[p.51]

Mattia Preti, The Annunciation (1698c) Cathedral Museum

Photo: Joseph A. Vella,
F.R.F.S., A.F.I.A.B.

[p.52] THE ANNUNCIATION OF OUR LADY

The origins of this feast, to which all other Marian feasts are intimately related, are somehow difficult to trace. During the 5th century St John Chrysostom in his sermon for Christmas makes a clear reference to it, while St Proclus (+446), Archbishop of Byzantium states that in his days its celebration was universal.[1] It is quite probable that he was referring here to the Eastern Church. In the West its introduction seems to belong to a later period. It is not included in the Gallican missal and appears only in liturgical sources which coincide with the early stages of the Carolingian period. However the 10th Council of Toledo held in 656 has a clear reference to this feast which had already been introduced in Spain. Pope Sergius I issued the same orders he gave for the celebrations of the feast of the Purification in Rome. On the 25th March a procession had also to leave St Hadrian's Church and proceed to St Mary Major.[2]

The Annunciation, like the other principal Marian cults, has long standing traditions in Malta. In 1419 the Vaguolo family was authorised to have an altar erected at the Cathedral Church in honour of the mystery of the Incarnation of Our Lord.[3] One of the late medieval fresco paintings, still extent in our island, portrays in part this same episode. This painting stands in the apse of a small troglodytic church set at the entrance of tad-Dejr catacombs at Rabat. To these one may also add a small church at Borgo, in which Bishop Senatore de Mello on the 20th May 1445 sanctioned the erection of a Confraternity dedicated to Our Lady. The Confraternity had to celebrate here all the feasts in honour of Our Lady, with the exception of the feast of the Purification, which was the exclusive right of the Nativity church at the castellum.[4] This church later is specifically referred to as dedicated to the Annunciation and was given to the Dominican Fathers of Rabat in 1527.[5]

Before the beginning of 1575, Annunciation churches were to be found in all parishes existing then in Malta, as well as in the more important demographic centres, which had not till then achieved a parish status. Their presence is lacking only in five instances namely at Bormla, Għarghur, Għaxaq, Senglea and Valletta. In certain instances, however, more than one such church was found in the same place. Thus there were five at B'Kara, excluding Attard, Lija and Balzan which still formed part of its parochial jurisdiction.[6] At Lija and Siġġiewi each had three such churches,[7] while Naxxar, and Qormi had two each.[8]

Żurrieq like B'Kara had five Annunciation churches within its boundaries.[9] Incidentally some of the remains of the Żurrieq churches point out a medieval origin of this devotion. Many of the thirty six churches dedicated to the Annunciation existing before 1575 could possibly have had similar long standing historical continuity. This may also explain why many of [p.53] them were closed to public worship and demolished by the middle of the 17th century. In fact more than half of them had ceased to function by then[10] while another four were rededicated to another Marian title.[11] Among the remaining Annunciation churches,[12] some reached considerable importance. Two were given a parish church status, Balzan and Tarxien,[13] while another two enjoyed extensive veneration. The first one of these was the church built on the highest point of Malta'a landscape, namely at tat-Għolja in Siġġiewi.[14] Another one originally dedicated to St Leonard at B'Kara be-came all of a sudden extensively prominent in the 1690's on account of its unexpected discovery of an old triptych representing the Annunciation with St Leonard in its central panel.[15]

Further evidence of the continuity of this Marian worship in Malta is attested by the presence of a considerable number of altars erected from 1601 onwards, no less than thirteen such altars were set up.[16] Almost all of these continued to function.[17] However one has to bear in mind that when, after various vicissitudes, Bishop Fro, D. Cocco Palmieri in 1703 was successful in opening a seminary in Malta, he dedicated this institution to the Annunciation of Our Lady. This title was retained also when a new edifice to house this seminary was eventually built during the 1730s. Its chapel in fact was dedicated to this mystery in Mary's Life.[18]

The annual liturgical feast of the Annunciation of Christ birth to Mary was held with a certain solemnity in some places. First and foremost at Mdina where a general procession in token of thanks for the islands' deliverance from the Turkish peril during the great siege, was instituted, It used to take place during the morning of this feast clay. All parishes excluding Naxxar, had to be present for this procession.[19] Later the procession was transferred to the 8th September.[20] At Naxxar the procession used to go as far as the Annunciation church at ,Salina where mass was celebrated.[21] Similar processions were also held elsewhere, e.g. at Siġġiewi and Żebbuġ. In the first instances the church at tal-Għolja was the venue or `statio'[22] of this liturgical assembly, while at Żebbuġ the Annunciation church within the same parish served the same purpose.[23]

The Ħal Millieri medieval church celebrated its feast in a similar way,[24] At Rabat, the Cathedral Chapter used to go in procession to tal-Virtu church on the Monday following the octave of Easter, when the Annunciation feast was celebrated in this church, on this occasion the blessing of all the island's crops used to be held from this panoramic site.[25]

[p.54] THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
A. CHURCHES AND CHAPELS

