Zejtun
HOME
Towns and Villages. Index
Zejtun
St.Catherine Virgin and Martyr Parish Church
The town of Zejtun, formerly known as Bisqallin, was already a parish in 1436. The present church was built between 1692 and 1728 and is one of the best works of Lorenzo Gafa. Before this church was built the old church of St.Catherine, commonly known as old St.Grergory, served as the parish church. Dedication date 10th May 1774.
The Parish Church in the 1900's
Assumption Tal-Hlas
This church in Hal Bisbut village now within Zejtun, was included in the 1575 Mons.Dusina report. The present church was rebuilt in 1682 and became known as 'Santa Maria Liberationis' - Our Lady of Safe Birth. During the 18th century it was used as a burial site for babies, with the feast being celebrated on the 15th August. The building itself was restored in 1859 by Fr J Tabone. Some of the old paintings which used to belong here, now can be found on altars and in the crypt of the parish church. It has an old sundial on the right hand of its roof and a 1782 bell. The arches holding the roof are set very shallow but still holding after all these centuries.
Blessed Sacrament
The Oratory of the Blessed Sacrament was built in rich Baroque decoration and adjoins the parish church, claimed to be Lorenzo Gafa's architectural masterpiece. Built in 1692 its deteriorating upper part including the bellcot was very recently lovingly restored.
Holy Family
The first Maltese born Bishop of Malta, Ferdinand Mattei, built a summer residence in Zejtun. He of course installed a private chapel there and dedicated it to the Holy Family. Nowadays this important building is used as a Youth Club.
Holy Spirit
The first church here was built by a hermit named Gio. Cassar with the permission of the Ecclesiastical authorities. The present church was built in 1688, designed by Lorenzo Gafa' and attached to it a day care centre for children opened at the beginning of the 19th century. It is now run by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart. Because it had a perfect plan, that is same size apses, in 1788 it received a new facade and its orientation was flipped front to back. Nowadays there is daily exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for adoration in this church.
Where the old facade was at the back
Immaculate Conception
Chapel in Villa Cagliares. The Villa was built in the 17th Century for Bishop Baldassere Cagliares, who was the only Maltese bishop to lead the Maltese diocese during the rule of the Knights of St John. The building forms an important landmark in the surrounding open countryside with its small dome roofing the chapel and surrounded by a balustrade parapet wall, puncturing the skyline. In 2000, this Baroque country villa was in partial state of collapse and was being used as a farm with the baroque chapel used as a fodder store. The works carried out by Architecture Project (See link in Bibliography page) involved the complete restoration of the structural fabric of the building, together with external landscaping works. The restoration included the consolidation of the existing fabric, the dismantling and re erection of the wing that was in a state of partial collapse, the insertion of a new internal staircase and, generally, its rehabilitation (including the insertion of modern amenities) to allow it to function as a residence.
Immaculate Conception chapel in Villa Cagliares
Jesus of Nazareth
The institute of Jesus of Nazareth was founded by Guzeppina Curmi. The present neo-Romanesque complex comprising the convent and Institute was built in 1913 while the church was built in 1853 and consecrated in 1958.
Nativity of Our Lady Hal Tmim
The church was built in 1597 was duly endowed by Leonardo Tabone who founded an ecclesiastical living there in 1628 as detailed by Notary Andrea Alban in his records. In WWII it was damaged at the back and sadly reconstructed in concrete instead of in the original material and style. Nowadays it is used for the teaching of catechism.
Our Lady of Good Counsel
Built in 1750 by Marquis Testaferrata as a private chapel, it lies adjacent to his 'Aedes Danielis' palace. It was blessed by Bishop Paul Alpheran de Bussan. The sons of the founder provided for the celebration of its feast of the 25th April. In the 1980s it was ransacked and about $180,000 in gold and silver objects stolen from it.
Our Lady of Grace
A Visitation church abutting Our Saviour church, (see further down) was already functioning in 1575 according to Mons.Dusina. Aloysius Cassar, left a bequest for its maintenance as detailed in the records of Notary Giorgio Buttigieg of 1542. It also adopted the dedication of Our Lady of Grace in 1636. This church was however canonically deconsecrated a few years afterwards, namely in 1654. In 1747, when Our Saviour church was rebuilt and enlarged, Our Lady of Grace was dismantled and its space taken up by the new church.
