St. Anne's Chapel, Marsascala

IMG_0383.jpg

D
uring the early 20th Century, Marsascala was mainly built with small houses used as summer residences. At this time some priests from Senglea especially Fr Carmelo Mousu’ Borg and Fr Joseph Portelli, who used to frequent this village during their summer holidays, desired to have a church amid the new buildings in order to serve for the spiritual care of the holiday makers and also for the local farmers and fishermen. In 1895, a small church started being built on a plot of land known as “Bir il-Mielah”. The Rev Chapter of Senglea, paid for the expenses for the construction and furnishing of this church, and it was dedicated to St Anne, being the Mother of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of Senglea. It seems that the building of the church took quite a long time to be completed, as the church was not blessed before the 22nd November 1903 by Can Francis Briffa Archpriest of Senglea. By the passing of years a lot of work was carried out in this church until it stopped being used as a parish church. Can. Ignatius Panzavecchia together with others paid all the expenses for the main marble altar. The painting of St. Anne, once the principal picture in this church is attributed to Philip Venuti, a Sicilian. Inside there are two small side altars dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to Our Lady of Sorrows. On the inside the church was also fitted with an organ balcony which could be reached by means of a wooden ladder. On the facade of the church there is a coat of arms displaying Mary’s emblem in the upper half and Senglea’s insignia in the lower half. There were also two small steeples which were dismantled as they were deemed to be a hazard passerby, while the main door was widened to accommodate the statue of St. Anne. Unfortunately today the church is completely devoid of any finishings and riches and serves only as a store for feast decorations.

A complete documentation exercise was carried out in order to ascertain and record the condition of the church and list the required interventions. All superfluous metal fixtures and wiring will be carefully removed and the stone surface will then be superficially cleaned. Cement based pointing will be carefully removed and new pointing applied. Poulticing will be applied to areas of persistent black crust. Stone replacement will be done only where necessary using stones that have the same dimensions and configuration as the stones being replaced. Finally a velatura consisting of a lime-based pigmented wash will be applied to the restored stonework to ensure overall visual uniformity. The dismantled steeples will be rebuilt as much as possible using the existing stones which were dismantled on site, and then using new stone wherever the original is not available.