When the Aragonese handed Malta and Gozo over to the Knights of St. John in 1530, the Knights appointed a Governor to represent the order in Gozo. The role of the Governor was to provide for the social, economical, and infrastructural needs of the island.
A SPANISH KNIGHT GOVERNOR OF GOZO
One Governor who left his mark on Gozo was Fra Eugenio-Ramirez Maldonado. He was a knight from the langue of Castille and León hailing from Salamanca. Maldonado served as Governor from 1610 to 1612 and in his brief term carried out some noteworthy projects and initiatives.
One initiative he remains credited for till today is the island’s spiritual adoration towards Saint Ursola. Maldonado donated a gilded wood effigy and relic of Saint Ursola to the church of the Castello, today known as the Gozo Cathedral.
The effigy immediately became the centre of a popular cult and Saint Ursola came to be venerated as a protectress of Gozo. St. Ursola eventually was declared patron saint of Gozo in 1620 by Bishop Cagliares. Her feast is celebrated at the Gozo Cathedral every year on the 21st of October.