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In 1584 the Augustinian Friars founded a priory on this site.
Mellieha was again given a parish status in 1841 and this church was enlarged still further.As time went by, with the transition of Mass being celebrated in a regular chapel and the numbers of faithful increasing, there are also instances of Catacombs being adapted into chapels with some tombs on the sides being eliminated to make way for those attending.When regular churches started to be built on the surface in Malta we do not know.We do have though remains of a Byzantine Basilica at Tas-Silg in Malta and a couple of early Siculo-Norman Chapels, one on each of Malta and Gozo. Others which are very distinctively from the middle ages or which came before and have been altered, I will talk about in the general chapter about Towns and Villages.I will not follow a Chronological order in this chapter but merely talk about underground chapels following the names of towns and villages where they are found alphabetically.In 1575, though its benefices were transferred to the church of St Leo at Bubaqra, its rector, Don Nicola Burlo', was ordered to look after the needs of Ta' Filfla chapel, so that the people's devotion would not slacken. Just inside the entrance, to the left, is an oval basin whose water that came from a natural spring was credited with curative powers. Its last parish priest was Don Giuseppe Ingomes mentioned during the second half of the 16th century.
An icon of Our Lady it contained is still at the Pope Leo X chapel and was recently being restored. These neighbourhoods were then almost deserted being left incapable of withstanding sudden incursions from pirates.
During the 1740s this sanctuary was enlarged and a courtyard, surrounded by a series of arches added.
The main altar in 1753 was covered with artistic marble decoration.
Troglodytic: From Troglodyte or Cave Dweller (Oxford Online Dictionary) A Church which is partly or wholly situated in a cave or dug out in rock.
Siculo-Norman: Period of time from when the Maltese islands were under Arab rule up to the end of Feudal times.
*** - Ghar Qasrana, L-Imselliet, limits of Zebbiegh. It is not impossible that it was at some time an underground chapel because of a shallow roughly cut niche in the back wall probably occupied by an altarpiece.