Mgr Ġwann Azzopardi, better known as Dun Ġwann, has died, religious authorities said on Friday. 

In his last post on Facebook this afternoon, he wrote that he had embarked on "a much awaited journey" to the Lord and asked for prayers so that he "arrives safely".

News of his death was given in a Facebook post by St Paul’s Basilica in Rabat, where Azzopardi was honorary canon.

In another Facebook post later, the Mdina Metropolitan Chapter said Azzopardi, who was 84, had dedicated his life to serving Christ and His Church since 1962 when he was ordained priest.

Azzopardi served as curator of the Mdina Cathedral museum between 1967 and 2001 and as an archivist of the Mdina Metropolitan Chapter since 2013. He also founded the Wignacourt Museum in Rabat and lectured at the Archbishop's Seminary.

He has published several books and other works and is known for his contribution to Maltese historiography and artistic heritage with his research seen as an inspiration to local and foreign scholars.

The authors of Melitensium Amor, a book published in 2002 in his honour, had noted that his “outstanding discoveries” on Caravaggio, the Inquisition, sacred music and Pauline studies are quoted by international authors in books and academic journals.

Under Azzopardi’s leadership, the Cathedral Museum developed into one of Malta’s foremost research centres, attracting scholars, academics and researchers, both local and foreign, to its unique rich archives.

In a statement, the Nationalist Party expressed condolences describing Azzopardi as "a giant in Maltese culture".

In a post on Twitter, MEP Roberta Metsola said Malta had lost one of "its most eminent scholars".

Malta, she said, will be poorer without him.

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