Thursday, January 17, 2008

St. John's Co-Cathedral

St. John's Co-Cathedral is by far the most beautiful and interesting in Malta. Constructed in 1578, it was commissioned as the official church of the Order of St John. It was built at the height of the Baroque, which conicided with the zenith of the Knights' power and prestige. The result was a magnificent church, which is one of the few churches I've seen that rivals anything in Rome. The outside is somber enough, constructed of the ubiquitous limestone but the interior.......

The belltower of the Cathedral has this interesting clock showing the time, the date, and the day of the week.

A fountain on one side of the church, carved out of limestone.

One of the most striking features of the church is the floor which is covered with the tombstones of over 400 of the most illustrious and famous knights and Grandmasters of the Order. I couldn't get a good picture because of all the chairs so I'm including this link
The tombstones are all inlaid marble, and contain the Knights' crests along with short descriptions of their deeds and history.

There are 8 chapels in the church, 4 on each side of the nave, dedicated to the 8 langues or tongues of the order. The langues were similar to chapters, based on regional divisions of the Knights. For example there was the Italian langue, the Spanish Langue, etc. This is a chapel of one of the langues.

This is the interior of the church. The theme of the Knights is all over, painted on the ceiling, embossed on the walls, and sculpted in the chapels.

This chapel has a picture of St. George slaying the dragon.

Part of the ceiling showing battles the Knights fought. In the foreground is the big sanctuary lamp, made completely of solid silver.

A monument to one of the Grandmasters, whose portrait is done in a mosaic.

Another monumnet showing some of the trophies of war sclupted out of marble.

The famous painting of St. Jerome, done by Caravaggio.

A shot of the high altar. The candlesticks are solid silver. In the background is the statue of St. John the Baptist, patron saint of the Order.

The back wall of the Cathedral, showing the Knights victorious in battle (I'm not sure which one.)

In the museum of the Cathedral is this painting of the beheading of St. John the Baptist, also done by Caravaggio.

1 comment:

Aggie said...

For you blog reader dummies like me:

u·biq·ui·tous /yuˈbɪkwɪtəs/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[yoo-bik-wi-tuhs] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–adjective existing or being everywhere, esp. at the same time; omnipresent: ubiquitous fog; ubiquitous little ants.