Basilica of the Nativity of Mary, Senglea

The Basilica of the Nativity of Mary or Basilica of Our Lady of Victories is a Roman Catholic parish church located at Senglea, Malta. It is dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary.HistoryIt was most probably built by the architect Vittorio Cassar in 1580 as a monument to the Christian Victory after the Great Siege of 1565. Senglea became a parish in 1581, and was consecrated on 20 October 1743. On 21 May 1786, Pope Pius VI declared the church to be a "collegiata insignis" (distinguished collegiate church), while in 1921, Pope Benedict XV honoured the church with the title of Basilica. After the crowning of the statue of the Virgin Mary on 4 September 1921, the church became a sanctuary of the Virgin Mary.The church was destroyed by bombs in 1941, but was rebuilt and consecrated by Archbishop Gonzi on 24 August 1956.The church building is listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.Works of artThe main attraction of the basilica, a wooden statue of Mary, known as Il-Bambina, was carved in 1618, painted in 1631 and gilded. The sculptor of this statue is still unknown. After the coronation of the statue of Mary in 1921, the church became a sanctuary. The crown contains diamonds and other precious stones. Around the statue are four silver angels created in 1934. In 1956 another existing marble statue, which was consecrated in 1956 was erected. There are four busts of Pope Benedict XV, Archbishop Mauro Caruana, the symbol of Senglea and the Grand Master La Sengle. The columns show 16 saints who are connected with Maria: Four Evangelists, four popes, four Doctors of the Church and the four founders of Christian orders. Furthermore, the church houses seven bells.

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