|St.John Baptist Parish Church
Xewkija is the oldest village in Gozo becoming the first parish outside Victoria in 1678. It was Bishop Michael Molina who, after visiting the hamlet decided that the large community living around an old chapel of St.John Baptist deserved better premises. Before the old chapel there existed a Phoenician temple which was in turn used by the Romans. When the chapel came to be built, the stones from the temple were used as foundation stones. The old chapel was rebuilt or enlarged at least twice and was last consecrated in 1755. The Rotunda parish church we have nowadays was started in 1952 and it took till 1978 to be built around the old one. It was consecrated in 1978. This huge Rotunda has eight concrete columns, covered in stone, which support its elegant dome. The interior is richly decorated with fine sculpture and modern paintings. The floor and main altar are marble. Parts of the older church were faithfully reconstructed on the rear side of the Rotunda in the sacristy. The church has been Archipresbyterial since 1893.
|St.John Baptist parish church
Left: A painting of the church as it stood in the 1700's
Top Left: The facade of the church in 1892
Middle Top: Inside the old church in the 1920's
Top Right: Columns of the new church rising around the old church
Right: The reconstructed Sanctuary of the old church in the sacristy of the new one
Below: The church as it stands nowadays.
This chapel was in a mediocre condition until about 1610, when the Governor of Gozo, Eugenio Ramirez Maldonato restored it in the best manner out of his own purse. Mass was celebrated every Sunday. However, the devotion started by the Governor who also initiated the cult of Saint Ursula on the island, was short-lived. It was deconsecrated in 1657.
Assumption Mgarr ix-Xini
This very well kept chapel was situated in a locality known as Santa Barbra. It was built before 1575 by Rainerio Mahanuq who endowed the chapel with whatever was necessary. His heirs continued to care for the chapel but as years went by it was forgotten and had to be deconsecrated.
The male section of the M.U.S.E.U.M. (a catechism group founded by St.George Preca), has its own chapel in its premises of Xewkija.
|Our Lady of Carmel Ta Hamet
This small church was built on a fertile plain called 'Ta' Hamet' in 1835 by Liberat Grech, a farmer who in 1798 had been nominated head of the Gozo armed forces fighting French occupation. It was blessed by Canon Saviour Grech, son of the founder in 1837. Bishop Jos.Pace consecrated it on the 26th July 1954. The two belfries were erected in 1958. The titular picture painted by Tomaso Madiona in 1837 shows the chapel at the feet of the Virgin Mary.
|Our Lady of Carmel ta' Hamet||Titular picture|
|Our Lady of Mercy
This chapel stands on the spot where the Xewkija-Qala and the Victoria-Mgarr roads cross. According to Achille Ferris, as far back as the year 1397 there was a church on this spot dedicated to St.Bartholomew. It must have been neglected and collapsed because there is no mention of it in Mgr.Dusina's report of 1575. Yet, the historian Agius de Soldanis states that it is mentioned in old documents to be still standing in 1597. It was rebuilt in 1643. In 1735, the painting of St.Bartholomew was replaced by one showing Our Lady with St.Bartholomew and the souls in Purgatory, the work of Gian Nikola Buhagiar. Since then the chapel has been known by the name of Our Lady of Mercy. In 1870 the painting was restored by Busuttil. In 1933 the church was enlarged and began to be used more intensively in the pastoral work of the parish. In 1944 the Dominican nuns took over the management of the chapel and still oversee its functioning nowadays. In 1955 it was enlarged again, and in 1967, Bishop Pace blessed the church and the school opened by the nuns.
|The church in 1705||Our Lady of Mercy church nowadays|