Kolleġġjata Church

IL-KOLLEĠĠJATA TA’ SAN PAWL

Meta fi żmien l-isqof ta’ Malta Monsinjur Royas, fis-sena 1575, ġie l-Viżitatur Appostoliku Monsinjur Duzina jagħmel il-viżta pastorali fir-Rabat, huwa sab li f’dan il-post, diġa minn ħafna żmien qabel, kien hemm il-knisja ta’ San Pawl li kienet il-knisja parrokkjali tar-Rabat; u sab li din kienet tant qadima u għalhekk fi stat ħazin, li kienet qed ġa qiegħda tinbena flokha knisja oħra fl-istess inħawi. L-art stess li fuqha kienet, u kif inhi llum mibnija l-knisja, hija sagra, independentament mill-fatt li fuqha llum hija mibnija l-istess knisja. U hija sagra għax fuqha u madwara min jaf kemm il-drabi għaddew u mxew l-Appostlu San Pawl, l-Evanġelista San Luqa, u d-dixxipli San Barnaba u Sant’Aristarku. Kien bil-fors fuq din l-art li, kif jgħid il-kbir Krisostmu saru ħafna magħmudijiet minn dawk il-qaddisin, li minħabba n-nawfraġju kien hemm bżonn fid-disinji tal-Provvidenza li jieqfu f’dina l-gżira. Kien fuq din l-art li għall-ewwel darba tħabbar il-Vanġelu ta’ Kristu u beda f’Malta l-Kristjaneżmu. Kien qrib din il-Knisja li għal tliet xhur għadda x-xitwa u għammar fil-Grotta, San Pawl. U kien fuq din l-art li fil-qedem kien hemm wieħed mill-ewwel ċimiterji ta’ l-insara f’Malta.

Il-bini tal-Knisja preżenti ta’ San Pawl beda wara l-festa tas-sena 1653. Dan ngħiduh għax ftit granet qabel, fit-3 ta’ Ġunju, l-Isqof Balaguer għamel il-Vista Pastorali fir-Rabat u ma semma xejn dwar il-bini. Iżda meta żar mill-ġdid il-Knisja fit-18 t’April 1656 huwa ddeskriva li s-sagristija u t-tribuna kienu mwaqqgħin, u kien jonqos li tinbena l-koppla u l-kappelluni. Faħħar ukoll ħafna lil Cosmana Navarra u żewgha Lorenzo Cassar.

Ix-xogħol li nbeda fl-1653 kien ġa waqaf għal kollox fl-1662 għax ma jissemma xejn fil-Vista pastorali li saret fil-5 ta’ Ġunju ta’ dik is-sena. Żgur li x-xogħol reġa’ tkompla mid-19 ta’ Jannar 1664, kif jirriżulta mill-ftehim notarili li Cosmana għamlet fis-16 ta’ April mal-bennejja Lorenzo Gafa’ u Pawluċċju Farmusa għal ispiża ta’ 1700 skud biex titkompla l-Knisja, titħaffer il-karnierja u jitkompla il-kampnar li minnu kienet diġa tlestiet parti. L-Isqof Balaguer fil-Vista tiegħu tas-7 ta’ Jannar 1666 jikkummenta li l-knisja, li jsejħilha ‘manjifika’, kienet prattikament lesta, bil-kappellun ta’ San Anton mibni għal kollox.

Iżda din il-knisja kellha biss kappellun wieħed u kulħadd kien rassenjat, l-aktar Cosmana, li fiċ-ċirkostanzi wieħed kellu jistenna għal meta forsi tinqaleb il-folja biex jinbena dak tan-naħa l-oħra, dak ta’ San Stiefnu. Għax l-arja tiegħu, sewwa sew wara l-artal maġġur ta’ San Pubbliju kien propjeta’ ta’ l-Ordni, u donnu l-Gran Mastru kellu pjanijiet oħra u forsi ma kienx tant ferħan li l-knisja l-ġdida se titfi l-knisja tiegħu. Cosmana kompliet issebbaħ il-Knisja bit-titular famuż ta’ Erardi li tlesta fis-sena 1678 u biz-zuntier stupend li tlesta s-sena ta’ wara, 1679. Is-sena ta’ wara, 1680, ġabet ferħ kbir lil Cosmana għax fit-2 ta’ Mejju nħatar il-Granmastru l-ġdid , Fra Nicola Cotoner, u dak inhar stess ikkoncenda lil Cosmana, l-propjeta’ tiegħu li kellha bżonn biex tibni l-kappellun l-ieħor, dak ta’ San Stiefnu. Fit-tmiem tax-xogħol hija bniet mhux biss il-faċċata tal-Knisja tal-llum iżda wkoll iż-żewġ ġnub l-oħra, li jagħtu għal San Publiju u għaz-zuntier.

