• The venerable icon and panel painting of Our Lady of Damascus, venerated in the Greek Catholic Parish of Our Lady of Damascus, in Valletta, was brought from Rhodes to Malta in 1530 by the Order of Knights Hospitaller of St John in 1530, together with the icon of Our Lady Eleimonitria (the Merciful) and the icon of Our Lady of Philermos. The icon dates back to the 11th/12th century and, as an icon, is of a significantly large size (147.5 x 102.5 cms). The well-known Byzantine scholar and art historian, David Talbot Rice (University of Edinburgh) describes it as “a thing of great beauty and historical importance in addition to being an expression of faith.”

      One thousand years of peregrination and exposure to the elements have taken their toll on this artistic and religious masterpiece. The last time the Icon underwent restoration was in the years 1963-1966, at the Istituto Centrale del Restauro in Rome.


  • Since then fifty years have elapsed; and now, after inspection of the state of the Icon, it has been judged necessary to take appropriate preventive conservation measures to inhibit further deterioration and thus treasure our national heritage for future generations. A proposed conservation and restoration methodology will address the aesthetic alterations present, while preserving the original paint and guilding. Re-integration techniques applied to the losses present will complement the original aesthetic of the Icon, re-establishing visual unity of the work of art.

    The Greek Catholic Parish is pleased to announce that restoration works will be undertaken by the restoration team of the Atelier del Restauro, led by Dott.sa Maria Grazia Zenzani and Valentina Lupo. It is anticipated that the project will be completed in a period of nine months.

    The Greek Catholic Parish is also pleased to inform the public in general, and the lovers of sacred art in particular, that the Atelier del Restauro will be offering a presentation of the project of conservation and restoration of the Icon of Our Lady of Damascus on Friday 22nd June 2018, at 6:30pm, in St Nicholas Church (Tal-Erwieħ), Merchants Street, Valletta.

    Two other presentations are being planned, one in about four months’ time, highlighting the on-going restoration works, and a final presentation in nine months’ time, on completion of the restoration process.

    Details about the next two presentations will be communicated in due time.