Sunday, May 4, 2014

Gozo Cathedral, Malta

The Gozo Cathedral is just inside the walls of the citadel of Victoria, the central town of the island. The current church is the third on the site. First was a Byzantine building from 535 that was replaced by a mosque when the Arabs took over the island in 870. The Norman conquest in 1127 saw the mosque turned into a church. The Turks ransacked the church in 1551 but it was functional again in 1554. An earthquake in January 1693 severely damaged the building. The third church was begun in 1697 and completed in 1716. When Gozo and Comino became a diocese independent from Malta, Pope Pius IX made it the bishop's cathedral.

Gozo Cathedral

The interior is the typical Baroque explosion of decorations. Beauty is everywhere on display.

Nave

On the left of the entrance is the baptismal font, which has a replica on the right of the entrance, making a nice balance.

Is this the baptismal font...

...or this one?

At the back of the church is  processional statue of the Virgin Mary. The Leone Philharmonic Society donated it in 1956. The statue is processed around Victoria every August 15, the Feast of the Assumption.

Processional statue

The main altar is highly ornate with the bishop's chair in the back.

Main altar

3/4 view of the main altar

The pulpit is also gilded marble.

Pulpit

Above is a perspective painting of a dome, fooling the eye into seeing a dome that isn't there!

Above the altar

Detail of the "dome"

On the south transept is an altar dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, with an effigy of Pope Pius IX below.

Pius IX, in effigy

Another altar has an effigy of St. Ursula, patron of Gozo.

St. Ursula, in effigy

A statue of Christ beneath the Cross (c. 1700) is another example of Baroque detail. This statue is taken around the town in procession on Good Friday.

Christ beneath the Cross

The cathedral also has a museum that we didn't visit.

1 comment:

  1. Hello there :) Nice article and pics ! But at one foto i am afrayd is a little error: The picture nr. 12 doesnt shows St. Ursula. It actualy is St. Lucidae and must be a "catacomb saint" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catacomb_saints . If You look very close, you can see the openings at the chest and the hands, where the bones are visible. I was there myself last july and took this picture: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adegart/14985052970/in/set-72157647341294772 Friendly greetings, A.

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