The original design of the church dedicated to St Publius was carried out in 1733 and is attributed to Francesco Marandon. The church, which became a parish in 1844, underwent many interventions and additions prior to World War II. A number of changes were made to the design of the façade and bell towers while naves and side chapels were also added to the main building. However, these works were in vain as St Publius’ parish church was badly damaged in the war by bombings.
In his publication Works of Art in Malta, Losses and Survivals in the War (1946), Hugh Braun sums up the devastation by stating that, “the church was deliberately dive-bombed by the Germans during their terror raids in April, 1942, and has been very badly damaged. Its central dome has disappeared and the vaulting of the building has been disturbed by blast; the western portico is also in ruins, and much labour will be required to rebuild the church to its former state. Work has already begun on the nave.”
After the war, the reconstruction of the demolished areas of the church were completed in stages, with some of the work completed by 1944 under the guidance of Gustav Vincenti.
The Malta Environment and Planning Authority scheduled the parish church as a Grade 1 monument on August 26 as per Government Notice 782.
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