Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica. [Published by the Malta Historical Society]. 6(1973)2(201-202)

V. BORG, Il-knisja parrokkjali ta Īal Tarxien. B'tagħrif dwar l-istorja tal-pajjiz minn K. Sant u dwar l-arti fil-knisja parrokkjali minn R. Bonnici Calì, St. Joseph Printing Press, Malta, 1972, 82 pp.

This is a detailed history of the parish church of Tarxien village, from its foundation at the beginning of the 17th century till the end of the 18th. It is an exercise in local history, therefore, but with a difference. The author is a professional historian, whose major study, Fabio Chigi, Apostolic Delegate in Malta (1635-1639), has been published in the series Studi e Testi of the Vatican Library in 1967. Although a social historian might detect quite a few unnecessary and unimportant details, yet it is [p.202] readily admitted that every single statement is fully evidenced by direct reference to the sources. These sources include the Archbishop’s archives in Valletta (mainly the Pastoral Visits), the Cathedral archives in Mdina and the parochial archives at Tarxien. Perhaps the Notarial archives in Valletta could have been consulted with some profit.

The idea to undertake this study seems to have been suggested to V. Borg by the present parish priest of Tarxien, Rev. Edgar Attard. His name is mentioned here as an example for others in his position. Thanks to this monograph (which is complete with illustrations, an index and a plan), the parish church of Tarxien can now be seen in a new light, indeed as a church of historical, architectural and artistic value.

On p. 49 one reads: “Until 1600 this chapel (of St. Nicholas) was in the hands of the Inquisitor, because originally it was administered by Mattew Falzon who was condemned as a heretic, and had all his property confiscated. Part of the property including the chapel fell into the Inquisitor’s hands. In the year 1592 the chapel served as a burial place for many people who died of the plague.” Certainly, further information concerning Mattew Falzon and the 1592 plague, about which we know next to nothing, would have made very interesting reading, much more, I dare say, than the story of the tiny chapel itself. I sincerely wish that V. Borg, who has collected so much evidence and has such a masterly knowledge of his sources, could one day give us the history of the village and people of Tarxien from, say, 1500 to 1800, something which would be in line with the modern trend of village history-writing.

J. Mangion