 when it was closed to public worship. 
Another Assumption church already mentioned in the 1575 records stood in the neighbourhoods of Tal-Ħerba,  It is referred to, later, as the Assumption of Ħal Sajet.  Dedicated to Our Lady of Graces in 1636, it was closed to public worship in 1659. 
The 1575 records includes also another Assumption church which was then already endowed for the celebration of its feast.  From 1601 onwards it is referred to as an Annunciation church known as ta' Bettu. 
No information is available after 1575 regarding another old Assumption church at Birkirkara built in a remote and almost inaccessible place. 
Ta' Sillatu or Tal-Primat This church at Gharghar, was built and endowed by Manfredo Sceberas as recorded in the acts of Not. Luca Sillato on the 20th January 1449 . Its administration passed into the hands of the Carmelite Community of Rabat. On the 8th October 1559 , Lorenzo Cassar made a bequest for the celebration of the Annunciation feast in this church.  Thenceforth it was referred to, on some occasions, as an Annunciation church.  In 1618, Bishop Cagliares closed it to public worship. 
The parish church of Dingli , dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady, traces its early origins to medieval times. The 1436 Rollo mentions the "capella sanctae Dominicae"  of Ħal Tartarni, near Dingli, which later ceased to function as parish church. In 1575 Dusina recorded the existence of the Assumption church at Dingli.  In 1636, this church consisting of five arches was deemed very old.  While a new church was still being built,  Bishop Molina on the 31st December 1678 re-erected it as an independent parish. 
Ta' Żellieqa This church was built on a site where Our Lady sometime before 1575 appeared to a girl and cured her from an illness. Mgr Dusina recorded this episode. Incidentally it is the only reference to a miraculous cure through Our Lady's intervention included in his records.  This event fomented. great devotion to this church  which was maintained during subsequent centuries. In 1608 it had four altars  and its barrel vaulted roof rested on seven arches.  Towards 1650 this church was thoroughly rebuilt. 
Ta' Bernarda In 1575, this Church was already sufficiently provided for its feast.  Damiano Cauchi rebuilt this church before [p.12] 1588.  It is known as the Bernarda because it was endowed by Bernarda Cauchi on the 10th August 1571 . This deed was recorded by Notary Angelo Mamo.  In 1653 Luca Mifsud asked permission to rebuild this church which request was granted him.  He duly carried out this work before 1659. 
Birmiftuħ village had already reached a parish status before 1436.  Its parish church was visited in 1575  and its main altar was consecrated by Bishop Thomas Gargallo on the 26th March 1591 .  Originally this church had a quadrangular shape but by 1615 it was enlarged with the addition of a transept.  During the middle of the 17th century a new parish church was built at Gudja dedicated once more to the Assumption. Thenceforth the Birmiftuħ church ceased to function as parish church but was still open to liturgical use  On Easter Monday a procession used to leave Gudja parish church and visit this old parish church. 
The new Assumption parish church at Gudja was built on the site previously .occupied by an Annunciation church known as tal-Misraħ which was demolished in 1650.  Its building took considerable time to reach completion as various difficulties hindered its progress.  Finally in 1709 the new cruciform church was ready and was consecrated by Bishop Labini on the 11th December 1785 . 
A chapel on the right hand side of the old Birmiftuħ parish church mentioned in 1575  stood near its baptismal font  in front of St Catherine's altar.  No further reference to this chapel results after 1658. 
An old church in 1575  stood abutting on another one dedicated to St Nicholas.  In 1644, the Bishop sought to find someone to look after its maintenance.  As no one turned up, this church was closed to public worship in 1658. 
An Assumption church was already built at Għaxiaq in 1511, when this village still formed part of Żejtun parish.  On attaining a parish status in 1626, this church had a quadrangular shape and its roof consisted of seven rows of slab [p.13] roofing.  Sometime before 1655, a transept was added.  Later on however between 1723 and 1760, a new baroque church was built which substituted the previous edifice. 
Ta' Cucciara The Cathedral Chapter built this church in 1535  Twenty years afterwards, Giovanni Mangion, nicknamed Cucciara, left a bequest to this church.  In November 1600, Thomas Tabone promised to rebuild it. Its altar piece then represented the Annunciation.  During the Pastoral Visit of 1659, this church was closed to public worship. 
Ta' Bieb Nino or Tal-Ħaras  In 1575 this church was dedicated to the Annunciation.  Later however, it is referred to as an Assumption church.  It was eventually closed to all form of worship in 1658.  During the middle of the 18th century plans for its rebuilding were in the offing but were shelved as it was deemed more convenient to proceed with the rebuilding of St Peter's church. 
Ta' Marin Iddona Marino Portelli, alias Iddona, from Lia, was the founder of this church. The records of Notary Angelo Bartolo, dated 25th July 1569 , give the details of its foundation.  In 1575 its building had already reached completion. Although closed to public worship in 1658,  ,  it was rebuilt almost a century afterwards, namely in 1755. Fr Saviour Micallef and his brother Fr Michael defrayed the expenses involved in its re-building. 
Tal-Belliegħia This church in 1575 was then dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady,  and continued to function till 1658 when it sustained the fate of the previous church.  In 1666, however, it was formally reopened, but thenceforth the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin was venerated as its titular. 
Another Assumption church, at Lia, included also in Dusina's
A 16th century panel painting by an unknown artist, Church of the Assumption at Għadir il-Bordi, known as Tal-Mirakli, Lija
Photo: Joseph A. Vella,
Ta' Għadir il-Bordi or Tat-Mirakli The main and principal church at Għadir il-Bordi in 1575 was also dedicated to the Assumption.  The early decades of the 17th century are already indicative of special devotion towards this church. In 1618, orders were given to provide it with a door in which a small window-opening had to be inserted so that the faithful could pay homage to Our Lady.  A new altar piece painted on canvas was ready before 1653, while the old wooden triptych remained enshrined in this same church.  Between 1662 and 1671 a new church was built.  Grand Master Nicholas Cottoner took special interest in its building. A new altar piece painted by Mattia Preti included his patron saint as well as that of his brother, Grand Master Raphael Cottoner.  In an account written during the 18th century it is stated that the parish priest of Lia in 1661 had testified that many 'miracles' had been taking place in this church.  The records of the 1679 state that it was customary to organise pilgrimages to this church whenever Malta was harassed by national calamities. This church was then considered as one of the more prominent Marian shrines of the island.  Devotion was mainly centred around the old wooden triptych which became known as ' Santa Maria delli Miraccli'.  During the 18th century it was placed as a sub titular on the main altar.  this same century, a new sacristy was built while various other ornaments were added including a silver hanging lamp presented by Grand Master Vithena. 
Ta' l-Ibwar This church had been founded by `Casale di Farruġ' before 1575.  During the 1592-93 plague its victims were buried in it.  It was customary to hold a procession from the parish church to this church on the fourth Sunday in Lent,  till 1656 when it was closed to public worship. 
Tal-Ftajjar This church, then abutting on another one dedicated to the Nativity of Our Lady, was already functioning in 1575  and was indeed an old building.  It had an apse decorated with mural paintings  and remained open to liturgical worship till 1801. 