ATTARD

An. 1

Ħ al Warda It is highly probable that the Assumption church which in 1575 was under the care of Grazio Attard[26] is identical with an Annunciation church mentioned from 1588 onwards.[27] Towards 1723 it was rebuilt from its very foundations.[28] Francesco Azzopardi then bequeathed a donation for its sustenance.[29]

BALZAN

An. 2

The Apostolic Visitor's 1575 records give the earliest reference, so far available, regarding this church.[30] In 1601, the family of Don Filippo Borg UJD, provided for the celebration of its feast.[31] On the 14th August 1655,[32] when Balzan was given a parish status, this church having another two smaller churches at its side, was chosen as its parish church[33] and continued to function as such till the new parish church was built.[34] It remained in use throughout the 18th century.[35]

An. 3

The building of the new parish church was taken in hand immediately after the parish status had been attained and its foundation stone was blessed by the parish priest on the 26th December 1669.[36] The main aisle was already in use during the Pastoral Visit of 1671-74.[37] The transept, the choir, cupola and belfry took some time to be completed. The cupola was in process of being built in 1699.[38] By 1709 the whole edifice, including the belfry was ready.[39] This church how-ever was blessed when still incomplete on the 23rd January 1693,[40] and was consecrated by Bishop Labini on the 7th October 1781.[41]

B'KARA

An. 4

Ta' Xennu Simon Micallef built this church sometime before 1575.[42] It was rebuilt by the heirs of Lorenzo Zammit about 1692[43] and was demolished later as its site was required for the building of the new parish church of B'Kara.[44] However [p.55] it was duly substituted by a side chapel in this same church.[45]

An. 5

Ta' Bettu In 1575 this church was dedicated to the Assumption[46] but by 1601 it had changed its titular and was thenceforth described as an Annunciation church. It was situated somewhere near St Roque's church[47] and was eventually in 1659 closed to public worship.[48]

An. 6

This chapel abutted on the old medieval Assumption parish church and was built before 1575 by Pietro ,Mifsud.[49] In 1579 Antonio Gilestri offered his services to look after its needs.[50] While in 1601, the confraternity of the Rosary was housed within it.[51] Later it was demolished when the new Assumption church was being built.

An. 7

There was another Annunciation church on the way from B'Kara to Balzan. The heirs of cleric Agostino Borg, during the middle of the 17th century, were in charge of this church. Public worship in this church was proscribed in 1659.[52]

An. 8

Tal-Minsija This church was originally dedicated to St Leonard and in 1575 was under the care of Fr Leonardo Micallef.[53] The locality where it was situated was then known as il-Ħofra tal-għar [54] Closed to all forms of worship in 1618,[55] it received a further renewal of this enactment in 1636.[56] Thenceforth, the site of this troglodytic church fell into oblivion. In 1690, an old wooden triptych of Our Lady was accidentally found in those neighbourhoods, and this episode led to the rediscovery of this abandoned church. People from all parts of the island flocked thither and the church was rebuilt by donations that were forthcoming. It was blessed on the 17th April 1691.[57] The Annunciation, which was included in the original triptych, adorned its main altar. This church turned out to be one of the more frequented Marian shrines of the island. Its popular name, Tal-Minsija, is closely associated with the period immediately following the closing down. of this church when its site could no longer be detected.[58] On the sides of the main altar there were paintings representing St John the Baptist, St Athanasius and St Basil.[59] This church is still a venue of Marian devotion.

GUDJA BIRMIFTUĦ

An. 9

Ta' Brolli In 1575, this church was considered as the more important church existing then at Gudja,[60] and had two churches abutting [p.55] on it, one dedicated to St Nicholas and another to St Marcianus.[61] Its feast was provided for through a bequest recorded in the acts of Notary Giuseppe De Guevara on the 14th June 1568.[62] Some-time about 1636 it was enlarged.[63] Fr Giovanni Barbara rebuilt this church between 1752 and 1755 and it was duly blessed on the 6th April 1755.[64]

An. 10

Tal-Misraħ, This church was already functioning in 1575,[65] but was demolished in the 1650's when the new parish church was being built on its site.[66]

An. 11

Ta' Dorbes A rural church situated in the neighbourhoods known as Tal-Għajn. When its canonical profanation was decreed in 1659,[67] the altar piece was then transferred to the parish church.[68]

KIRKOP

An. 12

This church, visited by Mgr Dusina in 1575,[69] though it had no particular endowments, continued to function throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.[70] Although it was closed to public worship in 1621,[71] it was already reopened before 1636. Its altar piece was deemed a work of art.[72] In 1781, Fr Lorenzo Chircop, who had made a donation of forty scudi on behalf of this church, was appointed its procurator.[73]

LIA

An. 13

Ta' Zuna In 1575, it is stated that Julian Vella was the founder of this church;[74] which stood on the way to Attard.[75] Its canonical profanation followed in 1659,[76] but was reopened to public worship at the request of the Grand Master Nicholas Cottoner who, till his death, used to have mass said here every Saturday.[77] In 1667, it was once more closed down.[78] In 1755 a stone statue representing St Joseph with the child Jesus was placed in front of the site where this church once stood.[79]

