Jan – Mar 2017
HMS Illustrious air-raid attack victims remembered
The annual commemoration in honour of the 16 January 1941 air-raid blitz on HMS Illustrious which caused wide-spread destruction in Grand Harbour and cost the lives of many civilians notably at Vittoriosa was held on St Lawrence parvis at the foot of the War Memorial. On that day the Aula Capitolaris at Vittoriosa received a direct hit and some 35 persons taking refuge there lost their lives, buried under the debris. After the blessing of the precincts by Archpriest Can Joe Mizzi, Anton Attard, President of the Vittoriosa Historical & Cultural Society, delivered a speech, recalling the gravity of the tragedy and the misery of the bleak war years at Vittoriosa. This was followed by a wreath-laying ceremony, the Vittoriosa Historical & Cultural Society presenting a garland of roses.
Danny Callus passed away
Danny Callus passed away peacefully at the age of 83. He was a theatre veteran and is remembered at Vittoriosa in the heyday of the teatrin age in the 1960s. He took part in plays and sketches performed mostly at the Diana Hall on in the drama hall of the Vittoriosa Catholic Action. Former Prime Minister Dr Lawrence Gonzi and Mrs Gonzi nee Callus attended the funeral. He was interred at Safi Cemetery.
Can. Dun Guzepp Zammit of Cospicua funeral
The Funeral Mass of the late Can. Dun Guzepp Zammit, with the participation of numerous priests, was held at the Immaculate Conception Colleggiate, Cospicua, where he was Canon. He was a respected priest in his home-twn, Cospicua, known for his honesty, generosity and courage. He was from the Zammit family of Vittoriosa, known as Zammitellu, who were protagonists in the Confraternity of St Joseph at Vittoriosa. His father was Lorenzo Zammit and was related to the two Zammit prelates from Vittoriosa: Mons. Lorenzo Zammit and Can. Anton Zammit Gabaretta.
A warm farewell to Silvio Scicluna
Silvio Scicluna, 55, passed away, mourned by his brother Karmenu Scicluna, long-serving sextant of St Lawrence Collegiate, and his family. His Funeral Mass, celebrated by Archpriest Can Joe Mizzi and other priests, took place in a crowded St Lawrence Church.
Church of St. Sebastian at Rabat
Il-Lehen (formerly Lehen-is-Sewwa) is publishing a series of short weekly articles on wayside chapels and small churches. The latest one was about the Church of St Sebastian at Rabat. The origin of this church goes back to 1477. St. Sebastian was one of the saints, together with St. Roque, who was invoked during outbreak of plague. The church was subsequently rebuilt in 1751. During the uprising of the Maltese against the French Occupiers in 1798, the physician from Vittoriosa Angelo Pace decided to join the insurgents at Rabat and provided medication to injured rebels in the Church of St Sebastian which was turned into a makeshift hospital.
Restoration of marble tombstones
The Collegiate Church of St Paul Shipwreck, Valletta, has embarked on a project to restore the beautiful tombstones made of intricate inlay in marble that cover the church floor. Dr. Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici, in a letter to Il-Lehen, praises the initiative and calls for a similar restoration at St Lawrence Collegiate Church, Vittoriosa, where several marble tombstones abutting the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, including those of Parish Priest Balzan and of the Ruggier family, were damaged over the years but never repaired. Fortunately, the large colourful tombstone of the Castelletti family in front of the altar dedicated to the Immaculate Conception is well preserved.
Painting at Vittoriosa Local Council
Following the rehabilitation of the Auberge de France in Hilda Tabone Street, which now houses the office of the Vittoriosa Local Council, it was felt appropriate to embellish the upper hall of the Auberge, known as Sala Nobile, with a painting. The painting, the work of an Italian painter, was inaugurated by H.E. the President of Malta, Mary Louse Coleiro Preca.