Bishop Domenico Cubelles, during his episcopate, disallowed all public worship in this small church which stood in front of the Cathedral Church 's entrance. Its burthens in 1575 were transferred to St Scolastica Monastery. 
Ta' Donna Manna The Falzon family had endowed this church with an ecclesiastical living. Its foundress was Agata de Falzon. This foundation was registered in the records of Notary Luca Sillato on the 23rd February 1466 .  In 1634 this church was formally closed down and its site incorporated to a square adjacent to the new sacristy of the Cathedral built in 1626.  This same site was later included in the 'building of the baroque Cathedral behind the Annunciation altar. 
During the early decades of the seventeenth century, this Assumption -church stood within the estates of Agostino Cumbo,  Its origins, however, ego beyond those years. On the 27th January 1579 , Paolo Cumbo founded here an ecclesiastical living known later as tal-Berqux. Its rector, among other duties, had to celebrate in this church the Marian feasts of the Assumption, Nativity, Purification, Annunciation and Visitation. This deed was included in the records of Notary Placido Abel.  Further endowments were provided by Giulio Cumbo on the 9th December 1580 , detailed in the records of the same notary.  When Warr was erected a parish, this church was assigned as its parish church. It was demolished in the 20th century when the present parish church was built. 
The main church of Mosta , which was sufficiently big in 1575,  later described as `Ecclesia, Maiorum appellata la Madonna",  was known also as Ta ' Żiri.'  The vice parish priest of Naxxar used to say mass here every Sunday and feast day  Its first parish priest was installed in 1610 and immediately afterwards a new parish church began to be built, which reached completion a few years before 1644.  In 1686 a new altar piece was presented to this church donated lay Giacomo Chetcuti.  The people of Mosta during the last century undertook the herculean task to build Grognet's rotunda. Its foundation stone was laid in 1833 and was ready in 1860. The old parish church occupied part of the site on which the Rotunda was built.  The Assumption Madonna included in the 1686 altar piece was solemnly crowned on the 10th August 1975 .
In the 1575 records, there is [p.17] another reference to an Assumption church on the road from Mdina to Mosta.  This church, still known today as Ta' Zeifi, was re-built by Dr Gio. M. Camenzuli UJD, nicknamed Zeifi. He was authorised to carry out this work by the Vicar General Don Filippo Borg on the 5th December 1607 . Dr Camenzuli moreover, left a bequest for the maintenance of this church de-tailed in the records of Notary Ferdinando Ciappara on the 11th August 1610 . 
Another Assumption church already recorded in 1575  during the last years of the 16th century was in a ruinous state.  Damiano Bonnichi came to the rescue. He offered to rebuild it. His sister had been buried there during the 1592-93 plague.  This work was ready by 1608, but the new church was dedicated to the Visitation, known afterwards as ta' Dhib. However the painting of the Assumption was retained hanging on one of its sides. 
Il-Fuqqanija This is the name given in the 1575 records to this Assumption church, which stood abutting on another one dedicated to the Visitation of Our Lady.  The new parish church of Mqabba was built, in part, on the site previously occupied by this old church. This work was taken in hand some years before 1686. Its cupola was ready by 1699, while ten years afterwards the sacristy and its small oratory had also been completed.  This church was consecrated by Bishop Pellerano on the 20th May 1774 . 
Another similar church, in fact two old adjacent churches, one dedicated to the Assumption and the other to the Annunciation, were also recorded by Dusina in 1575.  This Assumption church was rebuilt in 1680 by Fr Francesco Agiusi  and during the 19th century was rededicated to Our Lady of Sorrows. 
In 1575 the parish priest of Naxxar was the procurator of an Assumption church which stood side by side with St Lucy's church.  From 1588 onwards this church was referred to as dedicated to the Nativity of Our Lady. 
Ħal Missilmet or Tax-Xagħtra [p.18] In 1575, popular devotion catered for the needs of this church on the outskirts of Naxxar.  In 1588, Maria Bonello provided an endowment for the celebration of its feast.  Knight Pietro de Blacas presented a new altar piece when the church was rebuilt sometime about 1653.  Thenceforth this church was commonly entitled "belle Grazie", that is, dedicated to Our Lady of Graces. However its feast continued to be celebrated on the 15th August.  The inhabitants of Naxxar and its surrounding villages held this church in high esteem and veneration. 
Tal-Magħtab Devotion towards this rural church is already evident from the 1575 records.  But a few years afterwards it was already in need of serious repairs. It was eventually rebuilt in 1649 on a new site not too far away from where the previous church originally stood.  Ten years afterwards, on account of the people's devotion towards this church, orders were given to have mass said here on all seven Marian feasts. 
Mgr Dusina decreed that the site then occupied by a small church at the entrance of the parish church was to be re-used as a cemetery.  His orders however went unheeded as this church continued to function.  In 1594 it was rededicated to the Nativity of Our Lady. 
Don Pietro Cassia decided to build an Assumption church during the last decades of the 16th century in the cemetery of the parish church.  It was commonly known as `Ta' Staino'.  In 1656, like many other small churches, it was closed to public worship. 
Tal-Blat or Tal-Wied. This old church, probably mentioned in 1575,  was indeed in a derelict state in 1601 when Agostino Galdes was appointed its procurator.  In 1634 Paoluccio Galdes bequeathed an endowment on its behalf.  Ten years afterwards, it was rebuilt,  and continues to function till nowadays.
Another Assumption church stood in the vicinity of the Nativity church. Giorgio Ciantar in 1575 was duty bound to provide for the celebration of its feast.  When in 1656 it was closed to public worship, an altar was erected in the above mentioned church as its substitute. 
Ta' Qrejqca In 1615 it is clearly recorded that this church stood near the residence of the parish [p.19] priest of Qormi,  and was al-ready in existence in 1575, and was then already sufficiently endowed for its maintenance.  Don Giacinto Cassia, son of Gio. Maria Cassia, restored this church a few years be-fore 1653.  In 1773 a group of six paintings depicting the principal events in the Virgin's life adorned the sides of the church. 
The parish priest of Qormi used to take care of another Assumption church which in 1575 was near his own residence.  In 1634 orders, proscribing all form of worship in this church, were given. 
In 1575 there was another rather small Assumption church near the old parish church itself.  When the rebuilding of the latter was taken in hand the former was demolished in 1585 and its site and stones were incorporated in the new structure. 
Santa Maria tal-Imrieħel The only mention regarding this old church in the 1575 records resulted from a reference to an ecclesiastical living whose rector at that time was Don Leonardo Abel  It is no-where included in the records of Pastoral Visits.
Tal-Ħlas This renowned church was built by the Treasurer of the Order of St John of Jerusalem , Knight Fra Christopher de Mungudrin, who also presented it with a wooden altar piece painted in 1573. At that time this Marian shrine already enjoyed consider-able popular devotion.  In 1633, this church was enlarged. People from all over ' Malta used to visit this shrine. Various votive offerings, hanging ,on its walls, attested the high esteem which it enjoyed.  A few years before 1693, a new church planned by Lorenzo Gafa was built on the site of the ,previous one.  In 1736 the old altar piece was replaced by a new one brought from Rome .  This church constantly maintained its popularity among the faithful throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.  During pregnancy, many women sought Our Lady's intercession venerated in this church to secure a happy deliverance at childbirth.
