Ta' Pinu

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta' Pinu (Maltese: Santwarju Bażilika tal-Madonna ta' Pinu) is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and national shrine located some 700 metres (2,300 ft) from the village of Għarb on the island of Gozo, the sister island of Malta. The church is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin of Ta' Pinu. The basilica is located in open countryside which allows visitors to enjoy beautiful views of the area and is of great national importance to Gozitans everywhere.

Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Of Ta' Pinu
Santwarju tal-Madonna ta' Pinu
AffiliationRoman Catholic
DistrictDiocese of Gozo
ProvinceArchdiocese of Malta
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusMinor basilica, National Shrine
LeadershipFr Gerard Buhagiar [1]
Year consecrated31 August 1932
Geographic coordinates36°3′42.4″N 14°12′53.4″E / 36.061778°N 14.214833°ECoordinates: 36°3′42.4″N 14°12′53.4″E / 36.061778°N 14.214833°E
Architect(s)Andrea Vassallo
Architectural typeChurch
Architectural styleNeo-romanesque
Groundbreaking30 May 1920
Direction of façadeESE
Length49 metres (161 ft)
Width37 metres (121 ft)
Width (nave)14 metres (46 ft)
Height (max)61 metres (200 ft)
Madonna Ta' Pinu
The painting attributed to Amadeo Perugino of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, known more as il-Madonna ta' Pinu.
Basilica Ta Pinu Gozo Malta 2014 4
Church's interior


The origins of the Shrine of Our Lady of ta' Pinu are unknown. It was first recorded in the archives of the Curia in Gozo, when the Bishop Domenico Cubelles paid a visit to the chapel. This noted that the chapel had just been rebuilt and that it belonged to the noble family of "The Gentile".[2]

In 1575 the apostolic visitor Pietro Duzina was delegated by Pope Gregory XIII to visit the Maltese Islands. In his pastoral visit to the church, he found that it was in a very bad state. He ordered the church to be closed and demolished and its duties passed to the parish church, now the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Gozo. When demolition began the workman broke his arm while striking the first blow. This was taken as an omen that the chapel should not be demolished. The church was the only chapel on the island to survive Duzina's decree ordering the demolition of other similar chapels.[2]

Pinu Gauci became the procurator of the church in 1598 and its name was changed from "Of the Gentile" to "Ta` Pinu", meaning "Of Philip". In 1611 Gauci offered money for its restoration. It was rebuilt, with a stone altar erected and investments for liturgical services provided. Gauci also commissioned the painting of the Assumption of Our Lady for the main altar. This was done in 1619 by Amadeo Perugino.[2]

In 1883, Karmni Grima was walking past the now run down church and heard a voice asking her to recite three Hail Marys'. Over the following years miracles were attributed to the grace of Our Lady of The Assumption to whom the church was dedicated. Francis Portelli also heard the voice coming from the painting. Francis Merċieċa also known as Frenċ tal-Għarb was a devout of Our Lady of ta' Pinu and healed a lot of people in her name.

Dankesbezeugungen in der Wallfahrtskriche Ta' Pinu Nov 2014 04
Some of the ex-voto in the Ta' Pinu church.

The works for the new church began on 30 May 1922 on the initiative of the church's rector Monsignor Ġużepp Portelli and was consecrated on 31 August 1932. It was built in a neo-romantic style. Inside the church there are 6 mosaics, 76 coloured windows and many ex-voto. The bell tower is 61 metres high.[2]

Pope John Paul II celebrated mass on the parvise of the shrine during his visit to the island of Gozo on 26 May 1990.[3] On 18 April 2010, when visiting Malta, Pope Benedict XVI donated and placed a Golden Rose in front of the devotional image of Our Lady Of Ta' Pinu which was brought over from Gozo to Malta for this special occasion. The Pope invited everybody to "Pray to Her Under the Title Queen of the Family"[4]

The church building is listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Web page of the Gozo Diocese
  2. ^ a b c d "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-27. Retrieved 2010-07-21.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/homilies/1990/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_19900526_gozo_en.html
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-05-07. Retrieved 2010-04-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Ta' Pinu Sanctuary" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 27 August 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2015.

