GozoChurches.com » Ghajnsielem - St Cecilia

Information about this Church or Chapel
Locality in Gozo Ghajnsielem
Status Chapel (not used anymore)
Year Built 1615
Dedication St Cecilia (ta' Santa Cilja)
Feast date 22 November

This is the oldest chapel on Gozo, dedicated to Saint Cecilia who was a martyr of the early centuries. Her cult became very widespread because of the narrative of her sufferings, entitled 'The Passion of Saint Cecilia'. The chapel is still in its original forma and is the best surviving example of the many unaisled chapels that once dotted the countryside. Like other late medieval chapels it is a plain cube except for its slight pitch of the roof which has an approximately fifteen degree slope. The front, about 9 meters wide is simple but pleasantly proportioned.  Entrance to the chapel is down three steps as its floor is slightly below ground level. It measures seven by seven metres, nearly perfect square. The chapel is divided into four bays by three slightly pointed arches rising from wall piers to carry the shallow pitched stone roof. Each bay provides a recess in the wall. The interior is very dark as light can only enter through the slit above the door and another square window on its opposite. The chapel is a perfect example of medieval simplicity.

The chapel is first recorded in a pastoral visit of 1615 when its only internal ornament was a crucifix. It was completely restored by 1630 and it continued to function until 1644. The feast of the faithful was celebrated on the 22 November when a mass was said for the faithful. The chapel has withstood the ravages of time and still stands as a witness to the resourcefulness of the inhabitants of Gozo past.

Over the years, the chapel became dilapidated and is now being resorted. The Wirt Artna foundation is trying to secure its possession, which is now in danger of imminent collapse, so it can use this late mediaeval chapel in Gozo for its headquarters.

Ghajnsielem StCecilia 01 Front View
Ghajnsielem StCecilia 02 Rearview
Ghajnsielem StCecilia 03 Front
Ghajnsielem StCecilia 04 Front Closeup
Ghajnsielem StCecilia 05 Inside

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