Tas-Samra or Ta' Atocha This church replaced a previous one dedicated to St Nicholas, which was destroyed by the Turks during [p.20] the Great Siege of 1565. Its neighbourhoods were even then known as Ta' Braxia.  Few years before 1615, Albano Faison of Valletta rebuilt it.  In 1634 a very old painting, a copy of the Madrid `Virgen de Atocha' had been placed in this church by Giuseppe Casauri and his wife Isabella daughter of Antonio Spinaci both of whom led a hermitic life in an adjacent house and were eventually buried in this same church after their death.  During their own lifetime this church was already attracting considerable devotion.  On the 14th January 1643 , the said Isabella founded an ecclesiastical benefice in this church as recorded in the acts of Notary Toimaso Agius on the above mentioned day.  With the insertion of the Atocha Madonna the main feast of this church was Henceforth celebrated ,on the 15th August.  In 1768 a new altar piece was provided. 
In 1575, the main church of Qrendi was dedicated to the Nativity of Our Lady.  Rebuilt by the people in 1594, it was rededicated to the Assumption.
Its feast was celebrated by the rector of an ecclesiastical benefice known as "Ta Xagħret Michallef" as required by its founder Simone Spiteri in the records of Notary Luca Gauci dated 23rd July 1594 .  When on the 18th February 1618 , Qrendi attained a parish status, this church was adopted as its first parish church.  A new parish church began to be built sometime before 1686  on a plan prepared by Lorenzo Gafŕ. Its dome and sacristy were completed between 1723 and 1729.  It is interesting to note that Qrendi had a wooden gilded statue of Our Lady as far back as 1686. On the feast of the Assumption it was brought out for the veneration of the people.  This church was consecrated on the 13th October 1782 . 
Tax-Xagħra This church, already included in the 1575 report,  was endowed for its feast in 1594 by Brini Farrugia.  Four years later, namely in 1598, its titular feast was the Annunciation  and was eventually closed to worship in 1658. 
One of the oldest churches dedicated to the Assumption could have been the one which formed part of the group of chapels existing within the cemetery around St Paul 's Grotto.  An ecclesiastical living had also been [p.21] founded in this chapel.  In Dusina's days it was thoroughly abandoned and he ordered to have it closed to public worship. But till 1594 it was still functioning. 
Ta' Doni or Ta' Duna Keen popular devotion to this church was already evident in 1575, when mass used to be celebrated here on each Saturday and feast day.  About 1644, a new altar was provided by Marietta Bonello.  The Rabat people showed particular respect towards this church.  Between 1662 and 1666, Canon Gio. Batt. Zahra rebuilt this church, incorporating it with a site previously occupied by another church dedicated to St John the Baptist.  Ca-non Antonio Famucelli, about 1685, presented this church with a marble statue of Our Lady.  Various ex-votoes testified the popular devotion which this church enjoyed throughout the 18th century. 
Santa Maria ta' Callus This rural church was situated at Wied ir . -Rum, within the Grand Master's estates. In 1636 it had ceased to function as a place of worship. 
Assunta ta' Monte Cagliares This church was built and duly endowed by Bishop Baldassare Cagliares for the benefit of farmers living in the neighbourhoods of the Bishop's estates.  He founded here an ecclesiastical living for the same purpose, as recorded in the acts of Notary A.P. Vincella di Santoro on the 27th November 1615 . 
Before 1575 the heirs of Vincenzo Manduca were already bound to provide for the feast of this church at Safi .  Near it, there was another one dedicated to the Annunciation. This ceased to function in 1658.  During the second half of the 18th century an-other Assumption church replacing both churches was built and completed by 1781. Its altar piece how-ever represented the Immaculate Conception. 
Ta' Ċwerra. This old church in Siġġiewi's main square was already very well established in 1575.  Margaret Tabone in 1621 presented it with a new altar piece.  Some years before 1740, the people of Siġġiewi and the Dominican Fathers of Vittoriosa, who were the administrators of its bequests, decided to rebuild it,  as it had been closed to worship by Bishop Alpheran in 1736.  On the feast of the Immaculate Conception, after Vespers, a procession from the parish church to this church used to be held. 
[p.22] As. 63
Ta' Ħarramia Bartolomeo Mauro built and duly endowed this church. The records of Notary Giuliano Muscat dated 17th January 1575 give the details of Mamo's bequest. Further endowments were provided on the 16th April 1592. This donation was registered by Notary Nicholas Xiberras.  As this church was closed to worship during the 1692-98 Pastoral Visit, it was duly substituted by an altar in the new parish church. 
Ta' Ġanni. Although this old church was already functioning and provided for by 1575,  later it was in dire need of repairs and in 1615 was on the point of being closed.  In 1618, it is stated that it had already suffered this fate.  It was definitively closed to all form of public worship in 1653. 
Ta' San Ġwann This church which abutted on another one dedicated to St John the Baptist, was already sufficiently endowed in 1575.  Though no worship was to be allowed in it after 1615,  it remained open till 1736. On the 14th May of that year Bishop Alpheran de Bussan definitely closed it, prohibiting any form of public worship. 
The records of the 1594 Pastoral Visit mention an Assumption church which needed immediate attention on account of its sad state.  Nearby was the Ħar-Ramia church. In 1615 Bishop Cagliares found it in ruins,  and during the following Pastoral Visit held in 1618 ordered its formal canonical desecration. 
Ta' Hal Kbir In 1575 Pietro Xara was bound to provide for the celebration of its east.  Its founder, Andrea Xara, was buried in this church,  which was known as "Santa Maria it gdida".  It was closed down during the Pastoral Visit of 1658, but was reopened on the 13th August of the following year, at the insistence of the people of Hal Kbir.  In 1737 various repairs were deemed to be essential and hence Bishop Alpheran ordered its canonical desecration.  In 1750 it was rebuilt and dedicated to Our Lady of Providence. 
Ħax-Xluq In 1575, Marco Dalli, who was the owner of a field where this church was built, looked after its needs.  Nearby there was [p.23] another church dedicated to St Agatha.  It was also referred to as Santa Maria ta' Biar Gabrun.  Its formal canonical desecration was decreed in 1658. 
Ħax-Xluq — La Grande. Near this old church, there was another one dedicated to St Nicholas.  Bartolomeo Buttigieg, on the 7th September 1513, founded here an ecclesiastical living known eventually as Ta Bajdun. Its foundation deed was recorded in the acts of Notary Consalvo Cansciur,  In 1575, its rector was cleric Antonio Falson.  Later it was called Santa Maria La Grande in contrast with a smaller one existing in the same area.  The burthens of a number of rural churches, closed down in 1658, were transferred to this church.  In 1686, the people of Ħax-Xluq insisted to have a priest attached to this church, to care after their pastoral needs. This re-quest was duly granted them by Bishop Cocco Palmieri. 
