St Publius Church

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We planned our visit just as Mass was ending. It is a huge and impressive church dominating Floriana. There is a splendid classical frontage with two bell towers and a statue of what looks like Christ on on the top of the roof. The outside of the building is festooned with fairy lights.

We entered through a side door. Inside are two double side aisles. The walls of the side aisles and nave are painted in cream. The elaborately carved pillar heads have gold tops. Nave arches have decorative gold carvings. The side aisle arches have a simple gold border. Above the nave arches is a gold border. There are decorative grey, red and gold ribs on the painted ceiling of the nave with narrower gold ribs separate the paintings.

The side aisles with altars have plain ceilings with a series of small plain domes. Chandeliers hanging from them were covered with protective cloths.

The huge central dome has windows with carved cherubim above and paintings of saints including the Venerable Bede, between them. Above are more paintings of saints set in a stylish turquoise border, separated by red and gold ribs. There is a small cupola painted turquoise with red and gold ribs and a window.

At the ends of the transepts are two massive alters with red flecked marble wall pillars with decorative gold tops. There is a decorative red, grey and gold frieze round the base of the domes. These are painted beige but the paint is beginning to peel off.

There is a large painted apse over choir. Two steps lead up into it. There is a marble altar rail and a small mass table. Behind is a large marble high altar, decorated with roundels with painted heads in them. On top are huge candle sticks with even bigger candles and vases containing bunches of decorative artificial flowers. There are wooden choir seats on the walls with a painting on the end wall above another altar and big paintings on the side walls.

The marble floor is made of grey, white, red and yellow marble arranged in geometric patterns. There is a large carved wooden pulpit with possibly St Publius carved on back wall. It has an ornate canopy with an eagle on the under side. St Luke and St John are carved on sides. There is a large statue of Mary with children in the nave and lots of small confessionals.

This is a nice church. It lacks the jaw dropping splendour of the cathedral but is never-the-less well worth visiting.

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