[p.104]

Unknown 15th Century artist, The Pietá, St George Parish Church, Qormi

Photo: John Frendo

[p.105] THE 'PIETÀ AND OUR LADY OF SORROWS

Some of the 4th and 5th century Fathers of the Church, both in the Eastern and Western tradition, have studied the meaning of Mary's sorrows and compassion sustained throughout her life in conjunction with her divine Son's redemptive action. The Middle Ages gave particular attention to this aspect of Mariology. From the 13th century onwards, one witnesses an extensive activity in its propagation through both artistic as well as literary works. The 'Stabat Mater' is indeed a highly important hymn written within this social-cultural milieu.

The earliest recorded feast of the 'Pietà' goes back to 1423. A provincial Synod of 'Cologne established this feast in reparation for sacrilegious acts against crucifixes and representations of Our Lady. The Hussites were the perpetrators of such contemptuous insolence to christian traditional veneration. Thenceforth this feast penetrated in various other countries and became popular in Italy throughout the 16th century. It was held on Friday after Passion Sunday. Pope Benedict XIII on the 22nd April 1727 extended this feast to the universal liturgical calendar. The Dominican Order had customarily celebrated this feast on the above mentioned Friday.

The feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin developed almost contemporaneously with that of her compassion. This aspect of (Marian devotion was taken up in the North of Europe by a priest Fr John Condenberghe who later was appointed secretary to Charles the Fifth. In 1491 he instituted the confraternity of the Seven Sorrows insisting on the concept that as the Seven Sorrows of Mary were followed by her Seven Joys, so her intercession would help relieve the individual and society at large in their needs. Wondrous miracles were attributed to the Madonna venerated by this confraternity to such an extent that it became commonly known also as the Miracles Madonna. In 1515, its feast held on the 17th September was followed with thirteen days of particular devotions till the 1st October.

The devotion of the Seven Joys of Our Lady, originally propagated by the Franciscan Friars, later was also included in the pastoral activity of the Servite Order. On the 9th June 1668 they were duly authorised to celebrate this feast within their order on the third Sunday of September. In 1735 the Hotly See, at the request of Philip V, extended this feast to all Spanish domains. Its date however was fixed on the 17th September. Later Pius X, following the Ambrosian tradition, changed this date to the octave of the Nativity feast, namely, the 15th of the some month.[1]

Malta did not lag far behind in introducing this highly humanitarian aspect of Marian devotion within its shores. The earliest written references, available so far, of a 'Pietà' Madonna belong to the last decades of the 16th century. The main altar piece of Qormi's old parish church consisting of a wooden triptych, the biggest one existing in the island, presented in its central panel a 'Pietà'. On its two sides there was St George on one side and St Theramo and St Venera on the other. In 1651 this triptych was placed on a side altar exclusively dedicated to the 'Pietà'. [2] The records of the 1588 [p.106] Pastoral Visit provide brief description of this painting. [3] This painting is still extant and stylistic evidence suggest late 15th century origins of this marvelous work of art notwithstanding its curious 'restorations' which seem to have repainted a considerable part of the original work.[4]

In the records of the 1585 Pastoral Visit there is a reference to another 'Pietà', namely at zurrieq parish church. A wooden panel placed on St Nicholas' of Tolentino altar presented a 'Pietà' in a central position flanked by the titular saint and St Dominic. [5] While at Mdina, in St Nicholas' church another painting, described in 1594 as a 'Consolationis' Madonna, could have represented also another 'Pietà'. [6]

The first time that a feast in her honour is metioned in Malta coincides also with the last years of the 16th century. A foreigner, member of the Order of St John, Knight Fra Giovanni de Lambs in 1594 left a bequest for the celebration of this feast at the sanctuary of Our Lady of Graces at Żabbar [7]

Moreover the first and only 'Pietà' church built in Malta till the end of the 17th century dates back to the same years. The plague of 1592-93, which introduced St Rocque's cult in Malta, fomented also devotion towards the Pietà Madonna. In fact the neighbourhoods outside Floriana which in our own days are still known as Tal-Pietà are closely linked with the worship of Our Lady under this title. Those who died during that plague within the walls of Valletta were buried far away from the inhabited area, at Daħlet il-Qasab. Here, immediately afterwards, popular piety built a church near this cemetery dedicating it to the 'Pietà'.[8] In 1615 Bishop Cagliares authorised Fr Lucas Zenghi, an Augustinian Friar, who was then in charge of this church, to continue his diligent care of this shrine. [9]