Hax-Xluq — La Piccola or Ta' Don Nardo This small church was built by Zaccharia Caruana and was originally dedicated to the Visitation of Our Lady to St Elisabeth. His brother Don Leonardo Caruana had left a bequest for the endowment of this church. Zaccharia tried to have it transferred to Siggiewi's parish church.  From 1598 onwards it was described as an Assumption church.  Known also as La Piccola to distinguish it from the previous one,  it was closed to public worship in 1658. 
Ta` Zenga or Zenħa  This church, which in 1575 stood in the estates of Mario Ciantar, almost in total ruins, was there and then closed down.  However in 1598 it was still functioning,  but its canonical desecration was renewed both in 1608 and in 1618.  Bartolomo Aquilina had provided some endowments for its maintenance on the 18th May 1571 as recorded by Notary de Abela. 
Mgr Dusina in 1575 sanctioned the definite closing down of an Assumption church at Ta' Lapsi neighbourhoods. 
Ta' Rokna Zano Azupard, a resident of Borgo, was the founder of this church,  while Domenica, wife of Gentili Azupard endowed it in 1508 and registered her deed in the records of Notary Salvatore Cansciur.  Its altar piece was painted. in 1590.  In 1774 it was substituted by another painting. 
[p.24] This church was rebuilt about 1668.  Its altar piece then represented the crowning of the Blessed Virgin, while at a lower level, the figures of St Paul and St John the Baptist were also included.  A new church surmounted with a cupola was built between 1729 and 1737. 
Olivero de Vasco, together with his wife Catherine, on the 5th October 1580 endowed a church dedicated to the Assumption with an ecclesiastical living. Their foundation deed was registered on that day in the records of Notary Nicola Antonio Vincella de Santoro.  Their residence, which stood at the back of this church,  later developed into a monastery dedicated to St Catherine and by 1644 their foundation was incorporated to this monastery.  Its church eventually was rededicated to the Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple. 
Fra Mariano Fava, a Franciscan Tertiary, built this small church in ,St Lawrence cemetery. It was already functioning in 1575  and was enlarged before 1602. In 1624 its site was given to the congregation of the Assumption which was founded at Vittoriosa some years before. Its altar was included in the new church built by this congregation. 
Fr Giuseppe Bellia (+1592), parish priest of Birkirkara, and his family were the founders of this church built also in the same cemetery. Its endowment was registered in the records of Notary Andrea Albano on the 15th December 1593.  It was, however, already built in 1575.  The Marian congregation was also given the site of this church for the building of their oratory.  A side altar in this new church substituted the Bellia chapel. 
There was another Assumption church near the same parish cemetery endowed by Tomaso Cilia on the 13th. May 1561,  as stated in the records of Notary Placido Abel. This church was included for the last time in the records of the 1627 Pastoral Visit. Incidentally both during that year, as well as in 1618, it was used as the premises were the Grammar Master of Vittoriosa gave his lessons. 
Congregation Church A Jesuit Marian congregation was established at Vittoriosa in 1604 through the initiative of Fr Sebastian Salelles S.J. A papal brief registered in the Curia Archives on the 20th August 1614 approved the erection of this congregation.  The [p.25] Vicar General, Fr Filippo Borg UJD, on the 24th April 1624, authorised this congregation to build its own oratory on the site occupied by two Assumption churches.  The said congregation used to celebrate here both the Assumption as well as the Immaculate Conception feasts. It also held the forty hours adoration.  The Jesuits of Valletta were always in charge of this congregation. 
Ta' Galtier This church, which stood on the road leading to Mdina, was founded and endowed by Giacomo Agius before 1575.  Its name is derived from the nickname of Pietro Agius, a relative of the foander.  In 1667, this church was canonically desecrated. 
Ta' Mania A small and old church near which another one dedicated to St Roque was built after the plague of 1592-93. It was rebuilt between 1598 and 1608 when Giovanni Pisani endowed it.  Though it was closed to liturgical worship in 1658,  it continued to function, as Cleric Saviour Balzan promised to look after its needs.  In fact, on the 17th ,May 1685 he himself bequeathed an endowment for its upkeep. Its deed was recorded by Notary Antonio Pullicino.  This church had just then been rebuilt on a plan prepared by Lorenzo Gafŕ.  Its altar piece was painted by Paschal Buhagiar. 
Ta' Ħal Muxi In 1575, popular pious devotion looked after the needs of this church.  In 1608, its structure was too old and its closing down was imminent.  Some repairs must have been carried out because it continued to function.  Angelo D'Amato, sometime before 1658, made an endowment for the celebration of the seven feasts of Our Lady in this church,  and a few years later presented a new altar piece.  By 1723, a new church had been built replacing the old one. 
Ta' Godor In 1575, Angelo Attard, the owner of the field in which this church was situated, looked after its needs.  In 1615 it was falling in ruins and were it not for the interventions of Simon Attard, who offered to rebuild it on another site, it would have been totally obliterated.  This work was completed before 1621, but though its feast continued to be held on the 15th August, its titular thence-forth was Our Lady of Graces. 
Ħal Gwann — Tal-Ħniena In 1575, popular devotion maintained this church. 
Although in 1618, Bishop Cagliares prohibited its use for public worship,  in 1621 he, how-ever, allowed to have it reopened again. On this occasion, it was referred to as Tal-Ħniena.  When in 1659, it was once more canonically desecrated the same title, in Latin, namely 'Pietatis', was adopted. 
Ħal Bisbut Tal-Ħlas This old church was included in the 1575 report and depended on the people's alms for its sustenance.  On the 31st July 1578, Thomas Cassar came to its rescue providing a 'bequest recorded by Notary Enrico Zarb.  Later it was known as 'Santa Maria Liberationis' or Tal-Ħlas, however its feast continued to be celebrated on the 15th August.  During the 18th century it was used as a burial site for babies. 
Ta' Ħal Tmin This church, which was built in 1597,  was duly endowed by Leonardo Tabone who on the 12th September 1628 founded therein an ecclesiastical living as detailed by Notary Andrea Alban in his records. 
After St Gregory's, this Assumption church was deemed the more prominent church at Żejtun. In fact, from 1588 onwards it was used as the village's parish church for many years  being the largest church available between Casal Pasqualino and Ħal Bisbut. By 1686 a small choir was added to it, the expenses being defrayed by the Prior of the Order of St John, Fra Gio. Batt. Ansidei.  In 1709 it was rededicated to the Saviour. 
Tal-Ħakba Giacomo Camilleri in 1575 looked after the daily needs of this church which stood quite close to the parish church.  Although well frequented by the people, its structure was very old and hence Bishop Cagliares closed it in 1618.  However, in 1634 it was once more opened for public worship  till 1658 when it was definitely proscribed. 
Bubaqra This rural church abutted on another one dedicated to St Sebastian and by 1575 was already sufficiently endowed for its upkeep.  St Sebastian's church in 1658 was adopted as its sacristy.  In 1676 a new church was built on the site of the old one, Pietro Azzopardi, on the 2nd May 1683, bequeathed some property whereby masses were to be said during the `Quindicina' preceding the Assumption. 