St Lawrence Band newsletter January-February 2017
Issue no. 97 for January-February 2017 of the St Lawrence Band newsletter gives prominence to a praiseworthy project that the Band Club is about to start: the restoration by Prevarti of the impressive and delicately carved Musical Archives and Curtain Pelmets in one of the halls of the Band’s premises at Vittoriosa Square, the work of Vittoriosa artist Emanuel Buhagiar dating to 1926. The usual historical rubric by Anton Attard throws light on the early history of Birgu when according to old records, a Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter stood on the promontory of Fort St. Angelo. In another piece, Anton Attard mentions a tragic episode in 1487 when Birgu was assaulted and pillaged by a contingent of invading Turkish corsairs who also carried with them numerous inhabitants as slaves. The newsletter’s Paul Micallef interview with Vittoriosa personalities is this time with Franky Chetcuti, senior member of the Society of Christian Doctrine, the MUSEUM. Franky as part of a family of 12 recounts his childhood adventures in post-war Vittoriosa. He vividly describes his experience as a MUSEUM missionary at Brixton, UK. His father, the late Giuseppe Chetcuti, “il-postman”, was a leading saxophone player with the St. Lawrence Band.
Gorg Agius won the Nazzarenu Vassallo Prize 2016
The Vassallo Group celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2016. Various special events were held among with the yearly award of the Nazzarenu Vassallo Prize which went to Gorg Agius from Vittoriosa, “il-poeta tal-Mulej”. The presentation was made by H.E. the President, Mary Louise Coleiro Preca. A picture of the occasion is carried in the Vassallo Group inhouse magazine anniversary issue ARKATI.
Vittoriosa bemoans the demise of Lino Bugeja
Lino Bugeja’s passing away will leave a profound vaccum at Vittoriosa. He was a respected gentleman, admired for his innumerable capabilities in various fields, but above all a true citizen of his native city, Vittoriosa, and singular promoter of its unique historical legacy. He started his career as an educator, moving also into sports and majoring as a journalist, art-critic and environmentalist. He will be remembered by numerous people from Vittoriosa in their 60s who as youngsters attended his private lessons in the room underlying the staircase of his residence at Vittoriosa in the steps at Convent Street. There would be others who recall his days as part of the team of Vittoriosa Stars Football Club and their matches at Schriber Sports Ground. He was a discerning journalist, inheriting the talents of his forebear, Agostino Levanzin (1872-1955) who edited his own newspaper In-Nahla and distinguished himself as a pioneer writer of Maltese literature. Lino Bugeja wrote many articles exalting the primacy of Birgu in Maltese history. But surly his long-lasting contribution to Vittoriosa is the prestigious two-volume compendium which he co-edited, published in 1990: Birgu: A Maltese Maritime City. Lino Bugeja received various awards for his multi-faceted achievements. The Vittoriosa Historical & Cultural Society had appointed him Honorary Member. His Funeral Mass, celebrated by Archpriest Can. Joe Mizzi and various other priests, was held at St Lawrence Collegiate Church. President Emeritus Hon. Ugo Mifsud Bonnici was in attendance.
Tal-Hawli ODZ should be protected
This is what the eminent national NGO Front Harsien ODZ asserted in a press release, objecting to the proposed construction of an old people’s home in Tal-Hawli Valley, Vittoriosa. This follows a similar press release by the Vittoriosa historical & cultural Society which furthermore made a counter proposal for an alternative site for the development: the derelict Fort San Salvatore close by within the Cottonera Lines. The NGO made a plea to the Vittoriosa Local Council to strongly oppose the project.
Blessing of homes
In the St Lawrence parish bulletin AHNA, Archpriest Can. Joe Mizzi announced that as from this year the blessing of homes will be performed according to a programme of home visits spanning from January to May. He argues that this makes for a better encounter with parishioners, contrary to the traditional practice of doing all the home blessings in the weeks after Easter.
Chev. Maurice Mizzi for Sustainable Development
Chev. Maurice Mizzi, Chairman of Mizzi organisation will head an autonomous Government-appointed Commission for the Protection of Sustainable Development. He will be addressed as Guardian of Future Generations, a concept first used by the UN. His remit will include facing problems of over-development and congestion. He will be donating his remuneration to the Spiro Mizzi Foundation, the Charity he administers and which in 2016 included St Lawrence Parish Church among its beneficiaries. The Mizzi Organisation saw its humble beginnings in the 1920s in a still extant warehouse at St Lawrence Street, Vittoriosa, which is denoted by a tablet.
Vittoriosa Historical & Cultural Society Annual Luncheon 2017
The Society, which aims to promote awareness of the historical heritage of Vittoriosa, held its Annual Luncheon at the Maritime Antonine Hotel, Mellieha. In a short address the President, Anton Attard, thanks members and participants for their support to the Society. He also paid tribute to the Lorenzo A. Zahra, co-founder of the Society and Secretary since its inception in 1954. Last year he relinquished his post on reaching the age of 90 and was replaced by Mr Joe Morana. The President thanked Mr. Zahra for his long years of service to the Society and for his unstinted dedication to research and his writings on the history of Vittoriosa. He was presented with a glass tray with the Society’s coat of arms and an inscription.
