Mepa in €85,000 sponsorship of Valletta church restoration
Mepa has presented a sponsorship of €85,000 to Din l-Art Ħelwa to help the NGO in the restoration of Our Lady of Victory Church in Valletta.
Simone Mizzi, executive president of Din l-Art Ħelwa welcomed the grant.
"This important sponsorship will allow us to carry out some very important aspects of the conservation project, which include the installation of a modern, intelligent and environmentally friendly lighting system that will respect and enhance the art in the church, CCTVs and security systems and also secure the many wooden apertures on the roof and annexe that are in a real bad shape.
"Without these works, the conservation of the art treasures such as the Erardi Vault paintings cannot be considered complete. So we are really grateful to Mepa for making this part of our project possible."
The sponsorship cheque was presented by Mepa chairman Austin Walker, who said that the cultural heritage was an integral part of the environment that Mepa was responsible to protect.
"The Church of Our Lady of Victory is not just any other church, it was the first church to be built in our capital city by Grand Master Jean Parisot de Valette, following the Great Siege." Mr Walker added "In order to protect this church, some years back we scheduled this building as a Grade 1 national monument; today we feel the duty and responsibility to further protect this Church by financially supporting, through the Authority's Environment Initiatives Partnership Programme (EIPP) fund, this restoration project which has been sensibly entrusted to Din l-Art Helwa."
Din l-Art Helwa has commissioned various experts to start works on the conservation of the important vault paintings, restore the ground ﬂoor perimeter walls and uncover their murals, endow the historic crypt with a digniﬁed access and reinstate the 18th Century Organ. Other works include the installation of an external accessibility ramp and the restoration of the choir and sacristy woodwork, monuments, altars, and the numerous works of art.
Many other organizations have given substantial financial support to this project, namely the HSBC Malta Foundation, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Alfred Mizzi Foundation, Vodafone Malta Foundation, Strickland Foundation, Farsons Foundation and numerous individuals.
The Church of Our Lady of Victories was the first building to be erected in the new city of Valletta as a commemoration of the victory over the Turks. The foundation stone of the city of Valletta was laid here in 1566 by Grand Master La Vallette.
The main entrance of the Church is at a higher level than the street level. It is reached by means of a flight of stairs on either side of a raised podium, both made of local hard stone and having Baroque designed wrought iron railings. The main façade is splayed at the corners and is highly ornate with moulded frames, cartouches, a large marble inscription enclosed in swags of drapery and an aedicule containing the bust of a Grand Master.
The Knights of Malta, conferred importance on the church by endowing it with works of art and making it a Parish Church of the Order in 1617. Extended by Grand Master Perellos in 1699, it was again enlarged in 1752 during the reign of Grand Master Pinto who also embellished the Church with a baroque façade as we see it today. Known to the Maltese as 'Tal-Vitorja', it is called 'Our Lady of Victory', or 'Victories', so as to commemorate two great victorious episodes: the lifting of the Great Siege on the eve of 8 September, 1565, and the capitulation of the Italian Fleet to the Allied Forces on the same day in 1943.