Tag Archives: St. Paul

St. Paul’s Island | Malta | 30 September 2014

Christianity has almost 2000 years of history in Malta. According to tradition, it was brought to the Islands by none other than the Apostle Paul himself in around A.D. 60. Paul was being taken to Rome to be tried as a political rebel, but the ship carrying him and some 274 others was caught in a violent storm only to be wrecked two weeks later on the Maltese coast. All aboard swam safely to land. The site of the wreck is traditionally known as St. Paul’s Island, and is marked by a statue commemorating the event. The welcome given to the survivors is described in the Acts of the Apostles (XXVIII) by St. Luke:

“And later we learned that the island was called Malta.
And the people who lived there showed us great kindness,
and they made a fire and called us all to warm ourselves… ” 

As the fire was lit, Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake but he suffered no ill effects. The islanders took this as a sign that he was a special man. This scene is depicted in many religious works of art on the Islands. According to tradition, the Apostle took refuge in a cave, now known as St. Paul’s Grotto in Rabat, Malta. During his winter stay, he was invited to the house of Publius, the Romans’ chief man on the Islands. It was here, according to tradition, that Paul cured Publius’ father of a serious fever. Publius is then said to have converted to Christianity and was made the first Bishop of Malta. The Cathedral of Mdina is said to stand on the site of Publius’ house. Archaeological evidence seems to support this tradition, as Malta was one of the first Roman colonies to convert.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/st-paul-in-malta

© Tony Blood - St. Paul's Island, Selmun, Malta.  30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Paul’s Island, Selmun, Malta. 30 September 2014

© Tony Blood - St. Paul's Island, Selmun, Malta.  30 September 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Paul’s Island, Selmun, Malta. 30 September 2014

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St. Paul’s Island | Malta | 26 September 2014

St Paul’s Island, also known as Selmunett, is a small island off Selmun near the north-east of the main island of Malta. St Paul’s Island is sometimes split into two islands by a shallow isthmus, and it is therefore sometimes referred to in the plural as St Paul’s Islands. St Paul’s Island has been uninhabited since World War II, and it is the largest uninhabited island of Malta.

The Acts of the Apostles tell the story of how Paul the Apostle was shipwrecked on an island which some scholars have identified as Malta while on his way to Rome to face charges. Traditionally, St. Paul’s Bay and St Paul’s Island are identified as the location for this shipwreck.

In 1576, Marco di Maria was being chased by Barbary corsairs off the coast of Malta. He navigated his vessel through the narrow channel between St Paul’s Island and Malta, but when the pirates followed him they ran aground and were captured. As a result of this, the Grandmaster Jean de la Cassière gave St Paul’s Islands to di Maria. Since he was a member of the Salamone family, the islands were often called Selmunett.

In 1844 a prominent statue of Saint Paul was erected on the island. It was sculpted by Segismondo Dimech from Valletta and Salvatore Dimech from Lija. The statue was officially inaugurated and blessed on 21 September 1845. It was restored by Din l-Art Ħelwa in 1996 and again in 2007. It will be restored once more in 2014.

Until the 1930s, a farmer called Vincenzo Borg, nicknamed Ta’ Bajdafin, lived on the island. His farmhouse was located close to the statue of Saint Paul. He abandoned the dwelling and the fields on the island just before World War II started. The farmhouse was a three-chambered structure with a heavily buttressed wall at its lower level. It resembled the Lascaris or De Redin towers, although it was never used for military purposes. Since it was abandoned, the upper room has collapsed and the structure is now in ruins. Pope John Paul II visited the island by boat during his visit to Malta in 1990.

Saint Paul’s Islands lie about 80 metres off the coast of Mellieħa, Malta. The island can split into two islands by a shallow isthmus according to the sea level, and when they are split the larger island on the west is known as Saint Paul’s Island while the smaller one on the east is known as Quartz Island. Both islands are made of upper coralline limestone. Saint Paul’s Island’s landscape is a maritime garigue dominated by Golden samphire, Maltese fleabane and other species. Quartz Island is more exposed and has less vegetation than the main island. A population of the land snail Trochoidea spratti can be found on the islands. Wild rabbits used to live on the island but the population died off due to disease. A subspecies of the Maltese wall lizard known as Podarcis filfolensis kieselbachi also lived there but the population apparently became extinct in 2005.

Information from:
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Paul’s_Island

© Tony Blood - St. Paul's Island, Selmun, Malta.  26 September 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Paul’s Island, Selmun, Malta. 26 September 2014

© Tony Blood - St. Paul's Island, Selmun, Malta.  26 September 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Paul’s Island, Selmun, Malta. 26 September 2014

St. Paul’s Collegiate Church | Rabat, Malta | 19 August 2014

The church is built over the ditch of the Roman city which also included a large part of Rabat. The church is also built over the grotto where according to tradition St. Paul was kept prisoner during his three months stay in Malta in 60 A.D. In 1336 bishop Hilarius refers to the church as ecclesia Sancti Pauli de crypta , and also mentions the cemetery and the Roman ditch. Several churches have been built on the site both by the diocese and the Knights of St. John. The present church was built with funds provided by the noble woman Guzmana Navarra on plans prepared by F. Bonamico. The church was completed by Lorenzo Gafà in 1683.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/stpaulschurchrabat

© Tony Blood - St. Paul's Collegiate Church. Rabat, Malta, 19 August 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Paul’s Collegiate Church. Rabat, Malta, 19 August 2014

St. Paul’s Grotto | Wignacourt Museum | Rabat, Malta | 24 July 2014

The Wignacourt Collegiate Museum at Rabat Malta has been reopened after a thorough refurbishment of the whole building – a baroque residence of the Chaplains of the Knights of Malta inaugurated by Grand Master Aloph de Wignacourt (1601-1622) as well as of its contents.

St Paul’s Grotto, the cradle of Christianity in Malta, the place where St Paul the Apostle in A.D. 60 is believed to have founded the first Christian Community on the island.

Information from:
Web: http://www.wignacourtmuseum.com

St. Paul's Grotto. Wignacourt Museum, Rabat, Malta, 24 July 2014

St. Paul’s Grotto. Wignacourt Museum, Rabat, Malta, 24 July 2014

Saluting Battery | Valletta, Malta | 19 July 2014

The Old Saluting Battery stands on the lower part of the St. Peter and St. Paul Bastion. Originally built in the 16th century, it remained in continuous use up to 1960. The battery functioned as a master time keeper, as the gun shots at sunrise and sunset marked the beginning and end of the working day, as well as the opening or closing of the town gates.

The noon gun was fired to signal to mariners in the harbour the exact hour of mid-day, which was necessary for the regulation of watches on board ships for accurate navigation. The Saluting Battery was restored in 2005, complete with eleven original British 24-pounder cannons from the mid-late 19th century and volunteers dressed in uniforms of the time, representing the Royal Malta Artillery.

Location: Lower area of St. Peter and St. Paul Bastion, Valletta (right under the Upper Barracca Gardens).

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/salutingbattery

© Tony Blood - Saluting Battery. Valletta Malta, 19 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Saluting Battery. Valletta Malta, 19 July 2014

© Tony Blood - Saluting Battery. Valletta Malta, 19 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Saluting Battery. Valletta Malta, 19 July 2014