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Over the last two months of 2011, work has been carried out on two ancient parish registers which are normally housed at the archives of St George’s Basilica, Victoria. The parish said that these are the “two oldest parish registers in Gozo,” The restoration work has been taking place at PrevArti laboratory at the Mosta Technopark.
These two volumes, dating back to the 17th century, were restored and given a new binding cover thanks to the co-financing given to the Historical-Cultural Committee of the Basilica as part of the project Reviving our Roots which falls under one of the schemes of the eco-Gozo Action Plan launched by the Ministry for Gozo.
Various NGOs in Gozo have benefitted from the scheme. The project also obtained funds for the process of disinfestation applied to over seventy volumes in the same collection, and an ultra-modern apparatus for the digitisation of the oldest manuscripts.
PrevArti consists of a formidable team of professional conservators and restorers, both foreign and Maltese. In fact, at the moment, restoration of three significant and prestigious works of sacred art dating from the 17th and 18th centuries and belonging to St George’s Basilica, is being undertaken at their premises which were inaugurated by Prime Minister Dr Lawrence Gonzi last December.
This time, the project is being undertaken by the Fondazzjoni Belt Victoria which is also building a museum and cultural centre at the very heart of Victoria, 85% of which is being financed by the ERDF.
The Minister for Gozo, Giovanna Debono visited the lab last week and was accompanied by Mr Pierre Bugeja, the managing director. She was also given a detailed presentation regarding the conservation and restoration carried out on the registers.
After being analysed, the mentioned registers were disinfected. Then the two volumes – the Liber Matrimonorum 1620-1710 and the Liber Baptisatorum 1625-1680 – went through a meticulous process of restoration, and each page was treated professionally. Finally, the volumes were given a new binding which is in harmony with the period in which they were produced.
During the process, some historical details of particular interest have been brought to light. The historical and artistic prestige of the volumes has thus been enhanced, since they are of unique historical importance to the social and religious Gozitan milieu of the 17th century.