An. 14

Ta' Brancat The founder of this church was Pancrazio Agius from whom it derived its name.[80] He was still alive in 1575 and was then in charge of it.[81] Its profanation was decreed in 1618[82] but Domenico Agius promised to remedy for its needs and even to rebuild it.[83] He kept his word, and by 1647 the new church was ready but [p.57] thenceforth it was dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.[84]

An. 15

Ta' Żebbuġ In the neighbourhoods of Ħal Mann, This church is recorded in 1601 when Leonardo Agius of Balzan used to have mass said on its feast day.[85] It had a wooden triptych which represented the Annunciation and St Joseph[86] and continued to function till 1658.[87]

An. 16

Another Annunciation church, which could be the same one included with Balzan churches in 1575[88] was built by Mariano Muscat and in 1601 was being looked after by Domenico Buhagiar.[89]

MOSTA

An. 17

This church was built and endowed by Franquino Buhagiar before 1575, [90] and was closed to worship in 1659. [91]

MQABBA

An. 18

This church, which abutted on another one dedicated to the Assumption was built before 1575.[92] Canon Mariano Briffa in 1600,[93] and his heirs afterwards, looked after its needs.[94] The new parish church of Mqabba was erected on the site occupied by these two churches. An Annunciation altar was, however, set up in this new church.[95]

NAXXAR

An 19

Ħal Dgħif In 1575 Andrea Sammut was bound to provide for the celebration of its feast.[96] Its canonical profanation was decreed in 1659.[97]

An. 20

Tas-Salini Somewhat unusual this church in 1575 was included among Mellieha's churches.[98] In 1598, the field around it was known as ta' Bir Tellera. [99] On its feast day, the parish priest, clergy and people of Naxxar used to go in procession to this rural church.[100]

QORMI

An. 21

A small church near the old parish church, already in existence in 1575,[101] was demolished before 1588.[102] Its site was incorporated in the building of the new parish church,[103] and substituted by an altar in the same church.[104]

An. 22

This small church abutting on St Andrew's church, already mentioned in 1575[105] was in a dilapidated state a few years afterwards namely in 1588[106] In 1615, the people of Qormi offered to rebuild it[107] but till [p.58] 1621 it was still a total ruin.[108] Leonardo Galdes rebuilt this church and bequeathed an endowment for its feast stipulated in the records of Notary Gio Francesco Zammit on the 3rd December 1647.[109] The patrons of the church of St Francis of Paola, which had been built on the site previously occupied by the church of St Andrew, caused serious troubles when the Annunciation church was demolished in 1759. They were reluctant to have a new one built there. Till 1781 its re-building had not yet been accomplished.[110]

QRENDI

An. 23

Ħal Lew This church, already functioning in 1575,[111] was closed to public worship in 1667.[112] In 1759, Bishop Rull ordered to have a stone cross set up on its site.[113]

RABAT

An. 24

Tal-Virtu In 1575, this church was already held in high veneration. Mass was said here on all Sundays and feast days. Beneath this church there was also a crypt which included an altar.[114] It was also endowed with an ecclesiastical living.[115] The Cathedral Chapter used to go there in procession on its feast day, held during the 17th century, on Monday following 'Dominica in Albis', or Sunday after Easter. On this occasion the blessing of Malta's harvest used to take place.[116] In 1743, this church suffered considerable damage from an earthquake.[117] It had just then been rebuilt and was blessed on the 26th December 1733.[118] Its main altar was rededicated to the Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin.[119]

An. 25

Tan-Nigret This church, close to Għeriexem, stood near another one dedicated to the Transfiguration of Our Lord. In 1636 it was almost destitute of everything,[120] public worship was thenceforth prohibited as from 1644 onwards.[121]

SIĠĠIEWI

An. 26

Tal-Għolja The early origins of this church are traceable to 1450 when it was then known as Ta' Għemmuna. Built by the Dean of the Cathedral Chapter, Don Guglielmo Donna, it was rebuilt in 1494 through the bounty of various persons.[122] Sailors had special devotion towards this church as it stood on Malta's highest peak and was the first site they saw on approaching the island.[123] Knight Fra Giacomo Christoforo ab Andlau, sometime before 1634, presented this church with a new altar piece.[124] This Marian shrine was held in high esteem by the people of Malta.[125] On its feast day, a procession led by Sigiewi's parish priest winded its way to this church.[126] It was rebuilt under Grand Master Gregorio [p.59] Caraffa (1680-1690) and during the Bishopric of Fra Girolomo Molina (1678-1681), that is between 1680-1681, and was consecrated by Bishop Fra Paolo Alpheran de Bussan on the 3rd June 1749.[127]

An. 27

Ħal Kbir — Tal-Knejjes In 1598 this church was almost in total ruins, and was situated in the neighbourhoods, then known as Ta' Petra Nigra. A pious burthen provided for the celebration of five Marian feasts, namely the Nativity, Annunciation, Visitation, Purification of Cassar's church followed in however had already been transferred to the Nativity church at Ħal Kbir. [128] The Tal-Knejjes church was somehow still functioning in 1608.[129]

