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Saturday, 23 November 2019

St Paul's Pro Cathedral Valletta celebrates 175th anniversary of consecration

The spire of St Paul's Pro Cathedral on the Valletta skyline
Dowager Queen Adelaide was the Royal Benefactor who wished to establish a "Collegiate Church in the Anglican Tradition" in Malta. St Paul's, Valletta, is now one of the two Pro-Cathedrals in the Diocese (the other is in Brussels) which together with our Cathedral in Gibraltar make us rather well endowed as far as cathedrals go!


The Main Entrance to St Paul's, by night
2 - 3 November was a busy weekend for the Pro-Cathedral. Over the course of the two days, several events were held to mark the 175th anniversary of the consecration of the building. 

When consecrated by the then Bishop of Gibraltar on All Saints day 1844 it was dedication to St Paul who holds great significance for the Maltese. He was the first Christian missionary to the island when he was shipwrecked there around AD 59/60, thus was the Apostolic founder of the Church there.  For this reason, the Chancellor of the Pro-Cathedral, the Revd Canon Simon Godfrey, thought it fitting that consecration crosses be installed and blessed as part of the anniversary. Consecration crosses are reminders in our physical buildings that the Church of God is built on the foundation of the Apostles of Jesus Christ.This unusual liturgical event occurred on 2 November during a Requiem Mass celebrated for the Friends of St Paul's AGM. 




As fitting as this ceremony was, it was not thought fitting (or safe, given what I was wearing) for me to climb up the ladder to bless the crosses. The intrepid Fr Simon, much fitter than I, climbed the ladder to consecrate each of the six crosses while I remained on terra firma to recite the prayer of blessing.  





The next day, All Saints Sunday, the 175th anniversary itself was celebrated in a festive mass. The President of the Republic of Malta, Dr George Vella KCMG and the British High Commissioner, HE Stuart Gill OBE were present as well as ambassadors from Germany and Italy, and several government ministers and ecumenical dignitaries. 


HE President Vella and Mme Vella, with Chancellor Canon Simon Godfrey
It was a joy on that occasion also to witness the Revd Canon David Waller be installed in his stall (of St John Henry Newman), by the Chancellor. Fr David is the Archdeacon-designate to serve the two archdeaconries of Italy and Malta and Gibraltar. 


Archdeacon Designate Canon David Waller
The Pro Cathedral is in the midst of a capital appeal for a complete restoration. It is the largest appeal ever of its kind in our diocese, with a target of €8 million. So far, €5.2 million have been raised, which includes a generous donation from the European Union. The restoration will include urgent repairs to the spire which is a central part of the iconic Valletta skyline, as well as other works inside and out.is pressing. An appeal is being launched to raise more than €8,000,000 (more than €8 million) for vital restoration work. The fund will be ring-fenced for this work only - it will not be used for running expenses.
The need is pressing. An appeal is being launched to raise more than €8,000,000 (more than €8 million) for vital restoration work. The fund will be ring-fenced for this work only - it will not be used for running expenses.


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