Fort Manoel - Chapel of St Anthony of Padua

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Fort Manoel - Chapel of St Anthony of Padua

Fort Manoel houses a Chapel dedicated to St Anthony of Padua. It is dedicated to the namesake of the Portuguese Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena, who sponsored the construction of the fort.

The Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua - Early 1900s
The Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua - Early 1900s

The Chapel of St Anthony of Pauda was built in the year 1727 and consecrated in June of the same year. It primarily served the religious needs of the garrison of Fort Manoel. By special decree of Pope Benedict (1724-1730) it was raised to the status of Parish Church in the year 1728.

It seems that the first person to be buried in the small crypt below the Chapel was Mondion himself who died on Christmas Day of the year 1733.

The ruins of the Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua
The ruins of the Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua

During the Second World War, St. Anthony’s Chapel suffered the fate of many buildings in the Grand Harbour area. In the year 1942, in April, the chapel received a direct hit during an air-raid and was largely destroyed. After the war, the site was cleared and with the departure of the British from Manoel Island in 1964, the chapel ruins, like the rest of the fort fell victim to neglect, pillage and exposure to the elements led to further decay of the remains.

In September 2007, began the prestigious and challenging project of the reconstruction of the chapel at Fort Manoel. The Chapel was fully restored in October 2009 by MIDI plc as part of the Manoel Island project.