The restoration project of the Oratory of the Immaculate Conception at the Jesuits’ Church in Valletta has been completed, whilst work on the sacristy is expected to finish in the coming weeks. This was announced by the Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts, and Local Government Owen Bonnici during a visit at the church in Valletta.
The restoration works, with a total investment of €1,250,000 from national funds, were led by the Restoration Directorate. This investment also comprises of the eventual restoration of a second Oratory, that known as the Onorati.
Minister Owen Bonnici emphasized the importance of restoring these important heritage sites, located at the heart of Valletta. He stated that this national heritage also attracts visitors who come to Malta to experience our religious and artistic heritage. He also noted that the conservation of these works of art guarantees their survival and enjoyment for the present and future generations who visit the Jesuit Church.
“A total of €4.5 million have been invested in restoring this heritage site in Valletta. This investment covers various restoration works that started in 2015, including the roof, dome, couplets on the chapels, and bell tower of the Jesuit church and additionally, the restoration of the church’s facades on Triq il-Merkanti, Triq l-Arcissqof, Triq San Pawl, and the restoration that is being announced today,” stated Minister Bonnici.
The Oratory of the Immaculate Conception was built in the first half of the 17th century to provide a space for prayer for a confraternity established by the Knights of St John. Although the architect of the Oratory is unknown, some attribute it to Francesco Buonamici (1596–1677).
Rev. Dr Nicholas Doublet, the rector of the Jesuit Church, stated that “the restoration of this baroque gem allows visitors to experience it in its original splendour. Also, this restoration has led to the creation of a new cultural hub at the very centre of Valletta. The space has already become home to a varied cultural programme which we will continue to grow in the coming months.”
Architect Mark Azzopardi from the Restoration Directorate explained in detail the work being carried out. “Studies on the existing walls and ceiling have identified the original colours which have now been reproduced. The existing services in the sacristy were removed and replaced and a fire detection system was introduced. Repairs to the masonry and to the windows have been carried out and sanitary facilities in the sacristy have also been refurbished. New lighting has been installed and the marble flooring of the sacristy was repaired and repolished,” explained Architect Azzopardi.