External links

Andrea Vassallo (architect)

Andrea Vassallo (2 January 1856 – 28 January 1928) was an eclectic Maltese architect. He designed buildings in various styles, including Neoclassicism, Rococo Revival, Neo-Gothic, Art Nouveau and Neo-Romanesque. His masterpiece is the basilica of Ta' Pinu in Gozo, while other notable works include the domes of the Ħamrun and Siġġiewi parish churches, Villa Rosa and the now-demolished Casa Said.

Blessed Virgin of Ta' Pinu

The Blessed Virgin of Ta' Pinu, or as it is known in Maltese, "Il-Madonna ta' Pinu" is a religious devotion which originated on Gozo, the sister island of Malta. The many Maltese and Gozitans living abroad have managed to spread this devotion in many other parts of the world. The Ta' Pinu Basilica, is based in Għarb.

Christianity in Malta

In the small Mediterranean island nation of Malta the predominant religion is Roman Catholicism.

Emvin Cremona

Emvin Cremona (27 May 1919 – 29 January 1987) was a Maltese artist and stamp designer. He is regarded as one of the best Maltese artists of the 20th century. Cremona is known for designing most Maltese stamps from 1957 to the 1970s, including the stamp issue commemorating Malta's independence from Great Britain in 1964. He studied at the Malta School of Arts and the Regia Accademia delle Belle Arti in Rome. Some of his works can be found at the parish churches of Msida and Ħamrun, Ta' Pinu Sanctuary and the Chapel of the Malta International Airport. The World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva and the United Nations Headquarters in New York also house paintings by Cremona.Emvin Vincent Cremona - his Christian names were soon shortened to Emvin - was born in Valletta on May 27, 1919. Up to 1936 he attended the Scuola Umberto I for his formal education. In 1933, he was taken to Rome where he was overwhelmed by the experience. Later he attended the School of Art, finding himself in a class that composed Willie Apap, Anton Inglott, Esprit Barthet, and Victor Diacono. Their teachers were Edward Caruana Dingli and Carmenu Mangion, both of a mixed classicist and Romantic temperament.

At an early age, Cremona used to participate in the annual shows of the Malta Amateur Art Association. In 1937 he competed for the Government scholarship, placing third after Willie Apap and Anton Inglott. In spite of this setback, he was luckily able to summon enough financial assistance to proceed to Rome for a course of studies at the Regia Accademia di Belle Arti under Carlo Siviero between 1938 and 1940. In Rome he felt a closeness, a spiritual kinship to Anton Inglott. The two young artists were still in Rome just before Italy entered the war in 1940 but they returned to Malta together on the last boat to reach the island in peacetime.

In 1945 he won the Agnes Schembri Bequest, enabling him to proceed to London and Paris to deepen his studies in art. Between 1945 and 1947 he attended classes at the Slade School of Fine Arts and later he attended lessons at the Parisian Ecole Superieur de Beaux Arts under professor Jean Dupas. Emvin returned to Malta in 1948. He represented the country in their first pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1958. He married Lilian Gatt and had four children.

Frenċ tal-Għarb

Francis Xavier Mercieca (Maltese: Franġisku Saverju Mercieca, 3 December 1892 – 19 May 1967), more commonly known as Frenċ tal-Għarb, was a farmer and faith healer from the village of Għarb in Gozo, Malta. He was an apostle of Our Lady of Ta' Pinu.


Gozo, known locally as Għawdex (pronounced [ˈaˤːw.dɛʃ]) and in antiquity as Gaulos (Punic: 𐤂‬𐤅‬𐤋‬, GWL; Greek: Γαύλος, Gaúlos), is an island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of Malta. After the island of Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the archipelago. Compared to its southeastern neighbour, Gozo is more rural and known for its scenic hills, which are featured on its coat of arms.The island of Gozo has long been associated with Ogygia, the island home of the nymph Calypso in Homer's Odyssey. In that story, Calypso, possessed of great supernatural powers, and in love with Odysseus, holds him captive for a number of years, until finally releasing him to continue his journey home.As of March 2015, the island has a population of around 37,342 (out of Malta's total 475,000), and its inhabitants are known as Gozitans (Maltese: Għawdxin). It is rich in historic locations such as the Ġgantija temples, which, along with the other Megalithic Temples of Malta, are among the world's oldest free-standing structures.The island is rural in character and, compared to the main island Malta, less developed. It was known for the Azure Window, a natural limestone arch that was a remarkable geological feature, until its collapse in 2017. The island has other notable natural features, including the Inland Sea and Wied il-Mielaħ Window. There are many beaches on the island, as well as seaside resorts that are popular with both locals and tourists, the most popular being Marsalforn and Xlendi. Gozo is considered one of the top diving destinations in the Mediterranean and a centre for water sports.