An. 28

Ta' Ġebel Ciantar Gio. Paolo Cassar in 1619[130] built this church on the site of an older one previously dedicated to the Assumption which by 1618 was already described as an Annunciation church.[131] The canonical profanation of Cassar's church followed in 1653[132] but at the request of its patrons, this church was reopened on the 7th December of that same year.[133] It was rebuilt once more in 1708, by Maria Xeberras[134] and its altar piece included the coat of arms of her brother, Bishop Fra Domenico Xeberras.[135]

TARXIEN

An. 29

In 1575, this was the main church of Tarxien and had another two churches adjacent to it, one dedicated to St Paul and another to St Luke.[136] This church was chosen as parish church when in 1594 Tarxien attained a parish status and continued in use till the building of a new parish church had been completed about 1627. This new church was the first parish church in Malta having a Latin cross plan with side chapels both in its main aisle and in its transepts.[137] Various structural modifications were carried out on this church during the first decades of the 18th century when particularly its cupola and roof were thoroughly remodelled.[138]

VALLETTA

An. 30

The church attached to the Hospital of the Incurables, founded in 1642 by Catarina Scoppi, was dedicated to the Annunciation. This hospital stood near Fort St Elmo[139] and was totally demolished during the last war.

VITTORIOSA

An. 31

During the first half of the 15th century there was already a church dedicated to Our Lady at Borgo. By 1500, when it was still within diocesan jurisdiction, it had already been dedicated to the Annunciation and during the 1520s it was given to the Dominican Friars of Rabat. These took its possession on the 4th February 1528.[140] When the Order of St John settled down in Malta in [p.60] 1530, the parish priest of Borgo began to administer the sacraments from this church, as St Lawrence parish church was taken over by the Knights of St John. In Dusina's days ,the said parish priest was still carrying out his duties at the church of the Annunciation.[141] At that time, this church had a considerable number of side-altars.[142]

ŻABBAR

An. 32

Antonio Neapolitano in 1615, undertook to enlarge this church[143] which had already been functioning before 1575.[144] Its altar piece thenceforth represented Our Lady of Trapani.[145]

ŻEBBUĠ

An. 33

This church, built before 1575,[146] was the venue of a procession which used to leave the parish church on the feast of the Annunciation, where mass was than celebrated by the parish priest.[147] Al-though closed down in 1658,[148] in 1667 it was still in use.[149] Fr Julius Zammit, nephew of Fr Mariano Zammit, rebuilt this church between 1693 and 1699.[150] The heirs of Fr Mariano, who was buried in this Church, provided a bequest for its maintenance recorded in the acts of Notary Benedetto Vassallo on the 22nd May 1696.[151]

ŻURRIEQ

An. 34

Tal-Bakkari An old rural church abutting on St Catherine's church near St Sophia's church.[152] It was very small having three series of slabs for its roofing[153] and was closed to public worship in 1658.[154]

An. 35

An Annunciation church in the neighbourhoods of Ħal Ħlantun, mentioned in the records of the 1618 Pastoral Visit when it was closed to liturgical worship.[155]

An. 36

Tan-Nigret Tax-Xagħra In 1575, this church seems to have been dedicated to the Assumption.[156] From 1594 onwards its titular was the Annunciation.[157] In 1654 it was in a very miserable state[158] and was closed to all forms of worship four years afterwards.[159] Al-most ninety years later namely in 1747, it was rebuilt from its very foundations but was rededicated to the Immaculate Conception.[160]

[p.61] An. 37

Ta' Dayn Vincenzo Micci was the founder of this church[161] which stood close by to the parish church.[162] In 1575 he was still living and looking after its needs.[163] On the 23rd February 1723, Bishop Gori .Mancini authorised Fr Giorgio Velasco, the parish priest of Żurrieq, to demolish it and build on its side another one dedicated to St James. The site of another church originally dedicated to St John the Baptist, already demolished, was also included in this project.[164] St James church was blessed on the 24th June 1731.[165]

An. 38

Ħal Millieri The origins of this church, like those of so many other rural churches scattered in the Maltese islands, are unknown. As far as 1575, on its feastday a procession from Żurrieq parish church reached this church where mass was duly celebrated.[166] Those who died during the 1592-93 plague were buried in its cemetery.[167] Bishop Labrini decreed its desecration in 1787.[168]

B. ALTARS AND FEASTS

BALZAN

An. I

A side altar in the church of the Annunciation, in 1601 was rededicated to St Paul the Hermit at the request of Lorenzo Borg.[169]

B'KARA

An. II

A side chapel, in the new St Helena parish church substituted an Annunciation church which previously occupied part of the site needed for this new parish church. An episcopal rescript dated 14th March 1731 authorised this transaction.[170] This altar was ready in 1747.[171]

GARGUR

An. III

Andrea Bezzina, nicknamed il-Mellieħi, endowed an Annunciation altar at St Bartholomew's parish church on the 10th December 1612. Notary Gio. Domenico Debono recorded this deed.[172] This altar in 1608 was already present in this church.[173] When the new parish church was built it was originally allocated a site in the Rosary transept.[174] Later however, before 1644, it was transferred to the main aisle.[175]