Can. Mario Agius passed away
The Chapter of the Collegiate Church of St Lawrence and the Paola Parish community lost a respected and trustworthy prelate, Can. Mario Agius, who passed away at the age of 83. He went to join Mons. Can. Joseph Caruana of Vittoriosa, who passed away Society, and with whom he had received his ordination in 1959. He was the son of the well-known Paola pharmacist Giuseppi Agius, better known as is-Sur Agius. He was an assiduous priest who knew every family in Paola. He was a treasure-trove of history about the Paola and the Cottonera. He never missed his pastoral and canonical duties at Vittoriosa and participated in all religious functions at St. Lawrence Church, even when he was recovered at Dar tal-Kleru, the retirement home for priests. His funeral Mass was celebrated at a crowded Paola Parish Church by H.E. Archbishop Charles Scicluna. Vittoriosa Archpriest, Can. Joe Mizzi, was among the concelebrants. The funeral cortege was accompanied by the Paola band.
St. Lawrence Collegiate lost one of its mace-bearers
Since some years ago, the Rev. Chapter of St Lawrence Collegiate, Vittoriosa, decided to engage two mace-bearers to alternate their services during liturgical functions at St. Lawrence Church. It is regretted to note that one of the mace-bearers, Salvu Caruana, passed away. His funeral Mass was held at St. Lawrence Church.
Mattia Preti’s pala d’artale at Vittoriosa for restoration
The large altar-piece at St. Lawrence Church, depicting the Martyrdom of St. Lawrence, is to be restored. This is Mattia Preti’s largest painting, even bigger than the famous Beheading of St John by Caravaggio at Valletta. It suffered considerably during the war and was repaired. But the big canvas is now showing signs of sagging which, if left unattended, will cause irreparable damage. It is hoped that the repair would be completed before the feast of St. Lawrence.
Polish visitors at St Lawrence Church
A group of Polish tourists paid a visit to St. Lawrence Church accompanied by their Chaplain who celebrated Holy Mass in the Polish language. Afterwards, they toured the Church and the St. Joseph Oratory Museum close by.
Neo Catechumenal Outreach at Vittoriosa
Members from the Neo Catechumenal movement have been invited by the Archpriest to carry out a month-long outreach in the Vittoriosa Parish. This involves various events including prayer meetings, discussion groups, seminars and public manifestations. They were given access to the small Church of the Holy Trinity. Besides, a series of talks on faith and Christian morals was held at the Parish Hall in Vittoriosa Square delivered by erudite speakers from the Dominican Order.
The Pauline cult in Malta
Fr. Hermann Duncan OCD of Vittoriosa wrote a short article in Il-Lehen about the devotion to St. Paul which resurged during the 17th century on the initiative of Fra Juan Venegas de Cordoba and the patronage of Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt. He alludes to the various churches and chapels dedicated to St. Paul. One such church is that of Cospicua already existed even before Cospicua had developed as a hinterland of Birgu. It is traditionally asserted that St. Paul started his return voyage to Rome from Birgu wharf. The statue of St. Paul in the façade of St. Lawrence Church facing Birgu Martina could be a reminder of this tradition. It is also by coincidence that a large Roman anchor dating from the time of St. Paul’s shipwreck, recovered some years ago from the sea-bed close to St. Paul’s Bay, is now exhibited at the Vittoriosa Maritime Museum. Another church dedicated to St Paul also described in Il-Lehen is that of San Pawl tal-Wied at Birkirkara originating in the 16th century. It is said that one of the bells hanging in the small belfry of this church was one of the clock bells of the Old Clock Tower that stood in Vittoriosa Square before it was destroyed during the war. The epic of St. Paul’s fateful voyage and shipwreck in Malta is aptly narrated in an article in The Sunday Times of Malta by Mark Gatt.
Donation to Dar tal-Providenza
During the annual charity campaign in aid of Dar tal-Providenza, the Vittoriosa Parish collected EUR 1,800 which was presented to the campaign organisers by Archpriest Can. Joe Mizzi. A picture of the presentation is carried in the monthly parish magazine AHNA.