The 1620s present some interesting characteristics in this Marian worship. At Żejtun and Qrendi, the word 'Pietà' was translated into Maltese as Tal-Ħniena and two churches previously known by another title, changed to this new denomination and acquired, thenceforth, considerable popularity.[10]

During the same decade this 'Marian devotion was also introduced in the Cathedral church itself. The new sacristy built in 1626 had its altar adorned with a 'Pietà' which could have been presented to the Cathedral by Bishop Cagliares himself as his coat of arms and the year 1627 are included in this painting.[11] [p.112] A great asset in the propagation of this worship in Malta was the establishment of the sodality of the Dying throughout this century. This sodality, while inculcating the devotion to the Dying Christ on the Crucifix, in-directly fomented also the worship of Our Lady of 'Sorrows.' [12] In some instances, in fact, these were grouped together. At the Cathedral itself this sodality, which in 1640 had already been founded, was established on the 'Pietà' altar mentioned before. Eight years afterwards the Crucifix of Fra Innocenza of Pietralita was placed in front of its altar piece.[13]

The same solution was adopted a few years afterwards at Qormi's parish church.[14]

While at Ghaxiaq, where this sodality was founded in 1649, its altar was exclusively dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows. [15]

Available evidence shows that it was normal to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows throughout the 18th century, and even afterwards, on Friday after Passion Sunday. At Ghaxiaq however it was originally held on the second Sunday after Easter.[16]

The eighteenth century witnessed an extensive intensification in the widespreading of this worship, particularly from the 1720s till the 1760s. Another church exclusively in her honour was built at Żebbuġ sometime about 1722 which incidentally heralded this intensification of Our Lady's particular cult.[17] Afterwards no less than seven altars were founded[18] as well as bequests for the celebration of her feast were provided in another four parishes.[19] In two instances, namely at Cospicua[20] and Vittoriosa[21] newly built oratories belonging to the Crucifix confraternities were also dedicated to her.

Another interesting development in this regard is the foundation of confraternities. The earliest of these was established at Għaxiaq during the 17th century, namely in 1684[22] During the 18th century another four were [p.108] founded, one at the Cathedral itself in 1743,[23] followed immediately afterwards in 1746 by another one at Żurrieq[24] and in 1750 at Naxxar.[25] The last one mentioned, following the footsteps of the Crucifix confraternities at Cospicua and Vittoriosa, introduced in this parish the Holy Week processions. In 1755 another confraternity came into being at Luqa,[26] and later another one at Żebbuġ.[27] After the 1760s there are another three instances when this Marian worship appears.[28] In certain other instances her picture was included where otherwise this worship was still missing.[29]

Towards the second half of the eighteenth century, some preference began to prevail to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows on the third Sunday of September. This could have been influenced by the Servite Order since serve of the above-mentioned confraternities had been established through the faculty granted by the Father General of this Order. Moreover in some parishes, there were also female Tertiaries of this same Order.[30]

PIETÀ - OUR LADY OF SORROWS
A. CHURCHES AND CHAPELS

COSPICUA P/S 1

The confraternity of the Crucifix, founded in the parish church of Cospicua, built its own oratory near this church. This oratory was blessed on the 28th May 1739,[1] and was dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows.[2] On the 21st October 1768, Bishop Rull granted a 40 days indulgence for the recitation of a Hail Mary in this Oratory.[3]

PIETÀ

P/S 2

This church was built immediately after the plague of 1592-93. The Augustinian Friars[4] were left in its charge till 1652. On the 15th October of that year, the Bishop assigned a diocesan priest to look after its needs.5 Sometime before 1723, this church was given the status of a Vice Parish and Don Gio. Batt. Sagnani was appointed by the parish priest of St Paul's, Valletta, to look after the pastoral needs[5] of its neighbourhoods. There were then about five hundred and fifty inhabitants in that area. During the bishopric of Fra Gaspare Gori Mancini, these sought to have it erected as an independent parish church.[6] This plan did not mate-[p.109]-rialise. Preference was given to Sarria church while few years afterwards a new church dedicated to St Publius, not far away from Pietà, began to be 'built and by 1740 had already been made a Vice-Parish. The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows at Pietà during the 18th century, held on Friday after Passion Sunday, included also a procession.[7]