An. IV

A similar altar had been also erected at the Assumption church, known as ta' Żellieqa. It was however [p.62] ever demolished after 1623 and transferred to the parish church.[176]

GĦAXIAQ

An. V

Andrea Agius on the 2nd February 1615 bequeathed a donation for the celebration of the Annunciation feast at Għaxiaq's main church. This transaction was recorded by Notary Mark Antonio Brincat.[177] Till 1743 this feast used to be held on St Joseph s altar in the parish church.[178] During that year an Annunciation altar was set up in the same church at the request of Giuseppe Tabone and this feast was duly transferred thereon.[179]

LIJA

An. VI

Grazio Agius and Don Gregorio Agius on the 26th February 1611 provided a bequest for the celebration of the Annunciation feast at the Assumption church known as Tal-Belliegħa. Notary Ferdinando Zarb recorded this deed.[180]

MDINA

An. VII

Degli Vegnoli The Cathedral Chapter on the 30th November 1419 assigned a site in the old cathedral church to Antonio Vagnolo and Esmeralda Bordino his wife, whereon to erect this altar.[181] These had already founded an ecclesiastical living on the 22nd June 1419, recorded by Notary Andrea de Beniabin, whose rector had to fulfil certain commitments on this altar.[182] After the building of the now cathedral church, this altar was set up in the transept leading to the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. A new altar piece, the work of Mattia Preti was placed on it. The marble decoration of the same altar and around its altar piece was carried out at the expense of the Dean of the Cathedral Chapter, Fra Gio Batt. Balzan, who presented this donation on the 22nd July 1735. This donation was duly accepted by the Cathedral Chapter on the 26th January of the following year.[183]

An. VIII

Delli Cassari This altar stood near the above-mentioned altar within the old cathedral. In 1575, it was in the gift of Ferdinando de Guevara.[184] An ecclesiastical living had been founded on this altar by Alvaro de Cassares in the records of Notary Antonio Rapa, on the 23rd September 1537.[185] It was also referred to as BMV delli Habichi. [186]

An. IX

The seminary at Mdina was dedicated in 1703 by its founder Bishop David Cocco Palmieri to the Annunciation. Its official opening took place on the 25th March of that year.[187] When the new seminary was built by Bishop Paul Alpheran de Bussan between 6th December 1733 and 1742, it retained the same dedication.[188]

[p.63

Antoine de Favray, The Annunciation (1742c), The old Seminary Chapel, Mdina

Photo: Joseph A. Vella,

F.R.F.S., A.F.I.A.B.

[p.64] MOSTA

An. X

Don Simeone Bartolo founded this altar at Mosta's parish church recorded in the acts of Notary Gin. Paolo Fenech on the 2nd February 1677.[189] It is mentioned for the first time in 1679 and continued to be in use throughout the 18th century.[190]

MQABBA

An. XI

This altar in Mqabba parish church, substituted an Annunciation church which previously stood on part of the site required for the building of the said parish church.[191] When in 1686 the Sodality of the Dying was established on this altar, the Crucifix was acclaimed as its titular. However the Annunciation feast continued to be duly celebrated thereon and a sub-titular altar piece was actually placed on it.[192]

NAXXAR

An. XII

Michael Sciberras founded this altar in the old parish church before 1575.[193] When the new parish church was built by 1627, it was already set up in its place within the new edifice,[194] and continued to function throughout the 18th century.[195]

QORMI

An. XIII

Sometime about 1618, this altar was erected near the Rosary altar to substitute a small chapel which previously stood on a site taken up for the building of the new parish church.[196] It has retained its place within the side aisle when the transepts were added to this church.[197]

QRENDI

An. XIV

This altar in the church of the Assumption was included only in the 1575 records.[198]

SENGLEA

An. XV

Andrew Zammit founded this altar in the parish church before 1602.[199] Its last mention was included in the records of the 1631 Pastoral Visit.[200] It was not incorporated as a distinct altar in the new parish church.

SIĠĠIEWI

An. XVI

This altar in the old parish church, was given in 1615 to Francesco Mamo.[201] Sometime about 1641 it was rededicated to St Cecilia by Don Francesco Mamo.[202]

[p.65] ŻEBBUĠ

An. XVII

An altar in the old parish church mentioned only in the 1575 records.[203]

ŻEJTUN

An. XVIII

A side altar, recorded in 1634 at the Holy Ghost church[204] continued to function till 1781, when orders were given to have it demolished.[205]

ŻURRIEQ

An. XIX

This altar, founded by the ancestors of Pietro iMangion,[206] was already present in the old parish church of Żurrieq in 1575. [207] Together with other altars, it was demolished after 1618.[208]

An. XX

Before 1575 the father of Lorenzo Muscat founded a side altar at the Assumption church in Nigret.[209] This altar however was demolished in 1594.[210]

An. XXI

A side altar in St James church substituted the Annunciation church on whose site this new church was built after 1725.[211]

[p.66] MALTA - THE ANNUNCIATION

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.

 

c

MALTA – THE ANNUNCIATION



[1] F.G. Holweck, Fasti Mariani, 45-47.

