The Lascaris bell, one of the 12 bells found in the belfry of St. John's Co-Cathedral, has finally been inaugurated after a meticulous restoration intervention which lasted two years in the United Kingdom. The restoration works cost €28,000. For this occasion, the St John's Co-Cathedral Foundation prepared a short but significant ceremony on the parvis of the Co-Cathedral. Amongst those present was Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Mercieca as well as members of the Co-Cathedral Chaptar.
The satisfaction of campanologist Kenneth Cauchi who was the coordinator of this restoration project was more than evident. The first phase of the conservation project took place in October 2006 by engineer Mark Strupcewski of Soundweld Bell Restorers of the United Kingdom. The works took long due to the fact that there were several unforeseen technical difficulties in the preliminary analysis. The second restoration phase was entrusted in the hands of Steve Fletcher under the supervision of Gerald Flatters from the John Taylor Bellfoundry of Loughborough in the United Kingdom.
The Lascaris bell was founded in 1636 during the time of Gran Master Antoine de Paule. It is thought that the bell was damaged during the Second World War. It was last rung on the 24th August 1974 on the occasion of the funeral of Bishop Emmanuel Galea. After that everyone thought that the bell would never be repaired because it was cracked in three parts. These three sections were then welded together in 1992. In 2006, the St John's Co-Cathedral Foundation took the initiative to restore the bell so that it can be rung again.
After a short speech by Paul Attard, President of the Foundation, a reading from the scriptures was held and the ceremony concluded by the blessing of the bell by Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Mercieca. The seven notes were rung as a sign of celebration followed by more ringing by the campanologist himself.