VITTORIOSA

P/S 3

The confraternity of the Crucifix built here their oratory which was ready before 1720 and dedicated it to Our Lady of Sorrows.[8] On Fridays during Lent they held processions with statues representing scenes from Our Lord's passion. While on Friday before Palm Sunday, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows was solemnly celebrated, including a procession with her statue. These processions had already been introduced before 1759.[9]

ŻEBBUĠ

P/S 4

About 1722, Balthassar Debono built a church on a site previously occupied by another church dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin. He endowed it also with an ecclesiastical living providing for its upkeep as detailed in the records of Notary Ignatius Debono on the 5th November 1714.[10] Pope Benedict XIII on the 20th September 1725 annexed this church to the Lateran Basilica.[11] The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows was held here on Friday preceding Palm Sunday, while on each first Friday of the month a special service including a sermon used to take place.[12]

ŻEJTUN

P/S 5

A church, originally dedicated to the Assumption and closed to worship in 1618,[13] on its reopening in 1621, it was described as a 'Pietatis' or Tal-Ħniena church.[14] As it was once more proscribed for public worship in 1659, its altar was transferred to the Assumption church in Żejtun.[15] Sometime before 1679, it was once more reopened. Its feast was held on Friday before Palm Sunday.[16] On Easter Monday a general procession from 2ejtun's parish church to this church used to take place.’[17]

B. ALTARS AND FEASTS

ATTARD

P/SI

On the 27th February 1755 the local ecclesiastical authorities granted permission to rededicate an altar existing in the main aisle of the parish church. It had been, till then, dedicated to the Deposition of Our Lord. Thenceforth Our Lady of Sorrows was to be its titu-[p.110]-lar.[18] Fr Silvio Pace, ex-parish priest of Attard, had already made provisions for the celebration of her feast.[19] In 1758, Fr Sebastian Zerafa left another bequest for the same purpose This feast was to be held on the third Sunday of September.[20]

BALZAN

P/S II

Bishop Labini on the 5th April 1796 authorised the celebration of this feast at Balzan, on the same day as in the previous instance.[21]

BIRKIRKARA

P/S III

At the old parish church of Birkirkara there was no 'Pietà' altar. The veneration of Our Lady of Sorrows was however introduced in St Helena's parish church 'before 1759. During that year, a side chapel in her honour was already present.[22] By 1781 its floor had already been covered with marble slabs.[23]

FLORIANA

P/S IV

In 1740 there was already such an altar in the sacristy of St Publius' church which had just begun to be built.[24] When the transepts of this church were ready, this altar was transferred to the right hand transept.[25] A bequest made by Agostino Portelli and accepted on the 13th June 1785, provided for the celebration of its feast on the third Sunday of September.[26]

P/S V

At the Domus Charitatis founded by Grand Master Antoine Manoel de Vilhena in 1732, there was an altar dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows in the women's section. A papal concession given on the 21st February 1778, allowed the celebration of a daily mass on this altar.[27]

GUDJA

P/S VI

Fr Marcello Gatt, parish priest of Gudja afforded a bequest for the celebration of this feast which was to be held on the Epiphany altar at the parish church. This donation was recorded by Notary Gio. F.co Gatt on the 31st October 1736.[28]

GĦAXIAQ

P/S VII

A Pietà' altar was erected in the old parish church before 1649. Popular devotion cared for its needs. On the 15th August 1649 the Sodality of the Dying was founded on this altar.[29] Its feast day was held on the second Sunday after Easter.[30] When the new baroque parish church was built, this altar was substituted by a sub-titular picture placed on the 'Crucifix altar. Bishop Fra D. Cocco Palmieri on the 22nd June 1684 authorised the erection of a confraternity in honour of Our Lady of Sorrows on [p.111] the above mentioned altar.[31]

KIRKOP

P/S VIII

Maruzzo Ellul founded the 'Addolorata' feast, to be held on Friday following Passion Sunday on the Crucifix altar at the parish church, as detailed in the records of Notary Marc Antonio Brincat on the 21st November 1721.[32] A picture of the same Madonna was presented by Fr Domenico Camilleri on the 22nd January 1802 and was placed on the altar of the Assumption in the same parish church.[33]

LIA

P/S IX

A bequest, providing for the celebration of this feast at St Peter's church, was accepted by the local ecclesiastical authorities on the 20th September 1782. This donation was made by Baroness Theodora Platamone Testaferrata Brincat.[34] Incidentally in this church there was already a papier-mache statue of Our Lady of Sorrows which had been previously at Cospicua's parish church. Moreover there was also an oval painting of the same on the altar of this church.[35]

LUQA

P/S X

Bishop Alpheran de Bussan in 1737 authorised to place a picture of the Sorrows Madonna on the Assumption side altar within the parish church, to stay there at his discretion.[36] Later, it was transferred to the Crucifix altar where it remained till 1781.[37] On the 9th September 1745, the Father General of the Servite Order gave his assent for the erection of a confraternity in her honour at this parish. This erection was duly sanctioned on the 27th March 1755.[38] Its members used to hold her feast, including a procession with Our Lady's relic, on Friday before Palm Sunday.[39] Later her statue used also to be carried in this procession.[40]

MDINA

P/S XI

In the records of the 1608 Pastoral Visit, there is a reference to a picture representing Our Lady of the Consolation at St Nicholas' church.[41] It is quite probable that the 'Pietà' was the subject of this painting.

P/S XII

When the new sacristy of the Cathedral church was built in 1626, its wooden altar was adorned with a painting of Our Lady of Sorrows dated 1627[42] which is still in this same place today. A wooden crucifix, the work of Fra Innocenza da Petralita OFM, presented to the Cathedral by Bishop Balaguer in 1648, was placed in front of the painting.[43]

When the new Cathedral was built this Crucifix was transferred from the sacristy to a side chapel within the left hand transept and was replaced by a bronze one made

[p.112]

Bartolomeo Garagona (1584-1641), Our Lady of Sorrows (1627), Metropolitan Cathedral (Sacristy), Mdina*

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

[p.113] by Algardi.44 On the 9th November 1743 Bishop Alpheran de Bussan erected a confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows in this chapel, which was also confirmed by a papal brief dated 23rd August 1746.45

MOSTA

P/S XIII

On the 14th January 1753, Maria Agius bequeathed a donation whereby it was planned to build a church in honour of Our Lady of Sorrows. If this plan would not materialise, this bequest could be used in some other way to propagate this devotion. In the meantime by 1759, a painting of the ‘Pietà' Madonna was placed on the Annunciation altar in the parish church46 which in 1771 was transferred to the Graces altar in the same church.47 On the 11th May 1778, an authorisation to demolish this altar and erect there another one dedicated to the Crucifix was granted.48 This altar was ready in 1781 and included also both a picture as well as a small statue of Our Lady of Sorrows.49

NAXXAR

P/S XIV

In 1598 a Pieta altar was already present at the old parish church.50 Ten years later the confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament was in charge of this altar.51 A petition forwarded by Fr Domenico Mifsud to rededicate this altar to St Catherine was granted him in 1623.52

P/S XV

Bishop Alpheran de Bussan on the 17th September 1750 authorised the erection of a confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows at Naxxar's parish church. While the Father General of the Servite Order gave his consent on the 7th March of the following year. An altar previously dedicated to Our Lady of the Light was assigned to this new confraternity. Apart from celebrating their patroness' feast on Friday following Passion Sunday, which included a procession with her statue, they began to organise in the 1750s the Holy Week procession. This used to take place during the evening of Maundy Thursday when statues representing scenes from the passion of Our Lord were carried through the streets of Naxxar. On Easter Sunday they held another procession.53 During the Pastoral Visit of 1759, Fr Vincenzo Galea presented a donation to this confraternity.54

