Monday, 9 May 2016

Wayside Chapels: St Michael 'is-Sancier'

Is-Sancir & Migra Ferha (8)-001

The chapel of St Michael  nicknamed 'is-Sancier' (the sincere) is located on the outskirts of the town of  Rabat. It is one of the oldest chapels still standing in its original form. Low and squat, it is partly built of rough-hewn stones, blending in with the rural landscape that surrounds it. The chapel of St Michael is located in a zone that has yielded many shreds of Punic, Roman and medieval pottery.

Is-Sancir & Migra Ferha (9)

Is-Sancir & Migra Ferha (11)

St Michael's was probably constructed during the middle of the fifteenth century. In 1678 it was deconsecrated and the titular painting of St Michael was transferred to the parish church of St Paul, in Rabat. For many years the chapel was used by farmers as a store for tools and as a cow-shed.

Is-Sancir & Migra Ferha (12)

Is-Sancir & Migra Ferha (14)

In 1981 the chapel was cleaned and restored by a group of volunteers but, since that time, it has fallen into disrepair, with all sorts of weeds and other types of small plants growing on the fa├žade, together with an insidious type of wild ivy, whose roots and tendrils are wreaking havoc on the crumbling, centuries-old stone-work. The side-entrance is almost completely obstructed by bamboo and the interior of the chapel is ravaged by rising damp.

Is-Sancir & Migra Ferha (10)-001

Is-Sancir & Migra Ferha (18)-001

Is-Sancir & Migra Ferha (17)-001

It is a pity that one of the few surviving structures from the medieval period in Malta is rotting away with no foreseeable plans in the near future to carry out the professional restoration that it so badly deserves.

Further reading:

3 comments:

  1. It's so beautiful with all the greenery around it! It would be fun to paint. (a picture of it, not on it!) Hope it doesn't completely fall apart. :(

    Hope you are well!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful photos! Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love the photos, but a bit sad to see the chapel in such a state.

    ReplyDelete

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