The Malta Independent 17 November 2018, Saturday

St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral in dire need of restoration, appeal for financial assistance

Gabriel Schembri Thursday, 9 February 2017, 11:55 Last update: about 3 years ago

St Paul's Anglican Pro-Cathedral is in dire need of restoration and repair. That is why the Church Council is appealing for financial help for the restoration to be made possible.

As explained during a press conference held this morning at the magnificence of the Cathedral's altar in Valletta, the carers of the building have received a distressing report on the architectural needs of the historic site. The reports highlighted a multitude of problems, mostly affecting the iconic bell tower and the stone work around the Cathedral.

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Most of the damage is visible on the Northwest façade of the church, the one side facing the sea. The press was given an exclusive tour of the place, this time, not to highlight the beauty of the cathedral, but to point out the architectural problems which need urgent attention.

For the last 15 years, the architect responsible for the cathedral has been Anton Valentino. He explained that the damage on the outside will soon be affecting the roof on the inside. Mr Valentino pointed out the particularly damaged corner of one façade which fell off back in the 60s. Although it's value is purely aesthetical, recently, the missing piece has resulted in more water affecting the ceiling.

The restoration process is being handled by Konrad Buhagiar and Guillaume Dreyfuss. 

The Church Council have chosen the eve of St Paul's feast to launch their "Save Valletta Skyline" appeal. They hope they can reach enough money so that the restoration can be completed in two or three years. There is still a long way to go. Some €3 million are estimated as needed to complete the restoration project. The Council hopes it can get up to 80% of the total money needed from EU funds.

"None of us can imagine the capital's skyline without the iconic bell tower of the cathedral," Mr Martin Scicluna, co-chair of the Church Council told the media.

All elements are in place for a successful restoration. If the money makes it through, the iconic building can still be saved.

The cathedral receives no support from the Maltese or British government. The money which supports the maintenance of the cathedral comes from local benefactors and businesses. Mr Scicluna said it would be a mistake to believe that the Anglican Church Cathedral in Valletta falls under the responsibility of the British.

Some €100,000 has already been raised for the cause.

It is estimated that the whole restoration project will need from two to three years to complete. However, they are appealing for the works to start earlier so that the works are completed before the Valletta 2018 kicks off.

Restoration will be split into phases so that the building is not surrounded in scaffoldings all in one go. The council has also set up a website to raise more awareness on the cause, savethecathedral.com.

Photos: Jonathan Borg

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