An appeal has been launched for the restoration of St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral in Malta. Towering 200 feet over the seaward approach to Valletta, St Paul’s is a vital part of Malta’s rich cultural heritage. It pays homage to St Paul who was shipwrecked there in about AD 60 and brought Christianity to Malta.
The fabric of St Paul’s is now in dire and urgent need of restoration. Recent architectural inspections have identified severe problems threatening the tower, the spire and external and internal stonework. The Cathedral wants to raise €3 million to save this iconic structure, which is one of the most universally recognised features of the Valletta skyline.
St Paul’s has strong connections with British royalty. Queen Adelaide, wife of William IV funded the building of the cathedral from the Privy Purse between 1839 and 1844. Her Majesty the Queen, as the then Princess Elizabeth worshipped here with Prince Philip when they lived in Malta between 1949 and 1951 and they have returned on numerous occasions since then, including state visits in 1967, 1992 and 2015. Prince Charles and Princess Anne also worshipped here whilst on unofficial holiday visits with the then Governor-General’s family in 1968 and 1970 and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh remains Patron of the Friends of the Cathedral today.
Equally strong are the connections to members of the British, Commonwealth and Maltese units of the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Marines and Royal Airforce – who fought to defend Malta in two world wars and have served there since in peacetime.
Although Malta is strongly Roman Catholic, the Restoration Appeal Committee is made up of important and influential Maltese and foreign residents in Malta and is under the distinguished patronage of Her Excellency, Marie Louise Preca, President of Malta and His Grace the Archbishop of Malta. The committee is co-chaired by Sir Martin Laing and Martin Scicluna, who is a past President of the National Trust of Malta, Din l’Art Helwa. The campaign approach is ecumenical, historical and cultural and is being backed by all Christian denominations, both Maltese and British - and those passionate about the conservation of Malta’s heritage. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Gozo, Bishop Mario Grech, in a gesture calling for more unity between Catholics and Anglicans, announced earlier this month that all collections from one Sunday's Masses in Gozo would be donated to the appeal.
Organisers hope that the restoration will start as soon as possible so that this important Grade 1 listed building will continue to be open during Valletta’s ‘European Capital of Culture’ celebrations in 2018; and be completed by November 2019, the 175th Anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral.
St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral is one of three cathedrals in the Anglican Diocese in Europe, but has no current endowment and receives no support from the government or Church of England. The congregation meets the annual running and maintenance cost, but cannot fund major works.
More details can be found here.