Gozo Minister Giovanna Debono inaugurates restored parish registers
On Wednesday 29 February, the Hon. Minister for Gozo Giovanna Debono visited the Prevarti Co. Ltd laboratory situated at the Mosta Technopark to inaugurate the restoration of two parish registers belonging to St George’s which date back as early as the year 1620.
Welcomed at the main entrance of the laboratory by managing director Mr Pierre Bugeja, the Hon. Minister was introduced to the restorer of the registers, who later explained in detail – with the help of a power-point presentation – all the stages involved in the process of the restoration of these two monuments which carry utter importance in the ecclesiastical history of Gozo.The process included, among other things, a thorough analysis of the registers’ prior state, meticulous restoration and the application of protective Japanese paper, and new binding corresponding in style to the epoch in which the registers were made.
The two registers, Liber Matrimonorum (1620-1710) and Liber Baptisatorum (1625-1680), underwent professional restoration in the last months of 2011 thanks to the funding of around €2,000 obtained by the Historical and Cultural Committee of St George’s Basilica as part of its project Reviving our Roots partly financed by one of the schemes within the eco-Gozo Action Plan launched by the Ministry for Gozo.Apart from the restoration of these two manuscripts, the project included the disinfestation of over seventy other volumes, the acquisition of an ultra-modern apparatus for the digitalisation of all manuscripts in the prestigious parish archives of the basilica, and the setting up of a multimedia podium for tourists.
During the same visit, the Hon. Minister had the opportunity to see and appreciate three precious seventeenth and eighteenth-century paintings, also belonging to St George’s, which are being restored to their former glory in the same laboratory.The restoration on the paintings – partly financed through the European Regional Development Fund – is being undertaken by the Fondazzjoni Belt Victoria.
The delegation from St George’s Basilica present for the occasion was made up of project leader Mr Francesco Pio Attard, Archpriest Emeritus Mgr Joseph Farrugia, project coordinator of the museum and cultural centre, archivist Mr Toni Farrugia, and Mr James L. Borg, member of the Historical and Cultural Committee.
The disinfested volumes, including the two restored registers, are now being kept in the archives section of the basilica’s library in the parish centre, where the process of digisitation is steadily underway.This will make more accessible to researchers the content of these volumes, which are of great historical and social importance, as will be also outlined in a talk about the restoration process which will hopefully take place later this year.
Prime Minister Dr Lawrence Gonzi was shown the two restored registers when he visited Prevarti last December to inaugurate the new laboratory.