Churches

St. Mary’s Parish Church
The village of Qrendi was declared a parish by the Maltese Bishop Baldassare Cagliares in 1618. Before this date, the people of Qrendi had to attend religious worship either at the church of our Lady of Mercy which was a Vice Parish of Zurrieq, or otherwise in the Parish Church of Zurrieq. The first chaplain was Fr. Salv. Burlo who was the nephew of the archpriest of Zurrieq from where the parish of Qrendi emerged. Fr. Burlo had only served for 2 years as he died in 1620.
 
He was followed by Fr. John Mary Camilleri, who decided to build a new parish church on the highest site of the village where two small chapels had previously stood. The building of this church was completed in 1655.
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When Fr. Domenic Formosa became parish priest in 1677, he decided to pulldown the church and build a bigger one. The construction of the new church began in 1685 and was completed in 1712.
 
The design of this new church was the work of the Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa’. The cruciform style is characterized by the dome and twin church towers on the outside. Inside, the two side sacristies and transepts, with the choir and the main altar in the middle, form the arms of the cross. Although the construction of the building was completed in 1712, the church was consecrated 70 years later, on the 13 October 1782 by Bishop Labini.
 
Two of the four bells in the belfry were there in 1712. Two others were later additions, one in 1788 and the other in 1798, when Fr. Antonio Mizzi was parish priest.
 
Up to the early 50’s the church was also used as a cemetery with stone slabs covering the tombs. On the completion of the new cemetery in the village outskirts, the slabs were removed and the floor was covered with marble brought over from Italy. This was laid under the supervision of the Italian craftsman Edwardo Lombardi and was inaugurated on the feast of Corpus Christi in 1955. The design was assigned to the Maltese craftsman Emanuel Buhagiar who also designed the highly decorated frames of the fourteen stations of the Cross.
 
The Titular painting, representing the assumption of Our Lady, at the back of the main altar is the work of the eminent Maltese artist, Giuseppe Cali’. This painting replaced another titular painting by Rokku Buhagiar which is now hanging in the sacristy. There are a number of other important paintings throughout the church. That on the altar dedicated to Our Lady of Consolation is the work of Ramiro Cali’. The painting of St. Stephen is the work of Stefano Erardi which he completed in 1677. This painting also shows Archangels St. Michael and St. Gabriel with St. Stephen, St. Anne and St. Rosa of Lima. The painting on the altar dedicated to St. Paul is the work of Francesco Zahra. The paintings on the dome and the rest of the ceiling are the work of the Gozitaan artist, Paul Camilleri Cauchi as is the magnificent painting showing the entry in Valletta Grand Harbor of the “Operation Pedestal” Convoy in August 1942 also known as the Convoy of Santa Maria.
 
The statue of the Assumption of Our Lady, better known as Santa Maria, is carved out of wood and was made in 1840 by the Maltese sculpture Antonio Chircop. Another statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was made by Karlo Dar
St. Catherine’s chapel can be found onthe outskirts of the village at a place which used to be known as ‘Tat-Torba’. It is one of the earliest chapels built on these islands dedicated to this particular saint. As far back as 1575, Monsignor Pietro Duzina, on a visit to Malta, left a report about it. This chapel was once known as ‘ ta’ Bieb iz-Zejtunija’.
In 1624, the chapel was profaned and in its place, a stone cross erected. However, two years later, a certain Benedittu Camilleri funded the building of a second chapel dedicated to the same St. Catherine. On the 14th of June, 1625, according to the notorial deed of Gio Dumink Gatt, a fund known as the ‘Feud of Wied il-Hofra’ was left to the chapel.
manin in 1878.
 
 
St. Catherine’s Chapel
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This second chapel was built very near to the original place where the first one had been. Benedittu Camilleri made sure that this new chapel was adequately decorated. The 25th of November became a fixed date on which the feast of St. Catherine was to be celebrated. Close by, a cemetery was built as well.It is to benoted that the Parish of Zurrieq and Zejtun are both dedicated to the same patron saint i.e. St. Catherine of Alexandria.
 
Restoration works were carried in this chapel in 2001. The external works were sponsored by the Qrendi Local Council while the internals were carried out by volunteers under the guidance of Rev. Ray Toledo the Parish Priest of Qrendi.
 
 
 St. Matthew’s Chapel
his chapel is in reality two chapels, both dedicated to the Apostle St.Matthew and which were later on amalgamated. The smaller chapel, which is situated right on the edge of the cliff side of Il-Maqluba, is very ancient and many believe that it was one of the first chapels which were built after the Arabs were expelled from these islands. In fact, it takes the form of an ancient tomb and Hugh Braun states that it was probably built in the 15th Century.
 
The building of the larger chapel commenced in 1674 and it was finished by the year 1682. The older chapel still has its main entrance separate from the larger chapel but a small staircase connects both chapels accordingly. The main chapel has one main altar and a sacristy at the far end.
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The titular painting depicts the martyrdom of St. Matthew and it was commissioned from the famous Mattia Preti in 1688 by the French Knight, Commendatore Nicolo' Communet. Recently, this painting has been stolen and after it was recovered, it was never returned to its original place for security purposes. In 1834, a balcony for choristers was built over the main doorway by the Rev. Michele Zammit and Rev. Gio Anton Spiteri. In the Sacristy, one can notice a small painting measuring about 2 feet depicting St. Apollonious(sive Ta' Vennura).
 