Easter traditions at Vittoriosa
Anton Attard, President of the Vittoriosa Historical & Cultural Society, is featured in an article in the Malta Folkore Society annual magazine L-Imnara on Easter traditions at Vittoriosa. He relates that until 1936 the popular procession with the statute of the Risen Christ used to be held in the night between Saturday and Easter Sunday. On Saturday, a drummer would roam the streets of Vittoriosa banging a drum, accompanied by a multitude of street boys chanting jocular and patriotic rhymes. A straw mannequin used to be flung into the street below from the top of the old Siculo-Norman Belfry of the Annunciation Church, a tradition that has now disappeared.
This was a horse-drawn cart with a water-tank surmounted on it from which water could be sprinkled onto the street surface from a pipe with a spout attached. This was the time when the streets were not asphalted; the purpose of this mechanism was to dampen the dust and dirt and hopefully prevent the spread of disease. This is the subject of a short study by George Cilia, member of the Vittoriosa Historical & Cultural Society, in the latest edition of L-Imnara.
Old Forgotten Traditions
The late Chev. Rafel Bonnici Cali’, one of the first members of the Vittoriosa Historical & Cultural Society, was a prolific writer of interesting articles, besides being a well-known painter. L-Imnara, the Malta Folklore Society’s annual publication, carries one of his essays on old customs most of which have died down, mostly surrounding religious practices: Baptism, First Holy Communion, Funerals.
H.E. Cardinal Prospero Grech OSA honoured
H.E. Cardinal Prospero Grech from Vittoriosa has been elevated Honorary President of the Malta Patristic Society. This association of diocesan and monastic priests aims to encourage the study and research of the writings of the Early Christian Fathers of the Church.
Grand Master De La Vallette, Founder of Valletta
Joseph C. Camilleri is the author of an article under the above title appearing in Dawl Frangiskan, the monthly newsletter of the Capuchin Order. After briefly narrating the epic of the Great Siege of 1565, he recalls how Grand Master De La Vallette longed for a bigger and mightier city than Vittoriosa, and hence the foundation of Valletta.
De La Vallette’s Dagger for Valletta
After the Great Siege 1565 victory, King Philip II of Spain awarded De La Vallette a bejewelled Ceremonial Sword and Dagger as a gift for his chivalric leadership during the siege. During the Order’s time, the sword and dagger were kept at the Grand Master’s Palace, Valletta, and were carried processionally every year on 8 September to commemorate the Great Siege Victory. Following the French Occupation in 1798, the sword and dagger ended up in the Louvre. For the first time, the Dagger will be brought to Malta on loan from France for an exhibition, to be held at Valletta, on the occasion of Malta’s EU Presidency. It is to be recalled that De La Vallette’s Battle Sword and Hat are permanently exhibited at Vittoriosa at St Joseph Oratory Museum. This was pointed out by the Vittoriosa Historical & Cultural Society in a letter to the editor of The Times of Malta, accompanied by a photo of the niche in the Vittoriosa Museum containing the De La Vallette’s relics.
Publication with Gorg Agius’ rhymes
Gorg Agius also known as God’s Poet, is a popular personality at Vittoriosa. He spread good advice and serenity with his short impromptu rhymes. Despite his old age at 90, he still trundles his way to hospital every day, as he has been doing for many years, to walk around the wards with his consoling words. Some 300 of his rhymes have been put together in a publication edited by Tonio Bonello of 24sevenMedia and produced by Miller Distributors. It was launched by President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca in the presence of Archpriest Can Joe Mizzi and of Vittoriosa Mayor Mr John Boxall at the Vittoriosa Local Council premises.
Il-Qarcilla at Fort St Angelo
As in the previous year, Heritage Malta presented Il-Qarcilla at Fort St Angelo as part of the Carnival programme. Il-Qarcilla is a poetic farce in Maltese which up to a century ago formed part of Carnival celebrations. It consists of a parody of a marriage contract between would be spouses, with the crowd poking satirical innuendos and humour.
Vittoriosa Archpriest on Amoris Laetitia
Following the discussion that ensued on the publication of guidelines to priest on the application of Church teachings in the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia on marriage breakdowns, the Vittoriosa Archpriest, Can Joe Mizzi, besides attending the Annual Parish Priests Live-in at the Seminary on the same topic, featured in an article in Il-Lehen with his own reflections. Before being appoint Vittoriosa Archpriest, Can Joe Mizzi was Director of Cana, the national organisation that promotes the well-being of marriage.