LINKS

 

  • Il-Grotta ta’ San Pawl
  • Iz-Zuntier tal-Parrocca
  • Il-Kullegg Wignacourt
  • L-Arcikontfraternita’ tas-Ssmu Sagrament
  • Il-Konfraternita’ ta’ San Pawl
  • L-Istatwa ta’ San Pawl
  • Il-Knisja ta’ San Pawl barra s-Swar
  • Pawlu u Malta
  • L-Istorja tal-bini tal-Knisja ta’ San Pawl
  • Il-Knisja ta’ San Pawl fl-1736
  • The Collegiate Church of St Paul

    In 1575 when Mons. Royas helmed the episcopate of Malta, Mons. Duzina headed the Apostolic Visit which surveyed the Parish of Rabat. Mons Duzina found standing a very old church dedicated to St. Paul. However it was in such bad conditions that another church was being built to replace it in the whereabouts.

    The ground on which the church is built on holds very sacred connotations for the people of Rabat because it is believed that it was the same ground on which St. Paul the Apostle, St. Luke the Evangelist and St. Barnaba and St. Aristarcus the disciples dwelled and preached. Chrisostomus recounts how these saintly figures baptised the locals as Divine Providence fated after the shipwreck on the island. This same ground knows the very beginning of Christianity in Malta when Salvation was preached for the first time. St. Paul spent his three month Winter stay in Malta in a grotto underneath this church. The whereabouts confine also the first Christian cemetries.


    The construction of the present church started after the feast of 1653. We know this because Bishop Balaguer paid a Pastoral Visit on the 3rd June, 1653 but no mention of any construction is made in his personal journals. However Balaguer visited the church on the 18th April 1656 where he described the advanced construction of the sagristy and the tribune only. The side chapels and the dome were missing. Balaguer praised Cosmana Navarra and her husband Lorenzo Cassar for being such great benefactors.

    However construction had subsided by 1662 because the Pastoral Visit made on the 5th June of that same year made no mention of any progress. Works resumed on the 19th January 1664 after the signing of the contract between Cosmana Navarra and mastermasons Lorenzo Gafa and Paoluccio Formosa in which it established that the sum of 1700 escudos were enough for the completion of the church, to dig the charnel-house and to complete the already partly built belfry. In his visit on the 7th January 1666 Balaguer describes the almost completed church as magnificent with the side chapel dedicated to St. Anthony in its advanced state.

    Construction faced critical moments when works on the side chapel dedicated to St. Stephen were at a halt. The church plan allocated this side chapel beside the main altar dedicated to St. Publius which fell under the property of the Grand Master who refused to concede it. Probably the Grand Master had other plans in his mind or he was weary the new church would surpass the Order’s chapel.

     

    Ix-xoghol li nbeda fl-1653 kien ga waqaf ghal kollox fl-1662 ghax ma jissemma xejn fil-Vista pastorali li saret fil-5 ta’ Gunju ta’ dik is-sena. Zgur li x-xoghol rega’ tkompla mid-19 ta’ Jannar 1664, kif jirrizulta mill-ftehim notarili li Cosmana ghamlet fis-16 ta’ April mal-bennejja Lorenzo Gafa’ u Pawluccju Farmusa ghal ispiza ta’ 1700 skud biex titkompla l-Knisja, tithaffer il-karnierja u jitkompla il-kapmnar li minnu kienet diga tlestiet parti. L-Isqof Balaguer fil-Vista tieghu tas-7 ta’ Jannar 1666 jikkummenta li l-knisja, li jsejhila ‘manjifika’, kienet prattikament lesta, bil-kappellun ta’ San Anton mibni ghal kollox. Meanwhile Cosmana Navarra embellished the church in 1678 with Erardi’s famous titular painting depicting the Shipwreck. The churchyard was ready in 1679. A year later in 1680, Cosmana Navarra rejoiced when the newly appointed Grand Master, Fra Nicola Cotoner conceded the much needed property for the construction of St. Stephen’s chapel on the same day of his election. Apart from donating part of her riches to build the façade of the church, Cosmana Navarra contributed also to the construction of the side walls leading to St. Publius’ Chapel and to the churchyard.

     

     

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