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Title: The Greek Catholic church of Our Lady of Damascus, Valletta : its destruction in the blitz of the second world war and post : war reconstruction
Authors: Pace, Nicole
Keywords: Churches -- Malta -- Valletta
World War, 1939-1945 -- Malta
Buildings -- War damage -- Malta -- Valletta
Church decoration and ornament -- Malta -- Valletta
Church of Our Lady of Damascus, tal-Griegi (Valletta, Malta)
Issue Date: 2016
Abstract: The study of the impact of the Second World War on the Maltese islands has been a greatly ventured one. However, many adopted a military history approach, while few focused on the art historical losses and damages incurred throughout Malta’s arduous yet gallant involvement in the war. One of the saddest losses yet of the lesser known ones was the destruction of the Greek Catholic Church of Our Lady of Damascus, centrally located in the capital city, Valletta As determining an event the Second World War was on the Greek Catholic Church, this study will take such event as the dividing facet of the varying foci within. Artistic and architectural appraisal of b oth the pre - war and post - war states of the Greek Catholic Church will be assessed, focusing on a stylistic and formal analysis, in addition to a consideration of comparative and historical aspects. The first section of this study presents a contextual grou nding in the understanding of the art historical context during the Second World War in the Maltese islands, highlighting the active involvement of the authorities to preserve, recover and restore works of art. Taking the destruction of the church as a d ivisional theme in this study, the second chapter deals with an attempt to recover an art historical and architectural glimpse of the enigmatic pre - war church, from its foundation to its destruction. The remnants of such manifest in the writings of Papás F rancesco Chetta - Schiró, documentary and photographic evidence, and the first section of the diary of Papás George Schiró. The inaccessibility of the parish archives somewhat limited archival research, however, Papás Chetta - Schiró’s publications aided great ly in such circumstance. The third section focuses on the unfortunate destruction of the church, highlighting the losses and survivals in which Papás George Schiró prevails as a protagonist in the salvaging of the surviving works scattered amidst the debr is of what was once a church founded by a devout patron and revered by Grandmasters. The detailed wartime diary and photographic album of Papás George Schiró – made accessible to the author through the generosity of Papás Schiró’s nephew, Mr Joseph Schiró – proved to be an indispensable tool in the outline of the recovery operations of the church debris and in the identification of the surviving works of art evaluation is carried out on the surviving works, in addition to some cases where legible photographs are available of the works lost in the war. The fourth chapter is the study of the present church, rebuilt through the determination of Papás George Schiró. The focus on Byzantinesque principles in the new fabric of the church echoes a more p ious approach in relation to the Greek Catholic rite of the church, nevertheless endowed with works of art of a spiritual notion which such a space deems necessary. Ultimately, this study aims at presenting the artistic significance of the pre - war and po st - war Greek Catholic Church, in addition to the recognition of the impact of the Second World War on the artistic heritage of the Maltese islands. Owing to the enigmatic nature of the destroyed pre - war church, this study proved to be challenging, yet grea tly rewarding. The lack of artistic appreciation of the history of the Greek Catholic Church of Our Lady of Damascus among Maltese art historical study, in addition to Papás Francesco Chetta - Schiró’s administration of the church and his publications record ing the significance of the church, paired with the perseverant determination evident in Papás George Schiró’s diary resonated as the driving force behind this study.
Description: B.A.(HONS)HIST.OF ART
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2016
Dissertations - FacArtHa - 2016

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