“The Fleet of the Knights of Malta”
This is the title of the latest volume on the history of the Order’s Fleet written by historian Joseph F. Grima and reviewed in The Sunday Times of Malta by Giovanni Bonello. Besides narrating the dramatic fortunes and misfortunes of the fleet over its centuries, the prestige and ascendancy that it enjoyed, the various celebrated seamen that it enlisted, the book delves into an area that has hitherto not been given enough study: the internal administration of the fleet conducted from its Fleet base at Vittoriosa Wharf, otherwise called Marina Grande. It is significant that even after the Order build the new city, Valletta, and parted from Vittoriosa, the naval operations remained always at Vittoriosa, sheltered by Fort St. Angelo.
Dun Gorg Preca at Gzira in the post-war years
Carmel Portelli from Gzira is writing his childhood memories in a series of weekly articles in Il-Lehen. In a recent article, he narrates how as a young boy he used to attend catechism lessons at the Christian Doctrine Society premises at Gzira, the MUSEUM. He also recalls the occasional visits by Dun Gorg, the founder of the MUSEUM. He recalls in particular two Society members who used to teach him religion, Johnny and Lawrence Formosa. Their father, Kelinu Formosa, had settled in Gzira with his family to seek refuge from the ravages of war at his home-town, Vittoriosa. In later years, Johnny Formosa from Vittoriosa was appointed Secretary General of the MUSEUM and he was a close collaborator of Dun Gorg, helping in the typing of the scripts for his innumerable Church publications.
The origin of St Lawrence Collegiate
Writing in Il-Lehen, Fr Hermann Duncan of Vittoriosa briefly narrates the story of the origin of the origin of the Collegiate at St Lawrence Church, Vittoriosa, in 1820 by a Papal Decree of Pope Pius VII, making it one of the latest Chapters to be set up in Malta. However, the clergy at St Lawrence Church had been enjoying collegial privileges since much earlier. These were bequeathed to them as beneficiati through a foundation instituted by the Inquisitors who had chosen St Lawrence Church as their seat. Following the expulsion of the Order and of the Inquisition from Malta by Napoleon in 1798, the Vittoriosa clergy lost their benefits. It was through the arduous efforts of Provost Don Lorenzo Lanzon, an erudite priest from Vittoriosa, that St Lawrence Church was finally raised to a Collegiate.
Punishment for crime during the Order’s period
Historian William Camilleri, Head of the University of Malta Library, has published a study on punishment by hanging and other forms of punishment in Malta during the Order’s latter period. The book’s title is Kissing the Gallows: A Cultural History of Crime, Torture and Punishment in Malta: 1600-1798. The book opens with an analysis of crime, identifying more than 20 types. Contrary to popular belief, sentences delivered by the civil authorities were more cruel than those by the Inquisition, and usually ended with execution. One curious case mentioned concerned a renegade priest from Vittoriosa, Don Pino Rizzo, who in 1746 coldly murdered a women at St Scholastica Street, Vittoriosa, who objected to his advances. He was imprisoned at the Bishop’s Curia at Vittoriosa where after 4 years detention he lost his life tragically when he fell down a flight of steps and hit his head, some figuring it was an act of suicide.
Troglodytic churches in Malta
A recent issue of the monthly religious magazine Flimkien published and circulated in Maltese parishes by the College of Parish Priests carried an information corner on ancient medieval churches in Malta found within natural caves or cut out in rock, a phenomenon that was common also in Sicily and Sothern Italy. The most typical examples mentioned include the Sanctuary at Mellieha, the underground church of St Agatha at Rabat, and the church of St Roque, also at Rabat. One may also mention the old troglodytic church dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin at Fort St. Angelo. Traditionally, it is held that this small church originally dedicated to the Mother of God, was founded by Count Roger upon the Norman Conquest of Malta in 1091.
Cannons submerged beneath Fort Ricasoli
Clemens Hasengschwandtner, a resident of Vittoriosa, in a letter published in the latest issue no. 48 of Vigilio, the members’ newsletter published by Din l-Art Helwa, the Maltese National Trust, draws the attention of the authorities to the existence of three cannons from the British period submerged in the waters beneath Fort Ricasoli. The three Armstrong muzzle loads dating back to the turn of the 20th century, when Fort Ricasoli was within the Vittoriosa suburb, must have fallen in the sea when part of the fortifications collapsed some years ago. He has been campaigning for the salvage of the artefacts but regrets that no heed was given to his appeal.