Gozo Channel Line

The Gozo Channel Company Limited, commonly known as Gozo Channel Line or the Gozo ferry (Maltese: Vapur t'Għawdex), is a Maltese company founded in 1979 that operates ferry services between the islands of Malta and Gozo using Roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ferries. Crossings happen throughout the day all-year round including weekends, public holidays, and night services.

The company's ferry services are the main connection between the two islands and it is used by millions of Gozitans, Maltese and tourists every year. It currently operates three identical ferries, all of which were built between March 2000 and March 2002. In addition to the normal services of foot passengers and car passengers, Gozo Channel also offers services for cargo vehicles and hazardous cargo.

Gozo Region

Gozo Region (Maltese: Reġjun Għawdex) is one of five regions of Malta. The region includes the islands of Gozo, Comino and several little islets such as Cominotto. The region does not border with any other regions, but it is close to the Northern Region.

The region was created by the Local Councils Act of 1993. It is the only original region still in existence, since the other two (Malta Majjistral and Malta Xlokk) were split into smaller regions by Act No. XVI of 2009.


Għarb (Maltese: L-Għarb) is a village located at the westernmost point of the island of Gozo, Malta, with a population of 1,539 people (as of March 2014).Għarb started life as a small hamlet centuries ago. The word Għarb means West in Arabic, so it should be no surprise that the village is the most westerly place on Gozo. One can see its ancient roots in the centre of the village where some houses have fine examples of decorated stone balconies. Għarb was created as a parish in 1679, a move which gave impetus for the building of a new, baroque parish church. Built between 1699 and 1729, it has an elegant façade which has been compared with Francesco Borromini's Church of Saint Agnes in Piazza Navona, Rome. The village square, so quintessentially Gozitan, has become the view on many a postcard. On the square is a folklore museum housing all sorts of memorabilia retelling the Islands' rural history. Għarb lies in some of Gozo's most scenic countryside, particularly at Dbieġi, the highest hill on the Island. Also at Dbieġi is a centre for Gozitan crafts. Within the limits of Għarb is the Chapel of San Dimitri. According to legend, the first chapel was built on the cliff side by a woman whose son was freed from captivity by St. Demetrius. Also nearby is the Basilica ta' Pinu, Malta's pre-eminent shrine to the Virgin Mary. It was on this spot in 1883, that a local woman heard the voice of the Virgin. The parish church is dedicated to the visitation of Saint Mary to her cousin Saint Elizabeth. The late Karmni Grima and Frenċ tal-Għarb are two of its most renowned villagers.


Għasri (Maltese: L-Għasri) is a village in the western part of Gozo, Malta, with a population of 525 people (as of March 2014). By population, it is the smallest village in Gozo after San Lawrenz, and the third smallest in the Maltese Islands, after Bidnija and Mdina. Għasri, however, has a relatively large area.

The village lies between the hills of Żebbuġ and Għammar. The name has Arabic origins and refers to the period of the day in between the afternoon and the evening. Għasri is reached by forking right on the Victoria-Għarb road just after the Aqueduct.

A lighthouse on Ġurdan hill, better known as the Giordan Lighthouse dominates Għasri. The famous lighthouse rises 180 metres above sea level and was inaugurated in 1853. Its beam can be seen up to 50 kilometres away. Upon the hill around the lighthouse there are some marvellous 360 degree views of Gozo and this lures quite a lot of hikers, who tackle the rather steep path up to the hilltop.

From the Village Square, a road leads to the fabulous valley of Wied il-Għasri. On the way, there are a number of typical farmhouses, most of them available for short or long lets, as well as an old charming chapel dedicated to the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Wied il-Għasri area is a marvellous country walk or cycling site especially in Winter and Spring. The valley ends in the sea, wedged between high cliffs where a secluded little inlet makes it ideal for swimming, snorkelling and diving. Indeed, the sea around Wied il-Għasri is very popular among divers. In Għasri valley one can find some saltpans.