[2] A.I. Schuster, Liber Sacramento‑ Righetti, Storia Liturgica, II, 264‑265.

[3] Confer No An. VII.

[4] ACM, Ms. 2, pp. 57-58.

[5] Mikiel Fsadni OP, Id-Dumnikani fir-Rabat u fil-Birgu sa 1-1620,

[6] Confer Nos An. 4-8.

[7] Confer Nos An. 13-15, and 26-28.

[8] Confer Nos An. 19-22, 25.

[9] Confer Nos An. 34-38.

[10] Confer Nos An. 5-7, 10, 11, 13, 15-21, 23, 25, 27, 34, 35, 38.

[11] Confer Nos An. 14, 24, 32, 36.

[12] Confer Nos An. 1-3, 8, 9, 12, 20, 22, 26, 28-31, 33.

[13] Confer Nos An. 2, 3, 29.

[14] Confer No An. 26.

[15] Confer No An. 8.

[16] Confer Nos An. I-III, V, VI, IX‑XI, XIII, XV, XVI, XVIII, XXI.

[17] The only few exceptions are the following, namely: Nos An. XI, XV, XVI, and XIX.

[18] Confer No An. IX.

[19] AAM, VA 1575C, 245v.

[20] AAM, VP 1758-60 I, 140r.

[21] Confer No An. 19.

[22] Confer No An. 26.

[23] Confer No. An. 33.

[24] Confer No An. 38.

[25] Confer No An. 24. For further details confer also Jos. Borg, "Id-Devozzjoni lejn il-Lunzjata" in Ħal Balazn, 36 (1977), 2/6; "Il-Lunzjata f'Malta u Għawdex" Ibid., 35 (1977), 2-3.

[26] AAM, VA 1575C, 45r.

[27] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 33v-34r; VP 1656-59, 145v.

[28] AAM, VP 1722-23, 583r.

[29] AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 248r. C. Mallia, Ħ'Attard, 400 Sena Parroċċa, 1575-1975, 45.

[30] AAM, VA 1575C, 48r.

[31] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 367v-368v. On the 4th December 1601, Don Filippo Borg made a formal donation for the same end which was duly registered in the records of the Pastoral Visit of the year quoted above.

[32] AAM, VP 1653-54, 166r-v.

[33] AAM, VP 1656-59, 147v-148v.

[34] AAM, VP 1685-87B, 519r-v.

[35] AAM, VP 1699-1700 ab Alia, 257v; VP 1758-60 II, 6r; VP 1803-04, 115r. Camillo Tortell, "Il-Lunzjata ż- Żghira" in Ħal Balzan, 16 (1974), 4.

[36] AAM. VP 1758-60 II. 1r.

[37] AAM, VP 1671-74 358v.

[38] AAM, VP 1685-87B, 518r; VP 1699‑1700 ab Alia. 257v.

[39] AAM, VP 1708-10. 268v-269r.

[40] AAM, VP 1758-60 II. 1r-2v.

[41] AAM. VP 1783-85. 122r: Atti Civili CXLI (1781-82). 113r. For further reading: Dun Ġwann Dimech, "Il-Knisja Parokkjali" in Ħal Balzan, 13. (1973), 1; 14 (1973). 1: 15 (1974), 1: 16 (1974), 1; "L-Artal tal-Kor" in Ħal Balzan. 33 (1977), 1-2: "L-Artal tal-Kor" in Ħal Balzan. 35 (1977), 1.

[42] AAM, VA 1575C. 44r.

[43] AAM. T7P 1692-98. 83v-84r.

[44] AAM, VP 1714-20, 709r-710r.

[45] AAM, VP 1744-51, 644v. Confer No An. II.

[46] AAM, VA 1575C, 44v.

[47] AAM, 1588-1602, 360v.

[48] AAM, VP 1656-59, 163v.

[49] AAM. VA 1575C, 40v.

[50] AAM, VP 1579-1608, 9r.

[51] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 359v.

[52] AAM, VP 1656-59, 163r.

[53] AAM, VP 1575C, 43v

[54] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 366r, this church is referred to here as San Leonardo tal-Ġebel.

[55] AAM, VP 1618, 45v.

[56] AAM, VP 1635-37B, 228r; VP 1644- 46. 215v-216r.

[57] AAM, VP 1736-40, pp. 527-528.

[58] AAM, VP 1692-98, 84v-85r; VP 1699-1700 ab Alia, 278r-v; VP 1722‑23, 558r.

[59] AAM, VP 1714-20, 596v 598v; VP 1728-29, 719r-v. Confer (A. Fabriani) "La Madonna tal Minsia `L'Abbandonata' " in Aldo Farini, Fiabe, Tradizioni e Leggende Maltesi, II. 31-38; Gius. Dimech Debono, "Il-Madonna u s-Santwarju tal-Minsija" in Pronostku Malti 1961, 9-15.

[60] AAM, VA 1575C, 93r.

[61] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 317r-v.

[62] AAM, VP 1618, 114r.

[63] AAM, VP 1635-37B, 99v; VP 1644‑51, 153r.

[64] AAM, VP 1751-56, 202v-203v; VP 1758-60 II, 430r-v.

