This Church of St Mary in Bir Miftuħ was built in around 1430 and is one of the parish churches mentioned by Bishop Senatore de Mello in his report of 1436. It served as a parish until 1676 when then new Gudja Church became the parish church mainly because the new church was in the middle of the village whereas Bir Miftuħ was on its outskirts of present-day Gudja. The area around Bir Miftuħ is full of mostly sub-terranean archeological remains including the Paleo-Christian Ħal Resqun Catacombs.
Bir Miftuħ then comprised of what today is Gudja, Luqa, Ħal Farruġ, Tarxien, Ħal Kirkop, Ħal Safi and Birżebbuġa (up to Bengħajsa since this area delineated the confines with the Żurrieq Parish. All of these are today individual towns or villages with their own parishes.
The church is freestanding with a rectangular shape and was internally adorned with frescos. Some of these survived and are visible today.
The fresco depicting The Last Judgement is divided in three tiers of figures. There is also another fresco depicting God surrounded by angels, the Virgin with Child, St. Peter and St. Paul.
The Church Today
When the Knights of St. John took possession of the island, a Captain from the order was assigned to defend the area because of its relative close proximity to the various East/South East facing bays making it a target to saracens and ottomans. In fact, the church was ransacked during the 1565 Great Siege of Malta.
By 1575 the area (and the church) must have been thriving again because Pietro Dusina reported that the church was well-equipped for services.
In 1830 Marchesa Elizabettina (or Bettina) Muscat Cassia D’Aurel restored the church which – however – suffered air-raid damage during World War II.
in 1973, Malta’s National Trust, Din L-Art Helwa, were entrusted with its restoration, which restoration was completed by 2004 sponsored by the Malta International Airport.
From Triq Bir Miftuħ proceed to and through Triq Santa Marija to Triq Burglat, past the church of Annuniciaton (Lunzjata) and onward through Triq Raymond Caruana, past the church of St. Catherine (Santa Katerina) which leads onto the main thorough-fare and Palazzo Dorell.