St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral, one of the most iconic features of the Valletta skyline, is launching an urgent fundraising appeal for vital restoration work as parts of the historic church are declared unstable.

The cathedral wants to raise €3 million to address severe architectural problems threatening the 60-metre high bell-tower and spire as well as internal and external stonework.

Built between 1839 and 1844 on the initiative of the Queen Dowager Adelaide, widow to King William IV and aunt to Queen Victoria, the cathedral is a universally-recognised Valletta landmark.

In recent years there has been little maintenance of the fabric of the cathedral, which receives no support from the government or the Church of England and covers annual running and maintenance costs entirely from donations by the congregation.

Expert architectural inspections have identified serious structural problems, with parts of the building officially described unstable.

An appeal committee, headed by Sir Martin Laing and Martin Scicluna, is hoping to raise the extensive funds for the necessary restoration by November 2019, the 175th anniversary of the cathedral’s construction.

“The cathedral pays homage to St Paul, considered to be the spiritual father of the Maltese, and is deeply symbolic of two centuries of close Anglo-Maltese relations,” the committee said.

“Its memorials bear important testimony to the sacrifice and valour of countless allied servicemen who fought alongside the Maltese to defend Malta during World War I and II,” it noted.

The Culture Ministry, Heritage Malta and other cultural heritage organisations have already pledged their support to the fundraising appeal for the cathedral, which is also one of the major venues of the Valletta Baroque Festival and plays host to a wide variety of concerts and recitals.

The committee said it was confident all elements were in place for a successful restoration once funding was secured, with renowned architectural firm Architecture Projects (AP) ready to proceed with a final study and recommendations for the urgent work.

“To imagine Valletta’s skyline without the tower of the pro-cathedral,” the committee said, “is just as inconceivable as imagining St Mark’s Square in Venice, another World Heritage City, without its historic campanile.”

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