QORMI

P/S XVI

When the transepts of the parish church were ready, a ‘Pietà' altar was inserted on the right hand side of the main altar. This was already in its place in 1652.55 The old wooden triptych which originally stood on the main altar of the old parish church was placed on this altar. Its central panel represented Our Lady under the cross.56 In 1653 a sodality to suffragate the needs of the Souls in Pur-[p.114]-gatory was erected on this altar.57 Its feast was held on Friday following Passion Sunday.58

P/S XVII

At the Atocha church, a niche on St Lawrence altar, enshrined a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows. Bishop Labini in 1781 granted a forty days indulgence for the recitation of an ‘Our Father' in front of this statue.59

QRENDI

P/S XVIII

Giuseppe Camilleri founded an altar at Tal-Ħniena church. Its endowment was duly recorded in the acts of Notary Marc. Antonio Brancato on the 8th February 1727.60 Later it was described as St Publius' altar, since this saint, together with St Agatha, had been included in its altar piece.61

RABAT

PS XIX

When the Tal-Virtù church was rebuilt after 1725, a side picture of Our Lady of Sorrows was placed in it.62

SAFI

P S XX

The records of Notary Gio. F.co Farrugia on the 13th October 1747 report the donation of a picture representing the Deposition of Our Lord from the Cross, which Fr Carla Reboul made to Safi's parish church.63 The side picture near the Rosary altar mentioned from 1759 onwards could be Reboul's picture.64

SENGLEA

P/S XXI

In 1759 a picture of Our Lady of Sorrows stood on the altar of the Crucifix oratory.65

P/S XXII

In 1736 an altar in honour of St Anthony of Padua at Porto Salvo's church was substituted by another one dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows.66 Its benefactor, Gioacchino Psaila, was given the right of burial in front of it.67

SIĠĠIEWI

P/S XXIII.

In 1736 a small picture stood on the Crucifix altar.68 In 1774 it was included in the stone sculptured decoration surrounding its altar piece.69

TARXIEN

P/S XXIV

In 1789, Bishop Labini authorised the erection of an altar in the newly built church of St Bartholomew.70

VALLETTA

P/S XXV

In 1646 a copy of the ‘Virgen de la Soledad' venerated at Madrid in Spain was placed in St James' church and a confraternity in her honour was immediately established. Every Friday, the Litany of Our Lady and the Hail Holy Queen were solemnly sung. Great veneration towards this Madonna has always been a special characteristic of St James' church.71

P/S XXVI

In 1759 a picture within an oval frame stood on the Crucifix altar at St Nicholas' church.72

VITTORIOSA

P/S XXVII

A sub-titular altar piece placed on the 'Crucifix altar at the church of 'Mount Carmel appeared for the first time in 1774.73

P/S XXVIII

Canon Anthony Testaferrata on the 28th December 1679 stipulated a bequest in the records of Notary Michael Stafrag which instituted the celebration of Our Lady of Sorrows' feast in the oratory built by the confraternity of Our Lady of Charity. This feast was to be held as usual on Friday before Palm Sunday.74

ŻABBAR

P/S XXIX

An altar at 2abbar sanctuary, whose origins were due to popular piety,75 found a generous benefactor in 1592, namely Knight Fra Giovanni de Lamps. On the 20th November 1592, as recorded in the notarial acts of Salv. Ciantar, he bequeathed funds for the celebration of its feast to be held on Friday after Palm Sunday.76 This altar was also inserted within the new parish church.77

ŻEBBUĠ

P/S XXX

The confraternity of St John the Evangelist used to celebrate her feast on their altar in the parish church. When this altar, sometime before 1742, was incorporated to that of the Holy Trinity, a subtitular altar piece representing Our Lady of Sorrows was placed thereon.78 They had even her statue done by Saverio Laferla.79 As the said confraternity ceased to function, a group of devout persons sought episcopal authorisation to begin celebrating her feast on the third Sunday of September. This was granted them on the 12th February 1772 and the following September this feast was held at the parish church of Żebbuġ with all due solemnty.80 Incidentally a papal brief dated 3rd June 1771 refers to a confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows already established at Żebbuġ.81

