Our Lady of Providence, Siġġiewi

Providenza Church

Introduction

During the visit of Bishop Dusina in 1575 in this area, then known as Hal Kbir (now part of Siġġiewi), he found a church dedicated to Our Lady in flight to Egypt (L-Madonna tal-Harba). There were also other churches and a catacomb in the area indicating that the area has been inhabited for centuries.

Later churches in the area were dedicated to the Assumption or to Mary Patron of Churches (‘Santa Marija tal-Knejjes‘).

The old church was deconsacrated by Bishop Alferan de Bussan in the middle of the 18th century when the village of Ħal Kbir was largely abandoned. Saddened by this decision Fr. Michaelangelo Mamo successfully implored the Bishop to allow him to rebuilt the church. The titular painting by Enrico Arnaux was of Saint Mary with the infant Jesus, souls in purgatory and archangel Michael.

In the early 19th century this was changed to a depiction of Our Lady of Divine Providence by the Palermitan artist Giuseppe Velasqueza. This titular painting still adorns thr church today.

St Roque with the Pilgrim Shell

Today

In the early 19th century the church was struck by lightning sustaining signifcant damage. As a result, extensive repairs, restoration and embellishment was undertaken subsequent to the lightning strike, financed by the nephew of Fr. Michaelangelo Mamo, Fr. Peter Paul Saliba.

Today’s parvis and façade reflect the changes undertaken in the 19th century. Among the prevalent archiectural features are the image of birds pecking at pomegranates and the latin inscriptions from the Gospel of St. Matthew (6:26), “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Next Stop

We proceed to the road behind the Church of Our Lady of Providence, past the three crosses sculpted in stone, denoting ancient parish confines. We turn right into Triq San Niklaw and continue along this road, past the World War I British barracks to the 14th century church of San Niklaw.

Route Stops

  • First
  • Final