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Your Guide to Malta and Gozo - The Annunciation Church

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The Church of the Annunciation

 Address : Triq il-Mina l-Kbira, Birgu Tel: 2182 5198

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Dominican friars took possession of a Chapel dedicated to the Annunciation on 4th February 1528. General Vicar Conciur however gave the Church of St. Lawrence to the Knights soon after their arrival to serve as their conventual church. Very controversially, Conciur gave the Annunciation chapel to the parish priest Filippo de Guevara and despite prior agreements, the Dominicans were displaced from this church. His successor, Iacobo Rafficano honoured these conracts and the Annunciation Chapel was returned to the Friars.

The foundation stone of a new church was laid by Fabio Chigi in 1639. Chigi was Inquisitor from xxxx to xxxx and went on to become Pope Alexander VII. A façade was installed in 1642 and the church was inaugurated in 1657.

In 1806, a severe explosion rocked Birgu when a gunpowder magazine – the Polverista – blew up for reasons that have never been established with any certainty and caused the death of more than 150 people. The Annunciation church suffered significant damage and underwent restoration work in 1806 and 1864. The dome itself was only restored in 1924, on the design of Gustav Soler.

The church building was seriously damaged by a bomb dropped by German war planes on 19th January 1941. Clergy and lay people alike rummaged through the debris to salvage whatever they could until on 4th April, 1942 another bomb completely annihilated the church. The domincans were determined to fulfil their pastoral duties notwithstanding the adversities and set up a makeshift chapel within the Inquisitor's Palace. The present Church was blessed by Serafin Zarb on 20th August 1960, and was consecrated by Archbishop Mikiel Gonzi on 3rd December.

The titular statue of St. Dominic was made in Gozo by Michael Camilleri and and stands on a silver plinth manufactured in Italy in 1907. The walnut base is by Ġuże' Decelis.

Paintings inside this church include works by Rafael Bonnici Cali' and Ġanni Vella.