There was another Assumption church somewhere at Ħal Ħlantum which was formally closed down in 1618. 
An old church on the islet of Filfla dedicated to the Assumption was also endowed with an ecclesiastical living. In 1575, though its burthens were transferred to the church of St Leo at Bubaqra, its rector, Don Nicola Burló, was ordered to look after the needs of Ta' Filfla church, lest the people's devotion would slacken. 
B. ALTARS AND FEASTS
Dionisio Tonna founded this altar in the parish church before 1575,  while 'Giovanni Seychel provided its endowments in 1601.  When the new Assumption parish church was built, it was placed in the north transept near the Rosary altar.  In 1687 this altar was granted to the Sodality of the Dying and hence its titular was changed, though the feast of the Assumption continued to be celebrated thereon. 
This altar was founded by the family of Julian Micallef in the old medieval parish church. His heir, Marius Micallef, in 1575 provided for its upkeep.  After 1618  it was no longer mentioned nor was it allocated any particular site in the new church.
On the southern side of the same medieval parish church there was a small Assumption chapel. In 1588 it was decided to demolish it, but Antonio Gilestri came to its rescue.  Later the Gilestri family was given one of the side altars in the 1main aisle of the new parish church as the site of the said chapel was needed for its building. 
Angelo Borg founded another altar in the same parish church. His nephew Giovanni was in charge of it in 1575.  When the new church was built, it was transferred to its southern transept near St Helen's altar,  where it remained till 1671. During that year it was rededicated to the Immaculate Conception. 
Simon Borg, during the bishopric of Fra Domenico Cubelles, erected another altar on the left hand side of the main one in the old medieval parish church.  When the new church was built, it was incorporated to its main altar. 
Martin Tabone founded an altar at the parish church on the 13th May 1615. This deed was recorded by Notary Pietro Zammit.  In 1715, this altar was transferred to the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at Vittoriosa. 
Philip Grima in 1575 was in charge of this altar in the old parish church at Birmiftuħ.  He even provided an endowment for the celebration of its feast.  Its location was near a side door on the right hand side of this ,church.  It continued to function till 1673. 
This altar in the parish church substituted an Assumption church, known as Ta' Pinu, which was closed to public worship in 1658.  At first the altar piece of this church was placed on an altar dedicated to St Cosmas and Damian  but after a short while a new Assumption altar piece was painted, which however included also these two saints. 
This altar already existed in 1575 in the church which eventually became the parish church of the village.  Agatha Mangion, widow of Mariano and mother of Don Nicola ,Mangion UJD, on the 21st September 1628 provided an endowment for this altar as recorded in the acts of Notary Mario Attard.  In 1802 this altar was re-dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows. 
James Vella founded this altar before 1615 in the old parish church of Mosta.  It was demolished when the building of the new 17th century parish church [p.29] was taken in hand,  and was eventually incorporated to its main altar. 
The founder of this altar was Pasquale Zammit as recorded in the acts of Notary Bernardo Azzopardi on the 15th November 1609.  When the new parish church was built, it was incorporated to the altar dedicated to the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin. 
In 1575 this altar stood on the right hand side of the main altar.  In 1588, the confraternity of the Sacrament founded by Dusina was established thereon.  Before the end of the 16th century it was re-dedicated to the Nativity of Our Lady. 
An altar was erected at the church of the Nativity to substitute an Assumption church (As. 46) which was demolished after 1656.  This was placed on the left hand side of this church, near St Paul's altar. 
Sometime about 1634, Mariano Haxisa and his wife Catherine founded this altar in the parish church.  Two years later, however, Our Lady of Trapani was venerated on this same altar.  In 1653 it was definitively rededicated to St Pancras and St Isidore. 
Lawrence Falzon founded this altar at Senglea's parish church and his son cleric Gio Carlo Falzon provided its endowment sometime about 1602.  Bishop Baldassare Cagliares, through a rescript dated 10th February 1629, granted this altar to the care and attention of Daniel Audibert.  When the new church was being built, it was demolished  and was later incorporated to the altar of St Anne and St Charles Borromeo. 
This side altar in the main aisle of the new parish church was founded sometime about 1693 in lieu of the Ħar-Ramia church
In St Lawrence parish church there was an Assumption altar in [p.30] 1575. Its founders were the members of the Burló family. 
Bishop Cannaves on the 6th August 1715 decreed the transfer of an altar founded by the Tabone family at Cospicua's parish church to the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  This transfer was duly carried out. 
Attributed to Rocco Buhagiar, The
Assumption. Ta' Rokna Church, Tarxien.
Cfr. No As. 74
Photo: Joseph A. Vella,
In 1575 Mariano Mangion, a surgeon, used to celebrate the feast of the Assumption on an altar in the old parish church.  This altar had been founded by his ancestors. He included also in its altar piece the figures of St Gosmas and St Damian and provided a bequest for its maintenance.  It was demolished when the new church was built and its burthens were transferred to its main altar. 
Domenico Paci provided for the feast of an Assumption altar which stood in St Sebastian's chapel with-in the old parish church.  In 1618 orders were given to have it demolished as it was a hindrance to the main altar.  When the new parish church was ready, the Pace family continued to celebrate the Assumption feast on the Rosary altar.  Later however a new Assumption altar was erected in this same new parish church which was meant to substitute two altars which existed previously in the old parish church, one dedicated to the Assumption just mentioned and an-other to St Venera. 
Bartolomeo Buttigieg founded this altar in the old parish church.
The main altar of Tal-Ħniena church (As. 82) was transferred to Ħal Bisbut's Assumption church (As. 83) when the former was formally closed in 1659.  But in 1679 this altar was demolished when Tal-Ħniena church was reopened to public worship. 
[p.32] MALTA – THE ASSUMPTION
The information presented covers the subject till the end
of the 18th century.
Every number, shown next to a locality, indicates the presence of a church, an altar or a feast in that area.
These numbers are references to more details given in the respective section of the text.
ARABIC NUMBERS, e.g. 5, indicate churches that retained their titular and remained open to worship till the end of the 18th century.
UNDERLINED NUMBERS, indicate items that had ceased to be in liturgical use, or that had changed their titular.
 Mario Righetti, Storia Liturgica, II, Milan 1946, 247-254
 Bellarmino Bagatti OFM, "Le Origini della 'Tomba della Vergine' a Gerusalemme" in Rivista Biblica II (1963), 38-52.
 F.G. Holweck, Fasti Mariani, Freiburg im Breislau 1892, 170-173; A.I. Schuster, Liber Sacramentorum VIII, Turin 1932, 30-41, 180-186; Emilio Campana, Maria nel Culto Cattolico I, Turin 1933, 350-382.
 Gio. Francesco Abela, Della Descrittione di Malta, Malta 1647, 331.
 Regarding churches rebuilt during 17th century confer Nos As. 1, 7, 9, 15, 16, 17, 19, 22, 26, 29, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 42, 43, 46, 48, 53, 54, 55, 58, 60, 61, 62, 68, 74, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 87, 89.
 The only churches included here that were built after 1575 are the following: Nos As. 60, 75, 79 and 86.
