The bell tones of the clock at the Metropolitan Cathedral at Mdina which strike every fifteen minutes into a new hour will be struck on a new bell which has replaced another bell used over the last 500 years. The bell was manufactured in a French foundry and its first tones were heard today.
The old bell had been in place for 519 years and was in a precarious state of collapse. Its origins date back to the period prior to damages suffered by some parts of the Cathedral during the 1693 earthquake.
Campanologist Kenneth Cauchi said he felt a sense of sadness after having ‘sacked’ a bell into ‘retirement’ after it had given over half a millennium’s length of service.
He said it’s a pity because the old bell’s medieval sound was characteristic of Mdina; however, considering its precarious state of collapse from the belfry, it was important to take a decision.
Cauchi said it was by no means the oldest bell in the Cathedral because the oldest one dates back to 1370. He said the new bell has been named the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St Paul, the Cathedral’s patron. The bell was manufactured in France and weighs 170 kilos.
The French foundry, Pacard, had been chosen for the same type of iconography to be maintained and the St Paul etched on the bell is also in medieval style to be in line with the previous bell.
The campanologist said the retired bell is to be renovated and will become a part of the Cathedral Museum’s collection. The new bell was blessed by Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna during a short ceremony on the Cathedral’s parvis.