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St. George's Basilica, Victoria
(4.3/5 based on 200+ reviews on the web)
St George's Basilica is a Baroque church situated in the middle of Victoria, the ancient "Ħaġar" – the capital of Gozo, the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago, and is surrounded by a maze of old narrow streets and alleys. Today's basilica was built between 1672 and 1678.HistoryOriginThe parish originated in Byzantine times from the time of Emperor Theodosius I. The original church was the main Roman pagan temple of Gozo which had been converted by a Greek missionary into a Christian church dedicated to Saint George. The Roman temple stood at the site of the present church. The church is also documented in manuscript sources in c. 1250, when it is recorded functioning as a parish church. St George's was also listed as one of the parishes in Gozo where indulgences could be obtained on a papal bull by Pope Nicholas V for the Holy Year of 1450. Considering the fact that the parish church originated during the Byzantine period, until 1575, the liturgy in St George's parish church was celebrated in the Byzantine Rite rather than the Latin Rite. It was the last church to celebrate the Byzantine liturgy in the island until the transition to the Roman rite. The church had been rebuilt numerous times during the middle ages because of the increasing population of the island. In 1511 a scriptura apostolica declared that the church of St George was the parish church of Gozo, thus covering all the population of Gozo. It is also recorded that the parish priest of St George's church during the half of the 16th century, Reverend Lorenzo De Apapis (1501-1586), was taken prisoner together with most of the inhabitants of the island by the invading Ottomans in 1551 to Constantinople. Reverend De Apapis managed to buy his freedom some years later and returned to Gozo and rebuilt the church of St George which had been badly damaged. Likewise the church was reconstructed again in 1583 and 1598.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • One of many great churches on Malta. However, no entrance fee this church in contrast to many other churches.
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  • Competes with some of the best European Cathedrals for the elaborate decoration. There was no mass when I visited but I still felt that I could not take photos. It is very dark inside but has a spirit...  more »
  • We visited on a Sunday late morning and there was a mass going on. You are made welcome (appropriately dressed covering shoulders and legs) should you wish to watch or take part in proceedings.