Comino Chapel

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Chapel of the Return from Egypt
The Chapel of the Return of the Holy Family from Egypt
Kappella tar-Ritorn tas-Sagra Familja mill-Eġittu
Kapelle auf Comino.jpg
Chapel of the Return from Egypt is located in Malta
Chapel of the Return from Egypt
Chapel of the Return from Egypt
Location within Malta
36°00′54.4″N 14°20′09.0″E / 36.015111°N 14.335833°E / 36.015111; 14.335833Coordinates: 36°00′54.4″N 14°20′09.0″E / 36.015111°N 14.335833°E / 36.015111; 14.335833
LocationComino
CountryMalta
DenominationRoman Catholic
History
StatusChurch
DedicationReturn from Egypt
Architecture
Functional statusActive
Architectural typeChurch
StyleNeo gothic (Interior)
Completed17th century
Administration
ParishGħajnsielem
DioceseGozo
Clergy
Bishop(s)Mario Grech

The Chapel of the Return of the Holy Family from Egypt or the Chapel of the Return from Egypt or simply St Mary's Chapel is a Roman Catholic church located on the island of Comino in Malta.

Origins[edit]

The chapel of St Mary was first mentioned in a map dating from 1296.[1] However, the location of this original chapel is not known. It may be the present chapel was built on the exact site of the medieval chapel. The original chapel must have been ravaged on numerous occasions by pirates that attacked island due to its defenseless shores. In fact there was no defense on Comino prior to 1618. As a result, the population of the island abandoned the island and went to live on the nearby island of Gozo. In 1618, the knights built a defense tower, Saint Mary's Tower. This encouraged some people to return to Comino and resettle there. Consequently, the chapel of Comino was rebuilt in its current site. The exact date of its construction is unknown however we do know that in 1667 Bishop Bueno deconsecrated the church but was again opened for public worship in 1716. This time the chapel was enlarged and refurbished and rededicated to the Return of the Holy Family from Egypt, the only such church with this dedication in Malta.[2]

Interior[edit]

Looking at the church from the outside one would expect to find a plain flat church however the interior of the church contrasts the exterior. The interior is constructed on a neogothic style, with pointed archways. The sanctuary is separated from the main body of the church by an Iconostasis, one of the few churches left with it intact. The main painting depicts the return of the Holy Family from Egypt and has influences from Francesco Zahra. It was restored in 1928 by Vincenzo Bonello. The church has one altar and a total of three statues, the Virgin Mary, the Sacred Heart and Saint Joseph.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Busuttil, Caroline & Roberick "Enduring fascination of Malta’s wayside chapels", Times of Malta, Malta, 15 January 2012. Retrieved on 19 September 2016.
  2. ^ Spiteri, Mikiel (2000). A Hundred Wayside Chapels of Malta & Gozo, pp. 45-47. Heritage Books, Valletta. ISBN 999099305X.
  3. ^ Brincat, Joe "Il-Kappella tar-Ritorn tal-Verġni Marija mill-Eġittu - Kemmuna" Archived 2016-05-31 at the Wayback Machine, Kappelli Maltin, Malta. Retrieved on 19 September 2016.