 Ant. Luttrell, "The 'Cappella' of Birkirkara in 1402" in Melita Historica VIII, No 2 (1981), 156-160.
 Gio. Francesco Abela, op. cit., 515.
 Confer No As. 14.
 Confer Nos As. I-VI, VIII-X, XII, XV, XX, XXII-XXV, XXVII, XXVIII.
 Confer Nos As. II-VI.
 Confer Nos As. IX, X.
 Confer Nos As. XXII-XXV.
 Confer Nos As. XXVII, XXVIII.
 Confer Nos As. 62-73.
 Confer Nos As. 5-14.
 Confer Nos As. 45-54.
 Confer Nos As. 40-44.
 Confer Nos As. 88-92.
 Confer Nos As. 25-29.
 Confer Nos As. 80-83.
 Confer Nos As. 84-89.
 Confer Nos As. 1, 2, 4.
 Confer Nos As. 57-59.
 Confer Nos As. 76-78.
 The line of demarcation between these two parts runs from Valletta to Qormi and proceeds to Siġġiewi.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 245v.
 CEM, Acta Curiae 1541-44, 64v-66r.
 Confer Nos As. 1, 5, 7, 15-19, 22, 26, 34-38, 43, 46, 48, 53-55, 58, 60-62, 70, 74, 79, 81, 82, 86, 89.
 Confer Nos As. 3, 4, 9, 12, 27, 29, 39, 41, 42, 44, 52, 68, 75, 83-85, 87, 91.
 Confer Nos As. 2, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 20, 21, 23-25, 28, 30-33, 40, 45, 47, 49, 50, 51, 56, 57, 59, 63-67, 69, 71, 73, 76-78, 80, 88, 90, 92.
 Confer Nos As. 1, 7, 15, 18/19, 22, 34, 35, 38, 55.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 199v-200r.
 AAM, VP 1699-1700 ab Alia, 21v; VP 1781, 25v.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 216r.
 CEM, Acta Curiae 1541 -44, 64v-66r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 37r-38v.
 In 1615 there is no reference so far to the building of this church (AAM, VP 1615-16, 222r-225r). In 1618, this building was in progress (AAM, VP 1618, 28r: "adhuc construitur"). In 1634 it was ready (AAM, VP 1634, 132r-135r). Incidentally, Thomas Dingli was one of the Procurators of the church (AAM, VP 1635-37B, 174r). Confer also Achille Ferres, Descrizione Storica delle Chiese di Malta, Malta 1866 425-527;C Mallia Ħ'Attard — 400 Sena Parroċċa, 1575-1975, Malta s.d.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 45r-v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 145v-146r.
 AAM, VP 1588 -1602, 346r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 45r-v.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 247r-v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 45r.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 33v-34v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 47v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 369v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 149r.
 AAM, VP 1662-63, 236r-v; VP 1671-74, 359r.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 518v. Confer also Dun Gwann Dimech, "Il Knejjes iż-Żgħar ta' Ħal Balzan: Santa Marija" in Ħal Balzan 10 (1973), 1; 11 (1973), 1; 1-2; 12 (1973), 1-2.
 AAM, VP 1849, 130v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 47r.
 Ant. Luttrell, "The `Cappella' of Birkirkara in 1402" in Melita Historica VIII, No. 2 (1981), 156-160.
 E.B. Vella, Birkirkara u l-Kolleġġjata tagħa, Malta 1934, 88 ff Vinc. Borg, "Tagħrif ġdid dwar il-Bini tal-Knisja l-Qadima" in Birkirkara Tqim lil Patruna Tagħha Sant'Elena 1976, p.n.n.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 42v.
 Ibid., 44r-v.
 AAM, VP 1635-37B, 219v.
 AAM, VP 1618, 42r.
 AAM, VP 1644-46, 212v; VP 1656 59, 164v-165r. Confer No N 2.
 AAM, VP 1671-74, 242v-243r.
 AAM, VP 1678-80, 388v-389r.
 AAM, VP 1781, 267v.
 AAM, VP 1848-49, 183r-v.
 AAM, VA 1757C, 43r.
 AAM, VP 1714-20, 581r, 620r.
 Idem and VP 1588-1602, 360r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 44v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 362r.
 AAM, VP 1635-37B, 219v-220r; VP 1656-59, 165r. Confer also No Gr. 2.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 44v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 360v. Confer also No An. 5.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 44v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 363v; VP 1714-20, 620v-621r.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 363r.
 AAM, VP 1618, 44r.
 Gio. Francesco Abela, op. cit., 315.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 27v.
 AAM, VP 1635-37B, 43v-44r.
 AAM, VP 1671-74, 211r-v.
 AAM, VP 1678-80, 81v-87r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 32r-v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 266r.
 AAM, VP 1665-66, 465v-466v; VP 1758-60 II, 246v-347r.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 360r.
 AAM, VP 1653-54, 123r. Confer also A. Ferres, op. cit., 480.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 31v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 62r.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 464r; VP 1758 60 II, 248r-v.
 AAM, VP 1653-54, 121v.
 AAM. VP 1656-59, 198v.
 Gio. Francesco Abela, op. cit., 315.
 AAM, VA 1575C. 81r-v.
 AAM, VP 1665-66. 200v.
 AAM, VP 1615-16. 157v; VP 1618, 109r; VP 1635-37B, 96r-v/98r.
 AAM, VP 1692-98, 163v; VP 1699 1700 ab Alia, 177v; VP 1781, 544r.
 AAM. VP 1758-60 II. 431r; M. Buhagiar, "Santa Marija ta' Bir Miftuħ" in Sunday Times of Malta . 25/7/1965; D. Cutajar, "The Old Parish Church of Birmiftuħ" in The Times, 8/4/1980; A. Ferres, op. cit., 353-354.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 68r.
 AAM, VP 1692-98, 167r-v.
 AAM, VP 1708-10, 410v; VP 1785. 139v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 82r-v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 309r.
 AAM, VP 1635-37B, 99r.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 67r-v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 91v-92r.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 161v-162r.
 AAM, VP 1644-46, 155r-v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 68v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 77r; Gio. F. Abela, op. cit., 383-384.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 190v; VP 1621-31, 179r; on the 8th April 1626, Bishop Cagliares issued the edicts for the examination to be held on the 22nd of the same month whereby the first parish priest of Għaxiaq was to be chosen (VP 1656-59, 208r).
 ACM, Ms. 180, p. 293.
 AAM, VP 1722-23, 494v; VP 1758-60 II, 443r-v.
 ACM, Ms. 180, p. 296.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 278v-279r; VP 1615-16, 191r-v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 279v-280r.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 210r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 91r.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 109v.
 AAM, VP 1665-66, 132v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 50v-51r; VP 1588- 1602, 353v.
 AAM, VP 1635-37B, 169r-v; VP 1644-46, 204v; VP 1653-54, 155v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 155v.
 AAM, VP 1758-60 I, 568v-569r.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 353r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 49v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 154v.
 AAM, VP 1758-60 I, 570r-v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 50v; VP 1588 1602, 354v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59. 153r.
 AAM, VP 1665-66, 125r-v. Confer also No N 12.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 49v.
