Saturday, 10 March 2012

Il-knisja ta' / Church of Porto Salvo - Hamrun

Din hija wahda mill-pitturi l-aktar ghal qalbi minn dawk kollha li ghamilt s’issa. Turi l-knisja ddedikata lill-Madonna ta Porto Salvo u nbniet fl-1645 minn Pankrazju Briffa ghall-vici kancillier tal-ordni ta San Gwann Fra Eugenio Ramirez Maldonato. Imiss maghha bnielu wkoll palazz ckejken ta sular wiehed bil-gonna warajh. 
Il-knisja regghet inbniet fi stil Barokk mill-kjeriku Antonio (Tonnuccio) Agius f’nofs is-seklu 18 u ghalhekk baqghalha l-laqam ta Santunnuzzu (ta Tonnucciu) sal-lum.

This is one of my favourite paintings done by myself. It shows the church dedicated to Our Lady of Safe Havens which was built in 1645 by Pankrazju Briffa for the Vice-councillor of the Order of St John Fra Eugenio Ramirez Maldonato. Adjacent to it he also built him a small one floor palace including gardens behind it.
The church was rebuilt in Baroque style by the cleric Antonio (Tonnuccio) Agius in the middle of the 18th century and thus the church got its nickname Santunnuzzu (of Tonnuccio) by which it is still called nowadays.



Il-pittura tieghi hija mehuda minn ritratt antik ta tmiem is-seklu 19. Minflok il-palazz illum hemm kerrejja u bini iehor, imma l-knisja flimkien ma appartament dejjaq hdejha u fuq is-sagristija ghadhom kif kienu fi zmien ir-ritratt. Salib doppju tal-Isqof li kellha fuq nett quddiem fil-faccata, waqa ghal zmien sittinijiet.

My painting was done from an old end of 19th century photo. Instead of the palace nowadays there is a cheap rental housing block and other buildings, but the church with the narrow apartment near it and over its sacristy remain as they existed in the time the photo was taken. A double episcopal cross it had on top of the facade, fell down in the 60's. 


Din il-knisja sakemm inholoq il-Hamrun, kienet taghmel ma Birkirkara u fil-fatt l-ewwel kappillan tal-Hamrun kien Dun Fortunat Valletta Karkariz li kien jinzel iqaddes Santunnuzzu ghan-nies tal-inhawi.  In-naha l-ohra tat-triq li hija l-ewlenija tal-Hamrun, dak iz-zmien kien jaghmel ma hal-Qormi.
Santunnuzzu ghall-ewwel kienet isservi ta parrocca sakemm inbniet il-knisja parrokkjali ta San Gejtanu li nfethet fl-1881. Ghal hafna zmien wara Santunnuzzu kienet isservi bhala vici parrocca.
Il-kanpnar li qieghed wara l-koppla u jidher fil-pittura, illum bilkemm tista tilmhu ghax fuq ix-xellug tal-knisja l-binja gholiet. Il-faccata tal-knisja giet restawrata fi zmien il-hamsinijiet. Minn gewwa hija ta ghamla skorfina u ghandha altar wiehed. Kuritur dejjaq fuq ix-xellug jihdok ghas-sagristija wara l-altar. Il-kuritur jibda minn barra b’bieb ckejken u kif tidhol fuq il-lemin, garigor dejjaq jihdok ghal gallarija mnittfa tal-orgni u tista tibqa tiela fuq fl-appartament zghir li fih gallarija ckejkna ghal barra (tidher fil-pittura u ghadha hemm illum).  Mil-kuritur tal-appartament tista thares ‘l isfel ghal gol-knisja minn tieqa ornamentali. F’dan l-appartament gew joqghodu l-patrijiet Karmnitani Skalzi bhala refugjati fit-tieni gwerra.

Until Hamrun took shape, this church was under the jurisdiction of Birkirkara and in fact the first Hamrun parish priest was Fr Fortunat Valletta, from Birkirkara who used to come and celebrate Mass at the church for the locals. The other side of the road which is the main one in town, those days fell under Qormi jurisdiction.
Santunnuzzu at first played the part of parish church until the new St Cajetan parish church was opened in 1881. For a long while afterwards, Santunnuzzu served as Vice-Parish church.
The belfry that stands behind the dome and which is part of my painting, nowadays is barely visible because on the left side of the church the building is now higher. The facade of the church was restored in the 50's. Inside it is shaped like a hexagon and has just one altar. A narrow corridor on the left of the church leads to a sacristy behind the altar. This corridor can be reached from outside by a small door and as one enters, a narrow spiral staircase leads one to a tiny organ loft and on to a small apartment which has a tiny balcony on the outside (can be seen in the painting and is still there nowadays). From the apartment corridor one can look down into the church itself through an ornamental window. The Discalced Carmelites made this apartment their convent when they came to Hamrun as refugees.

                                                      


Illum il-gurnata l-knisja qegheda tintuza, bhala post ghal-laqghat ta gruppi u talb, imma l-aktar importanti qieghed ikun espost hemmekk is-Sagrament Imqaddes ghall-adorazzjoni ta kulhadd.
Fl-ahhar irrid nghid ghaliex din ic-ckejkna knisja hija ghaziza ghalija. Bejn l-1947 u l-1952 kont abbati ckejken nghin fil-funzjonijiet u quddies ta qabel il-Koncilju Vatikan II. Fis-sena 1964 izzewigna hemm bhal ma kienu ghamlu xi whud minn huti. Bilhaqq iz-ziju Guzeppi kien jaghmilha ta sagristan hemm ghal ghexieren ta snin sa ma miet fis-snin 80.

Nowadays the church is utilized as a meeting place for prayer groups, but more importantly as a place of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
My last comment about this church is its significance to me personally. Between 1947 and 1952 I was an Altar Server helping in the pre VaticanII celebration of Liturgy and Mass. In 1964 we celebrated our Wedding vows there as had some of my siblings before me. By the way, my uncle Joseph was sacristan there for decades before he passed on in the 80's.


Ghal aktar informazzjoni fuq din il-knisja morru fuq din il-pagna tal-website
Kappelli Maltin: 
http://www.kappellimaltin.com/html/santunuzzu.html

For more information (IN MALTESE) about this church please click on the above link to Kappelli Maltin.




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