The statue of St George was replaced in its niche on Tuesday. The niche is covered in gold mosaic on the instructions of Giovanni Battista Conti, the artist who had been entrusted with the over-all decorations of the church. The statue was taken into the niche privately by the aides of the basilica.
The statue of St George was right at the heart of the recent celebrations in honour of the protector of Gozo and patron of the city of Victoria. It had been taken out of its niche on Tuesday, July 12, the evening before the beginning of the triduum in honour of the Martyr-Saint. The statue remained on display, surrounded by votive candles and flowers throughout the days of the festa until last Tuesday.
Several aides were on hand to move the statue from its central location, in the main aisle of the basilica, to its chapel. Confetti and dust that had gathered on it during the Sunday procession were meticulously removed. Then the statue was slowly moved into its niche and the huge glass door closed.
The statue of St George is displayed twice a year in the main aisle of the basilica. It is taken out of its niche on the annual occasion of the liturgical solemnity of April 23. Then it is taken out for the summer festa of the third Sunday of July when the event takes place publicly inside a basilica thronged with enthusiasts of the saint.
Devotion to St George is alive throughout the year, indications of it being the votive candles and the flowers that throughout the year are placed by devotees in front of the statue.