Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici visited the old Manikata church dedicated to St Joseph, which is to be restored by the Restoration Directorate, under the remit of the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government.
"This is all possible thanks to the 4th Restoration Works Scheme for Local Councils which has been issued once again to ensure that local councils are assisted in restoring historic buildings and monuments found in their locality. This scheme further complements our strategy to make culture and heritage more accessible, whilst encouraging better preservation and appreciation of our heritage", said Minister Owen Bonnici during the visit.
Restoration works will address restoration of deteriorated masonry fabric through cleaning and reconstruction where necessary, removal of cement-based renders, pointing, and stabilisation of detached masonry facings. Interventions will be carried out to clean the surface from vegetation and deposits, plastic repair and its roof and ceiling will be maintained.
Restoration works will also look into the damage in mouldings of the main façade as well as damage due to water ingress. The belfry is severely deteriorated and will be reconstructed whilst the remaining finial will be restored with plastic repair and the other missing ones will be reconstructed through a template.
Documentation of church plans do not quote an architect in charge. In all probability, there was no architect involved and therefore this could be the reason why there are a number of structural problems in the church. In fact, one of the specific interventions to be carried out is the introduction of specifically designed tie rods, which will be placed to secure the vault and prevent it from further damage.
The church is dedicated to St Joseph, and plans for it started in 1919, with the titular painting of St Joseph done by Ramiro Raffaele Calì, son of renowned Giuseppe Calì. In 1975, the church stopped being utilised in view of the larger church that was built due to the growing population.
This restoration intervention is possible due to the fact that Manikata (Mellieħa) is benefitting from last year's Restoration Works Scheme for Local Councils, a scheme issued by the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government, through the office of the Restoration Directorate in collaboration with the Department for Local Government.