Rev. Matthew Magro, who was also a procurator for this chapel, recounts that the facade of this chapel was damaged during the Second World War on Sunday, the 12th April, 1942. It was early in the afternoon when the warning siren sounded from the Police Station. He recounts that he had been recently ordained Deacon on the 4th April, 1942 and he was in the Sacristy of the Parish Church together with the Stet Priest, the Rev. Elia Spiteri and Raymond Ellul, who at the time was a student at the Archbishop's Seminary. They ran for shelter at No. 3, Curate Mizzi Street, which at that time was occupied by the Theresian Friars. At the end of this air-raid, they came out of the shelter to learn that the Chapel of St. Matthew had been hit. They went to the site and found a complete disaster. The facade suffered great damages and it was in danger of collapsing whilst part of the roof had caved in. Three of the six columns supporting the organ balcony were also completely destroyed.
 
During the War, the Chapel was used as a barrack and at the time of this incident, it was occupied by many soldiers. Many of them were injured and rushed to hospital whereas the others who narrowly escaped were trying to put some order. After the end of the war, the chapel was rebuilt to its original condition by Gratio Falzon, a master mason from Qrendi, under the guidance of the Architect Salv. Privitera. Two small bell towers were also added to the original facade.
 
The feast of St. Matthew at Il-Maqluba is very popular and it is celebrated every year during the first Sunday after the 21st of September. The two local band clubs alternate each year to organise a grand feast fair, boosting the original traditional feast which forms an essential part of Maltese folklore.
 
Rev. John Azzopardi, Curator of the Cathedral Museum, gave us a detailed account of the popularity of this traditional feast. (Ref. St. Mary's Band Club - Annual Programme 1986 - Pages 24-25).
 
William Shellinks (1623-1687) visited these islands and on the 21st. September, 1664, he visited the traditional feast of St. Matthew at Il-Maqluba. He recorded his visit with two drawings accompanied with some information. Besides being a renowned author, Shellinks was also a painter, poet and designer.

St.Anne’s Chapel
This chapel was built and furnished by Giovanni Schembri to fulfil his vow after the Great Siege of 1565.
A will in the records of Notary Giliano Briffa dated the 17th September, 1585 discloses that Schembri left some money and other beneficiaries to the upkeep and maintenance of this Chapel. In 1796, the Parish Priest Rev. Antonio Mizzi restored this chapel. The external walls of St. Anne's Chapel bear witness to this day of the period during which it was built. The titular painting depicts St. Anne offering an apple to Baby Jesus held by his mother, St. Mary.
 
Recently, this chapel has been restored once again with external works carried out during the Parishood of Rev. Carmel Attard whereas the current Parish Priest Rev. Ray Toledo continued the internal restoration. The works were carried out by the company Agius Stone Works . The statue of St. Anne, situated a few meters away from the chapel, was erected in 1892 and its expenses were borne by the Rev. Giovanni Farrugia (Ta' Gulin).
Our Lady of Mercy Sanctuary
 
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mercy is situated on the site of the medieval hamlet of Hal-Lew. This Sanctuary used to be the Vice Parish of Zurrieq before Qrendi was declared as a separate parish. The building of this church goes back to the 13th Century but it was profaned in 1575 by Bishop Dusina and in 1650 a new church was built, which is the one standing to this present date. The sacristy was added later in 1668. This church is considered by historians as an architectural jewel; it also has a dome and the main entrance is adorned by a portico embellished with various sculptures and statues. In days gone by, this sanctuary was referred to as Chiesa della Misericordia.
 
This sanctuary used to be a centre of prayer and devotion even up to recent years when members of the Sociate Doctrine Christian known as Tal-Museum founded by the venerable Dun Gorg Preca used to hold their meetings and particularly the St. Michael Vigil in this church. This can also be deduced from the number of ex-voto paintings hanged on its walls. Amongst the main benefactors of this church, one can mention Commendatore Fra Filippo Guttenberg, who donated various paintings and other objects, Rev. Gio Maria Camilleri and Giovanni Schembri.
 
The Parish Priest Rev. Domenico Formosa worked hard to promote this Sanctuary and by means of a decree dated the 18th March, 1695, Pope Innocent XII adorned it with various indulgences. The church is quite large, measuring 65 feet in length and 18 1/2 feet breadth and it also has 3 arches. Several paintings adorn this Church. The painting of St. Mary is a good work by Giuseppe d'Arena whereas Rocco Buhagiar painted the one of St. Anthony of Padova. The painting depicting the Crucifixion is attributed to Suor Maria de Domenicis whereas St. Mary Magdalene is the work of Mattia Preti's School. These last two works of art can be admired today in the Sacristy.
 
Our Lady of Graces Chapel
On the south side of the village, midway on the hillside on the way to Guarena Palace, one encounters a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Graces.
This chapel was built in 1658 by Angelo Spiteri from Qrendi. In his will, he left contributions for masses to be said in this chapel together with other religious services and masses to be celebrated on its feast day. It has only one main altar.
 
Originally, this chapel was dedicated to Our Lady of Victory and its feast used to be celebrated on the 8th September.
 
Our Lord Saviour Chapel
The origins of this chapel date back to the seventeenth century (1658). It was built by Benedittu Camilleri to replace an older chapel which had previously existed. This chapel is typical of many other chapels of those times: a plain front with a small simple belfry placed at the centre on top and a round window in the middle of the front wall intended to let sunlight in.
 
In 1876, structural changes were made to the chapel. Two windows were added in the front wall, a second door was introduced on the inside of the chapel just behind the main portal, paintings were commissioned to decorate the ceiling and a sort of artistic perspective was given to the main Titular painting.
 
This chapel has attracted the interests of many, including Professor Quintin Hughes who mentions it in his initial studies about the architectural styles found in the Maltese Islands.
 
This chapel was used as a dormitory for a number of persons who took refuge in the village of Qrendi when their houses in the Dockyard Area were bombed or demolished during the difficult days of World War Two. Later until 1960, the chapel was also used as additional classrooms for the Primary School.
 
In 1996 restoration works in this chapel were carried out and these days, it is used for adoration of the Holy Eucharist and other Religious services.