See: Restoration works completed on Grand Master’s crypt at St. John’s Co Cathedral
After extensive restoration, works on the Grand Master’s crypt at St. John’s Co Cathedral has been completed. This crypt has significant historical value in the history of the Knights of St John in Malta given that 11 Grandmasters who left their mark and great heritage in Malta, are buried here. Because the crypt is underground, these are not ideal conditions for frescos, monuments and sarcophagus stone due to humidity and water which seeps through the walls which was causing damage to the frescoes painted on the walls.
Which is why the crypt was in need of a significant restorative intervention. As explained by CEO and Curator of the Cathedral Foundation, Cynthia de Giorgio, the system of maintaining the ideal temperature in the crypt was a major challenge and has been entrusted to Architects TBA and specifically Gaston Camilleri, which has just received an award by Din l-Art Helwa for their work.
Cynthia de Giorgio said that over a two year period scientific studies were carried out and the crypt environment was studied in addition to remedies that could be carried out to restore the damage caused by moisture
“The other challenge was how to get here with equipment ducting which is stored on the roof. The only way was through four openings in the crypt which are known as oculai in Latin. To get up to those four openings which are like small round windows, we had to remove the marble floor, find the original holes and the ducting laid for those four oculai and then we had to do carry out everything in situ obviously. And now the levels of humidity are stable, and the temperature too. ”
Now that the restoration of the crypt has been completed, the public who visit the Cathedral can go down to the crypt and view it from behind a specially designed door. Cynthia de Giorgio explained that the crypt had to stay closed to to ensure that the humidity levels were kept stable.
Among the 11 Grandmaster buried inside the crypt there is l’Isle Adam, who brought the Order of St John to Malta, La Valette and Alof de Wignacourt. St. John’s Cathedral, which is considered a national treasure, is the largest monument the Knights left behind because it was the Conventual Church of the Order.