The village church, designed by a local priest, Dun Ġużepp Diacono, was built early in the twentieth century. Its foundation stone was laid on 6 September 1903 and it was dedicated to the Corpus Christi, otherwise known as Christ the Saviour in the Eucharist on 9 January 1916. The village was established a parish by Bishop Giovanni Maria Camilleri on 16 December 1921.

Karmni Grima

Karmni Grima (2 February 1838 – 25 February 1922) was a Maltese peasant whose mystical religious experience led to the construction of the church of Our Lady of Ta' Pinu.

Karmni Grima was born in the village of Għarb in Gozo, the sister island of Malta. Her parents, Thomas and Antonia (née Apap) were poor labourers who worked in the fields located on the nearby hills of Ghammar.

Every day, after hearing mass (liturgy) in a small chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Karmni would go to work in the fields.

On the 22 June 1883 while, as usual she was passing in front of the small chapel, she heard a mysterious voice calling her: "Come ... come today. For a whole year, you will not be able to return". This event is considered as "The most notable occurrence in the history of the Diocese" of Gozo.

Karmni Grima, although terrified, obeyed and entered into the chapel. From a painting of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary located in the chapel, Karmni heard a voice saying: "Recite three Hail Marys in honour of the three days that I stayed within the tomb."

Karmni Grima got sick, and could only return to the chapel after a year.

Karmni shared this experience with her confessor of sins and with her friend and neighbour Francesco Portelli. The latter told her that he also heard similar voices. Shortly after this mysterious incidents, Francesco's mother was miraculously healed by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Bishop Pietru Pace was informed about these events and after speaking to Karmni and Francesco he concluded that the voice was of heavenly origins.

Within a short time the news spread throughout Gozo and Malta and the small and abandoned chapel soon became a Marian shrine. Many people started to organize pilgrimages in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask for temporal and spiritual favours. This prompted the ecclesiastical authorities to build a sanctuary which would be able to accommodate the crowds that were now daily visiting the small chapel.

In 1920 the foundation stone of a modern basilica dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Ta' Pinu was laid. Today the basilica of Ta' Pinu is still a very popular destination for Marian pilgrimages.

For the last 15 years of her life, although bed-ridden, Grima was very much at peace with herself and bore her sufferings with patience,fully confident in the will of God.

Karmni Grima died on 25 February 1922.The house where Karmni Grima lived still exists and it has now been turned into a museum. [1]

List of monuments in Għarb

This is a list of monuments in Għarb, Gozo, Malta, which are listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.

List of monuments in Għasri

This is a list of monuments in Għasri, Gozo, Malta, which are listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.

List of monuments in Victoria, Gozo

This is a list of monuments in Victoria, Gozo, Malta, which are listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.

List of towns in Malta

The following is a list of towns in Malta.

Lorenzo D'Astiria

Lorenzo D'Astiria (1604 - 5 January 1678) was a Spanish Roman Catholic bishop of Malta in the 17th century.

Roads in Malta

In Malta most the main roads are in the outskirts of the localities to connect one urban area with another urban area. The most important roads are those that connect the south of the island with the northern part, like Tal-Barrani Road, Aldo Moro Street in Marsa (the widest road in Malta) and Birkirkara Bypass (the busiest road in Malta).

Traffic in Malta drives on the left. Car ownership in Malta is excessively high, given the islands' small size. As of 2009, the country has the fifth-highest number of vehicles per capita in the world, with 607 motor vehicles per 1,000 people. There were 182,254 registered cars in 1990, giving an automobile density of 582 per km².Malta has 3,096 kilometres of road, 2,704 km (87.3%) of which are paved and 392 km are unpaved as of 2008. The official road user guide for Malta is The Highway Code.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Gozo

The Diocese of Gozo (or Ghawdex) (in Latin Goulos-Gaudisiensis), is a Latin bishopric (diocese) of the Catholic Church in Malta, and the only suffragan in the ecclesiastical province of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Malta, together covering the insular state.

The diocese comprises the island of Gozo (seventeen miles west of the Maltese capital Valletta) and the islet of Comino.As of 2013 the Bishop of Gozo was Mgr. Mario Grech.

Ġużepp Portelli

Ġużepp Portelli (8 December 1880 - 7 March 1949) was a Maltese Roman Catholic prelate who founded the present Ta' Pinu Basilica in Gozo.

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