St Lawrence Band newsletter March-April 2017
This issue carries a list of members forming part of the Band’s Committee for the years 2017-2018. The editorial gives prominence to the various restoration projects under way in the Band Club’s premises, notably the concert hall. Anton Attard in his history corner, recalls two unrelated historical flashbacks relating to Vittoriosa: the transfer of the Order’s headquarters to the new city, Valletta, in 1571, and the inauguration in 1814 of the Via Sagra, the Way of the Cross paintings by Vittoriosa artist Gian Battista Bonomo for St Lawrence Church, which are again displayed in their original venue. George Cilia’s article explains the reason for calling Vittoriosa sqauare Pjazza Vittoriosa. The usual Paul Micallef interview with personalities from Vittoriosa is this time with Tony Raggio who dedicates much of his time to the external religious celebrations at St Lawrence parish church, and in particular the Good Friday procession and the feast of St Lawrence. He is also an active member of the St Lawrence Band Club.
Mons. Lawrence Gatt’s 80th birthday
Chancellor of the Archdiocese Mons. Lawrence Gatt attained the age of 80. This happy event was celebrated at the Archbishop’s Curia among the Chancellery and Curia staff. Mons. Gatt was for many years the Director of Dar tal-Providenza, During the 9th centenary festivities of the foundation of St Lawrence Parish, Vittoriosa, he was the lead celebrant in an open-air Holy Mass in which a large number of persons with disabilities took part. The event was held in the shade of the statue of San Lawrenz Jaghti d-Dawl lill-Ghomja.
Salvu Zahra passed away
The Vittoriosa Historical & Cultural Society lost a past committee member, Salvu Zahra, who passed away. For many years, he gave a helping hand in the Society to his brother, Lorenzo Zahra, the Society’s co-founder. In his younger years he formed part of the Vittoriosa Division of St John Amulance Brigade as a close collaborator with the Superintendent, the late Dr. Joseph Saliba. He was also for many years a member of the Vittoriosa Catholic Action and a companion of the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception, Valletta. His funeral Mass at St Lawrence Church,Vittoriosa, was led by Archpriest Can Joe Mizzi.
H.M.S. St Angelo
In one of his biographical commentaries in Il-Lehen, Dr Joseph Micallef Stafrace states that the entrance into Valletta from Great Siege Road is often referred to as Taht il-Phoencia owing to the presence of The Phoenicia Hotel. In reality, Manoel Island itself was called H.M.S Phoenicia. The British Naval authorities had the practice of calling their land establishments as if they were a battleship. Likewise, Fort St Angelo at Vittoriosa was for long years referred to as H.M.S. St Angelo. Indeed the fort did look like a magnificent battleship anchored in Grand Harbour!
Societa’ d’Aiuto at St Lawrence Band Club
The Count Roger Band of Rabat recently celebrated the centenary since the foundation of their Societa’ Mutuo Soccorso, a foundation to provide social assistance to its needy members. It appears that the St Lawrence Band at Vittoriosa did not run such an organisation. However, on one occasion the members did set up a Societa’ d’Aiuto, but for a completely different purpose. This was in 1924 when some members teamed together to collect funds for the acquisition of the beautiful mansion from the family Architect Gustavo Soler that now houses the Band Club in Vittoriosa Square, now called Palazzo Huesca.
Conservation of 17th century volume from the acts of Vittoriosa notary
The choir Cappella Sanctae Catherinae in collaboration with the Notarial Archives Resource Council has sponsored the conservation of a manuscript at the Notarial Archives which is extracted from the acts of Notary Salvatore Ciantar who practised in Vittoriosa over six decades from 1596 to 1657. Besides the historical content of the volume, it has a remarkable cover made from a recycled musical score. The recycling of liturgical manuscripts was common at the time as contemporary music had been rendered obsolete as a result of the reforms ensuing the Council of Trent. The hymnal is a remnant from the liturgy of St Vincent of Saragossa whose cult is unknown in Malta. Curiously, his hagiography is similar to that of St Lawrence, whose veneration at Vittoriosa is very old.