Gozo ( ) is an island of the Maltese
archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of the Southern European country of Malta; after the
Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the
Compared to its southeastern neighbour, Gozo is
and known for its scenic hills,
which are featured on its coat of
A popular nickname of Gozo is the Isle of Calypso
from the location of Ogygia
mythological poem Homer's Odyssey
. In the
myth, the island was controlled by nymph Calypso
who detained the hero of the
there as prisoner of love
for seven years; Gozo is thought to be modern day Ogygia.
The island itself has a population of around 31,000 people (all of
Malta combined has 402,000), and its inhabitants are known as
( ). It is rich in historical locations such as the Ġgantija temples which, along with the Megalithic Temples of Malta, are
the world's oldest free-standing structures and also the world's oldest religious structures.
For such a small island, Gozo has a high concentration of Churches
(22 in all). The Xewkija church has a capacity of 3000, enough for
the entire population of Xewkija village, its dome is larger than
that of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The church bells are rung
daily for the canonical hours
Matins, Lauds, Terce, Sext, None and vespers.
Gozo has been inhabited since 5000 BC, when farmers from nearby
crossed the sea to the island.
similar pottery found in both places from the Għar Dalam phase, it has been
suggested that the first colonists were
specifically from the area of Agrigento; however, it is currently indeterminate exactly
which part of Sicily the farmers came from.
They are thought
to have first lived in caves on the outskirts of what is now known
as Saint Lawrence
an important place for cultural evolution and during the neolithic period the Ġgantija temples were
built; they are the world's oldest free-standing structures, as well as the world's oldest religious structures.
The temples' name is
for "belonging to the
giants", because legend
in Maltese and
says the temples were
built by giants. Another important Maltese archaeological site
in Gozo, which dates back to the neolithic period, is the Xagħra Stone
Also, native tradition and certain ancient
Greek historians (notably Euhemerus
) maintain that Gozo is in
fact the island Homer described as Ogygia
home of the nymph Calypso
1551 Ottoman under Turgut Reis and Sinan Pasha invaded and
ravaged Gozo and enslaved most of its
inhabitants, about 5000, bringing them to Tarhuna Wa Msalata in
Libya, their departure port in Gozo was Mġarr
The island of Gozo was repopulated between 1565 and
1580 by people from mainland Malta, undertaken by the Knights of Malta
The history of Gozo is strongly coupled with the history of Malta
, since Gozo has been
governed by Malta throughout history, with the brief exception of a
period of autonomy granted to Gozo by Napoleon
after his conquest of Malta,
between 28 October 1798
and 5 September
the island had a population of 31,053, of whom 6,414 live in its
capital Victoria, also known
The crude birth rate was 7.93, considerably lower
than that of 9.59 for Malta. The town with the highest birth rate is
Lawrenz (15.93) and that with the lowest is Xewkija
67 km² in size, which is approximately the same size as
It lies approximately 6 km northwest
of the nearest point of Malta, is of oval form, and is 14 km
in length and 7.25 km in width.
Gozo is famed for its character and places of interest.
these include the Calypso cave and the Ġgantija Neolithic temples which are among the oldest
surviving man-made structures.
finest beaches are San Blas and the
Bay, with brilliant orange-red sand and clear turquoise
Connection to Malta Island
Gozitans have a very strong identity within Malta as a whole
country and Gozo is the only region in Malta which has a Minister
responsible for it. Generally
speaking, Gozo is more socially conservative than the rest of the
country. The perceived Maltese attitude towards Gozitans
(stereotyping them as uneducated and 'primitive') is also changing,
as more Gozitans move to Malta seeking higher education and better
construction of a bridge between mainland Malta and Gozo was a subject of controversy for
In the early 1970s the newly elected Socialist
Administration started the building of a bridge between the two
islands, but this was stopped after protests from the Gozitan part.
There was previously a helicopter service which connected the two,
but this ceased recently following privatisation.
Currently the island is reachable by ferry boat and by seaplane.