ŻURRIEQ

P /S XXXI

Elena, wife of Biagio Saliba, before 1585, erected an altar in honour of St Nicholas Tolentino in the old parish church. Its altar piece represented the 'Pietà' Madonna in a central position with the said saint and St Dominic on each side.82 When the new parish church was built this wooden altar piece [p.116] was inserted in a stone cornice on St Rocque altar.83 On the 21st April 1746, Bishop Alpheran de Bussan authorised the erection of a confraternity in her honour.84 This confraternity however was established on the Crucifix altar. Its members celebrated her feast on Friday preceding Palm Sunday85 which included also a procession.86

[p.117]

THE PIETÀ AND OUR LADY OF SORROWS (P/S)

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.


[1] F.G. Holweck, Fasti Mariani, 236, 313-315; E. Campana, Maria nel Culto Cattolico I, 306-336; Gaspar Calvo Moralejo, "Los gozos de Nuestra Senora y su culto en Fr. Inigo de Mendosa, O.F.M. (1425‑1507?)" in De Culto Mariano Saeculi XII-XV — Acta Congressus Mariologici-Mariani Internationalis Romae anno 1975 Celebrati, Vol. VI, Rome 1981, 57-90,

[2] Confer No P/S XVI.

[3] "Sub invocatione S.ti Georgi in quo inest Icona cum Imagine Jesu Christi et Virginis Mariae" (AAM, VP 1588-1602, 40r).

[4] Vincenzo Bonello, The Madonna in Art, Malta 1959, 4.

[5] Its description results from the 1594 records: "Imago Virginis Mariae de pietate a latere sinistro Imaginis Scti Dominici ab alio imaginem ejusdem Scti Nicolai" AAM, VP 1595-1608, 186r).

[6] Confer No G VI.

[7] Confer No P/S XXIX.

[8] AAM, VP 1615-16, 353r-v. Confer No P/S 2.

[9] Idem, A similar church was built in 1619 within another cemetery, namely, the Hospital cemetery at Calletta, near Castle St Elmo. Knight Fra Giorgio Nibbia was its founder. In 1685, a sodality in honour of Our Lady of Sorrows was also established in this church, which was under the jurisdiction of the Order of St John (A. Ferris, Memorie dell'Inclito Ordine Gerosolimitano esistenti nelle Isole di Malta, Malta 1881, 120-122).

[10] Confer Nos P/S 5, N 29 and P/S XVIII. In this last instance, a side altar was dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows in No N 29, while this church continued to celebrate as its titular the Nativity of Our Lady.

[11] Confer No. P/2 XII.

[12] This Sodality during the 17th century was founded in the following parishes: at the Cathedral in 1640 (AAM, Suppliche 6 (1741-61 I) 566r); at Għaxiaq in 1647 (AAM, VP 1667-68, 347v) ; in 1652 at Qormi (AAM, VP 1653-54, 178v) and at Senglea (AAM, Suppliche 2 1686-1706), 73r-v); in 1665 at Attard (AAM, Suppliche 1 (1668-86), 366r-367r) and Lia (AAM, VP 1758-60 I, 506v); in 1669 at Gargur (AAM, Suppliche 1 (1668-86), 124r-v), while the Luqa sodality was aggregated during this same year (Dun Gius. Micallef, Ħal Luga, Niesha u drajjietha, 110); the Żabbar sodality was also founded in 1669 (AAM, Suppliche 1 (1668-86), 230v-231v): in 1671 at Siġġiewi (AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 302r); in 1674 at Tarxien (Ibid., 841r-843v); in 1675 at Balzan (Ibid., 432v-433r); in 1676 at Birkirkara (Ibid., 587r); in 1678 at Qrendi (AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 364r-v); before 1678 at Gudja (AAM, VP 1678-80, 270v); in 1686 at Mosta (AAM, Suppliche 2 (1686-1706), 10v-12r); in 1689 at Żurrieq (AAM, VP 1758-60 IT, 386v-387r) and in 1691 at Porto Salvo, Valletta (AAM, Suppliche 2 (1686-1706), 81v-82r) and at Żebbuġ (AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 579r).

[13] Confer No P/S XII.

