"I sacrifici fatti dai crendini per la fabbrica della loro chiesa sono in verita’ senza esempio nella storia ecclesiastica di Malta".1
The splendid parish church of Qrendi dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, owes a lot to its generous congregation for its grand construction. As quoted above, Achille Ferres mentions that the citizens of Qrendi were the main benefactors for the building and later remodelling of their church.
Originally on the same site of the present church there were two small churches dedicated to the Annunciation and to St. Anthony. As the population of Qrendi started growing during the seventeenth century, the parish priest Camillieri2, decided to build a larger church, on the same site of the two churches already mentioned. Works on this new church were carried out between 1620 and 1655 and the citizens of Qrendi contributed to raise the money for the necessary works. The bell tower was finished later in 1679.
However the parish priest Formosa3, seeing the population of Qrendi continuously growing at a steady rate, suggested expanding the newly built church and building an even larger one; the one that still stands today.
Again the parishioners of Qrendi were very generous and worked hard to have the works started on this new church. The same parish priest Formosa who urged so fervently for enlarging the church, died in a tragic accident while he was helping in its construction on the 17th January 16994.
Works for the remodelling of the church started in 1685 and were suspended for four years in 1691, thus resuming in 1695. The church was finished in 1712 on the plans of the Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa. The plan is based on a Latin cross as most churches in Malta are. It consists of a main nave, two transepts, a choir, two sacristies and it is adorned by ten altars and two bell towers.
Gafa was responsible for embedding a new facade onto the existent structure. The central part and main entrance, framed with a pair of giant order pilasters, project outwards from the older lateral wings. Above the main door, Gafa inserted a large window with an omega hood. Due to the limited width of the facade, the two bell towers are attached to the transept arms.
Mons. Labini consecrated the new parish church of Qrendi on the 13th October 1782.
Author: Melanie Farrugia