Passenger and car ferries cross on a regular basis between the port
of Mġarr on Gozo and Ċirkewwa
Malta. This service is used for goods, tourism and commuting
(Gozitan students study at the University of Malta
). Due to its
frequent use, residents of Gozo are able to use the ferry at a
subsidised rate, significantly lower than the standard fare. The
sea plane operates from Valletta to Mgarr harbour.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Gozo (in Latin
Goulos-Gaudisiensis), comprises the Island of Gozo in the
Mediterranean Sea (seventeen miles west of the harbour of Valletta,
Malta) and islet of Comino.
central plateau the Citadel fortifications contain the cathedral
church and several public buildings. To the south of the castle
lies the island's main town whose origins go back to prehistoric
times. The town contains several public buildings the most
important of which is St George's basilica. This magnificent
basilica lies on the site where the earliest evidence of
Christianity was discovered.
Up to the year 1864, Gozo formed part of the Diocese of Malta, but
, acceding to the repeated prayer of
the clergy and the people, erected it into a separate exempt
diocese, i.e. immediately subject
to the Holy See. On 16 March
, Monsignor Francesco Michele Butigieg, a native of
Gozo, was appointed titular Bishop
Lita and deputy auxiliary of the Archbishop-Bishop of Malta, for
the Island of Gozo. He was consecrated at Rome on 3 May
of the same year, on 22
, was created first bishop
of the new Diocese of Gozo, and on the 23rd day of the following
month made his solemn entry into the new cathedral. Through the
efforts of Mgr. Pietro Pace, who was then vicar-general
of the diocese, a diocesan
seminary was established on the site formerly occupied by the San
Giuliano Hospital, the revenues of which were appropriated to the
new institution. This seminary was inaugurated 3 November
, and by the
express desire of Pope Pius IX placed under the direction of the
On the death of Mgr. Butigieg, Father Micallef, Superior General
of the Augustinian Order,
was made Bishop of
Città di Castello
and appointed administrator of the Diocese of
Gozo. He left Gozo in May, 1867, and in 1871 became Archbishop of
. His successor to the
administration of the diocese was Mgr. Antonio Grech
Delicata, titular Bishop of Chalcedon, a native of Malta, who in 1868 was appointed
Bishop of Gozo, and as such assisted at the First Vatican Council.
Grech Delicata's charity towards the poor went so far that he
divested himself of his own patrimony. This worthy prelate died on
the last day of the year 1876.
On 12 March
Canon Professor Pietro Pace, native of Gozo, was appointed to
succeed Mgr. Grech Delicata, and was consecrated at Rome by
Cardinal Howard. Under his administration the seminary was
augmented by the installation of a meteorological observatory, which was inaugurated by the
celebrated Padre Denza, Director of the Vatican
During this administration an episcopal
educational institute for girls was also established, under the
care of the Sisters of
St. Vincent de Paul
, to whom was also entrusted the direction
of the annexed orphan asylum. The same bishop provided the diocese
with a new episcopal palace and new monasteries, besides laying out
large sums of money on the cathedral.
In 1889, Mgr. Pace was promoted Archbishop of Rhodes and Bishop of Malta.
His successor in the
See of Gozo was the Reverend G. M. Camilleri, O.S.A.,
a native of Valetta (b. 15 March
). Under Mgr. Camilleri's administration
the first diocesan synod was celebrated, in October, 1903. This
synod was of absolute necessity, as the diocese was still governed
under the rules of the Synod of Malta of 1703, and consequently
lacked a safe guide adapted to the times. Constitutions and decrees
were also promulgated and published which gave new life to the
working of the diocese.
The cathedral church of Gozo was built in 1697-1703, by Lorenzo
Gafa. Its ground plan is in the form of a Latin cross. The
Cathedral is also the annual pilgrimage site of the Grand Priory of
the Mediterranean of the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of
Jerusalem. Its interior is adorned with fine paintings. The
"Massagiere di Maria", an Italian periodical, is recognized in the
Diocese of Gozo as the official organ of the sanctuary of the Bl.
Virgin ta Pinu
Currently the Bishop of Gozo is Mgr. Mario Grech.
- Old Temples
Study Foundation (OTSF)