[65] AAM, VA 1575C, 92v-93r.

[66] AAM, VP 1656-59, 67v-68r.

[67] Ibid., 70v.

[68] AAM, VP 1667-68, 378r.

[69] AMM, VA 1575C, 91v.

[70] AAM, VP 1671-74, 308v; VP 1758‑60 II, 423r-v; VP 1771-74/77, 680r.

[71] AAM, VP 1621-31, 74v.

[72] AAM, VP 1635-37B, 105r, both here as well as in 1615, this altar piece is described as "Icona per pulchre depicta" (AAM, VP 1615‑16, 228r), representing the Annunciation with St Peter and St Paul on each side (AAM, VP 1685-87B, 229r-v).

[73] AAM, VP 1781, 489r-v.

[74] AAM, VA 1575C, 50v-51r.

[75] AAM, VP 1588-1602. 353v-354r; VP 1615-16, 246r-v; VP 1618, 21v; VP 1635-37B, 166v-167r.

[76] AAM, VP 1656-59, 155r.

[77] AAM, VP 1758-60 I, 569r-v.

[78] AAM, VP 1667-68, 566v.

[79] AAM, VP 1758-64 I, 569v.

[80] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 354r.

[81] AAM, VA 1575C, 51r.

[82] AAM, VP 1618, 24r.

[83] AAM, VP 1621-31, 122v.

[84] AAM, VP 1653-54, 155r-v. Confer No S/IC 3.

[85] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 347r.

[86] AAM, VP 1635-37B, 168v; VP 1653-54, 155v.

[87] AAM, VP 1656-59, 156r.

[88] AAM, VA 1575C, 48r. Confer No An. 3.

[89] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 353v.

[90] AAM, VA 1575C, 35r.

[91] AAM, VP 1656-59, 180v.

[92] AAM, VA 1575C, 88r.

[93] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 326r-v.

[94] AAM, VP 1615-15, 233v; VP 1618, 77r.

[95] AAM, VP 1685-87B, 239r-v. Confer No An. XI.

[96] AAM, VA 1575C, 33r

[97] AAM, VP 16.56-59, 192r.

[98] AAM, VA 1575C, 162v.

[99] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 118v.

[100] AAM, VP 1579-1608, 361r-v; VP 1758-60 II, 224r-v.

[101] AAM, VA 1575C, 72r-v.

[102] It is not included in the report of the 1588-89 Pastoral Visit.

[103] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 334v.

[104] Confer No An. XIIr.

[105] AAM, VA 1575C, 73r.

[106] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 45v.

[107] AAM,  VP 1615-16, 151r; VP 1618, 150r.

[108] AAM, VP 1621-31, 117v.

[109] AAM, VP 1653-54. 187v.

[110] AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 559r-560r; VP 1781, 525v.

[111] AAM, VA 15750, 102v-103r.

[112] AAM, VP 1635-37B, 46r-v.

[113] AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 367r.

[114] AAM, VA 1575C, 143r-v.

[115] AAM, Reveli 1615, 54v-56r.

[116] AAM, VP 1656-59, 34r.

[117] A. Ferres, op. cit., 125.

[118] AAM, VP 1736-40, on. 88-39.

[119] AAM, VP 1771-74/77, 18r.

[120] AAM, VP 1635-37B, 46r-v.

[121] AAM, VP 1644-46, 33r.

[122] AAM, VP 1751-54, 254r-v; VP 1758-60 II, 304v-305v.

[123] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 210r-211v; VP 1634, 39v-40r.

[124] AAM, VA 1575C, 154r; VP 1634, 39v-40r.

[125] AAM. VP 1644-46, 112r-v, VP 1656-59, 129v; VP 1671-74, 344v; VP 1751-56, 254r-256r.

[126] AAM, VP 1699-1700 ab Alia, 85v-87r.

[127] AAM, VP 1751-56, 254r-256r.

[128] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 216r-v.

[129] AAM, VP 1579-1608, 400v. Gio. F.co Abela, op. cit., 99.

[130] Confer No As. 45. AAM, VP 1781, 419r-v.

[131] AAM, VP 1618, 190r; VP 1634, 41r.

[132] AAM, VP 1653-54, 174Av.

[133] AAM, VP 1656-59, 129r-130r.

[134] AAM, VP 1781, 419r-v.

[135] AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 306v; VP 1771-74/77, 612r.

[136] AAM, VA 1575C, 94v-95r; VP 1635‑37B, 64r.

[137] Vinc. Borg, Il-Knisja Parrokkjali ta' Ħal Tarxien, Malta 1973, 9ff.

[138] Ibid., 94.

[139] AAM, VP 1692-98, 394v-395r; VP 1722-23, 169v.

[140] Mikiel Fsadni OP, Id-Dumnikani fir-Rabat u fil-Birgu sal-1620, 71-73.

[141] AAM, VA 1575C, 116v. The parish priest returned to St Lawrence parish church in 1580 (Mikiel Fsadni OP, op. cit., 79).

