• Restoration works on St John’s Co-Cathedral façade have been completed. The project included the main entrance, sides, belfry, clock and wind vane. This is the first time that the main façade of the co-cathedral underwent such a thorough restoration, which has an area of more than 2,000 square meters. This project was initiated in 2014 by the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government and St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation and was executed by the Restoration Directorate.

    The President, of the St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation, Mr Wilfrid Buttigieg explained that this restoration project was the initial step in preparation for a holistic 360-degree illumination plan for St John’s Co-Cathedral, which is an iconic monument right in the heart of the European Capital of Culture. This illumination plan will be spread on all facets of the Church including the four main sides, namely Republic street, St Lucy street, Merchants Street and St John’s square.” Mr Buttigieg commended the collaborative approach adopted between the entities involved and stated that this augured well for future projects and further multi entity collaboration.

    “Through this work, people can enjoy this marvellous and historic building that has a meaning and a legacy for our country. We definitely won’t stop here, we will continue working to ensure that this majestic temple keeps getting better” stated Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici. He thanked the Restoration Directorate  and everyone involved in this project and praised the stupendous collaboration with the Church when it came to this project.

    Michael Pace Ross, the Administrative Secretary of the Archdiocese of Malta, thanked the Ministry for  Culture and the St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation on the Archbishop’s behalf. He said that works carried out on the façade of St John’s Co-Cathedral, designed by the renowned Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar, can now be admired in full splendour, as it looked around 440 years ago when the co-cathedral was first built by the Order of St John.

    Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Protection and Valletta 2018 Deo Debattista stated that aside from being adorned with artistic jewels such as the famous beheading of St John, the Co-Cathedral perfectly reflects Valletta’s identity, which will be strengthened during this year and thereafter. It’s crucial for anyone involved in the European Capital of Culture to keep in mind what 2018 will leave behind. “The Co-Cathedral is of great architectural heritage, a unique jewel admired by thousands every year, and will now join a number of other projects as part of the infrastructural legacy Valletta 2018 will leave behind.”

    “The restoration of various infrastructural gems around Valletta such as St John’s Co-Cathedral have been part of the Valletta 2018 Foundation’s commitment to driving cultural, social and economic regeneration in the city and the Maltese Islands. The Cathedral’s restoration has been completed in time for the European Capital of Culture Opening Celebrations, Erba’ Pjazez. The Cathedral will act as backdrop for the choral performance taking place here this Saturday 20th January and its facade will be illuminated as part of the festivities” said the Chairman of Valletta 2018, Jason Micallef.

    Cynthia de Giorgio, the curator of the Co-Cathedral said that in various parts of the façade, stains caused by moisture and dampness were removed and the cracked stone was replaced. Some of the deterioration in the stone was in an advanced stage and the stone had to be completely removed, whilst grime, bird nests and paint were also removed and retouched.  Metal hooks that were damaging the stonework were removed and the prestigious old clock on the façade underwent restoration as well. The old wind vane on the right belfry had various parts rehabilitated and reconstructed whilst transparent spikes were installed to keep pigeons away.

    This project was co-managed and co-financed by the Ministry and the Foundation. The total investment was €660,000.

  • Photos: St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation