Qala’s disappearing cross.

One of the routines which my wife and I settled into quite quickly while staying in Qala on the island of Gozo was to take a walk down to the bus stop near the village square to catch a bus to the capital Victoria. Although there were nearer bus stops the walk gave me the chance to familiarise myself with the village and its lay out. It was while I was standing at this bus stop, a short walk away from the church, which can be found in the town square, that I noticed a small fenced off enclosure, in the centre of this enclosure could be seen a stone cross which was around 10ft away from the bus stop. In front of this enclosure was an information sign which reads as follows:

This stone cross monument is located in the front courtyard of a very old house. The area is known as Tas-salib (of the cross) and, it is said, that this was the spot that the people had chosen to build the chapel Tal-Kuncizzjoni, dedicated to the immaculate conception, which was instead built in the area known as tal-halq, on the way to Hondoq Bay.

There is a legend related to this site. Young and old, yearning to fulfill their promise to build a chapel for the many graces received, started to heap blocks of stone on this spot at Tas-Salib in preparation to its construction. During the night, the blocks were mysteriously transported to an area known as Tal-Halq. When it happened a second time, some men decided to guard the area. It is said that, in the middle of the night, they beheld a lady dressed in white passing nearby and as she proceeded on her way, the blocks mysteriously rushed along behind her towards tal-halq. It was a heavenly sign, they immediately knew, that tal-halq was the Blessed Virgin Mary’s choice.

I took the photograph of the cross on friday 3rd November 2017 while waiting for the 303 bus to Victoria. On Sunday 5th of November my wife and I were once more standing at the same bus stop, this time the bus never showed up so we were waiting around for about 45 minutes when my wife pointed out that the cross was no longer there. The column which supported the cross was still in place, however apart from a few broken stone shards at the base of the column, no sign of the cross could be seen. Not having any significant storms in the previous two days, I can only assume it was the work of vandals. It saddens me a great deal as earlier on in the year the 28metre natural limestone arch known as The Azure window located in Dwerja Bay collapsed due to erosion over many years, the collapse of this natural tourist attraction is a great loss to the island of Gozo, so to find another piece of Gozo’s heritage destroyed in this mindless way upsets me greatly.

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