Curtis High School is located on Hamilton Ave.
In the meantime the parish church of St George was rebuilt and finished in This union took place out of avarice and conspiracy for power and wealth. This union went on for the next years until August 1, when the Bishop of Gozo , Giuseppe Pace , dissolved this unjust union between the two parishes by signing the decree Cum hodiernis temporibus where he returned to the parish of St George the freedom that it needed to carry out its pastoral activity.
In the s the church was enlarged with the addition of the naves and the side chapels. Between and the dome of the church was reconstructed due to damage done in the earthquakes of and The roof was also rebuilt and reconstructed in the Roman style arch between and The inauguration of the enlarged church took place on July 28, by Bishop Mikiel Gonzi. On 6 September Archpriest Cefai announced to the gathered congregation that the church was honoured with the title of Basilica.
The decree, Merito dilaudatur templum , dated 6 September , confirmed Pope Pius XII 's decision that the parish church was now a Basilica, the first parish church in Gozo to be elevated to this dignity. These objects are carried in every procession that the collegiate chapter takes part in. Also the church acquired the right to include the papal symbol of the crossed keys on a basilica's banners, furnishings and seal. He decreed that the Collegiate church would be aggregated to the Cathedral Archbasilica of St.
John Lateran of Rome. In total Gozo has 5 collegiate chapters all with their peculiar privileges and insignia. But the pontifical collegiate chapter of St George's has the unique privilege of having the bishop of Gozo of the time as its Dean and First Dignitary, as decreed by Bishop Cauchi. Thus it is the only Pontifical Collegiate Chapter in the diocese.
The first view of the basilica's interior is one exquisite architectural proportion and harmony. This parish church is referred to as "the golden church" of Gozo. It is entirely covered with marble and gold stucco. The church houses two works of art by the famous painter Mattia Preti.
These are the main altar piece representing St George with the dragon and the other in a side chapel representing the Holy Souls. This painting is considered to be one of Gozo's most important painting.
The painting depicts St George triumphant over the dragon. The coat of arms of the donor is depicted in the bottom left corner of the painting. The basilica has a total of 11 side chapels. Starting from the left side of the Basilica when entering the main door one finds the chapel of St Paul with a baroque altar and a painting depicting St Paul and the Immaculate Conception by Stefano Erardi Next, is the side entrance chapel of St Alphonsus Maria de' Liguori which does not contain an altar though has an oval oil canvas depicting the saint by Maltese painter Ramiro Cali commissioned in Next, is the chapel of St Michael the Archangel who is depicted in a mosaic made in Rome in based on an older painting now located in the Basilica museum.
The next chapel contains a baroque altar designed by Francesco Zahra and produced between and by Giovanni Antonio Durante.
The chapel is dedicated to the Holy Souls in purgatory and has a painting done by Mattia Preti. The last chapel on the left is dedicated to Jesus and Mary. This chapel also contains a wooden statue of Jesus and Mary done by Sigismondo Dimech between and On the other side starting from the right hand side of the choir is the Neo-Byzanntine chapel of the Holy Cross and the Blessed Sacrament. Next is the chapel of Saint Cajetan which, up to some years ago, prior to the building of the Neo-Byzantine chapel, contained the altar of the Holy Cross.
This chapel also houses the titular statue of St George and the statue of the Resurrected Christ The painting depicting St Cajetan was removed and is now housed in the Basilica museum.
Next is the chapel of St Lazarus which contains a painting of the resurrection of Lazarus by Giuseppe D'Arena and a baroque altar containing the corpse of St Clement. The following chapel is dedicated to St Joseph and contains a baroque altar and a painting by Giuseppe Cali depicting the Holy Family Between and the church underwent major changes that changed its internal appearance.
In work started on the decoration of the cupola of the church. The paintings in the cupola represent the theme of victory from the Book of Revelation. Conti also designed 8 stained glass windows which decorate the dome. The dome was inaugurated in That same year a new set of Stations of the Cross , carved from marble and brought from Rome , were inaugurated. They were designed by Carlo Pisi and sculpted by Henreaux of Lucca. In work started on the decoration of the naves while the newly redecorated organ gallery was finished.
The church also possesses the whole corpse of St Clement lying inside one of the side altars. The baroque high altar that had graced St George's since was dismantled and replaced in Following the elevation of the church to a minor basilica which gave rise to the decision to replace the baroque altar with a new papal altar. The baroque altar had been sculpted by Claudio Durante of Valletta on designs by Francesco Zahra The altar contained 6 types of marble all quarried from Sicily.
When the altar was dismantled, its parts disappeared until rediscovered again in The altar was fully restored in and was formally inaugurated and exhibited in Valletta at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura. In a new main altar was dedicated. It was made from white Carrara marble on the design of Carlo Pisi. The altar depicts four angels wearing clerical vestments on their knees while lifting the horizontal piece of the altar on their shoulders.
This was the first altar table in Gozo to be dedicated in any church. The bronze and gold gilded canopy over the high altar is indeed impressive. It was made in following the liturgical reform promulgated by the Second Vatican Council. The canopy was based on the design of Bernini's in St Peter's Rome. But the main attraction is the wooden statue of the patron saint, St George, sculpted in wood by Pietru Pawl Azzopardi in It was the first titular statue acquired by a parish church in Gozo.
According to uninterrupted tradition, the statue was commissioned as an ex-voto. The statue underwent significant restoration in and The statue is located on the right hand side of the chapel of Saint Cajetan.
The ciborium dates from Medieval times 12th century and is mentioned in various manuscripts and records about the parish church.
Today the ciborium is kept at the Gozo Cathedral Museum. Something which one may not expect to see in a traditionally classic Baroque building, such as St George's, is a Byzantine style chapel.
The cornerstone was laid in In work started on the building of the new dome of the chapel. The aim was to help instil in the Catholic faithful the awareness that the universal Church breathes through two lungs, that of the Western Church as well as that of Eastern Christianity. The chapel and the dome were built to the designs of Vince Centorrino. The dome includes eight Byzantine style windows and is decorated with gold mosaic.
The floor of the chapel is covered with porphyry slabs. The door, named Porta Salutis , is made entirely of bronze and was manufactured in Verona on a design by John Grima. The door features a total of 8 designs, with the coat of arms of Pope John Paul II in the middle since it was during his pontificate that door was inaugurated.
The bronze door is the only one in the entire island of Gozo. With the organ, built by Santucci from Sicily in and installed high above the West door, a tradition of organ music was launched which continues to this day. Later a small portable organ joined the Baroque one for daily Church services. The old Baroque organ fell silent in the mid s and remained in disuse for a number of years. Its place, and that of the smaller one, had been taken by a large portable electronic organ.
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