Paola Marian Site

Parish Church of Christ the King

The Parish church of Paola is dedicated to Christ the King and was built between 1924 and 1959. At first it was planned over the location of an old church, however this idea was abandoned in order to have a new Parish church in a more prominent site at the centre of the town. The new church was designed in a blend of Baroque and Neo-classical architecture, by Guzè D’Amato, although works on site were undertaken by the Maltese architect Filippo Tortell. Its dimensions are impressive, being 250 feet long and 100 feet wide, and includes ten altars in all.


The facade is defined by a 30 metre-wide portico with 6 columns in the modern Ionic order. Three large doorways are placed on the façade, with two stone statues housed within arched niches. These statues are of St Joseph and The Virgin Mary, carved in 1926 by the Maltese sculptor Antonio Zammit.

At both ends of the portico are bell-towers built to a height of 50 metres. Their five bells were manufactured by the British founders Messrs John Taylor and Co. and placed in the belfries in 1959. The bell-towers are built in three sections. The lowermost section is defined by Ionic order pilasters at the edges. Above the entablature that unites the entire church facade is the second section of the bell-tower. Clocks on this part are crowned with an arched hood and a balustrade. At the very top are belfries in a neo-classical style, adorned with columns and balustrade, all crowned by a triangular pediment. The spire is designed in the shape of a dome with an elongated lantern.

The side facades are noteworthy for the nineteen cupolas found on the church roof. These small domes define the side naves along the central elongated nave.

At several of the side side-chapels are statues made in different materials including stone, fibre-glass, papier-maché and marble. These are the work of Maltese sculptors - John Spiteri Sacco (1907-1996), Gianni Bonnici (1932-2019) and the Gozitan sculptor Wistin Camilleri (1885-1979). Standing within a window-frame, the light pouring in behind the statues highlights their distinctive outlines.

A titular statue of Christ the King is placed within the apse of the large church. The statue is found within a shallow niche. It is embellished by means of a small frontispiece around it, made of twin marble Ionic columns. The niche is crowned with a segmental pediment.

The standing figure of Christ has open arms in a blessing gesture. Christ wears a crown, denoting his role within the kingdom of heaven.

The European Union co-funded project, focussed on conservation actions to ensure the long-term preservation of this historic church, of its decorated side facades and columns. The interventions sought to reverse and mitigate deterioration sustained through weathering processes and natural degradation. This was leading to the loss of the aesthetic qualities of the building as well as putting at risk its structural integrity. These actions are ensuring the long-term protection and enjoyment of this historic building lying in the heart of the community.

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