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Titular painting of the Sarria church of the Immaculate Conception in Floriana. When it seemed that nothing could stop the 1675 plague, the Grand Master Nicola Cotoner and the Knights of St. John (The Knights of Malta), prayed heartily for deliverance. Cotoner, who was a devotee of the Immaculate Conception, together with the members of his Privy Council, made a solemn promise that if Malta is delivered from this scourge, a church dedicated to the Immaculate Conception would be built on the outskirts of Valletta. It happened that after the pledge, the epidemic started to recede, until it was eradicated, and in 1677 the Order began to fulfil the promise made. So, Mattia Preti, the prodigious Calabrian artist, was commissioned to design the Church. Indeed, this church is truly unique, as it is the only one designed by Mattia Preti! And this is not all, because the interior of the church is an out-and-out showcase of Preti’s works, including the titular painting of the Immaculate Conception, where the Blessed Virgin is seen coming down from Heaven, triumphing over Satan and the plague. The two angels on the left and right of the Immaculate Conception are depicted placing back the swords in their scabbards after defeating the epidemic. | Martin Dimech on behalf of the Malta Tourism Authority

© Martin Dimech on behalf of the Malta Tourism Authority