 AAM, VP 1618, 22r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 52r-v.
 AAM, VP 1618, 23v-24r: "per quam devoti possint ad Beatam Virginem orare".
 AAM, VP 1653-54, 156v.
 AAM, VP 1665-66, 127r; VP 1671 74, 368r. The Vicar Capitular, Can. D. Attard, who hailed from Lia, authorised the rebuilding of this church (AAM, VP 1665-66, 139r).
 AAM, VP 1758-60 I, 548r.
 Ibid., 544r.
 AAM, VP 1678-80. 546r.
 AAM, VP 1758-60 I, 548r-v.
 Ibid., 544r. Confer also: Rafel Bonnici Call, 11-Madonna tal- Mirakli, Malta 1964; (Arnaldo Fabriani), "La Chiesa dei Miracoli" in Aldo Farini, Fiabe, Tradizioni e Leggende Maltesi II, Malta 1936, 295-298.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 86r.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 310r-v.
 AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 532v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 76v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 86v.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 244v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 76r.
 AAM, VP 1801, 69v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 25r.
 Ibid. 17v-18r; VP 1575 (Royal), 34v-35r; Reveli 1615, 75v.
 AAM, VP 1634, 28r.
 AAM, VP 1758-60 I, 335r-v.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 108r.
 AAM, Reveli 1615, 86v, 200v; Benefizi, Vol. 1645-46, No 8.
 AAM, Reveli 1615, 56r-58r, 206r-v.
 Mġarr was erected an independent parish on the 11th October 1898 (AAM, Parroċċi IX, 236r).
 AAM, VA 1575C, 34v-35r.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 63v.
 Ibid.. 258v-259r.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 154r-v.
 AAM, VP 1635-37B, 174v-175r; VP 1644-46, 71v.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 474r.
 E.B. Vella, Storja tal-Mosta bil- Knisja Tagħha, Malta 1930, 106-188.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 27r.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 123v-124r; VP 1744-51, 168v-169r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 36v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 64r.
 Ibid., 261v.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 356v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 89r; VP 1688-1602. 326v-327r.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 240r; VP 1699‑1700 ab Alia, 229r; VP 1708-10. 196r.
 AAM, VP 1771-74/77, 628r-v. Confer also: A. Ferres, op. cit., 451‑455.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 28v-29r.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 242v-243r.
 A. Ferres, op. cit., 458-459.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 33r.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 190v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 33r.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 25v, 256r; VP 1579-1608, 152r. According to Ferres, Leone Ebejer, on the 19th December 1486, bequeathed a donation to this church, then dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin (A. Ferres, op. cit., 340).
 AAM, VA 1575C, 35v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 63r.
 AAM, VP 1653-54, 133v; VP 1656-59, 190v-191r. Ferres states that this church was rebuilt in 1690 (A. Ferres, op. cit., 341).
 AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 225v; VP 1781, 219r-v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 190v-191r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 35v.
 AAM, VP 1653-54, 136v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 191r-v.
 AAM, VA 15750, 29r-v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 23v.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 145r-v. Confer also No N 24.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 42v-43r.
 AAM, VP 1653-54, 188r.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 52r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 72v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 338r.
 AAM, VP 1634. 56r; VP 1644-46, 80r-81v; VP 1671-74, 249r.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 337r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 79v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 50r.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 151v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 73v; VP 1588-1602, 43v.
 AAM, VP 1653-54, 188v.
 AAM, VP 1771-74/77, 399v-400r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 80v; VP 1579-1608, 340v; VP 1615-16, 154v.
 AAM, VP 1634, 45v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 72v.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 36r-v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 158v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 79v-80r.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 44v. Confer No N 26.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 158r; VP 1579-1608, 340v-341r; VP 1615-16, 154v-155r; VP 1692-98, 310v.
 AAM, VP 1634, 45v; VP 1653-54, 190r. This popular devotion is recorded in almost all subsequent Pastoral Visits.
 AAM, VP 1692-98, 310r-v.
 AAM, VP 1736-40, p. 381.
 As Note 177. References to these Ex-Voto offerings are mentioned already in 1634 (AAM, VP 1634, 45v). Confer also: (Arnaldo Fabriani), "La Chiesa della Vergine del Parto" in Aldo Farini, Fiabe, Tradizione e Leggende Maltesi III, Malta 13, 271-272.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 158v.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 156v; VP 1618, 150r.
 Aldo Farini, op. cit., II, 151-156; A. Ferres, op. cit., 365-367.
 AAM. VP 1634, 48v-49r; VP 1653‑54, 191r-v.
 AAM, VP 1653-54, 191r-v.
 AAM, VP 1771-74/77, 394r.
 AAM, VP 1708-10. 115r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 102r.
 AAM, VP 1579-160S, 206r-v, 382v‑384v; VP 1588-1602, 187v-188v.
 AAM, VP 1618, 105v.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 216r-217r. In1699, it is stated that the rebuilding of this church had commenced six years earlier (AAM, VP 1699-1700 ab Alia, 241r).
 AAM VP 1708-10, i77v; VP 1722‑23, 316v; VP 1728-29 426v, 427v.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 216r.
 A. Ferres, op. cit., 489.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 102v.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 207r.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 188v-189r.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 38v-39r.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 133v.
 AAM, VP 1575 (Royas), 52v; VA 1575C, 20r.
 Confer Note 200.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 24r-v.
 AAM, VP 1644-46, 24v-25r.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 31r.
 AAM, VP 1665-66, 18r.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 40v.
 AAM, VP 17=58-60 I, 488v-489r; VP 1781, 25v.
 AAM, 1635-37B, 42v-43r; VP 1644‑46, 33r-v.
 AAM, VP 1635-37B, 49v.
 AAM, VP 1758-60I, 412v-414r; Benefizi, Vol. 1656-58, No 3, p. 8.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 89v-90r.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 106v.
 AAM, VP 1771-74/77, 673r-v; VP 1781, 457r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 56r.
 AAM, VP 1621-31, 49r.
 AAM, VP 1744-51, 446r; VP 1751‑56. 259r-260r.
 AAM, VP 1736-40, pp. 480-481.
 AAM, VP 1575C, 57r-v.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 199v-200r; VP 1758-60 II, 300v-301r.
 AAM, VP 1692-98, 355r-v; VP 1699‑1700 ab Alia, 81r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 58r.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 200r.
 AAM, VP 1618, 188r.
 AAM, VP 1653-54, 180v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 59r.
 AAM, VP 1615-16. 201v.
 AAM, VP 1736-40, p. 480.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 59r; VP 1579-1608, 218v.
 Idem; VP 1615-16, 201r.
 AAM, VP 1618, 188v.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 217r.
 AAM, VP 16.75-18, 200r.
 AAM, VP 1618, 188r.
 AAM, V4 1575C, 62v-63r.
 AAM, VP 1644-46, 111r; VP 1653‑54, 174A v.
 AAM, VP 1621-31, 55r.
 AAM, VP 1656-59. 131A r.
 AAM, VP 1736-40, p. 482.
 Confer also Section II, R.
 AAM. VA 1575C, 61r-v.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 400r; VP 1588-1602, 213v.
