Our Lady of Victory Church, the smallest church in Valletta and also the oldest, is pivotal to the history of Malta.  Jean Parisot De La Valette, Grand Master of the Order of Knights of Malta, built it and dedicated it to the Blessed Virgin after his victory over the Ottoman invader at the lifting of the Great Siege on the of 8th September 1565, the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin.  It was built on the site where a religious ceremony was held to inaugurate the laying of the foundation stone for the new city of Valletta on 28th March 1566. A church was chosen as the first building in order to express gratitude. In fact, not only is the church dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin, but the titular painting is situated behind the main altar, and it depicts the birth of the Blessed Virgin. Grandmaster Jean Parisot de Valette personally funded the building of the church. In 1617, the Order made ‘Our Lady of Victory’ its Parish Church, continuing to endow it with important monuments and paintings.


On 21st August 1568, Grand Master De Valette passed away after coming down with a fever. In line with his final wishes, he was entombed in the crypt of the church, but when St. John’s Co-Cathedral was built, De Valette’s remains were moved there.

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This tiny church is almost ‘tucked-away’ around the corner from the Post Office in Castille Square and some tourists may not discover it. That would be a pity because it really is worth seeing. The artwork inside alone is worth the visit, and with the extensive and painstaking restoration work done in recent years; it will take your breath away.


From ‘IN LOVE WITH MALTA’ (The Hidden Treasures)

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