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Report 2012: Five Days in Malta

By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2012

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Page 20 of 24: Rabat - Church of St Mary of Jesus

photo by MAW

Nave and Chancel

This is part of the Franciscan Friary on Triq San Paul, near the bus station. It is often wrongly referred to as St Joseph’s as it celebrates the feast of St Joseph. The area around is known as St Joseph.

As we headed back to the bus station we realized the door was ajar so we peeped inside. The Monks were praying.

The church was built in 1500 and enlarged in 1757. Next to it is the Oratory of St Joseph.

It is a beautiful building. The nave pillars were covered with red damask. The side aisles have cream painted domes and small marble altars. The altar on the left nearest the door has a crucifix above. The next one has a statue of a saint with nails through his hands and carrying a crucifix. The rest have paintings above them. There are various small statues in glass cases around the church.

There are decorative marble tomb stones on floor. The nave above the arches is painted pale grey and has a border above. Stained glass windows above the nave have a yellow cross with a blue centre square and border and purple ends. They have a carved shell above and painted borders. There is a beautifully painted ceiling with elaborate ribs with gold painted carvings separating the different paintings.

There is a mass altar with a large high altar behind with very tall candlesticks and candles. Behind are wooden choir stalls. The walls of the choir have big wall paintings in panels. The apse above the high altar is painted grey and gold. To the right of the mass altar is a small statue of Our Lady with a blue canopy above with a crown.

Off the left side of the nave is the Oratory Chapel of St Joseph. This has grey and pink marble walls, grey and gold painted ceiling and a highly decorated ceiling above the apse over the high altar.

Statues in glass cases round walls include the crucifixion with St Veronica holding the handkerchief she used to wipe the face of Christ which has his image on it. There is a statue of St Joseph with the Christ Child and cherubim.

At the back of the church above the door is a small balcony with a painting of St Joseph with the Christ Child set in an apse with a highly ornate frame.

This is a charming small church which isn’t mentioned by the guide books and there is very little about it on the web. It is only open just before or after a service.

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