[142] There were the following side altars: Candlemass, St Mary Magdalen, St Barbara, the Rosary, St Lucy, St Cosmas and St Damian, St Margaret, the Assumption, St Saviour, St Vincent and St Mark, another one dedicated to the Assumption, the Risen Christ, Visitation of Our Lady, St Michael, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin and the Graces Madonna, St Dominic, the Pieta, St Peter, St Ursula (M. Fsadni, op. cit., 86-108).

[143] AAM, VP 1615-16, 263r.

[144] AAM, VA 1575C, 79r.

[145] AAM, VP 1621-31, 308r-v.

[146] AAM, VA 1575C, 68r.

[147] AAM, VP 1579-1608, 172v.

[148] AAM, VP 1656-59, 139r.

[149] AAM, VP 1667-68, 60r.

[150] AAM, VP 1699-1700 ab Alia, 62r.

[151] Idem.

[152] AAM, VP 1635-37B, 131v. Mario Buhagiar, "Medieval churches in Malta" in Ant. Luttrell, Medieval Malta, London 1975, 164-165.

[153] AAM, VP 1644-46, 125v.

[154] AAM, VP 1656-59, 102v.

[155] AAM, VP 1618, 103v.

[156] AAM, VA 15750, 99r-v.

[157] AAM, VP 1579-1608, 195v-196r.

[158] AAM, VP 1653-54, 229v-230r.

[159] AAM, VP 1656-59, 99v-100v.

[160] AAM, VP 1744-51, 488r-489r. Confer No S/IC 14.

[161] AAM, VP 1579-1608, 194r.

[162] AAM, VP 1644-46, 122r.

[163] AAM, VA 1575C, 100r.

[164] AAM, VP 1728-29, 468v-469r.

[165] A. Ferres, Descrizione Storica delle Chiese di Malta, 392.

[166] AAM, AV 1575C, 100r-v; VP 1588-1602, 186r; VP 1579-1608, 382r. Cutajar Luret, "Ġawhra tal-Antik Minsija: Il-Knis,ja Normanna ta' Ħal Millieri" in Il-Berqa, 29-31/5/1956; Ant. Luttrell, Ħal Millieri — A Maltese Casale — Its Churches and Paintings, Malta 1976, passim.

[167] AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 378v-379r.

[168] AAM, VP 1787, 112v.

[169] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 368v; VP 1615-16, 135r.

[170] AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 25v-26r.

[171] AAM, VP 1744-1751, 644v.

[172] AAM, VP 1621-31, 138v.

[173] AAM, VP 1579-1608, 360v.

[174] AAM, VP 1634, 181r; VP 1635-37B, 167r.

[175] AAM, VP 1644-46, 66r

[176] AAM, VP 1692-98, 242v.

[177] AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 443v-444r.

[178] AAM, Suppliche 10 (1776-85). 499r-500v.

[179] Same as Note 152.

[180] AAM, VP 1758-60 I, 565r-566r.

[181] ACM, Ms. 5, 2r.

[182] AAM, Reveli 1615, 65r-66r; Benefizi, Vol. 1602, No 3, 13r ff.

[183] AAM, VP 1758-60 I, 31r-v.

[184] AAM, VA 1575C, 10v.

[185] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 3v; Reveli 1615. 36v, 230v-231r.

[186] AAM, VP 1618, 177v; VP 1634, 5r.

[187] AAM, VP 1708-10, 27v-28r.

[188] AAM. VP 1736-40, p. 45; VP 1744‑51, 65v-68v. The corner stone of this building was blessed on the 6th December 1733, (VP 1736-40, p. 45) while the new seminary itself was blessed on the feast of the Conversion of St Paul, 25th January 1742 (VP 1744-46, 67v).

[189] AAM, VP 1678-80, 528v-529r.

[190] Idem; VP 1758-60 II, 261v; VP 1781, 233v.

[191] AAM, VP 1685-87B, 239r-v. Confer No An. 18.

[192] AAM, VP 1692-98, 109r; VP 1699‑1700 ab Alia, 228v; VP 1722-23, 301r.

[193] AAM, VA 1575C, 29r; VP 1579‑1608, 49v, 143r.

[194] AAM, VP 1621-31, 316v-317r; VP 1634, 159r.

[195] AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 219v; VP 1781, 212v-213r.

[196] AAM, VP 1618, 149v; VP 1635-37B, 54v-55r. Confer No An. 21.

[197] AAM. VP 1662-63, 289r; VP 1722‑23, 224v; VP 1758-60 II, 551r; VP 1783, 238r.

[198] AAM, VA 1575C, 102v.

[199] AAM, VP 1588-1602, 398r-v.

[200] AAM, VP 1621-31, 503r-v.

[201] AAM, VP 1618, 185r.

[202] AAM, VP 1644-46, 105v.

[203] AAM, VA 1575C. 66v.

[204] AAM, VP 1634, 101v.

[205] AAM, VP 1781, 494v-495r.

[206] AAM, VP 1579-1608, 188v.

[207] AAM, VA 1575C, 97r.

[208] AAM, VP 1618, 85r.

[209] AAM, VA 1575C, 99r-v.

[210] AAM, VP 1579-1608, 195v-196r.

[211] AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 380r-v.