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Collegiate Church of Saint Lawrence, Vittoriosa

Coordinates: 35°53′14″N 14°31′17″E / 35.88733°N 14.52137°E / 35.88733; 14.52137
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Collegiate of Saint Lawrence
The Collegiate Matrix Parish church of Saint Lawrence
Il-Knisja Kolleġġjata Arċipretali u Matriċi ta' San Lawrenz
Façade of the Church
35°53′14″N 14°31′17″E / 35.88733°N 14.52137°E / 35.88733; 14.52137
LocationBirgu, Malta
DenominationRoman Catholic
FoundedMay 11,  1681 (1681-05-11)
Founder(s)Michele Molina
DedicationSt Lawrence
Consecrated24 October 1723
Functional statusParish church
Collegiate church
Architect(s)Lorenzo Gafà
Architectural typeChurch
Completed10 August 1697
ArchpriestJoseph Mizzi

The Collegiate church of Saint Lawrence (Maltese: Knisja kolleġġjata ta' San Lawrenz) is an old Church situated in Birgu in Malta.


In the 'Rollo' (inventory) of the benefices of the churches and chapels in Malta and Gozo, held by Bishop de Mello in 1436, a total of 12 established chapels are mentioned, amongst which the Church of San Lorenzo a Mare.

When the Order of Saint John first settled in Malta in 1530, all of their langues were based in Birgu, so the Church of Saint Lawrence was used as the Order's first conventual church in Malta. It served this purpose for 41 years from 1530 to 1571 until the Knights were transferred to the new capital city Valletta. The foundation stone of the present church was laid in May 1681 by Bishop Molina. It was completed in 1696. The church was inaugurated by Bishop Davide Cocco Palmieri on the feast of St Lawrence, August 10, 1697. It was consecrated in 1723. In 1820 Pope Pius VII bestowed the dignity of Collegiate church upon the parish church of St Lawrence.[1]

Interior of the church

War period[edit]

On January 16, 1941 the church was bombed by a German air raid. Both the sacristy and the chapter hall were destroyed. They were both re-built in 1949. On March 22 of the same year the chapel of the blessed Sacrament was destroyed and on April 4, 1942 the dome of the church was destroyed. The chapel was re-built in 1951 and the dome was re-built in 1952.[2]

Present day[edit]

The church building is listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.[3]

Works of art[edit]

The church includes many works of art amongst them the main altar piece by Mattia Preti showing the martyrdom of St Lawrence. Other works of art include paintings by Stefano Erardi such as Christ the Saviour and The Dead Christ.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "St Lawrence Church" Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, Order of Malta, July 2004. Retrieved on 24 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Church dedicated to St Lawrence Martyr in Vittoriosa Parish churches (3)", The Times of Malta, Malta, 03 September 2011. Retrieved on 24 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Parish Church of St. Lawrence Martyr" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 27 August 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 August 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2015.