Our Lady of Mercy Hal Gwann - Bir id-Deheb
In 1575, popular devotion to Our Lady of Mercy maintained this church dedicated to the Assumption. Although in 1618, Bishop Cagliares prohibited its use for public worship, in 1621 he allowed it reopened again. On this occasion, it was referred to as Tal-Hniena - Our Lady of Mercy. After it was once more canonically deconsecrated in 1659, it was again opened for worship in 1679 once it had been provided with a new altar piece as well as with an endowment for the feast and maintenance. On Easter Monday a general procession from Zejtun's parish church to this church used to take place. The present church was added to a small church built in 1865. The most recent additions and restorations were just being completed in 2006. Perpetual Adoration is held here daily.
Original church
The old church inside
Our Saviour
The church was first built in 1500 and was the vice-parish of St Mary of Bisqallin. From 1588 onwards it was used as the village parish church for many years being the largest church available between Casal Pasqualino and Hal Bisbut. By 1686 a small choir was added to it and it was rebuilt in 1747 adding the space of the now demolished Visitation church near it (see further up). Restoration of this church was undertaken in the 1950's when it was given a new facade and was buttressed on the sides for strength. Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is held here with different Winter and Summer schedules. The titular is by Giannikola Buhagiar.
Sacred heart of Mary Tas-Sinjura
Built by a noble woman Mme Margherita dei Conti Manduca in 1881, this church also serves as the burial site of this same foundress. The apse paintings are by Camilleri Cauchi. This church has one of the oldest portable organs on the island in its loft. Its bell is from 1507. Nearby, in the palace property is said to have existed another chapel dedicated to St John, now lost.
Sacred Heart
September 2010, on the 90th anniversary of the consecration of a chapel in the Beland Band Club, Mass was celebrated in the club by the Bishop of Gozo, Mario Grech.
St.Angelo
Built in 1670 by the nobleman Girgor Bonici and blessed by Bishop Astiria, this church houses some very good paintings by the renowned Giuseppe d'Arena. Some changes were made to the structure in 1843. Members of the Bonici and Testaferrata Families, including Girgor Bonici himself, lie buried inside this church.
St.Catherine
The old parish church of St.Catherine, is more commonly known as St.Gregory because of his feast celebrated there. Beside it, there is a cemetery in regular use. Please see section on Cemeteries. This church was modified over the ages and has some secret corridors. In one of these, a pile of human bones was discovered, most probably the corridor being used as an ossuary in the past when the dead used to be buried in the churches themselves. A small Chapel dedicated to St Catherine existed here before 1436 and was the first Parish Church of Zejtun and all the east of Malta. It was replaced by a larger one in 1492 which had a rectangular shape but was much larger than the former one. Part of its roof, was at one time, demolished and rebuilt in a Gothic style. Its windows were situated at a very high point from ground level due to fear of attacks from pirates which at the time were rather common. Adjacent to it, where the present vestibule of St Gregory’Äôs is found, was a small private Chapel dedicated to St Mark and St Jacob owned by the Bonici Family. It was demolished in 1837. The Church was enlarged and given a cruciform shape between the years 1593 and 1603. The new design included the construction of the two transepts. The dome is one of the earliest domes to be built in Malta, low like a squat drum not high enough for windows, however this had a lantern that was unfortunately destroyed in a storm in 1759 and never rebuilt. The facade of the Church has also been altered, probably in the early 17th century, when a Renaissance doorway was added and a small bell tower was built.
The church in 1947
St.Catherine (St.Gregory) nowadays
Human bones
St.Clement
The church was built in 1658 by Clement Tabone as thanksgiving for his escape from a Turkish invasion. Today it is used for catechetical instruction and for meetings of the Cathecumenate movement. On Wednesday in Easter Week the procession which in ancient times left the Cathedral now starts from this church to proceed to old 'St.Gregory'.
St.Martin Gebel San Martin
This Pastoral Centre was inaugurated in 2001 to serve the spiritual needs of the people of the Housing Estate and nearby area who previously were served by St.Clement Chapel, which is very limited in space for today's needs.
St.John Baptist
This church used to exist close to Bir id-Deheb. Its titular picture of the beheading of St.John used to be kept in one of the rooms adjacent to Our Lady of Mercy chapel up to a few decades ago. It now resides in the Parish church.

Sacred Heart
The 'Kavallerizza' tower was built in 1613. Around the tower property, the knights of St.John used to hone their horsemanship. In 1876, a donation by noblewoman Margerita dei Conti Manduca helped build the Sacred Heart Chapel within the tower. This is nowadays private property and although it lies very close to Marsaxlokk, it is in Zejtun territory.