chapter  XVII

The Cappella of Birkirkara: 1402

ByAnthony Luttrell

After 1378 the Roman Church was divided by the schism between two papal obediences, the Roman and the Avignonese, and in the Kingdom of Sici'y this complication was further confused by the political situation resulting both from internal quarrels and from Aragonese intervention in that island. Birkirkara is documented as a casale in 1419/20 when it was a large village providing 89 men for militia service; its population may then have been around 500. The bull of 1402 reflects some ambiguity as to whether the cappella of Birkarkccm, evidently an error for Birkirkara, was dedicated to Eiena or Maria. A parish system involving a cappella with care of souls was clearly functioning in Malta in the second half of the fourteenth century.