[14] Confer No P/S XVI.

[15] Confer No P/S VII.

[16] Idem. Incidentally, Għaxiaq seems to have followed a trend which preferred to celebrate this feast after Easter. Thus at Liege, this feast used to be held on Friday after Dominica in Albis, others preferred the following Saturday. The Canon Regulars in 1536 decided to hold the Pieta feast on the second Sunday after Easter. A Council of Cologne had actually reserved the Third Sunday after Easter for this feast (E. Campana, Maria nel Culto Cattolico I, 323).

[17] Confer No P/S 4.

[18] Confer Nos P/S I, III, IV, V, XVIII, XXII, XXIV.

[19] Confer Nos P/S VI, VIII, IX, XIII.

[20] Confer No P/S 1.

[21] Confer No P/S 3.

[22] Confer No P/S VII.

[23] Confer No P/S XII.

[24] Confer No P/S XXXI.

[25] Confer No P/S XV.

[26] Confer No P/S X.

[27] AAM, Suppliche 9 (1762-76 II), 1134v.

[28] Namely at the Domus Charitatis of Floriana (Confer No P/S V), at Lia (Confer No P/S IX) and at Balzan (Confer No P/S II).

[29] Confer Nos P/S XIX, XX, XXI, XXIII, XXVI, XXVII.

[30] Confer Nos P/S I, II, V, X, XI, XXX etc.

[1] AAM, VP 1736-40, pp. 1095-96.

[2] AAM, VP 1751-56, 831v-832r; VP 1758-60 II, 77r; VP 1781, 399r-v.

[3] AAM, Suppliche 7 (1762-76 II), 563v-564r.

[4] AAM, VP 1615-16, 353r-355r. Confer also: A. Ferres, Descrizione Storica. 244-246; Ed. Sammut, "The Church of Our Lady della Pietà" in Times of Malta 13/7/1950.

[5] AAM, VP 1671-74, 361r; VP 1699‑1700 ab Alia, 450r-451r; VP 1751-56, 710r-v; VP 1758-60 II, 127r; A. Ferres, op. cit.

[6] AAM, VP 1722-23, 174r-v.

[7] AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 127r-v.

[8] AAM, Suppliche 5 (1714-41 II), 548r-v; VP 1728-29, 79r-80r.

[9] AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 52r-v; VP 1771-74/77, 291v-292r.

[10] AAM, VP 1722-23, 259v-260v; Benefizi, Vol. 1722-23, No 9, p. 4.

[11] AAM, VP 1744-51, 621r.

[12] AAM, VP 1751-56, 615v.

[13] AAM, VP 1618, 140r.

[14] AAM, VP 1621-31, 206v; VP 1665-66, 172r; VP 1667-68, 322r-v.

[15] AAM, VP 1678-80, 151v.

[16] Francesco Wizzino from Vittoriosa and Francesco Vella were the main benefactors of this church after its restoration. The records of Notary Natale Parmisciano, dated 21st August 1673, as well as those of Notary Gio. Luca Mamo dated 14th April 1677 give the details of the bequests by these two gentlemen (AAM, VP 1685-87B. 379v and VP 1692-98, 182v).

[17] AAM, VP 1736-40, p. 752; VP 1758-60 II, 465r.

[18] AAM, VP 1685-87B, 533r-v; VP 1758-60 II, 282r-v; Suppliche 7 (1741-61 II), 804r.

[19] AAM, Suppliche 5 (1714-41II), 977r.

[20] This bequest was recorded in the Notarial Acts of P.P. Grimani on the 7th August 1758 (AAM, VP 1785.) 100v-101r).

[21] AAM, Suppliche 12 (1786-1808 II), 498v-499v.

[22] AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 24r; Suppliche 6 (1741-61 I), 348v-349v.

[23] AAM, VP 1781, 265r.

[24] AAM, VP 1736-40, p. 1181; VP 1758‑60 II, 126r.

[25] AAM, VP 1781, 93v.

[26] AAM. Suppliche 10 (1776-1786), 720r-722v.

[27] AAM, VP 1781, 74v-75r.

[28] AAM, VP 1736-40, p. 823.