 AAM, VP 1621-31, 57r; VP 1656-59, 131r.
 AAM, VP 1656-59. 131r; VP 1758-60 II, 338v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 213v-214r.
 Jos. Galea's Private Collection, Benefizi Vol. 1111, 342r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 61v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 131v.
 AAM, VP 1699-1700 ab Alia, 89r-90r.
 AAM, VA 1575C. 62r. Confer No Vis. 12.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 214r-v.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 204r-v; VP 1618, 192r-v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 131r.
 AAM, VP 1644-46, lllr.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 62r-v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 314v.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 400v; VP 1618, 192v.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 283r.
 AAM, VA 15750, 152v.
 Ibid., 95r-v.
 AAM, VP 1771-74177, 488r-v; VP 1781, 553r.
 AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 516r-v.
 AAM, VP 1771-74!77, 488r-v.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 408v-409r.
 AAM, VP 1621-31, 288r; VP 1736‑40, p. 786.
 AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 215v.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 343r-344r.
 AAM. VP 1644-46, 55r.
 AAM, VP 1665-66, 41v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 126v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 385r-v.
 AAM, VP 1621-31, 477v-480v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 384r-v; VP 1618, 59v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 126v.
 AAM, VP 1621-31, 477v-480v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59. 85r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 127r-v; VP 1615‑16, 285r-286r.
 AAM, VP 1621-31. 237r. Bishop Cagliares, in 1618, ordered Fr Mario Habel to refrain from teaching any more in this church (AAM, VP 1618, 59r).
 AAM. VP 1615-16. 280r; VP 1728‑29. 80r-v.
 AAM, VP 1621-31, 238r-v, 480r-v.
 Ibid., 480r-v.
 AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 51v-52v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 67r-v; VP 1579‑1608, 171v-172r; VP 1618, 203v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 138v.
 AAM, VP 1667-68, 138v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 238r; VP 1579-1608, 416v-417r.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 140r.
 AAM, VP 1667-68, 60v-61r.
 AAM, VP 1692-98, 330v-331r.
 A. Ferres, op. cit., 423.
 AAM, VP 1751-56, 596v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 69v-70r.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 417r.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 215v; VP 1635‑37B, 202r.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 139v.
 AAM, VP 1671-74, 223v.
 AAM, VP 1722-23. 258v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 156r.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 215v-216r.
 AAM, VP 1621-31, 101r; VP 1635‑37B, 200r-v. Confer also No Gr. 7.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 77r,
 AAM, VP 1618, 140r.
 AAM, VP 1621-31, lIIv.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 203v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 76v.
 AAM, VP 1692-98, 181v-182r.
 AAM, VP 1621-31, 163r; VP 1758‑60 II, 466v-467r.
 AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 466v-467r.
 Ibid., 476r-v.
 AAM, VP 1678-80, 158r-160v; Benefizi, Vol. 1674-76, No 14, p. 61.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 57v-58r; VP 1653-54, 96r-v; VP 1678-80, 147r.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 374v.
 AAM, VP 1708-10, 375v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 98v-99r.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 381r; VP 1588‑1602, 181v; VP 1618, 89r.
 AAM, VP 1634, 71r.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 99v; VP 1758-60 II, 398v-399r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 105v; VP 1579‑1608, 202r, 386v.
 AAM, VP 1662-63, 341r.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 199v-200r.
 AAM, VP 1618, 103v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 99r-v.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 195v, 380v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 104v-105r, 145r. It was also included in the 1436 Rollo of Ecclesiastical Benefices of Malta (Gio. F. Abela, Della Descrittione di Malta, 316).
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 343v.
 AAM, VP 1644-46, 75v; VP 1653-54, 49r, 51r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 41r.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 357r-v.
 AAM, VP 1644-46, 185r; VP 1656‑59, 160v.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 609v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 41r.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 34v; VP 1618, 34v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 39v, 359r.
 AAM, VP 1634, 143v; VP 1635-37B, 237r; VP 1656-59, 161v; VP 1722‑23, 553r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 40v; VP 1588-1602, 38r.
 AAM, VP 1644-46, 185r.
 AAM, VP 1671-74, 342r; VP 1678‑80, 384r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 40r; VP 1588-1602, 37v-38r.
 AAM, VP 1634, 143r.
 AAM, VP 1618, 132r; VP 1621-31, 25v.
 AAM, VP 1722-23, 124r. Confer also No As. XXI.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 266v.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 360r.
 AAM, VA 1575C. 81v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 50r-v.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 237v.
 AAM, VP 1692-98, 163v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 81v; VP 1588‑1602. 51r.
 AAM, VP 1644-46, 151r.
 AAM, VP 1692-98, 164r.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 109v. Confer also No As. 23.
 AAM, VP 1678-80, 311v.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 227v; VP 1699‑1700 ab Alia. 220r-v.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 91v; VP 1588-1602, 321r-v.
 AAM, VP 1635-37B, 104v; VP 1685‑87B, 228r.
 AAM, Suppliche 12 (1786-1808 II), 618v.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 257r.
 AAM, VP 1618, 167r.
 AAM, 1621-31, 122v-123r.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 236v-237r; the surname of the founder given here is Spiteri, while later it appears as Zammit (AAM, VP 1728-29, 405v), which could be a mistake.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 237r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 29r.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 20v-21r; VP 1579-1608, 144r.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 251r-v. Confer also No N IV.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 50r.
 AAM, VP 1685-87B, 328r; VP 1699‑1700 ab Alia, 105r-v; VP 1771-74/77, 398v.
 AAM, VP 1634, 143v.
 AAM, VP 1635-37B, 55r.
 AAM, VP 1653-54, 179r-v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 396r-v; VP 1615-16, 317v-318r; VP 1618, 121r.
 AAM, VP 1635-37B, 264v-265r.
 AAM, VP 1653-54, 87v.
 AAM, VP 1665-66, 69r; VP 1685‑87B, 102r; VP 1758-60 II, 93v.
 AAM, VP 1692-98, 352v; VP 1699‑1700 ab Alia, 81r.
 AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 300v-301r; VP 1771-74/77, 602v-603r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 126r.
 AAM, VP 1728-29, 91r. Confer also No As. VII.
 AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 54r; VP 1781, 360v-361r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 66v-67r.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 414r-v
 AAM, VP 1634, 89v; VP 1653-54, 195v.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 27r-v.
 AAM, VP 1618, 199r.
 AAM, VP 1634, 86v.
 AAM, VP 1653-54, 199r; VP 1656‑59. 136v: VP 1758-60 II, 578r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 66r.
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 28r-v.
 AAM, VP 1615-16, 210r-v; VP 1618, 200v; VP 1634, 87v; VP 1644-46, 219r.
 AAM, VA 1575C, 65v
 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 231v-232v.
 AAM, VP 1656-59, 203v. Confer also No As. 84.
 AAM, VP 1678-80, 147v-148r, 152v‑151v.
 AAM, VA 1575C. 96v.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 26r-v.
 AAM, VP 1618, 85v; VP 1653-54, 227r.
 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 28r.
 AAM, VP 1618, 85v.