A history of Sliema’s oldest parish church

From ecclesiastical silver to ex votos and beautiful portraiture: the Stella Maris Exhibition Rooms have outlined the history of Sliema’s first parish church through objects.

Parishes all across Malta and Gozo have been busy curating spaces where they can showcase the treasures they have amassed over the centuries. Sliema’s Stella Maris parish is one of them, and its exhibition rooms are a feast for the eyes.

Located in a 19th-century grand house at 50, High Street, the Stella Maris Exhibition Rooms are home to hundreds of religious items that tell the story of the parish, which was the first in the locality. 

Items on display include moving ex votos, which believers would have commissioned as a votive offering to a saint or God; numerous religious portraits including that of Pope Pius IX, who in 1878 made Sliema its own parish, independent from that of Birkirkara; and artefacts related to the Fratellanza tas-Santissmu Sagrament, which was established in the parish in 1879.

Over and above the permanent display, the Exhibition Rooms also hold regular stand-alone exhibitions. Past examples of these included one devoted to Christmas Cribs and another to the watercolours by local artist Joe Pace Ross.

If all this sounds right up your alley, then we’d also recommend checking out the Stella Maris Exhibition Rooms Facebook page, which is regularly updated with historic images of the locality accompanied by detailed descriptions.

The Exhibition Rooms are open Sundays between 10am and noon, or else by appointment. For the latter, please contact them on 2133 4941.

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