[29] AAM. VP 1656-59, 209v; VP 1667‑68. 347v.

[30] AAM, VP 1665-66, 194v.

[31] AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 444r-445r; VP 1781, 531v.

[32] AAM, VP 1722-23, 273r; VP 1758-60 II, 421v-422v.

[33] AAM, Suppliche 12 (1786-1808) II, 618v.

[34] AAM, Suppliche 10 (1776-1785), 577r-580r.

[35] AAM, VP 1758-60 I, 558v-559r.

[36] AAM, VP 1736-40, p. 958.

[37] AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 530r-v; VP 1781, 561v.

[38] Dun Gius. Micallef, Ħal Luqa. Niesha u Grajjietha, 115-116.

[39] AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 530r-v.

[40] Dun Gius. Micallef, op. cit., 115.

[41] AAM, VP 1579-1608, 297v.

[42] AAM, VP 1634, 16v.

[43] AAM, VP 1653-54, 12r-v; VP 1758‑60 I, 32v-33r.

* Confer: Dominic Cutajar, “The Deposition” in Mario Buhagiar (Ed.), Marian Art During the 17th and 18th Centuries, Malta 1983, 35.

44 AAM, VP 1758-60 I, 61r-v.

45 Ibid., 41r; Suppliche 6 (1741-61) I, 124v.

46 AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 261v.

47 AAM, VP 1771-74/77, 154r-v.

48 AAM, Suppliche 10 (1776-85) 180r‑182r.

49 AAM, VP 1781, 234r.

50 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 251v.

51 AAM, VP 1579-168, 351r; VP 1615‑16, 140r; VP 1618, 154r.

52 AAM, VP 1621-31, 148r-v.

53 AAM, VP 1758-60 II. 219v-220r.

54 Ibid., 237v-238v.

55 AAM, VP 1653-54, 178v.

56 AAM, VP 1671-74, 246v; VP 1678‑80. 356v; VP 1758-6 II, 549v; VP 1771-74/77, 403v.

57 AAM, VP 1653-54, 178v.

58 AAM. VP 1685-87B, 316v-317r.

59 AAM, VP 1781, 589r.

60 AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 366r-v.

61 AAM, VP 1781, 459v-460r.

62 AAM, VP 1758-60 I, 415v.

63 AAM, VP 1751-56. 311r.

64 AAM. VP 1758-60 II, 413v-414r.

65 Ibid.,  95v-96r.

66 AAM. VP 1736-40, pp. 774-775.

67 AAM, Suppliche 8 (1762-76 I), 8v‑9v.

68 AAM, VP 1736-40, D. 470.

69 AAM, VP 1771-74/77, 603v.

70 AAM, Suppliche 11 (178601808) I, 212r-v

71 A. Ferres, Memorie dell’Inclio Ordine Gerosolimitano, 118-120.

72 AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 137r-v; VP 1771-74/77, 178r.

73 AAM, VP 1771-74/77, 269r.

74 AAM, VP 1692-98, 437r.

75 AAM, VP 1588-1602, 283v; VP 1615‑16, 263v.

76 AAM, VP 1621-31, 113v. The records of the 1722-23 Pastoral Visit give a different name for the Notary of this deed, namely Gio. Guglielmo Fuicher (AAM, VP 1722‑23, 504r).

77 AAM, VP 1728-29, 583v; VP 1758-60 II, 495r;   VP 1781, 517r.

78 AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 601r; VP 1781, 336r.

79 Żebbuġ Parish Archives, Introito ed Esito della Ven.da Imagine di San Giovanni Apostolo ed Evangelista, Nov. 1742-Dec. 1757, p.n.n.

80 AAM, Suppliche 9 (1762-76 II), 811v-812v. Żebbuġ Parish Archives, Esito di S. Giovanni Evangelista 1760-1864, p. 70.

81 AAM, Suppliche 9 (1762-76 II), 1134r-v.

82 AAM, VP 1579-1608, 24v, 186r.

83 AAM, VP 1653-54, 225v-226r.

84 AAM, Suppliche 6 (1741-61 I), 262v ff.

85 AAM, VP 1758-60 II, 387r.

86 AAM, VP 1781, 438r.