L-ISTATWA TAR-IR-REDENTUR / THE STATUE OF JESUS THE REDEEMER

    

         The statue of Jesus the Redeemer, venerated in the Oratory of the Holy Cross which is annexed to the Sanctuary Basilica of Our Lady of Victories at Senglea, Malta, is a life-size effigy representing Christ falling under the weight of. the Cross on His way to the Calvary. Without any doubt the shrine with the statue of Jesus the Redeemer is one of the oldest and most frequented of all national sanctuaries in Malta. This statue is in reality, one of a group of eight life- size statues representing various stations in the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Chirst, which are found in the Parish of Senglea and are carried in procession around the streets of the town of Senglea on the evening of Good Friday.

         No records have been found about the origins of the statue of the Redeemer, and its maker is unknown. But it surely dates back to at least the early years of the eighteenth century. However its very early attraction as a centre of devotion, initially for the inhabitants of Senglea, and subsequently for the whole population of Malta, can be traced back to the very early years of its existence. Suffice it to say, that when during the second decade of the eighteenth century the Confraternity of the Holy Cross, erected in the Collegiate church, was projecting the construction of an oratory annexed to the parish church, where it could hold its congregations and devotions, it was, from the very beginning, planned to include in its construction, a special place to serve as a niche where the statue of the Redeemer could be exposed for the veneration of the faithful. Thus, when in the year 1727 the oratory was blessed and dedicated for religious service, the statue of the Redeemer instantly found a rightful place therein.

        An extraordinary event in the history of the city of Senglea, contributed to promote further the devotion towards this shrine. In the year 1813, a deadly pestilence spread throughout Malta like wildfire, reaping hundreds of victims every week. The Chapter of Senglea vowed solemnly, that if their city were spared from this tremendous affliction, they would perpetually hold three annual votive processions as a sign of thanksgiving; one with the statue of the Redeemer on the third Sunday after Pentecost, another with the statue of Saint Roque on the Sunday following the feast of the Assumption, and a third with the statue of Our Lady of Victories on the 8th of September.

         Through divine protection, the city of Senglea was spared, and consequently, the devotion to the Redeemer acquired greater significance and importance, as witnessed by the numerous votive offerings by persons who have been healed from physical or spiritual illnesses through the prayers offered at this shrine, and the endless stream of believers who every day of the week and particularly on Fridays come from all parts of Malta and Gozo to pray and render thanks before the devout image of Jesus the Redeemer.

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