Feast of St Demetrius: Celebration of Faith, Tradition and Community Life
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The feast of San Demetrius will be celebrated next Sunday, the 22nd of October, at the church dedicated to the Saint, on the outskirts of Gharb.
There will be a Family Fun Fair, which starts at 11.00am, it will continue throughout the day until 7.00pm. This occasion will be a Celebration of Faith, Tradition and Community Life. There will be free parking.
The fair will come to a close with a bonfire, which is traditionally associated with this feast.
The chapel (dedicated to this saint) is built on the edge of a promontory in Gharb, close to a cliff called Ras San Mitri (St. Demetrius’ Cape) not far from Ta’ Gordan Lighthouse. It can be approached by a country road from Gharb.
An early fifteenth century chapel was rebuilt in 1736 prompted by Dun Mario Vella, leaving an annual legacy of five scudi for its maintenance.
On 11th April, 1809 the archpriest of Gharb, Dun Publius Refalo, blessed the chapel on behalf of Bishop Ferdinando Mattei.
At the start of the second world war, at the request of the procurator Dun Paul Formosa, Papas Schiro` parish priest of the Greek Catholic community, celebrated Mass at this chapel that bears the name of a Greek saint.
The altarpiece above the stone altar shows St. Demetrius on horseback with an old woman praying and a young man in chains. This relates to one of several legends about the chapel.
The most popular of which says that the pirates stole Zgugina’s son. Zgugina went to the chapel and prayed for San Dimitri to get her son back. San Dimitri leaped from the portrait with his white horse and rode to the pirate ship over water. He fought the pirates and returned her son safely.
According to the legend he returned to the painting, however a mark from his horse’s hoof remained imprinted on the rock. The grateful Zgugina kept a lamp lit to the saint as thanks both day and night.
Another says that the original San Dimitri chapel was close to the cliffs. One day in a big earthquake the chapel fell in one piece to the sea.
The legend specifies that a candle is alight day and night in this underwater chapel. Also the legend mentions that the chapel bell still chimes on special religious days.
All Gozitans are invited to attend to celebrate the feast of this Greek-Gozitan Saint.